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Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.[1][2] Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument.[3] In more casual speech, by extension, "philosophy" can refer to "the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group".[4] The word "philosophy" comes from the Ancient Greek (philosophia), which literally means "love of wisdom".[5][6][7] The introduction of the terms "philosopher" and "philosophy" has been ascribed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.[8] A "philosopher" was understood as a word which contrasted with "sophist". Traveling sophists or "wise men" were important in Classical Greece, often earning money as teachers, whereas philosophers are "lovers of wisdom" and were therefore not in it primarily for the money. 2. Yet philosophy differs in a fundamental way from art, literature or religion, as its etymological meaning is the love of wisdom, which implies a significant degree of objective knowledge. And this knowledge must be attained on its own terms. Or else it would be but another branch of science. So what objective knowledge can philosophy bring that is not already determinable by science? This is a question that has become increasingly fashionable even in philosophy to answer with a defiant none. For numerous philosophers have come to believe, in concert with the prejudices of our age, that only science holds the potential to solve persistent philosophical mysteries as the nature of truth, life, mind, meaning, justice, the good and the beautiful. In sum, philosophy is not science. For it employs the rational tools of logical analysis and conceptual clarification in lieu of empirical measurement. And this approach, when carefully carried out, can yield knowledge at times more reliable and enduring than science, strictly speaking. For scientific measurement is in principle always subject to at least some degree of readjustment based on future observation. Yet sound philosophical argument achieves a measure of immortality. 3. Science and philosophy have always learned from each other. Philosophy tirelessly draws from scientific discoveries fresh strength, material for broad generalisations, while to the sciences it imparts the world-view and methodological im pulses of its universal principles. Many general guiding ideas that lie at the foundation of modern science were first enunciated by the perceptive force of philosophical thought. One example is the idea of the atomic structure of things voiced by Democritus. Certain conjectures about natural selection were made in ancient times by the philosopher Lucretius and later by the French thinker Diderot. Hypothetically he anticipated what became a scientific fact two centuries later. We may also recall the Cartesian reflex and the philosopher's proposition on the conservation of motion in the universe. On the general philosophical plane Spinoza gave grounds for the universal principle of determinism. The idea of the existence of molecules as complex particles consisting of atoms was developed in the works of the French philosopher Pierre Gassendi and also Russia's Mikhail Lomonosov. Philosophy nurtured the hypothesis of the cellular structure of animal and vegetable organisms and formulated the idea of the development and universal connection of phenomena and the principle of the material unity of the world. Lenin formulated one of the fundamental ideas of contemporary natural sciencethe principle of the inexhaustibility of matterupon which scientists rely as a firm methodological foundation. The latest theories of the unity of matter, motion, space and time, the unity of the discontinuous and continuous, the principles of the conservation of matter and motion, the ideas of the infinity and inexhaustibility of matter were stated in a general form in philosophy. Besides influencing the development of the specialised fields of knowledge, philosophy itself has been substantially enriched by progress in the concrete sciences. Every major scientific discovery is at the same time a step forward in the development of the philosophical world-view and methodology. Philosophical statements are based on sets of facts studied by the sciences and also on the system of propositions, principles, concepts and laws discovered through the generalisation of these facts. The achievements of the specialised sciences are summed up in philosophical statements. Euclidian geometry, the mechanics of Galileo and Newton, which have influenced men's minds for

centuries, were great achievements of human reason which played 'a significant role in forming world-views and methodology. And what an intellectual revolution was produced by Copernicus' heliocentric system, which changed the whole conception of the structure of the universe, or by Darwin's theory of evolution, which had a profound impact on biological science in general and our whole conception of man's place in nature. Mendeleyev's brilliant system of chemical elements deepened our understanding of the structure of matter. Einstein's theory of relativity changed our notion of the relationship between matter, motion, space and time. Quantum mechanics revealed hitherto unknown world of microparticles of matter. The theory of higher nervous activity evolved by Sechenov and Pavlov deepened our understanding of the material foundations of mental activity, of consciousness. Cybernetics revealed new horizons for an understanding of the phenomena of information interactions, the principles of control in living systems, in technological devices and in society, and also the principles of feedback, the man-machine system, and so on. And what philosophically significant pictures have been presented to us by genetics, which deepened our understanding of the relationship between the biological and the social in man, a relationship that has revealed the subtle mechanisms of heredity. 4. Main branches of philosophy Traditionally, there are five main branches of philosophy. They are:

Metaphysics, which deals with the fundamental questions of reality. Epistemology, which deals with our concept of knowledge, how we learn and what we can know. Logic, which studies the rules of valid reasoning and argumentation Ethics, or moral philosophy, which is concerned with human values and how individuals should act. Aesthetics or esthetics, which deals with the notion of beauty and the philosophy of art.

Other areas of philosophy These five major branches of philosophy do not, however, exist in isolation. There are many other topics in philosophy which deal with one or more of these branches. For example:

Philosophy of eductation Philosophy of language Philosophy of mind Philosophy of religion Philosophy of science Political philosophy

Other divisions There also exist other divisions in philosophy that focus on different philosophical traditions or schools, rather than the branches of philosophical study. For example, there is a general divide between western philosophy, which puts its origins in ancient Greece, and eastern philosophy. Contemporary western philosophy can further be divided into two main areas or branches: Analytic philosophy focuses on understanding and applying the logical, linguistic and scientific areas of philosophy, while so-called contintental philosophy has a greater value on subjective experience. This division is somewhat difficult to maintain, but is nevertheless still used in talk about philosophy. Meanwhile, eastern philosophy can be divided into the philosophi es of specific areas, such as Arab philosophy, Asian philosophy, Indian philosophy, Hindu philosophy, Chinese philosophy and so on. These areas have some overlap, of course. Some eastern traditions are rooted more firmly in religious ideas.

Divisions in philosophy focused on area are often confused or misnomers. There are prominent analytic philosophers who lived in continental Europe. There are philosophers in Asia who are working on branches of so-called western philosophy. The labels tend to reference early origins of traditions, rather than the current geography of the philosophical landscape.

More: The Big Bang Theory Epistemology is the area of philosophy that is concerned with knowledge. The main concerns of epistemology are the definition of knowledge, the sources of knowledge (innate ideas, experience, etc.), the process of acquiring knowledge and the limits of knowledge. Epistemology considers that knowledge can be obtained through experience and/or reason. Defining Knowledge A primary concern of epistemology is the very definition of knowledge itself. The traditional definition, since Plato, is that knowledge is justified true belief, but recent evaluations of the concept have shown supposed counterexamples to this definition. In order to fully explore the nature of knowledge and how we come to know things, the various conceptions of what knowledge is must first be understood. Definition of knowledge Sources of Knowledge The sources of knowledge must also be considered. Perception, reason, memory, testimony, introspection and innate ideas are all supposed sources of knowledge. Are they equally reliable? Sources of knowledge Scepticism There also seems to be reason to doubt each of these sources of knowledge. Could it be that all knowledge is fallible? If that is the case, do we really know anything? This is the central question to the problem of scepticism. Logic is the systematic process of valid reasoning through inference deriving conclusions from information that is known to be true. It is the area of philosophy that is concerned with the laws of valid reasoning.

Metaphysics is the area of philosophy which deals with the ultimate nature of reality. Metaphysics can emcompass large areas of philosophy, and most other philosophical schools turn back to it for basic definition. In that respect, the term metaphysics is a broad one, encompassing the philosophical ideas of cosmology and ontology. Metaphysics or First Philosophy The term metaphysics comes from Greek, meaning after the Physics. Although the term metaphysics generally makes sense in the way that it partially refers to things outisde of and beyond the natural sciences, this is not the origin of the term (as opposted to, say, meta-ethics, which refers to the nature of ethics itself). Instead, the term was used by later editors of Aristotle. Aristotle had written several books on matter and physics, and followed those volumes with work on ontology, and other broad subjects. These editors referred to them as the books that came after the books on physics or metaphysics. Aristotle himself refers to metaphysics as first philosophy. This term was also used by some later philosophers, such as Descartes, whose primary work on the subject of metaphysics is called Meditations on First Philosophy. Branches of Metaphysics The main branches of metaphysics are:

Ontology Cosmology

Ontology is a branch of metaphysics which studies being. Ontology is concerned with the ultimate nature of being, and of all reality in general. The process of studying ontology generally consists of describing being as well as determining how reality may be organized and categorized, and how different types of beings relate to one another. The term an ontology refers to the things counted as being in a metaphysical system. Generally, an ontology is a list of things that exist the furniture of the universe as it is sometimes put. Differences in ontology among philosophers generally deal with whether or not there are non-physical entities, and whether those things can be counted as being, existing, both or neither. Examples of candidates for ontological status as non-physical being include the mind, mathematical objects and universals. Cosmology is the area of metaphysics and science that studies the origin, evolution and nature of the universe. Cosmology is concerned with the contents and astrophysical phenomena of space and time, as well as their origin and progression. Although cosmology is most often concerned with physics and astronomy in the scientific world, it directly relates to a number of philosophical and theological views. The scientific theories related to . While ontology studies the nature of being and reality itself, cosmology is the study of those things that are in reality, and how they, and perhaps reality, came to be.

Some Topics in Logic The following are some of the topics in logic that are covered on this site.

Symbolic Logic Systems of Logic Terms in Logic Valid Argument Forms Logical Fallacies Set Theory

Ethics or moral philosophy is the branch of philosophy concerned with human conduct and its moral value. There are generally three branches of ethics:

Meta-ethics, which is concerned with questions about what whether or not morality exists, and what it consists of if it does; Normative ethics, which is concerned with how moral values should be developed; and Applied ethics, which deals with how moral values can be applied to specific cases.

Philosophers Philosophy Texts

Aesthetics is the area of philosophy which covers the concepts of beauty and art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder There are two basic standings on the nature of beauty: objective and subjective judgement. Subjective judgement of beauty suggests that beauty is not the same to everyone that which aesthetically pleases the observer is beautiful (to the observer). Alternatively, those partial to the objective description of beauty try to measaure it. They suggest that certain properties of an object create an inherent beauty such as symmetry and balance. Both Plato and Aristotle supported the objective judgement. Some, such as Immanuel Kant, took a middle path, holding that beauty is of a subjective nature, but there are qualities of beauty which have universal validity. Classical and Modern Aesthetics The classical concepts behind aesthetics saw beauty in nature, and that art should mimic those qualities found in nature. Aristotle's Poetics describes this idea, which he develops from Plato's teachings. Modern aesthetic ideas, including those of Kant, stress the creative and symbolic side of art that nature does not always have to guide art for it to be beautiful. Philosophy of language is the examination of human language, its origins and use, and how it relates to human thought and understanding, as well as reality. Philosophy of language has implications for logic, ethics and history, resulting from how language is used. Questions in philosophy of language include what it means for a word to make referencewhat is it for language to mean something, and how does that meaning correspond to reality? Another central question is whether or not a form of language is neccessary for thoughtdo people think in language, or do they think and then translate those thoughts into language? The tradition in philosophy of language is generally split between analytic philosopherswho are concerned with where language comes from, how it relates to the mind, and the nature of meaning itselfand continental philosopherswho focus on how the communication through language impacts social realities, and in some cases, metaphysical realities. Philosophy of mind is the branch of philosophy which deals with the mind and its properties, including conciousness, mental processes and events. Philosophy of mind often overlaps with psychology, cognitive science and neuroscience in general. Whereas psychology and the natural sciences are concerned with the specifics of mental states and brain functions, philosophy of mind is responsible for the larger questions of the nature of mind itself, its relationship to the physical world and where it belongs in a proper ontology. In recent times, the problem of philosophy of mind has become heavily focused on data from the natural sciences with respect to the brain. It is now an area researched mainly by analytic philosophers and, partly because of its strong realtionship with the sciences, may be considered an area of analytic philosophy. Concerns about the nature of mind with respect to ontology, such as the mindbody problem may also be considered part of metaphysics. Political philosophy is the area of philosophy concerned with government, law and social justice. It can generally be considered as a branch of ethics. 5. Philosophy of man is the study of man and its philosophy in life that is subdivided into many branches such us ethics, metaphysics natural philosophy etc.

PHILOSOPHY came from the Greek word PHILO meaning Love and SOPHIA meaning wisdom, French believe that PHILO means friendship rather than Love cause they believe that Love is a state of confusion, mallicious intentions mixed up w/ pure intention (attraction/physical aspect). Philosophy of man is highly disciplined endeavour aimed at the discovery of man in the manifestations of his spirit at its peaks as these are embodied in the celebrated texts of the great prophets, the great poets and the great philosophers which texts are to be re-lived anew in every age through an interpretative method as recommended by philosophers like Dithery and Iqbal. 6. Your philosophy is your worldview, which is a backdrop for all thought and a context for all knowledge. The decision about examining philosophy is between: 1) to make your philosophy explicit, or 2) to be a slave to the subconscious notions, principles, and other people's philosophies picked up throughout life. To ignore the topic of philosophy is to be doomed to the second choice. Examining your philosophy will allow you to discover and root out all errors and contradictions and allow you to more easily acquire knowledge and to think in concepts rather than concretes. A philosophic system is an integrated view of existence. As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation -- or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind's wings should have grown. Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It This site explores the importance of philosophy and presents many of the important concepts and questions that must be considered. It will tell you how to base your philosophy on reason rather than randomness, which will lead to clarity, certainty, success, and happiness. The alternative to an explicit rational philosophy is an indifference that leads to confusion and often failure. Philosophy is not some arcane field important only to old men in ivory towers. It explicitly asks and answers fundamental, inescapable questions such as "How can I know something?" and "What should I do?" Without some answer to these questions, no knowledge or action is possible. Again, the only choice is to explicitly examine the underlying assumptions involved or to be at the mercy of the random flotsam picked up throughout life.

You can start by learning the major ideas and how they're related by looking at the Concept Chart and clicking on the various concepts, which index into the more complete set of information contained in the Five Branches of Philosophy section.