What is Philosophy?


The word “philosophy” comes from the Ancient Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia).Phileo meaning “to love” or “to befriend” and , Sophia meaning “wisdom.” Thus, “philosophy” means “the love of wisdom”. The introduction of the terms “philosopher” and “philosophy” has been ascribed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.

Philosophy provides the foundations upon which all belief structures and fields of knowledge are built. It is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument.

Philosophy spans the nature of the universe, the mind, and the body; the relationships between all three, and between people. Philosophy is a field of inquiry – the pursuit of wisdom; the predecessor and complement of science, developing the issues which underly science and think about those questions which are beyond the scope of science.

It is responsible for the definitions of, and the approaches used to develop the theories of, such diverse fields as religion, language, science, law, psychology, mathematics, and politics. It also examines and develops its own structure and procedures, and when it does so is called metaphilosophy: the philosophy of philosophy.
What is philosophy’, is itself a philosophical question.

Philosophy is the acquisition of knowledge.

“the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics”
-Webster’s dictionary
Philosophy only is the true one which reproduces most faithfully the statements of nature, and is written down, as it were, from nature’s dictation, so that it is nothing but a copy and a reflection of nature, and adds nothing of its own, but is merely a repetition and echo. – Francis Bacon

Philosophy, being nothing but the study of wisdom and truth.
-George Berkeley

An art, which has an aim to achieve the beauty, is called a philosophy or in the absolute sense it is named wisdom.

Philosophy is an interpretation of the world in order to change it.
-Karl Marx

To repeat abstractly, universally, and distinctly in concepts the whole inner nature of the world, and thus to deposit it as a reflected image in permanent concepts always ready for the faculty of reason, this and nothing else is philosophy.
-Arthur Schopenhauer

The object of philosophy is the logical clarification of thoughts. Philosophy is not a theory but an activity. A philosophical work consists essentially of elucidations. The result of philosophy is not a number of ‘philosophical propositions’, but to make propositions clear. Philosophy should make clear and delimit sharply the thoughts which otherwise are, as it were, opaque and blurred.
-Ludwig Wittgenstein

The Branches of Philosophy

• Aesthetics- Aesthetics deals with beauty, art, enjoyment, sensory-emotional values, perception, and matters of taste and sentiment.

• Epistemology- Epistemology is concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge,[11] such as the relationships between truth, belief, and theories of justification.
• Ethics- Ethics, or “moral philosophy,” is concerned primarily with the question of the best way to live, and secondarily, concerning the question of whether this question can be answered.

• Logic- Logic is the study of the principles of correct reasoning. Arguments use either deductive reasoning or inductive reasoning.

• Metaphysics- Metaphysics is the study of the most general features of reality, such as existence, time, the relationship between mind and body, objects and their properties, wholes and their parts, events, processes, and causation. Traditional branches of metaphysics include cosmology, the study of the world in its entirety, and ontology, the study of being.
• Political philosophy- Political philosophy is the study of government and the relationship of individuals (or families and clans) to communities including the state. It includes questions about justice, law, property, and the rights and obligations of the citizen.
• Social philosophy- Social philosophy is the study of questions about social behavior and interpretations of society and social institutions in terms of ethical values rather than empirical relations.

3 thoughts on “What is Philosophy?

  1. cergat

    Perhaps you should include also Deleuze and Guatarri’s view on philosophy, found in their book of the same name, “What is Philosophy.” Especially, the part where the difference between the sage (the one who possesses wisdom, and the philosopher, the one who does not possess it, but is its friend.



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