Skip Nav


Other Philosophy Terms

❶See philosophy defined for English-language learners. The groupings also make philosophy easier for students to approach.

PHILOSOPHY Defined for English Language Learners

A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names
Related Words

Furthermore, these philosophical inquiries sometimes overlap with each other and with other inquiries such as science, religion or mathematics. Metaphysics is the study of the most general features of reality , such as existence , time , objects and their properties , wholes and their parts, events, processes and causation and the relationship between mind and body. Metaphysics includes cosmology , the study of the world in its entirety and ontology , the study of being.

A major point of debate is between realism , which holds that there are entities that exist independently of their mental perception and idealism , which holds that reality is mentally constructed or otherwise immaterial. Metaphysics deals with the topic of identity. Essence is the set of attributes that make an object what it fundamentally is and without which it loses its identity while accident is a property that the object has, without which the object can still retain its identity.

Particulars are objects that are said to exist in space and time, as opposed to abstract objects , such as numbers, and universals , which are properties held by multiple particulars, such as redness or a gender.

The type of existence, if any, of universals and abstract objects is an issue of debate. Epistemology is the study of knowledge Greek episteme. Is knowledge justified true belief? Are any beliefs justified? Putative knowledge includes propositional knowledge knowledge that something is the case , know-how knowledge of how to do something and acquaintance familiarity with someone or something.

Epistemologists examine these and ask whether knowledge is really possible. Skepticism is the position which doubts claims to knowledge. The regress argument , a fundamental problem in epistemology, occurs when, in order to completely prove any statement, its justification itself needs to be supported by another justification.

This chain can go on forever, called infinitism , it can eventually rely on basic beliefs that are left unproven, called foundationalism , or it can go in a circle so that a statement is included in its own chain of justification, called coherentism. Rationalism is the emphasis on reasoning as a source of knowledge. It is associated with a priori knowledge , which is independent of experience, such as math and logical deduction.

Empiricism is the emphasis on observational evidence via sensory experience as the source of knowledge. Value theory or axiology is the major branch of philosophy that addresses topics such as goodness, beauty and justice.

Value theory includes ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, feminist philosophy, philosophy of law and more. Ethics, or "moral philosophy", studies and considers what is good and bad conduct , right and wrong values , and good and evil. Its primary investigations include how to live a good life and identifying standards of morality.

It also includes meta-investigations about whether a best way to live or related standards exists. The main branches of ethics are normative ethics , meta-ethics and applied ethics. A major area of debate involves consequentialism , in which actions are judged by the potential results of the act, such as to maximize happiness, called utilitarianism , and deontology , in which actions are judged by how they adhere to principles, irrespective of negative ends.

Aesthetics is the "critical reflection on art, culture and nature. An example from art theory is to discern the set of principles underlying the work of a particular artist or artistic movement such as the Cubist aesthetic. 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. Politics and ethics are traditionally linked subjects, as both discuss the question of how people should live together. Many academic disciplines generated philosophical inquiry. The relationship between "X" and the "philosophy of X" is debated. Richard Feynman argued that the philosophy of a topic is irrelevant to its primary study, saying that " philosophy of science is as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.

The topics of philosophy of science are numbers , symbols and the formal methods of reasoning as employed in the social sciences and natural sciences. Logic is the study of reasoning and argument. An argument is " a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. Deductive reasoning is when, given certain premises, conclusions are unavoidably implied.

Because sound reasoning is an essential element of all sciences, [70] social sciences and humanities disciplines, logic became a formal science. Sub-fields include mathematical logic , philosophical logic , Modal logic , computational logic and non-classical logics. A major question in the philosophy of mathematics is whether mathematical entities are objective and discovered, called mathematical realism, or invented, called mathematical antirealism.

This branch explores the foundations, methods, history, implications and purpose of science. Many of its sub-divisions correspond to a specific branch of science. For example, philosophy of biology deals specifically with the metaphysical, epistemological and ethical issues in the biomedical and life sciences.

The philosophy of mathematics studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations and implications of mathematics. Some philosophers specialize in one or more historical periods. The history of philosophy study of a specific period, individual or school is related to but not the same as the philosophy of history the theoretical aspect of history, which deals with questions such as the nature of historical evidence and the possibility of objectivity.

Hegel's Lectures on the Philosophy of History influenced many philosophers to interpret truth in light of history, a view called historicism. Philosophy of religion deals with questions that involve religion and religious ideas from a philosophically neutral perspective as opposed to theology which begins from religious convinctions. Issues include the existence of God , the relationship between reason and faith , questions of religious epistemology , the relationship between religion and science , how to interpret religious experiences , questions about the possibility of an afterlife , the problem of religious language and the existence of souls and responses to religious pluralism and diversity.

Some philosophers specialize in one or more of the major philosophical schools, such as Continental philosophy , Analytical philosophy , Thomism , Asian philosophy or African philosophy. The ideas conceived by a society have profound repercussions on what actions the society performs. Weaver argued that ideas have consequences. Philosophy yields applications such as those in ethics — applied ethics in particular — and political philosophy. Progressive education as championed by Dewey had a profound impact on 20th-century US educational practices.

Descendants of this movement include efforts in philosophy for children , which are part of philosophy education. Clausewitz 's political philosophy of war has had a profound effect on statecraft , international politics and military strategy in the 20th century, especially around World War II. Logic is important in mathematics , linguistics , psychology , computer science and computer engineering.

Other important applications can be found in epistemology , which aid in understanding the requisites for knowledge, sound evidence and justified belief important in law , economics , decision theory and a number of other disciplines. The philosophy of science discusses the underpinnings of the scientific method and has affected the nature of scientific investigation and argumentation.

Philosophy thus has fundamental implications for science as a whole. For example, the strictly empirical approach of B. Skinner 's behaviorism affected for decades the approach of the American psychological establishment. Deep ecology and animal rights examine the moral situation of humans as occupants of a world that has non-human occupants to consider also. Aesthetics can help to interpret discussions of music , literature , the plastic arts and the whole artistic dimension of life.

In general, the various philosophies strive to provide practical activities with a deeper understanding of the theoretical or conceptual underpinnings of their fields. Some of those who study philosophy become professional philosophers, typically by working as professors who teach, research and write in academic institutions. Recent efforts to avail the general public to the work and relevance of philosophers include the million-dollar Berggruen Prize , first awarded to Charles Taylor in Germany was the first country to professionalize philosophy.

The doctorate of philosophy PhD developed in Germany as the terminal Teacher's credential in the mid 17th century. In the United States, the professionalisation grew out of reforms to the American higher-education system largely based on the German model. Within the last century, philosophy has increasingly become a professional discipline practiced within universities, like other academic disciplines. Accordingly, it has become less general and more specialized.

In the view of one prominent recent historian: The number of philosophers has exploded, the volume of publication has swelled, and the subfields of serious philosophical investigation have multiplied. Not only is the broad field of philosophy today far too vast to be embraced by one mind, something similar is true even of many highly specialized subfields.

The end result of professionalization for philosophy has meant that work being done in the field is now almost exclusively done by university professors holding a doctorate in the field publishing in highly technical, peer-reviewed journals.

While it remains common among the population at large for a person to have a set of religious, political or philosophical views that they consider their "philosophy", these views are rarely informed by or connected to the work being done in professional philosophy today.

Furthermore, unlike many of the sciences for which there has come to be a healthy industry of books, magazines, and television shows meant to popularize science and communicate the technical results of a scientific field to the general populace, works by professional philosophers directed at an audience outside the profession remain rare.

Philosopher Michael Sandel 's book Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? Both works became ' New York Times best sellers. Many inquiries outside of academia are philosophical in the broad sense. Novelists, playwrights, filmmakers, and musicians, as well as scientists and others engage in recognizably philosophical activity. Ayn Rand is the foremost example of an intellectual working contemporaneously with contemporary philosophy but whose contributions were not made within the professional discipline of "philosophy": As a result, most of the serious philosophical work on Rand has appeared in non-academic, non-peer-reviewed journals, or in books, and the bibliography reflects this fact.

Also working from outside the profession were philosophers such as Gerd B. Achenbach Die reine und die praktische Philosophie.

Pierre Hadot is famous for his analysis on the conception of philosophy during Greco-Roman antiquity. Hadot identified and analyzed the "spiritual exercises" used in ancient philosophy influencing Michel Foucault's interest in such practices in the second and third volumes of his History of Sexuality. By "spiritual exercises" Hadot means "practices What characterizes Socratic therapy above all is the importance given to living contact between human beings.

Hadot's recurring theme is that philosophy in antiquity was characterized by a series of spiritual exercises intended to transform the perception, and therefore the being, of those who practice it; that philosophy is best pursued in real conversation and not through written texts and lectures; and that philosophy, as it is taught in universities today, is for the most part a distortion of its original, therapeutic impulse.

He brings these concerns together in What Is Ancient Philosophy? Although men have generally dominated philosophical discourse, women have engaged in philosophy throughout history. Women philosophers have contributed since ancient times—notably Hipparchia of Maroneia active c. More were accepted during the ancient , medieval and modern eras, but no women philosophers became part the Western canon until the 20th and 21st century, when some sources indicate that Susanne Langer , Hannah Arendt and Simone de Beauvoir entered the canon.

In the early s, some colleges and universities in the UK and US began admitting women , producing more female academics. Department of Education reports from the s indicate that few women ended up in philosophy, and that philosophy is one of the least gender-proportionate fields in the humanities. In the early s, the Canadian Philosophical Association noted a gender imbalance and gender bias in the academic field of philosophy.

While other areas of the humanities are at or near gender parity, philosophy is actually more overwhelmingly male than even mathematics. In , the Open Court Publishing Company began publishing a series of books on philosophy and popular culture. Each book consists of essays written by philosophers for general readers. The books "explore the meanings, concepts and puzzles within television shows, movies, music and other icons of popular culture" [91] analyzing topics such as the TV shows Seinfeld and The Simpsons , The Matrix and Star Wars movies and related media and new technological developments such as the iPod and Facebook.

Their most recent publication as of [update] is titled Louis C. The Matrix makes numerous references to philosophy including Buddhism , Vedanta , Advaita Hinduism , Christianity , Messianism , Judaism , Gnosticism , existentialism and nihilism.

The film's premise resembles Plato 's Allegory of the cave , Descartes's evil demon , Kant 's reflections on the Phenomenon versus the Ding an sich , Zhuangzi 's " Zhuangzi dreamed he was a butterfly ", Marxist social theory and the brain in a vat thought experiment. Many references to Baudrillard 's Simulacra and Simulation appear in the film, although Baudrillard himself considered this a misrepresentation.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Philosophy disambiguation. Islamic philosophy and Middle Eastern philosophy. Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist ethics. Chinese philosophy , Korean philosophy , and Japanese philosophy. Metaphilosophy and History of ethics. Philosophical progress and List of years in philosophy.

Retrieved 22 August A Beginner's Guide Blackwell Publishing, , p. These problems are concerned with the nature of existence, knowledge, morality, reason and human purpose. Grayling , Philosophy 1: How to Think About the Great Ideas: From the Great Books of Western Civilization. Each of the three elements in this list has a non-philosophical counterpart, from which it is distinguished by its explicitly rational and critical way of proceeding and by its systematic nature.

Everyone has some general conception of the nature of the world in which they live and of their place in it. Metaphysics replaces the unargued assumptions embodied in such a conception with a rational and organized body of beliefs about the world as a whole.

Everyone has occasion to doubt and question beliefs, their own or those of others, with more or less success and without any theory of what they are doing. Epistemology seeks by argument to make explicit the rules of correct belief formation. Everyone governs their conduct by directing it to desired or valued ends. Ethics, or moral philosophy, in its most inclusive sense, seeks to articulate, in rationally systematic form, the rules or principles involved.

The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism 1st ed. An Introduction to Philosophical Issues and Achievements 2nd ed. Retrieved 25 April Retrieved 19 March The English word "philosophy" is first attested to c. The Scientific Revolution 1st ed. University Of Chicago Press. Beauty Spring ed. Retrieved 27 April Against Method 4th ed. Political Philosophy Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy". Retrieved 14 May An Unofficial "Daily Nous" Affiliate".

Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals 2nd ed. Ancient Greek philosophy was divided into three branches of knowledge: The Limits of Inquiry 1st ed. Why isn't there more progress in philosophy? The Retrieval of Ethics 1st ed. Lectures on the History of Philosophy: Retrieved 22 April Scott Fitzgerald; in political theory from Plato to Hobbes and Locke […] The texts or authors who fill in the blanks from A to Z in these, and other intellectual traditions, constitute the canon, and there is an accompanying narrative that links text to text or author to author, a 'history of' American literature, economic thought, and so on.

The most conventional of such histories are embodied in university courses and the textbooks that accompany them.

This essay examines one such course, the History of Modern Philosophy, and the texts that helped to create it. If a philosopher in the United States were asked why the seven people in my title comprise Modern Philosophy, the initial response would be: The Cambridge Illustrated History of China. Janz, Philosophy in an African Place , pp. Retrieved December 12, Religion and Science Spring ed. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary ed.

Archived from the original on 15 October Retrieved 13 May Retrieved 21 August Retrieved 24 July Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Theology; Relationship of theology to the history of religions and philosophy; Relationship to philosophy.

The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, Archived from the original on University of Illinois Press, Archived from the original on 9 June Problems with the Discrimination Hypothesis".

National Association of Scholars. Retrieved 16 December Archived from the original on 21 October Edwards, Paul , ed. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Critique of Pure Reason. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford University Press, Incorporated. The Cambridge History of Philosophy — Nadler, Steven 15 April A Companion to Early Modern Philosophy.

Rutherford, Donald 12 October The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy. Kenny, Anthony 16 August A New History of Western Philosophy. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Philosophy the particular doctrines relating to these issues of some specific individual or school: Philosophy the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a discipline: See also argumentation ; cosmology ; criticism ; ethics ; ideas ; knowledge ; logic ; theology ; thinking ; truth and error ; understanding ; values ; wisdom.

See also architecture ; art. Also called atomic theory. Also called philosophical existentialism. Fichte, German philosopher and social thinker, a precursor of socialism. Also called Hegelian triad. See also Hegelian dialectic. Also called natural realism, commonsense realism.

See also ghosts ; perception. Also called logical positivism. Peirce, especially his work in logic and problems in language. Ancient and Medieval Philosophy. See also ethics ; literary style ; media. Thomas Aquinas and his followers. Switch to new thesaurus. Cabalism , Kabbalism - the doctrines of the Kabbalah. Aristotelianism , peripateticism - philosophy the philosophy of Aristotle that deals with logic and metaphysics and ethics and poetics and politics and natural science; "Aristotelianism profoundly influenced Western thought".

Platonism , realism - philosophy the philosophical doctrine that abstract concepts exist independent of their names. Stoicism - philosophy the philosophical system of the Stoics following the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Zeno.

Navigation menu

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

I. Definition Deontology is a school of moral philosophy in which ethical behavior equals following rules. Deontologists believe that the goal of moral philosophy should be to figure out the “rules” for living a moral life and that once people know those rules they should follow them.

Privacy FAQs

Philosophy Index features an overview of philosophy through the works of great philosophers from throughout time. Glossary of Philosophy Terms The following is a glossary of philosophical terms and topics discussed here on Philosophy Index.

About Our Ads

Definition of philosophy for English Language Learners.: the study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.: a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.: a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live. a branch of philosophy concerned with the foundations of ethics and especially with the definition of ethical terms and the nature of moral discourse. metagnosticism the doctrine that knowledge of the Absolute is within human reach, but through a higher religious .

Cookie Info

term coined by Olufemi Taiwo for a current in the social philosophy of Karl Marx that can be interpreted as one of Natural Law. Taiwo considered it the manifestation of Natural Law in a . The noun philosophy means the study of proper behavior, and the search for wisdom. The original meaning of the word philosophy comes from the Greek roots philo- meaning "love" and .