Philosophy is an abstract term many know and use today. Using philosophy, people across centuries have developed humanitarian and social studies, of which we now find major benefits. The problem...
Philosophy is the study of fundamental questions of life and general existence. It takes an analytical look at things which are often difficult, if not impossible, to study scientifically. For example, some popular questions you’ll find in these philosophy articles and other sources include: Do humans have free will? Does a God exist? What is the best moral and/or political system? Anything about knowledge, reason, values, the mind, and existence are fair game in this field. In this category, you’ll find philosophy articles exploring the meaning of philosophy, popular topics, and ways to get involved in the field.
Philosophy Throughout Time and Place
All cultures and societies since the evolution of advanced intelligence in humans have participated in some form of philosophy. The information gathered over time has led to our current definitions of it. You can find more details about this history and final consensus in philosophy articles in this category, but the following is a basic rundown:
Most of them have pondered similar questions, with some differences between societies and between time periods. The main historical progressions of the field occurred based on geographical location based on continents. That is, Western philosophy originates from Europe and has evolved into a primarily secular and rational structure. Middle Eastern philosophy, on the other hand, comes from the fertile Crescent, Iran and Arabia, where it gained a distinct focus on Wisdom literature and ethics with strong influences from Islamic culture.
The Indian subcontinent has its own branch of philosophical traditions that started in ancient times and are intertwined with Jainism and Buddhism. East Asian philosophy comes from China and neighboring areas, starting in the Western Zhou Dynasty. This is where we get Confucianism, Daoism, and theories that remain popular today such as Yin and yang. In the modern era, East Asian philosophy has started incorporating ideas from Western philosophy.
Africa brings its own philosophy that focuses on Ethnophilosophy, or the study of questioning and defining what it means to be African. Western theories such as Marxism and African-American literature have also influenced Modern African philosophy. Moving over to the Americas, the Indigenous people from these two continents had their own philosophy for many years that remained isolated from the rest of the world. The different Indigenous people had a variety of philosophical views, including advanced topics such as metaphysics, values, epistemology, and more.
Branches of Philosophy
The following categories help organize all of the topics in philosophy to facilitate the approach of studying related topics. Within each branch are many subcategories to explore. As you’ll see, it’s an extensive topic. But not to fret; The philosophy articles here can help guide you through the various schools of thought in the field at a deeper level.
History of Western Philosophy
Because of the spread of Western civilization and culture through globalization, Western Philosophy is one of the more prominent areas today. Looking at its history is important because the changes in philosophical thought are arguably more important than “progress“. Some argue that progress isn’t actually possible due to the nature of the questions in the field. Rather, there is just a changing perspective of how we look at and think about them over time.
Metaphysics and Epistemology
Metaphysics concerns itself with features of the real world such as time, objects, and existence. It relates to and even includes other scientific fields such as cosmology, but analyses philosophical questions relating to the science. For example, one point of focus is the debate between realism and idealism. Realism maintains that everything exists regardless of mental perception, whereas idealism says that reality is essentially immaterial save for mentally constructed realities. Instead of studying physical things, epistemology studies the knowledge we hold. This includes how we find and utilize knowledge with memory, reason, perception, and intuition. Main themes in epistemology are types of knowledge, and the philosophy of language, the mind, and human nature.
This branch looks less at divisions of philosophy into subjects for discussion, and more at the schools of thought based on certain philosophical works, ideas, authors, and time periods. This can include the philosophy of a certain area, such as Western or Eastern philosophy. Or, the schools of thought that branch from certain people, such as Marxism or Aristotelianism. You can check out some of the most important figures in the philosophy articles here.
Science, Logic, and Mathematics
In more scientific fields, philosophy is often considered a separate topic entirely even if it centers around the same ideas. For example, in mathematics, philosophical study includes the pondering of numbers as symbols that represent meaning and reasoning, rather than actually calculating and resolving mathematical problems.
This branch of philosophy addresses subjective topics such as ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy and related areas. Ethics compares good and bad in terms of values and actions. It tries to identify the best way to live based on moral standards, but also contemplates whether those standards even exist. Aesthetics looks at physical appearances in art, culture and beauty, analyzing what is considered beautiful or otherwise, and why. Political philosophy looks at governments and how they relate to the individual and smaller communities.
Careers in Philosophy
Being a “philosopher” isn’t exactly a profession so much as a state of being. But if you want to apply philosophical thought to a career, the best way to do so is with a career in something such as academia, research, or political science. Philosophy provides a foundation that is also applicable to almost any field in that it encourages thinking outside the box. You can use the philosophy articles here to see this important relationship. You can also read about degrees in the subject, where to get them, and how to apply them to a career.
Philosophy covers a wide range of topics and academic disciplines, from Pre-Socratic thought to modern religion. The study of philosophy can be formal, like taking courses as part of a...
To understand the meaning of philosophy, one must look to human nature for instruction. Wherever there is a curious mind, philosophy is present. If you want to know why something...
Philosophy is a uniquely human activity. Everyone uses philosophy, so technically, everyone is a philosopher, though they won't make it on this list. However, certain figures throughout history have contributed...
There are dozens, if not hundreds of different philosophical schools of thought in existence today. As a subject matter, philosophy covers such a wide range of material that it necessitates...
Philosophy, in a sense, refers to the questioning of all things. It is an area of study concerned with the most fundamental topics: existence, knowledge, morality, the nature of substance,...