About Philosophy and Why It Is Important

Direct Knowlege Contributor Taylor Bauer
  • By Taylor Bauer, Technical Writer & Digital Marketing Expert
  • Taylor is a writer and SEO manager with a B.S. in Political Communication from Illinois State University. He also received his M.S. in Communications from Illinois State. His background comes from journalism, working at an NPR member station for three years before transitioning to blogging and search engine marketing. He lives in Illinois with his wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards.

About Philosophy

Everything you and I know about knowledge and learning comes from one significant branch of academia. Philosophy is one of the oldest forms of intelligence and education and still has a stronghold on society today. There are so many elements to the subject that apply to the other types of knowledge, making it useful to learn and study. The origin of philosophy and its branches provide a valuable study of consciousness. Studying philosophy quotes and its impact on life is a useful way to increase your knowledge.  

Philosophy is the study of human knowledge about life, society, and the universe. The subject includes everything from how humans view government and morality to how they structure communities. Philosophy is an ancient study that strives to build an understanding of thought and being.

If you study philosophy, then I can’t necessarily say you consider one particular thing. Philosophy includes so many different ethical and moral topics and focuses. To start, let’s talk about the study of philosophy and varied ways it transformed through the centuries.

The Study of Philosophy

Philosophy is the study of fundamental questions of life and general existence. It takes an analytical look at things which are often complicated, if not impossible, to study scientifically. For example, some popular questions you’ll find in the philosophy of life articles and other sources cover significant issues. Do humans have free will? Does God exist? What is the best moral or political system? Anything about knowledge, reason, values, the mind, and existence are fair game in this field. In this category, you’ll find branches of philosophy articles exploring the quotes and meaning of the subject. You can also learn about the origin of philosophy and its impact on life through its various branches.

Some form of philosophy

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. The following is a basic rundown of philosophy and its studies.

Most of them have pondered similar questions, with some differences between societies and between periods. The main historical progressions of the field occurred based on geographical location based on continents. That is, Western philosophy quotes and studies 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.

Eastern Philosophy

The Indian subcontinent has its branches of philosophical traditions that started in ancient times and intertwine with Jainism and Buddhism. East Asian philosophy comes from China and neighboring areas, beginning in the Western Zhou Dynasty. Old times are 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 philosophy of life that focuses on Ethno-philosophy, 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 philosophy for many years that remained isolated from the rest of the world. The different Indigenous people had a variety of philosophical quotes and views. Some of these include advanced topics such as metaphysics, values, epistemology, and more.

Branches of Philosophy

The following categories help organize all of the topics in the origin of philosophy to facilitate the approach of studying related topics. Within each theme are many subcategories to explore. As you’ll see, it’s a great 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 and Origin of Philosophy in the West

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 possible due to the nature of the questions in the field. Instead, 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 the latter says that reality is essentially immaterial save for mentally constructed realities. Instead of studying physical things, epistemology examines the knowledge we hold. The examination includes how we find and utilize knowledge with memory, reason, perception, and intuition. The main themes in epistemology are types of experience, and the philosophy of life, language, the mind, and human nature.

Philosophical Traditions

This branch looks less at divisions of philosophy quotes and studies into subjects for discussion, and more at the schools of thought based on specific philosophical works, ideas, authors, and periods. Traditions can include the philosophy of a particular 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 influential figures in the philosophy articles here.

Science, Logic, and Mathematics

In more scientific fields, philosophy exists as a separate topic entirely, even if it centers around the same ideas. For example, in mathematics, the philosophical study includes the pondering of numbers as symbols that represent meaning and reasoning, rather than calculating and resolving mathematical problems.

Philosophy Books World globe on book education school Concept

Value Theory

This critical part of the branches of philosophy addresses subjective topics such as ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, and related areas. Ethics compare good and evil 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.

Love of wisdom

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 job 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 quotes and articles here to see this critical relationship. You can also study degrees in the subject, where to get them, and how to apply them to a career.

The term and origin of philosophy come from the Greek word meaning “love of wisdom,” and that’s what it is. The field gives us wisdom on many subjects that can’t otherwise explore through methods like science. Instead, they require a rational perspective of deep thought and logical reasoning to understand abstract ideas. In this category of Direct Knowledge, you can read philosophy quotes or books about the field’s past, new wisdom of the present, and potential future developments.

The Discipline

Philosophy study and quotes as a discipline look at rather abstract concepts such as logic, metaphysics, ethics, linguistics, and aesthetics. Basic questions about existence intrigue philosophers, and push them to try to resolve mysteries of life. Some of the classic questions include, “Is it possible to know and prove anything?”; “Do we have free will?”; and “Is beauty subjective or objective?” In the philosophy books here, you can explore the histories of questions such as these, as well as discover other curious aspects of the field.

Some of the topics in the branches of philosophy are often hard to study with formal and natural sciences. Thus, they become questions philosophers ask themselves and “study” through their thoughts, observations, and logic. Therefore it makes sense that some origin of philosophy books such as Metaethics from a First-Person Standpoint. This book is written from personal perspectives and in original formats. This book uses a fresh first-person perspective to introduce students to the complex world of moral philosophy. The book includes relative concepts like “right” and “wrong” as well as objective moral knowledge. It also keeps the reader engaged by presenting thinking exercises that build off the information provided.

An even more fundamental topic to master before looking into something like metaethics is logic. The philosophy book Fundamental Methods of Logic is a great start for students of philosophy studies and quotes. It can also help with debate and general critical reasoning, helping you defend arguments.

Some Modern Changes

Many of the subjects that the origin of philosophy looked at thousands of years ago are still the focal points of arguments today. Although a lot of the field is thinking of debating topics, modern advancements have changed some methods in the philosophy of life. New findings today in sciences like psychology and neuroscience have shed light on specific issues in a more scientific way. These findings can make philosophy change its views and methods. Ultimately helping it progress and find more concrete answers (to some issues, anyway).

Consciousness

For example, the study of knowledge looks at how people are aware of themselves and their surroundings and experiences. This awareness comes from the mind and through physical senses. Some philosophers argue that there is no way to prove consciousness through science, making it, in essence, an illusion without meaning. But, science increases its understanding through breakthroughs in neuroscience and biology. The knowledge might make it worth taking a look at the biology and other science categories to try to find relationships that tie back to topics in the philosophy books here.

Free Will

The same argument sometimes occurs with free will, but these positions are not the most common. Most agree that we just don’t yet understand free will and consciousness, but that they do exist. And some scientists, particularly in the field of physics, argue that free will is an illusion because everything determines the physical reactions of atoms and other particles. It seems we just need to continue pursuing the topic until we eventually uncover the truth. Although some philosophers also argue that “progress” through uncovering new facts is not the right way to judge the origin of philosophy. They say that there is no single direction for improvement instead of a general, more in-depth analysis of the subjects through time.

These differences in philosophical thought are part of what makes the field so exciting and challenging. You can find more information in the branches of philosophy books here on the varied positions and learn about the main subjects within the field. Metaphysics, epistemology, value theory, logic, math, and history of the field itself are all areas in the philosophy of life with sufficient information on which to read up.

Philosophy FAQ

The topic of philosophy is exciting and fun to study. Here are some common questions to get you started on the subject of philosophy.

What is a simple definition of philosophy?

The simple definition of philosophy is the study of thinking. The most basic explanation of this subject refers to the world, society, and the entire universe. The simple answer to philosophy is broad and fits into many different basics and branches of the study. The goal of philosophy is to keep things simple by breaking concepts down to the essential parts of human thought.

What are the basics of philosophy?

The basics of philosophy include the study of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. Plato introduced these basics of philosophy after learning the subject from Socrates. The basics of philosophy include all aspects of developing knowledge and reason. By studying the core elements of the matter, one can explore the depths of human understanding and thinking.

What are the three common meanings of philosophy?

The three common meanings of philosophy are knowledge, right and wrong, and value. These common meanings can explore reason and discourse. By finding the root of these common meanings, philosophers grow our knowledge about knowledge or epistemology—all three explanations of the subject help to determine what goals one has when studying topics on philosophy.

What are the branches of philosophy?

The branches of philosophy begin with epistemology, logic, and ethics. Other areas include metaphysics, aesthetics, and politics. All sorts of topics of this study contribute to the study’s body of work and resources. Philosophy exists to solve several problems, and branches help organize those goals.