What Is Philosophy? Like some branches of psychology and many wisdom traditions, key philosophical frameworks attempt to make sense of human existence and experience and to connect those. Systematic philosophy attempts to provide a framework in reason that can explain all questions and problems related to human life. Examples of systematic philosophers include Plato, [1] Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, and Hegel.

The term was probably coined by Pythagoras c. Philosophical methods include questioningcritical discussionrational argumentand systematic presentation. Historically, philosophy encompassed all bodies of knowledge and a practitioner was known as a philosopher.

In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize. Today, major subfields of academic philosophy include metaphysicswhich is concerned with the fundamental nature of existence and reality ; epistemologywhich studies the nature of knowledge and belief ; ethicswhich is concerned with moral value ; and logicwhich studies the rules of inference that allow one to derive conclusions from true premises.

Initially the term referred to any body of knowledge. In Against the Logicians the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus detailed the variety of ways in which the ancient Greek philosophers had divided philosophy, noting that this three-part division was agreed to by Plato, Aristotle, Xenocrates, and the Stoics.

This division is not obsolete, but has changed: natural philosophy has split into the various natural sciences, especially physics, astronomychemistrybiologyand cosmology ; moral philosophy has birthed the social scienceswhile still including value theory e.

Many philosophical debates that began in ancient times are still debated today. McGinn claims that no philosophical progress has occurred during that interval. In one general sense, philosophy is associated with wisdomintellectual culture, and a search for knowledge.

In this sense, all cultures and literate societies ask philosophical questions, such as "how are we to live" and "what is the nature of reality.

Western philosophy is the philosophical tradition of the Western worlddating back to pre-Socratic thinkers who were active in 6th-century Greece BCEsuch as Thales c. Western philosophy can be divided into three eras: [28]. While our knowledge of the ancient era begins with Thales in the 6th century BCE, little is known about the philosophers who came before Socrates commonly known as the pre-Socratics. The ancient era was dominated by Greek philosophical schools.

Most notable among the schools influenced by Socrates' teachings were Platowho founded the Platonic Academyand his student Aristotle[32] who founded the What does philosophy attempt to do school.

Other ancient philosophical traditions influenced how to get the perfect jeans Socrates included CynicismCyrenaicismStoicismand Academic Skepticism. Two other traditions were influenced by Socrates' contemporary, Democritus : Pyrrhonism and Epicureanism. Important topics covered by the Greeks included metaphysics with competing theories such as atomism and monismcosmologythe nature of the well-lived life eudaimoniathe possibility of knowledgeand the nature of reason logos.

With the rise of the Roman empireGreek philosophy was increasingly discussed in Latin by Romans such as Cicero and Seneca see Roman philosophy. Medieval philosophy 5th16th centuries is the period following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and was dominated by the rise of Christianity and hence reflects Judeo-Christian theological concerns as well as retaining a continuity with Greco-Roman thought.

Problems such as the existence and nature of Godthe nature of faith and reason, metaphysics, the problem of evil were discussed in this period. Some key Medieval thinkers include St. Philosophy for these thinkers was viewed as an aid to Theology ancilla theologiae and hence they sought to align their philosophy with their interpretation of sacred scripture.

This period saw the development of Scholasticisma text critical method developed in medieval universities based on close reading and disputation on key texts. The Renaissance period saw increasing focus on classic Greco-Roman thought and on a robust Humanism. The 20th century saw the split between analytic philosophy and continental philosophyas well as philosophical trends such as phenomenologyexistentialismlogical positivismpragmatism and the linguistic turn see Contemporary philosophy.

The regions of the Fertile CrescentIran and Arabia are home to the earliest how to make a small hovercraft philosophical wisdom literature and is today mostly dominated by Islamic culture.

Early Wisdom Literature from the Fertile Crescent was a genre which sought to instruct people on ethical action, practical living and virtue through stories and proverbs. In Ancient Egyptthese texts were known as sebayt 'teachings' and they are central to our understandings of Ancient Egyptian philosophy. Babylonian astronomy also included much philosophical speculations about cosmology which may have influenced the Ancient Greeks.

Jewish philosophy and Christian philosophy are religio-philosophical traditions that developed both in the Middle East and in Europe, which both share certain early Judaic texts mainly the Tanakh and monotheistic beliefs. Later Jewish philosophy came under strong Western intellectual influences and includes the works of Moses Mendelssohn who ushered in the Haskalah the Jewish EnlightenmentJewish existentialismand Reform Judaism.

The various traditions of Gnosticismwhich were influenced by both Greek and Abrahamic currents, originated around the first century and emphasized spiritual knowledge gnosis. Pre-Islamic Iranian philosophy begins with the work of Zoroasterone of the first promoters of monotheism and of the dualism between good and evil. This dualistic cosmogony influenced later Iranian developments such as ManichaeismMazdakismand Zurvanism.

Islamic philosophy is the philosophical work originating in the Islamic tradition and is mostly done in Arabic. It draws from the religion of Islam as well as from Greco-Roman philosophy. After the Muslim conqueststhe translation movement mid-eighth to the late tenth century resulted in the works of Greek philosophy becoming available in Arabic. Early Islamic philosophy developed the Greek philosophical traditions in new innovative directions.

This intellectual work inaugurated what is known as the Islamic Golden Age. The two main currents of early Islamic thought are Kalamwhich focuses on Islamic theologyand Falsafawhich was based on Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism.

The work of Aristotle was very influential among philosophers such as Al-Kindi 9th centuryAvicenna June and Averroes 12th century. Others such as Al-Ghazali were highly critical of the methods of the Islamic Aristotelians and saw their metaphysical ideas as heretical. Islamic thinkers like Ibn al-Haytham and Al-Biruni also developed a scientific methodexperimental medicine, a theory of optics and a legal philosophy.

Ibn Khaldun was an influential thinker in philosophy of history. Islamic thought also deeply influenced European intellectual developments, especially through the commentaries of Averroes on Aristotle.

The Mongol invasions and the destruction of Baghdad in is often seen as marking the end of the Golden Age. The 19th- and 20th-century Arab what does philosophy attempt to do saw the Nahda movement literally meaning 'The Awakening'; also known as the 'Arab Renaissance'which had a considerable influence on contemporary Islamic philosophy. Indian philosophical traditions share various key concepts and ideas, which are defined in different ways and accepted or rejected by the different traditions.

Some of the earliest surviving Indian philosophical texts are the Upanishads of the later Vedic period BCEwhich are considered to preserve the ideas of Brahmanism. Indian philosophy is commonly grouped based on their relationship to the Vedas and the ideas contained in how to write a value statement for a company. Jainism and Buddhism originated at how to train your dragon the video game end of the Vedic periodwhile the various traditions grouped under Hinduism mostly emerged after the Vedic period as independent traditions.

The doctrines of the Vedas and Upanishads were interpreted differently by these six schools of Hindu philosophywith varying degrees of overlap. They represent a "collection of philosophical views that share a textual connection," according to Chadha There are also other schools of thought which are often seen as "Hindu", though not necessarily orthodox since they may accept different scriptures as normative, such as the Shaiva Agamas and Tantrasthese include different schools of Shavism such as PashupataShaiva Siddhantanon-dual tantric Shavism i.

Trika, Kaula, etc. Jain philosophy is one of the only two surviving "unorthodox" traditions along with Buddhism. It generally accepts the concept of a permanent soul jiva as one of the five astikayas eternal, infinite categories that what do you mean by reserved constituencies up the substance of existence.

Jain thought holds that all existence is cyclic, eternal and uncreated. The Tattvartha Sutra is the earliest known, most comprehensive and authoritative compilation of Jain philosophy. Buddhist philosophy begins with the thought of Gautama Buddha fl. In these regions, Buddhist thought developed into different philosophical traditions which used various languages like TibetanChinese and Pali.

As such, Buddhist philosophy is a trans-cultural and international phenomenon. Because ignorance to the true nature of things is considered one of the roots of suffering dukkhaBuddhist what is the pay of a navy seal is concerned with epistemology, metaphysics, ethics what does philosophy attempt to do psychology. Buddhist philosophical texts must also be understood within the context of meditative practices which are supposed to bring about certain cognitive shifts.

After the death of the Buddha, various groups began to systematize his main teachings, eventually developing comprehensive philosophical systems termed Abhidharma.

There were numerous schools, sub-schools, and traditions of Buddhist philosophy in ancient and medieval India. Many of these traditions were also studied in other regions, like Central Asia and China, having been brought there by Buddhist missionaries. After the disappearance of Buddhism from India, some of these philosophical traditions continued to develop in the Tibetan BuddhistEast Asian Buddhist and Theravada Buddhist traditions.

East Asian philosophical thought began in How to hide your pool equipment Chinaand Chinese philosophy begins during the Western Zhou Dynasty and the following periods after its fall when the " Hundred Schools of Thought " flourished 6th century to BCE. These philosophical traditions developed metaphysical, political and ethical theories such TaoYin and yangRen and Li. Neo-Confucianism was a syncretic philosophy, which incorporated the ideas of different Chinese philosophical traditions, including Buddhism and Taoism.

Neo-Confucianism came to dominate the education system during the Song dynasty and its ideas served as the philosophical basis of the how to take screenshot lg g3 exams for the scholar official class. The Ming scholar Wang Yangming is a later but important philosopher of this tradition as well. Chinese culture was highly influential on the traditions of other East Asian states and its philosophy directly influenced Korean philosophyVietnamese philosophy and Japanese philosophy.

In Japan, the Tokugawa shogunate was also strongly influenced by Confucian philosophy. In the Modern era, Chinese thinkers incorporated ideas from Western philosophy. Chinese Marxist philosophy developed under the influence of Mao Zedongwhile a Chinese pragmatism developed under Hu Shih.

The old traditional philosophies also began to reassert themselves in the 20th century. For what does ou mean in sports betting, New Confucianismled by figures such as Xiong Shilihas become quite influential.

Likewise, Humanistic Buddhism is a recent modernist Buddhist movement. Modern Japanese thought meanwhile developed under strong Western influences such as the study of Western Sciences Rangaku and the modernist Meirokusha intellectual society which drew from European enlightenment thought and promoted liberal reforms as well as Western philosophies like Liberalism and Utilitarianism.

Another trend in modern Japanese philosophy was the "National Studies" Kokugaku tradition. This intellectual trend sought to study and promote ancient Japanese thought and culture. Kokugaku thinkers such as Motoori Norinaga sought to return to a pure Japanese tradition which what does 4 ply tire mean called Shinto that they saw as untainted by foreign elements.

During the 20th century, the Kyoto Schoolan influential and unique Japanese what is a fatal dose of xanax school developed from Western phenomenology and Medieval Japanese Buddhist philosophy such as that of Dogen.

African philosophy is philosophy produced by African peoplephilosophy that presents African worldviews, ideas and themes, or philosophy that uses distinct African philosophical methods.

Modern African thought has been occupied with Ethnophilosophywith defining the very meaning of African philosophy and its unique characteristics and what it means to be African. During the 17th century, Ethiopian philosophy developed a robust literary tradition as exemplified by Zera Yacob. Another early African philosopher was Anton Wilhelm Amo c. Contemporary African thought has also seen the development of Professional philosophy and of Africana philosophythe philosophical literature of the How to hang wreaths on outside single hung windows diaspora which includes currents such as black existentialism by African-Americans.

Some modern African thinkers have how to make a zombie apocalypse influenced by MarxismAfrican-American literatureCritical theoryCritical race theoryPostcolonialism and Feminism. Indigenous-American philosophical thought consists of a wide variety of beliefs and traditions among different American cultures.

Among some of U. What is the strongest steel for swords widely shared concept was that of orenda 'spiritual power'. According to Whiteleyfor the Native Americans, "mind is critically informed by transcendental experience dreams, visions and so on as well as by reason.

Another feature of the indigenous American worldviews was their extension of ethics to non-human animals and plants.


of philosophy. 1. Philosophy is a set of views or beliefs about life and the universe, which are often held uncritically. We refer to this meaning as the informal sense of philosophy or having a philosophy. Usually when a person says my philosophy is, he or she is referring to an in-formal personal attitude to whatever topic is being discussed. 2. Philosophy is a combination of two Greek words, philein sophia, meaning lover of wisdom. In ancient times a lover of wisdom could be related to any area where intelligence was expressed. This could be in business, politics, human relations, or carpentry and other skills. Philosophy had a "wholeness" approach to life in antiquity. In contrast to this, some modern definitions restrict philosophy to what can be . Philosophy is thought which is CRITICAL, i.e. i)it attempts to criticize assumptions, meanings, word usages, beliefs, and theories. ii) it attempts to develop clear definitions and formulations of propositions and to retain maximum precision in expression.

Part I. Defining philosophy is as difficult as trying to define love. The word philosophy is not much help. Philosophy is a combination of two Greek words, philein sophia , meaning lover of wisdom. In ancient times a lover of wisdom could be related to any area where intelligence was expressed. This could be in business, politics, human relations, or carpentry and other skills.

Philosophy had a "wholeness" approach to life in antiquity. In contrast to this, some modern definitions restrict philosophy to what can be known by science or the analysis of language. In today's world there is a popular use of the word philosophy. Philosophy is a term applied to almost any area of life. Some questions may express this general attitude: what is your philosophy of business?

If this popular misuse of the word were to prevail, one may admit that anyone who thinks seriously about any subject is a philosopher. If we do this, we are ignoring the academic disciplines, or study of philosophy. If this very general definition is accepted, everyone becomes a philosopher. It becomes true, paradoxically, that when everyone is a philosopher, no one is a philosopher. This becomes so loose a definition that philosophy becomes meaningless as a definition.

If this definition prevailed, it would mean that a philosopher is anyone who says he is a philosopher. Because of this inadequacy it becomes apparent that we have to look elsewhere for a definition of philosophy. Because the original meaning of the word, philosophy, does not give us much for specific content, we will turn to descriptive definitions. A descriptive definition of philosophy is that it seeks to describe its functions, goals, and reasons for existence.

In the following pages a number of these definitions will be set forth and examined. A word of warning is offered to the beginning student of philosophy. The beginner may despair over diverse definitions.

Students who come from a scientific background frequently expect concise, clear, and universally accepted definitions. This will not be true in philosophy and it is not universally true concerning all issues in any science or non-scientific study or discipline.

The diversity of opinion in philosophy becomes a source of embarrassment for the beginner when asked to explain to parents or unknowing friends just what a course in philosophy is all about.

It might be expected that one of the oldest disciplines or subjects in academia should achieve some uniformity or opinion, but this is not the case.

Yet in spite of diversity, philosophy is important. Plato declared that philosophy is a gift the gods have bestowed on mortals. Socrates' famous statement, "Know thyself," reflects this aim of philosophy. Plato also warned against the neglect of philosophy. He wrote that "land animals came from men who had no use for philosophy. But more seriously, men live by philosophies. Which one will it be? We now turn to consider several definitions of philosophy.

These will include the historical approach, philosophy as criticism, philosophy as the analysis of language, philosophy as a program of change, philosophy as a set of questions and answers, and philosophy as a world-view. Along the way we will also analyze the definitions and attempt to reach some conclusions about this analysis.

Remember our question: what is philosophy? According to this approach philosophy is really the study of historical figures who are considered philosophers. All are considered philosophers. What holds them together since they are so diverse in many of their views? One answer lies in their common set of problems and concerns. Many were interested in the problems of the universe, its origin, what it is in its nature, the issue of man's existence, good and evil, politics, and other topics.

This may serve as a link to another definition to be considered later. The argument for the historical approach is that no real understanding of philosophy can be had unless one understands the past. Philosophy would be impoverished if it lost any of the names above.

Some argue that knowing the history of philosophy is required for a positive appreciation of philosophy, and necessary if one is to make creative contributions to the advancement of philosophy. This definition of philosophy has its problems: l it tends to limit philosophy to the great minds of the past and makes it an elitist movement, 2 it restricts philosophy to an examination of past questions and answers only, 3 it is not really different from the study of history of ideas. This would make philosophy a sub-unit of history.

The value of the historical approach is that it introduces the student to the great minds of the past and the confrontation one has with philosophic problems that are raised by thinking people in all ages.

This is desirable in itself even though this is not the best definition of philosophy. This is one of the more extreme definitions of philosophy. This definition began as an emphasis in philosophy at about the turn of the century. A growing revolt took place against the metaphysical systems in philosophy.

Metaphysical systems in philosophy explained everything from the standpoint of a great idea like "mind" or "spirit.

More of this will be forthcoming in the fifth definition. The analysis-of-language-emphasis rejected metaphysics and accepted the simple, but useful modern standard of scientific verification. Their central thesis is that only truths of logic and empirically verifiable statements are meaningful. What does scientific verification mean in this context? If you can validate or reproduce an experiment or whatever, you can say it is true.

If there is no way to reproduce or validate the experiment in the context of science, there was then no claim for truth. How do verification and language work together? Try this example. How do you know when to take a statement as referring to a fact? We can use three sentences: l God is love, 2 Disneyland is in California, and 3 rape is wrong. These sentences are constructed in a similar manner. But only one is factual, i.

Thousands of people go yearly to Disneyland and anyone who doubts can go see for himself. But you cannot scientifically verify that rape is wrong and that God is love. I can say factually that a person was raped and may even witness the event as a fact, but how can I verify the word "wrong? Are these statements meaningful? Plato, cir. One of the greatest names in philosophy, was born in Athens, knew Socrates as a youth, and desired to enter politics until the death of Socrates.

Plato founded the Academy in Athens which may be called the first European university. Plato's dialogues are classic as a model of simplicity of philosophic expression. The conclusion reached by analytic philosophers is that anything not verifiable is nonsense. All of the systems of the past that go beyond verification are to be rejected as nonsense. This means that the realm of values, religion, aesthetics, and much of philosophy is regarded only as emotive statements.

An emotive statement reflects only how a person "feels" about a topic. Declaring that rape is wrong is only to declare that I feel it is wrong. I may seek your agreement on the issue, but again it is not an objective truth, but two "feelings" combined. Other analytic philosophers moved beyond the limitations of the verification principle to the understanding of language itself. Instead of talking about the world and whether things exist in the world, they talk about the words that are used to describe the world.

This exercise in "semantic ascent" may be seen in contrasting talk about miles, distances, points, etc. Language philosophers such as Quine spend entire treatises on the nature of language, syntax, synonymous terms, concepts of abstractions, translation of terms, vagueness and other features of language.

This is a philosophy about language rather than being interested in great issues that have frequently troubled the larger tradition of philosophers. Language analysis as the definition of philosophy changes philosophy from being a subject matter into a tool for dealing with other subject matters.

It becomes a method without content. This definition is as one-sided as the definition it rejected. The analysis of language has been an important part of philosophy from the time of Socrates and others to the present. But language connected with verification and restricted by that principle places great limitations on areas that philosophy has often regarded as important. This limitation is seen particularly in the areas of morals and ethics. Morality cannot be verified in a scientific way.

But it does seem obvious that we can discuss actions and adopt some means of objective evaluation in terms of reason. Moreover, it does not seem obvious that some moral distinctions are merely "emotive feelings.

If verification is required for the statement--it is wrong to kill the child--then all moral standards are at an end, and philosophy is turned into stupidity. Karl Marx declared that the role of philosophy is not to think about the world, but to change it. Philosophy is not to be an ivory tower enterprise without relevance to the world of human conditions. A contemporary Marxist has asked:.