What Is Philosophy?

What Is Philosophy?


The term “philosophy” means, “love of knowledge or wisdom .” In a broad sense, philosophy is any activity of where people try to  undertake when they seek to understand fundamental realities about themselves.

Those who study philosophy are called  philosophers are  engaged in asking, answering, and arguing for their answers to life most basic questions.

To make such decisions more systematic academic philosophy is traditionally divided into major areas of study. They are


Metaphysics is the study of the nature of reality, of what all things exists in the world, what it looks like, and how it is ordered. In metaphysics philosophers often deal  with such questions as, Is there a God?, What is truth?,  What is a person?,Do people have minds?.


Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Which  is primarily concerned with questions  like what we can know about the world and how we can know it. Some Typical questions of concern in epistemology are,  How do we know what we know? What is knowledge?  etc.


Ethics often concerns what we ought to do and what it would be best to do. In struggling to answer such  problems , larger questions about what is good and right arise. So, the ethicist attempts to answer all  such questions as:

What is good? , What makes actions or people good?, Is morality objective or subjective?, What makes actions right?,etc.


Logic is the arguments or reasons given for peoples answers to all these questions. To this end to answer such questions philosophers employ logic to study the nature and structure of arguments.

History of Philosophy:

The history of philosophy involves not only forming one’s own answers to such questions of philosophy , but to understand the way in which people or philosophers have answered such questions of thought  in the past.

In studying the history of philosophy one explores the ideas of such historical figures as, Plato,Marx, Aristotle, Hume, Mill, Aquinas, Kent, Wittgenstein etc.

What often motivates  us the study of philosophy is not merely the answers or arguments but whether or not the arguments are good and the answers are true. Thus, this philosophical questions arise in almost every discipline.

This is the reason why philosophy also encompasses such areas as: Philosophy of Law,Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Science,Philosophy of Mind,Philosophy of Literature,Political Philosophy, Philosophy of the Arts,Philosophy of History and Philosophy of Language.

  1. Philosophy and Cultural Differences:

Philosophers differ in their conclusions. They build upon what has come before. They react to it and  Philosophers differ in what they end up with, however, they share in a common pursuit and common conclusion, they do so by their attempt to pursue inquiry in a definite manner, i.e. a critical and comprehensive approach.

Philosophy and other forms of Thought:

When Philosophical mode of thought exists along side of those of Religion, science and art.

While Religion on  the  other  hand  offers a comprehensive view of all aspects of human life , Religion is a view which is uncritically formulated and does not itself encourage or tolerate criticism of the fundamental tenets of faith or the main principle applications of those basic beliefs to the affairs of everyday life.

Science,  is quite critical in the evaluation of hypotheses and theories as it lacks the comprehensive nature of philosophic thought.  Various branches of scientific studies or inquiry  have not as yet demonstrated that they are capable of being welded into a single comprehensive view of all reality built upon a single coherent set of basic principles or laws

Art is another  field which remains as a discipline capable of representing,  demonstrating and encouraging values.

Today the term “Philosophy” is often misused.There are Philosophers who participate in different traditions.
(1) Analytical Philosophy :

This thought was popular at the middle of the twentieth century which offered an approach to problems in linguistic analysis, where  all problems are seen as problems of language. This approach while promising much and necessary for inquiry, has not answered many of our most important philosophical problems.

(2) Social Philosophy:

In this  tradition social  philosophy debates the notion of social  justice and social progress.

(3) Applied Philosophy:

In this form it focuses on matters of practical concerns. It discusses some philosophical problems, metaphysical and epistemological problems

comprehensive and critical  thinking continues to be carried on today but toward what end.

So some people say  Philosophy bakes no bread.” meaning that Philosophy has no practical relevance and  value to the actual affairs of this world. If  the survival of being is the only end or purpose then little is accounted for in the history of the human species.

Hence Philosophy is an activity of thought, which may become a way of life. It is primarily a pursuit after wisdom.


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