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Encyclopedia > Western philosophy

Western philosophy is a modern claim that there is a line of related philosophical thinking, beginning in ancient Greece (Greek philosophy) and the ancient Near East (the Abrahamic religions), that continues to this day. The word philosophy itself originated in the West, or more specifically derived from the ancient Greek word philosophia (φιλοσοφια); literally, "the love of wisdom" (philein = "to love" + sophia = wisdom, in the sense of theoretical or cosmic insight). However, many non-Western religions have adopted the term philosophy in reference to cosmic intellectual discourse analogous to Western philosophy. See Eastern philosophy. The ancient Greek word for wisdom was probably often related to ideas about universal knowledge claims in math, astronomy, natural philosophy, music, and many other subjects as indicated by Plato's and Aristotle's works, along with many other ancient and medieval philosophers. Philosopher in Meditation (detail), by Rembrandt. ... Ancient Greece is the period in Greek history which lasted for around one thousand years and ended with the rise of Christianity. ... Classical (or early) Greek philosophy focused on the role of reason and inquiry. ... Overview map of the Ancient Near East The term Ancient Near East or Ancient Orient encompasses the early civilizations predating Classical Antiquity in the region roughly corresponding to that described by the modern term Middle East (Egypt, Iraq, Turkey), during the time roughly spanning the Bronze Age from the rise... map showing the prevalence of Abrahamic (purple) and Dharmic (yellow) religions in each country. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with philosophy. ... A universal proposition is one that affirms a property of all the members of a set. ... Knowledge is information of which a person, organization or other entity is aware. ... Incorrect shortening of Mathematics. ... Radio telescopes are among many different tools used by astronomers Astronomy (Greek: αστρονομία = άστρον + νόμος, astronomia = astron + nomos, literally, law of the stars) is the science of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earths atmosphere (such as auroras and cosmic background radiation). ... Natural philosophy is a term applied to the objective study of nature and the physical universe before the development of modern science. ... Music is an art, entertainment, or other human activity that involves organized and audible sounds and silence. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... Aristotle (Ancient Greek: , AristotélÄ“s) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... A philosopher is a person devoted to studying and producing results in philosophy. ...


Western philosophy has had a tremendous influence on, and has been greatly influenced by, Western religion, science, and politics. Indeed, the central concepts of these fields can be thought of as elements or branches of Western philosophy. To some of the ancient Greeks, these fields were often one and the same. Thus, in the West, philosophy is an expansive and ambiguous concept. Today, however, what generally distinguishes philosophy from other Western disciplines is the notion that philosophy is a "deeper" and more rational, fundamental, classical, and universal form of thought than other disciplines. In addition, there are many examples of philosophers in Greece and other surrounding areas being persecuted, murdered, jailed, and exiled because they contradicted or questioned the political and religious beliefs and opinions of their time and place. Science in the broadest sense refers to any knowledge or system of knowledge, attained by verifiable means. ... Politics is a process by which decisions are made within groups. ... A philosopher is a person devoted to studying and producing results in philosophy. ...


Historically, ancient Greek philosophers never made a vague and over generalized claim that there is a "Western" philosophy as distinct from "Eastern" or any other unspecific geographical adjective. The claim that there is "Western" philosophy that is distinct from universal philosophical claims was first made in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Ancient philosophers of Greek and Roman origins would have attempted to make universal knowledge claims, such as many claims made with the scientific method today. Basic principles in mathematics, geometry, and astronomy as related to philosophy and logic would not have been only of "Western" origins. Many ancient philosophers would not have categorized philosophy based on a vague geographical term that is imprecise and barely specific about any particular philosopher, nation, language, religion, or their particular argument. A universal proposition is one that affirms a property of all the members of a set. ... Knowledge is information of which a person, organization or other entity is aware. ... Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating previous knowledge. ... The term moral obligation has a number of meanings in moral philosophy, in religion, and in laymans terms. ... Euclid, a famous Greek mathematician known as the father of geometry, is shown here in detail from The School of Athens by Raphael. ... Table of Geometry, from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ... Radio telescopes are among many different tools used by astronomers Astronomy (Greek: αστρονομία = άστρον + νόμος, astronomia = astron + nomos, literally, law of the stars) is the science of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earths atmosphere (such as auroras and cosmic background radiation). ... Philosopher in Meditation (detail), by Rembrandt. ... Logic, from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, (but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of criteria for the evaluation of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy among philosophers. ... One of the most influential doctrines in history is that all humans are divided into groups called nations. ... Look up argument in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Contents


Origins

The introduction of the terms "philosopher" and "philosophy" has been ascribed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras (see Diogenes Laertius: "De vita et moribus philosophorum", I, 12; Cicero: "Tusculanae disputationes", V, 8-9). The ascription is based on a passage in a lost work of Herakleides Pontikos, a disciple of Aristotle. It is considered to be part of the widespread legends of Pythagoras of this time. The term "philosophy" was made famous by Plato's and Aristotle's large volume of written works that survived for over two thousand years. Bust of Pythagoras, Vatican Pythagoras (approximately 582 BC–507 BC, Greek: Πυθαγόρας) was an Ionian (Greek) mathematician and philosopher, founder of the mystic, religious and scientific society called Pythagoreans. ... Diogenes Laërtius, the biographer of the Greek philosophers, is supposed by some to have received his surname from the town of Laerte in Cilicia, and by others from the Roman family of the Laërtii. ... Marcus Tullius Cicero (IPA: ;) (January 3, 106 BC – December 7, 43 BC) was an orator and statesman of Ancient Rome, and is generally considered the greatest Latin orator and prose stylist. ... Aristotle (Ancient Greek: , AristotélÄ“s) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... Aristotle (Ancient Greek: , AristotélÄ“s) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ...


"Philosopher" replaced the word "sophist" (from sophoi), which was used to describe "wise men," teachers of rhetoric, who were important in Athenian democracy. Some of the most famous sophists were what we would now call philosophers, but Plato's dialogues often used the two terms to contrast those who are devoted to seeking wisdom (philosophers) from those who arrogantly and falsely claim to have it (sophists). Socrates (at least, as portrayed by Plato) frequently characterized the sophists as incompetents or charlatans, who hid their ignorance behind word play and flattery, and so convinced others of what was baseless or untrue. Moreover, the sophists were paid for their explorations. To this day, "sophist" is often used as a derogatory term for one who merely persuades rather than reasons. Sophism was originally a term for the techniques taught by a highly respected group of philosophy and rhetoric teachers in ancient Greece. ... Rhetoric (from Greek ρήτωρ, rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is the art or technique of persuasion, usually through the use of language. ... The speakers platform in the Pnyx, the meeting ground of the assembly where all the great political struggles of Athens were fought during the Golden Age. Here Athenian statesmen stood to speak, such as Pericles and Aristides in the 5th century BC and Demosthenes and Aeschines in the 4th... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... Socrates (Greek: Σωκράτης, invariably anglicized as , Sǒcratēs; 470–399 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher who is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy. ... Sophism was originally a term for the techniques taught by a highly respected group of philosophy and rhetoric teachers in ancient Greece. ...


The scope of philosophy in the ancient understanding, and the writings of (at least some of) the ancient philosophers, was all intellectual endeavors. This included the problems of philosophy as they are understood today; but it also included many other disciplines, such as pure mathematics and natural sciences such as physics, astronomy, and biology. (Aristotle, for example, wrote on all of these topics; and as late as the 17th century, these fields were still referred to as branches of "natural philosophy"). Over time, academic specialization and the rapid technical advance of the special sciences led to the development of distinct disciplines for these sciences, and their separation from philosophy: mathematics became a specialized science in the ancient world, and "natural philosophy" developed into the disciplines of the natural sciences over the course of the scientific revolution. Today, philosophical questions are usually explicitly distinguished from the questions of the special sciences, and characterized by the fact that (unlike those of the sciences) they are the sort of questions which are foundational and abstract in nature, and which are not amenable to being answered by experimental means. Broadly speaking, pure mathematics is mathematics motivated entirely for reasons other than application. ... The lunar farside as seen from Apollo 11 Natural science is the rational study of the universe via rules or laws of natural order. ... The first few hydrogen atom electron orbitals shown as cross-sections with color-coded probability density. ... Radio telescopes are among many different tools used by astronomers Astronomy (Greek: αστρονομία = άστρον + νόμος, astronomia = astron + nomos, literally, law of the stars) is the science of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earths atmosphere (such as auroras and cosmic background radiation). ... Biology is the branch of science dealing with the study of life. ... Aristotle (Ancient Greek: , Aristotélēs) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Euclid, a famous Greek mathematician known as the father of geometry, is shown here in detail from The School of Athens by Raphael. ... In the history of science, the scientific revolution was the period that roughly began with the discoveries of Kepler, Galileo, and others at the dawn of the 17th century, ended with the publication of the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687 by Isaac Newton, and led into a new period... Abstraction is the process of reducing the information content of a concept, typically in order to retain only information which is relevant for a particular purpose. ... In the scientific method, an experiment (Latin: ex-+-periri, of (or from) trying), is a set of actions and observations, performed in the context of solving a particular problem or question, to support or falsify a hypothesis or research concerning phenomena. ...


Western philosophical subdisciplines

Philosophical inquiry is often divided into several major "branches" based on the questions typically addressed by people working in different parts of the field. In the ancient world, the most influential division of the subject was the Stoics' division of philosophy into Logic, Ethics, and Physics (conceived as the study of the nature of the world, and including both natural science and metaphysics). In contemporary philosophy, specialties within the field are more commonly divided into metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics (which together comprise axiology). Logic is sometimes included as another main branch of philosophy, sometimes as a separate science which philosophers often happen to work on, and sometimes just as a characteristically philosophical method applying to all branches of philosophy. Stoicism is a school of philosophy commonly associated with such Greek philosophers as Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, or Chrysippus and with such later Romans as Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus. ... Logic, from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, (but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of criteria for the evaluation of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy among philosophers. ... Ethics (from Greek ἦθος meaning custom) is the branch of axiology, one of the four major branches of philosophy, which attempts to understand the nature of morality; to distinguish that which is right from that which is wrong. ... The lunar farside as seen from Apollo 11 Natural science is the rational study of the universe via rules or laws of natural order. ... Plato and Aristotle, by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome). ... Plato and Aristotle, by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Knowledge. ... Ethics (from Greek ἦθος meaning custom) is the branch of axiology, one of the four major branches of philosophy, which attempts to understand the nature of morality; to distinguish that which is right from that which is wrong. ... Aesthetics, esthetics or æsthetics is both the study of beauty and a term that denotes those properties of an entity that appeal to the senses. ... Axiology, from the Greek axia (αξια, value, worth), is the study of value or quality. ...


Within these broad branches there are numerous sub-disciplines of philosophy. The interest in particular sub-disciplines waxes and wanes over time; sometimes sub-disciplines become particularly hot topics and can occupy so much space in the literature that they almost seem like major branches in their own right. (Over the past 40 years or so philosophy of mind — which is, strictly speaking, mainly a sub-discipline of metaphysics — has taken on this position within Analytic philosophy, and has attracted so much attention that some suggest philosophy of mind as the paradigm for what contemporary Analytic philosophers do.) A Phrenological mapping of the brain. ... Plato and Aristotle, by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome). ... Analytic philosophy is the dominant philosophical movement in University philosophy departments in English-speaking countries and in Scandinavia, although one of its founders, Gottlob Frege, was German, and many of its leading proponents, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rudolf Carnap, Kurt Gödel, Karl Popper, Hans Reichenbach, Herbert Feigl, Otto Neurath...


Some of the many sub-disciplines within philosophy include:

  • Axiology: the branch of philosophical enquiry that explores:
    • Aesthetics: the study of basic philosophical questions about art and beauty. Sometimes philosophy of art is used to describe only questions about art, while "aesthetics" is the more general term. Likewise "aesthetics" sometimes applies more broadly than to merely the "philosophy of beauty": to include the sublime, humour, or fright - to any of the responses we might expect works of art or entertainment to elicit.
    • Ethics: the study of what makes actions right or wrong, and of how theories of right action can be applied to special moral problems. Subdisciplines include meta-ethics, value theory, theory of conduct, and applied ethics.
  • History of philosophy: the study of what philosophers up until recent times have written; the interpretation of such philosophers; who influenced whom, and so forth. The history of philosophy can be approached either exegetically (in which case the main question is the interpretive question of what past philosophers mean and how the structure of their thought holds together) or critically (in which case the main question is the logical question of whether what past philosophers said was true or false, and what the philosophical consequences of their views are).
  • Logic: the study of the standards of correct argumentation. The characteristic method of this study is the development of formal logic to symbolize and evaluate arguments; the characteristic topic is propositional logic, the logic of simple indicative statements. (Classical logic focused on the narrower subset of categorical reasoning by syllogism.) The more advanced topics in logic are generally extensions of formal logic to symbolize the logical relationships involved in particular aspects of the language -- such as modal logic, which deals with modal qualifiers like "possibly" and "necessarily", or temporal logic, which deals with the logical relationships established by the tense of a sentence.
  • Meta-philosophy: the study of philosophical method and the nature and purpose of philosophy. The term "philosophy of philosophy" is sometimes used more or less as a synonym.
  • Philosophy of perception: the philosophical study of topics related to perception; the question what the "immediate objects" of perception are has been especially important.
  • Philosophy of psychology: the study of some fundamental questions about the methods and concepts of psychology and psychiatry, such as the meaningfulness of Freudian concepts; this is sometimes treated as including philosophy of mind.
  • Philosophy of religion: the study of the meaning of the concept of God and of the rationality or otherwise of belief in the existence of God.
  • Philosophy of science: includes not only, as subdisciplines, the "philosophies of" the special sciences (i.e., physics, biology, etc.), but also questions about induction, scientific method, scientific progress, etc.
  • Value theory: the study of the concept value. Also called theory of value. Sometimes this is taken to be equivalent to axiology (a term not in as much currency in the English-speaking world as it once was), and sometimes is taken to be, instead of a foundational field, an overarching field including ethics, aesthetics, and political philosophy, i.e., the philosophical subdisciplines that crucially depend on questions of value.

Axiology, from the Greek axia (αξια, value, worth), is the study of value or quality. ... Aesthetics, esthetics or æsthetics is both the study of beauty and a term that denotes those properties of an entity that appeal to the senses. ... Venus de Milo exhibited in the Louvre museum, France. ... A nymph with morning glory flowers by Lefebvre. ... Aesthetics (or esthetics) (from the Greek word αισθητική) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty. ... Ethics (from Greek ἦθος meaning custom) is the branch of axiology, one of the four major branches of philosophy, which attempts to understand the nature of morality; to distinguish that which is right from that which is wrong. ... In mathematics, groups are often used to describe symmetries of objects. ... In philosophy, meta-ethics is the branch of ethics that seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties (if there are any), and ethical statements, attitudes, and judgments. ... Value in ethics is related to the theory of value. ... Applied ethics takes a theory of ethics, such as utilitarianism, social contract theory, or deontology, and applies its major principles to a particular set of circumstances and practices. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Knowledge. ... Knowledge is information of which a person, organization or other entity is aware. ... In ordinary usage, skepticism or scepticism (Greek: skeptomai, to look about, to consider) refers to an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object, the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain, or the method of suspended... This article or section should include material from Episteme Epistemology (from the Greek words episteme=science and logos=word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin and scope of knowledge. ... The history of philosophy tracks the multitudinous theories which aim at some kind of understanding, knowledge or wisdom on fundamental matters as diverse as reality, knowledge, meaning, value, being and truth. ... This article discusses textual hermeneutics. ... Logic, from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, (but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of criteria for the evaluation of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy among philosophers. ... In logic, an argument is an attempt to demonstrate the truth of an assertion called a conclusion, based on the truth of a set of assertions called premises. ... Logic (from ancient Greek λόγος (logos), meaning reason) is the study of arguments. ... In mathematical logic the propositional calculus or sentential calculus is a formal deduction system whose atomic formulas are propositional variables. ... Classical logic identifies a class of formal logics that have been most intensively studied and most widely used. ... A syllogism (Greek: συλλογισμός — conclusion, inference), more correctly a categorical syllogism, is a kind of logical argument in which one proposition (the conclusion) is inferred from two others (the premises). ... A modal logic is any logic for handling modalities: concepts like possibility, impossibility, and necessity. ... In logic, the term temporal logic is used to describe any system of rules and symbolism for representing, and reasoning about, propositions qualified in terms of time. ... Grammatical tense is a way languages express the time at which an event described by a sentence occurs. ... Meta-philosophy (philosophy of philosophy) is the study of the subject, matter, methods and aims of philosophy. ... Philosophical method (or philosophical methodology) is the study of how to do philosophy. ... Plato and Aristotle, by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome). ... In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek , genitive : of being (part. ... For Wikipedias categorization projects, see Wikipedia:Categorization. ... There is no universally accepted theory of what the word existence means. ... In philosophy, an object is a thing, an entity, or a being. ... // Use of the term In common usage, property means ones own thing and refers to the relationship between individuals and the objects which they see as being their own to dispense with as they see fit. ... The philosophical concept of causality, the principles of causes, or causation, the working of causes, refers to the set of all particular causal or cause-and-effect relations. ... The mind-body problem is the problem of determining the relationship between the human body and the human mind. ... Free will is the philosophical doctrine that holds that our choices are ultimately up to us. ... The philosophy of education is the study of the purpose, process, nature and ideals of education. ... Philosophy of History is an area of philosophy concerning the eventual significance, if any, of human history, and speculation as to a possible teleological end to its development. ... For other senses of this word, see history (disambiguation). ... Philosophy of language is the branch of philosophy that studies language. ... In linguistics, meaning is the content carried by the words or signs exchanged by people when communicating through language. ... La Vérité by the French painter Jules Joseph Lefebvre Common dictionary definitions of truth mention some form of accord with fact or reality. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Euclid, a famous Greek mathematician known as the father of geometry, is shown here in detail from The School of Athens by Raphael. ... Euclid, a famous Greek mathematician known as the father of geometry, is shown here in detail from The School of Athens by Raphael. ... A Phrenological mapping of the brain. ... Mind refers to the collective aspects of intellect and consciousness which are manifest in some combination of thought, perception, emotion, will, memory, and imagination. ... With regard to living things, a body is the integral physical material of an individual, and contrasts with soul, personality and behavior. ... The philosophy of perception concerns how mental processes and symbols depend on the world internal and external to the perceiver. ... Philosophy of physics is the study of the fundamental, philosophical questions underlying modern physics, the study of matter and energy and how they interact. ... Space has been an interest for philosophers and scientists for much of human history, and hence it is difficult to provide an uncontroversial and clear definition outside of specific defined contexts. ... A pocket watch, a device used to measure time. ... In physics, a net force acting on a body causes that body to accelerate; that is, to change its velocity. ... Philosophy of psychology typically refers to a set of issues at the theoretical foundations of modern psychology. ... Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud (IPA: []) (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ... Philosophy of religion is the rational study of the meaning and justification of fundamental religious claims, particularly about the nature and existence of God (or gods, or the divine). ... God is the deity believed by monotheists to be the supreme reality. ... Philosophy of science is the branch of philosophy that studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations, and implications of science, including the formal sciences, natural sciences, and social sciences. ... Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating previous knowledge. ... Philosophy of social science is the scholarly elucidation and debate of accounts of the nature of the social sciences, their relations to each other, and their relations to the natural sciences (see natural science). ... Social interactions of people and their consequences are the subject of sociology studies. ... Buyers bargain for good prices while sellers put forth their best front in Chichicastenango Market, Guatemala. ... Political philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the state, government, politics, liberty, property, rights, law and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it... A state is a set of institutions that possess the authority to make the rules that govern a society, having internal and external sovereignty over a definite territory. ... Lady Justice - allegory of Justice as woman with sword and with book - statue at court building. ... Image of traditional cultural paternalism: Father Junipero Serra in a modern portrayal at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California Paternalism refers usually to an attitude or a policy stemming from the hierarchic pattern of a family based on patriarchy, that is, there is a figurehead (the father, pater in Latin) that... Value in ethics is related to the theory of value. ... Theories of Value ask What sorts of things are good? Or: What does good mean? If we had to give the most general, catch-all description of good things, then what would that description be? When that question is answered with God, this is called Summum bonum. Many people believe... Axiology, from the Greek axia (αξια, value, worth), is the study of value or quality. ...

Philosophy contrasted with other disciplines

Natural science

Originally the term "philosophy" was applied to all intellectual endeavours. Aristotle studied what would now be called biology, meteorology, physics, and cosmology, alongside his metaphysics and ethics. Even in the eighteenth century physics and chemistry were still classified as "natural philosophy", that is, the philosophical study of nature. Today these latter subjects are popularly referred to as sciences, and as separate from philosophy. But the distinction is not clear; some philosophers still contend that science retains an unbroken --and unbreakable -- link to philosophy. Science in the broadest sense refers to any knowledge or system of knowledge, attained by verifiable means. ...


More recently, psychology, economics, sociology, and linguistics were once the domain of philosophers insofar as they were studied at all, but now have only a weaker connection with the field. In the late twentieth century cognitive science and artificial intelligence could be seen as being forged in part out of "philosophy of mind."


Philosophy is done primarily through reflection. It does not tend to rely on experiment. However, in some ways philosophy is close to science in its character and method; some Analytic philosophers have suggested that the method of philosophical analysis allows philosophers to emulate the methods of natural science; Quine holds that philosophy just is a branch of natural science, simply the most abstract one. This approach, now common, is called philosophical naturalism. The Thinker by Auguste Rodin: An artists impression of Homo sapiens Human self-reflection is the basis of philosophy and is present from the earliest historical records. ... In the scientific method, an experiment (Latin: ex-+-periri, of (or from) trying), is a set of actions and observations, performed in the context of solving a particular problem or question, to support or falsify a hypothesis or research concerning phenomena. ... Analytic philosophy is the dominant philosophical movement in University philosophy departments in English-speaking countries and in Scandinavia, although one of its founders, Gottlob Frege, was German, and many of its leading proponents, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rudolf Carnap, Kurt Gödel, Karl Popper, Hans Reichenbach, Herbert Feigl, Otto Neurath... W. V. Quine Willard Van Orman Quine (June 25, 1908 - December 25, 2000) was one of the most influential American philosophers and logicians of the 20th century. ... Naturalism is any of several philosophical stances, typically those descended from materialism and pragmatism, that reject the validity of explanations or theories making use of entities inaccessible to natural science. ...


Philosophers have always devoted some study to science and the scientific method, and to logic, and this involves, indirectly, studying the subject matters of those sciences. Whether philosophy also has its own, distinct subject matter is a contentious point. Traditionally ethics, aesthetics, and metaphysics have all been philosophical subjects, but many philosophers have, especially in the twentieth century, rejected these as futile questions (ie, much, though not all, of the Vienna Circle). Philosophy has also concerned itself with explaining the foundations and character knowledge in general (of science, or history), and in this case it would be a sort of "science of science" but some now hold that this cannot consist in any more than clarifying the arguments and claims of other sciences. This suggests that philosophy might be the study of meaning and reasoning generally; but some still would claim either that this is not a science, or that if it is it ought not to be pursued by philosophers. Ethics (from Greek ἦθος meaning custom) is the branch of axiology, one of the four major branches of philosophy, which attempts to understand the nature of morality; to distinguish that which is right from that which is wrong. ... Aesthetics, esthetics or æsthetics is both the study of beauty and a term that denotes those properties of an entity that appeal to the senses. ... Plato and Aristotle, by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome). ... Moritz Schlick around 1930 The Vienna Circle (in German: der Wiener Kreis) was a group of philosophers who gathered around Moritz Schlick when he was called to the Vienna University in 1922, organized in a philosophical association named Verein Ernst Mach (Ernst Mach Society). ...


All these views have something in common: whatever philosophy essentially is or is concerned with, it tends on the whole to proceed more "abstractly" than most (or most other) natural sciences. It does not depend as much on experience and experiment, and does not contribute as directly to technology. It clearly would be a mistake to identify philosophy with any one natural science; whether it can be identified with science very broadly construed is still an open question.


Philosophy of science

This is an active discipline pursued by both trained philosophers and scientists. Philosophers often refer to, and interpret, experimental work of various kinds (as in philosophy of physics and philosophy of psychology). But this is not surprising: such branches of philosophy aim at philosophical understanding of experimental work. It is not the philosophers in their capacity as philosophers, who perform the experiments and formulate the scientific theories under study. Philosophy of science should not be confused with science it studies any more than biology should be confused with plants and animals.


Theology and religious studies

Like philosophy, most religious studies are not experimental. Parts of theology, including questions about the existence and nature of gods, clearly overlap with philosophy of religion. Aristotle considered theology a branch of metaphysics, the central field of philosophy, and most philosophers prior to the twentieth century have devoted significant effort to theological questions. So the two are not unrelated. But other part of religious studies, such as the comparison of different world religions, can be easily distinguished from philosophy in just the way that any other social science can be distinguished from philosophy. These are closer to history and sociology, and involve specific observations of particular phenomena, here particular religious practices. Philosophy of religion is the rational study of the meaning and justification of fundamental religious claims, particularly about the nature and existence of God (or gods, or the divine). ... Theology (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογος, logos, word or reason) means reasoned discourse concerning religion, spirituality and God. ... Plato and Aristotle, by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome). ...


Nowadays religion plays a very marginal role in philosophy. The Empiricist tradition in modern philosophy often held that religious questions are beyond the scope of human knowledge, and many have claimed that religious language is literally meaningless: there are not even questions to be answered. Some philosophers have felt that these difficulties in evidence were irrelevant, and have argued for, against, or just about religious beliefs on moral or other grounds. Nonetheless, in the main stream of twentieth century philosophy there are very few philosophers who give serious consideration to religious questions. Empiricism is generally regarded as being at the heart of the modern scientific method, that our theories should be based on our observations of the world rather than on intuition or faith; that is, empirical research and a posteriori inductive reasoning rather than purely deductive logic. ...


Mathematics

Mathematics uses very specific, rigorous methods of proof that philosophers sometimes (only rarely) try to emulate. Most philosophy is written in ordinary prose, and while it strives to be precise it does not usually attain anything like mathematical clarity. As a result, mathematicians hardly ever disagree about results, while philosophers of course do disagree about their results, as well as their methods. Euclid, a famous Greek mathematician known as the father of geometry, is shown here in detail from The School of Athens by Raphael. ... Philosophical method (or philosophical methodology) is the study of how to do philosophy. ...


The philosophy of mathematics is a branch of philosophy of science; but in many ways mathematics has a special relationship to philosophy. This is because the study of logic is a central branch of philosophy, and mathematics is a paradigm example of logic. In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries logic made great advances, and mathematics has been proven to be reducible to logic (at least, to first-order logic with some set theory). The use of formal, mathematical logic in philosophy now resembles the use of math in science, although it is not as frequent. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Philosophy of science is the branch of philosophy that studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations, and implications of science, including the formal sciences, natural sciences, and social sciences. ... Logic, from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, (but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of criteria for the evaluation of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy among philosophers. ... Set theory is the mathematical theory of sets, which represent collections of abstract objects. ...


See also

Philosopher in Meditation (detail), by Rembrandt. ... Analytic philosophy is the dominant philosophical movement in University philosophy departments in English-speaking countries and in Scandinavia, although one of its founders, Gottlob Frege, was German, and many of its leading proponents, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rudolf Carnap, Kurt Gödel, Karl Popper, Hans Reichenbach, Herbert Feigl, Otto Neurath... Continental philosophy is a term used in philosophy to designate one of two major traditions of modern Western philosophy. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The history of philosophy tracks the multitudinous theories which aim at some kind of understanding, knowledge or wisdom on fundamental matters as diverse as reality, knowledge, meaning, value, being and truth. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... This is a list of topics relating to philosophy that end in -ism. ... This page aims to list articles on Wikipedia that are related to philosophy, beginning with the letters A through C. This is so that those interested in the subject can monitor changes to the pages by clicking on Related changes in the sidebar. ... Philosophies: particular schools of thought, styles of philosophy, or discriptions of philosophical ideas attributed to a particular group or culture - listed in alphabetical order. ... The orthodox understanding of pseudophilosophy is any idea or system that masquerades itself as philosophy while significantly failing to meet some suitable intellectual standards. ... This is a list of important publications in philosophy, organized by field. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Western philosophy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2652 words)
Philosophy of mind: the philosophical study of the nature of the mind, and its relation to the body and the rest of the world.
Philosophy of psychology: the study of some fundamental questions about the methods and concepts of psychology and psychiatry, such as the meaningfulness of Freudian concepts; this is sometimes treated as including philosophy of mind.
Philosophy of religion: the study of the meaning of the concept of God and of the rationality or otherwise of belief in the existence of God.
Philosophy - MSN Encarta (819 words)
Philosophy is often divided into four main branches: metaphysics, the investigation of ultimate reality; epistemology, the study of the origins, validity, and limits of knowledge; ethics, the study of the nature of morality and judgment; and aesthetics, the study of the nature of beauty in the fine arts.
The term philosophy is often used popularly to mean a set of basic values and attitudes toward life, nature, and society—thus the phrase “philosophy of life.” Because the lines of distinction between the various areas of knowledge are flexible and subject to change, the definition of the term philosophy remains a subject of controversy.
Western philosophy is generally considered to have begun in ancient Greece as speculation about the underlying nature of the physical world.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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