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What is Philosophy?

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Introduction to philosophy What is Philosophy? What is philosophy? Is there any point in studying philosophy, or is it a useless subject? What are the different branches of philosophy - what's the difference between aesthetics and ethics? What's the difference between metaphysics and epistemology? Philosophy is not the same as "life" - on the other hand, almost any other definition would seem to narrow. So just how are we supposed to approach the subject? It must be possible; otherwise no one would even be able to begin a study of philosophy. Or can they? In fact, the study of philosophy often doesn't begin with a solid definition of the subject - instead, it seems easier to define philosophy by doing philosophy. Yet attempts at definition and explanation are nevertheless important. It isn't easy to say what exactly philosophy is, how to study it, or how to 'do' it. So why has it long been one of the central subjects in Western academics? The reason why it is so difficult to categorize philosophy is because philosophising makes up so much of what we do during life - there is no escaping it for anyone who want to think clearly or think about important subjects. ...read more.


Epistemology Epistemology is the investigation into the grounds and nature of knowledge itself. Epistemological studies are usually focused upon our means for acquiring knowledge, and as a consequence, modern epistemology generally involves a debate between rationalism and empiricism, or the question of whether knowledge can be acquired a priori or a posteriori. Ethics Ethics is the formal study of moral standards and conduct. For this reason, the study of ethics is also often called "moral philosophy." What is good? What is evil? How should I behave - and why? How should I balance my needs against the needs of others? These are some of the questions asked in the field of ethics, a branch of philosophy, which has some of the most immediate and obvious consequences for how we live our lives. Logic and the Philosophy of Language The two fields Logic and the Philosophy of Language are often treated separately, but they are nevertheless close enough that they are presented together here. Logic is the study of methods of reasoning and argumentation, both proper and improper. ...read more.


The line between theology and the philosophy of religion isn't always sharp because they share so much in common, but the primary difference is that theology tends to be apologetically in nature, committed to the defence of particular religious positions, whereas Philosophy of Religion is committed to the investigation of religion itself, rather than the truth of any particular religion. Philosophy of Science The Philosophy of Science is concerned with, obviously enough, science - specifically, how science operates, what the goals of science should be, what relationship science should have with the rest of society, the differences between science and other activities, etc. Everything that happens in science has some relationship with the Philosophy of Science and is predicated upon some philosophical position, even though that may be rarely evident. Political and Legal Philosophy The Philosophy of Politics and the Philosophy of Law are often studied separately, but they are presented here jointly because they both come back to the same thing: the study of force. Politics is the study of political force in the general community, while jurisprudence is the study of how laws can and should be used to achieve political and social goals. ...read more.

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