In order to narrow the aims of discussion philosophy was broken into branches. Traditionally philosophy has been broken into four main branches; however we would like to add a fifth branch in our text -Epistemology Epistemology, from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge and love. -Metaphysics Metaphysics (derived from the Greek words “ta meta ta physika biblia”) – meaning ‘the book that follows the physics book’.
It was the way students referred to a specific book in the works of Aristotle, and it was a book on First Philosophy. (The assumption that the word means “beyond physics” is misleading) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the study of “first principles” and “being” (ontology). In other words, Metaphysics is the study of the most general aspects of reality, such as substance, identity, the nature of the mind, and free will. In other way is a study of nature and the nature of the world in which man lives -Logic Logic (from Classical Greek ?????
(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 arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy amongst philosophers (see below). However the subject is grounded, the task of the logician is the same: to advance an account of valid and fallacious inference to allow one to distinguish good from bad arguments. -Ethics Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the “science (study) of morality”. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is “good” or “right.
” The Western tradition of ethics is sometimes called moral philosophy. Other Branches Philosophy of Education: Fairly self-explanatory. A minor branch, mainly concerned with what is the correct way to educate a person. Classic works include Plato’s Republic, Locke’s Thoughts Concerning Education, and Rousseau’s Emile. Philosophy of History:
Fairly minor branch (not as minor as education), although highly important to Hegel and those who followed him, most notably Marx. It is the philosophical study of history, particularly concerned with the question whether history (i. e.the universe and/or humankind) is progressing towards a specific end? Hegel argued that it was, as did Marx.
Classic works include Vico’s New Science, and Hegel and Marx’s works. Philosophy of Language: Ancient branch of philosophy which gained prominence in the last century under Wittgenstein. Basically concerned with how our languages affect our thought. Wittgenstein famously asserted that the limits of our languages mark the limits of our thought. Classic works include Plato’s Cratylus, Locke’s Essay, and Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Philosophy of Law: Also called Jurisprudence.
Study of law attempting to discern what the best laws might be, how laws came into being in the first place, attempting to delimit human laws from natural laws, whether we should always obey the law, and so on. Law isn’t often directly dealt with by philosophers, but much of political philosophy obviously has a bearing on it. Philosophy of Mathematics: Concerned with issues such as, the nature of the axioms and symbols (numbers, triangle, operands) of mathematics that we use to understand the world, do perfect mathematical forms exist in the real world, and so on.
Principia Mathematica is almost certainly the most important work in this field. Philosophy of Mind: Study of the mind, attempting to ascertain exactly what the mind is, how it interacts with our body, do other minds exist, how does it work, and so on. Probably the most popular branch of philosophy right now, it has expanded to include issues of AI. Classic works include Plato’s Republic and Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, although every major philosopher has had some opinion at least on what the mind is and how it works. Philosophy of Politics: Closely related to ethics, this is a study of government and nations, particularly
how they came about, what makes good governments, what obligations citizens have towards their government, and so on. Classic works include Plato’s Republic, Hobbes’ Leviathan, Locke’s Two Treatises, and J. S. Mill’s On Liberty. Philosophy of Religion: Theology is concerned with the study of God, recommending the best religious practises, how our religion should shape our life, and so on. Philosophy of religion is concerned with much the same issues, but where Theology uses religious works, like the Bible, as it’s authority, philosophy likes to use reason as the ultimate authority.
Philosophy of Science: Study of science concerned with whether scientific knowledge can be said to be certain, how we obtain it, can science really explain everything, does causation really exist, can every event in the universe be described in terms of physics and so on. Also popular in recent times, classic works include Hume’s Treatise on Human Nature, Kripke’s Naming and Necessity, Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Empiricism is a philosophical idea based on the idea that all reliable knowledge about the world is gained in the process of experience.
Famous empiricists were Hume, Locke and Berkley, basing themselves on ideas already postulated by Aristotle, that we are born with the Tabula Rasa which receives throughout our lives information on which it can base all thinking and knowing. The movement of empiricism was in part a countermovement to what Descartes and Spinoza had proposed as rationalism. Knowledge derived from experience is called a posteriori. ————————————————- Doing Philosophy Many fields can be studied and learned without ever actually working with the tools in the field.
For instance, chemistry can be learned in depth without ever picking up a test tube or mixing ionic compounds. Philosophy, however, is more about the methodology behind deriving answers than it is about the answers themselves. As such, students studying philosophy must use the methodology of philosophy on the philosophy they are learning as they are learning it. Doing philosophy involves asking the right questions, critically examining the work of previous philosophers, truly understanding the works and the reasoning behind the works, and possibly building on the works of previous philosophers by expanding or testing this methodology.