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Definitonofphilosophy philosophy (from the Greek or phílosophía,

meaning ‘the love of wisdom’) is the study of knowledge, or "thinking about thinking",

 the study of the ultimate nature of existence, reality, knowledge and goodness, as
discoverable by human reasoning (Penguin English Dictionary)
 the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics (WordNet)
 the search for knowledge and truth, especially about the nature of man and his behavior and
beliefs (Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary)
 the rational and critical inquiry into basic principles (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia)
 the study of the most general and abstract features of the world and categories with which
we think: mind, matter, reason, proof, truth, etc. (Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy)
 careful thought about the fundamental nature of the world, the grounds for human
knowledge, and the evaluation of human conduct (The Philosophy Pages)

As used originally by the ancient Greeks, the term "philosophy" meant the pursuit of knowledge for
its own sake, and comprised ALL areas of speculative thought, including the arts, sciences and


Mind and Human Nature

What are humans? Do we have free will? Do we have souls?


What are sources of human knowledge? Are we justified in what we do? Brain in a vat.


Do numbers exist? Does God exist? If God exists, what is God like?


What distinguishes good reasoning from bad reasoning?


What makes an action right or wrong? What is morality? Are there moral facts? How can we
determine what's right or wrong?

III BBRANCHSOF=PHILOSO=PHY The Branches of Philosophy

Western philosophy can be divided into six branches that have assumed various importance over
time. Traditionally metaphysics sets the questions for philosophy. Epistemology asks how do we
know? Ethics and politics have to do with action and quality of life. Aesthetics or value theory has to
do with beauty, balance, and harmony. Logic has to do with the relations of things. Epistemology
sometimes replaces metaphysics these days, because it has fewer religious overtones. Among
Eastern European and continental philosophers, philosophy tends to be the study of politics. Logic
is critical for analytic philosophers, who are deeply suspicious of ethics, politics, and metaphysics.

Understanding philosophy in the 6th century b.c. involves taking into account different priorities
than those of the 19th century a.d. However, these division remain helpful for identifying what's at
stake. Metaphysics, which studies the nature of existence is closely related to Epistemology, the
study of knowledge and how we know what we do about the world around us. Ethics, the study of
how (wo)men should act depends on Epistemology, because we need knowledge to make good
choices. Politics studies human interaction. Aesthetics studies the value of things. Logic is about the
symbolic representation of language and thought processes. Once the domain of Aristotle, the
foundation of the exact sciences must now take into account relativity, uncertainty and


The theory of knowledge, from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech), is
the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin, scope and possibility of knowledge.
Dealing with nature, is one of the branches of philosophy. But before anything is done, the meaning
of philosophy should be understood. A philosopher of religion must be objective. Anyone who is
ready to study philosophy should be able to attack and defend. It is not attacking other religions
and defending his own.


Metaphysics however (derived from the Greek words " meta & physika ") - meaning 'after physics'.
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,
pertaining to subjects such as substance, identity, the nature of the mind, and free will. In other
words it is a study of nature and the nature of the world in which humans live.

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 arguments. Logic is the
study of correct reasoning. 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.


Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the "science (study) of morality". In
philosophy, ethical behaviour is that which is "good" or "right". The Western tradition of ethics is
sometimes called moral philosophy.


Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that explores the creation and appreciation of beauty through
critical analysis and reflection.

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
its authority, philosophy likes to use reason as the ultimate authority.

Philosophy of Science: It is the 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.

IV The nature of darSana is to develop an attitude of inquiry without any prejudice into the
events around and to achieve the realization within by reconciling various streams of knowledge
generated by perception, inference and scriptural declarations.So, it is all about wisdom, realization
of absolute and its reconciliation with the relative appearance full of contradictions! The final
purpose is to lead the limited individual into infinite bliss of pure consciousness!7

V Philosophy is a necessary product of man's rational mind. To live, man must gain knowledge
of the world. To understand the world, man must form conclusions about its very nature. For
instance, to gain knowledge of particular objects, man must recognize that objects have identity. He
must recognize that conclusions are possible because the world does exist, and exists in a particular

Philosophy provides the framework for which man can understand the world. It provides the
premises by which man can discover truth, and use his mind to support his life. Every man has an
understanding of the world. Every man must have a philosophy, even if it is never made explicit.

“It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.” - Rene Descartes7

“It’s important to learn about genetics, but it is more important to learn to think. Philosophy makes
me think!”

“Philosophy courses give you more than just knowledge of the world; they give you a deep
understanding of how the world works, even how it should work.”

“Majoring in philosophy makes me a better thinker and a more well-rounded person.”

“My philosophy senior thesis was not only the best part of my Lehigh experience, but it has helped
me tremendously throughout law school and my life.”

“Studying philosophy, I learned to analyze closely and critically, to question thoroughly, and to write
and think rigorously. My philosophy skills has made me more valuable to prospective employers
and graduate schools.”

Top Five Reasons to Study Philosophy

1. Fascinating subject matter

2. Wide variety of interesting classes taught by outstanding professors

3. Skill development

4. Great preparation for any career or graduate study

5. Personal development7

Philosophic thought is an inescapable part of human existence. Almost everyone has been puzzled
from time to time by such essentially philosophic questions as "What does life mean?" "Did I have
any existence before I was born?" and "Is there life after death?" Most people also have some kind
of philosophy in the sense of a personal outlook on life. Even a person who claims that considering
philosophic questions is a waste of time is expressing what is important, worthwhile, or valuable. A
rejection of all philosophy is in itself philosophy.

By studying philosophy, people can clarify what they believe, and they can be stimulated to think
about ultimate questions. A person can study philosophers of the past to discover why they thought
as they did and what value their thoughts may have in one's own life. There are people who simply
enjoy reading the great philosophers, especially those who were also great writers7

VI Logic (from the Greek "logos", which has a variety of meanings including word, thought,
idea, argument, account, reason or principle) is the study of reasoning, or the study of the principles
and criteria of valid inference and demonstration. It attempts to distinguish good reasoning from
bad reasoning.


Aristotle defined logic as "new and necessary reasoning", "new" because it allows us to learn what
we do not know, and "necessary" because its conclusions are inescapable. It asks questions like
"What is correct reasoning?", "What distinguishes a good argument from a bad one?", "How can we
detect a fallacy in reasoning7

VIII The different types of Logic are listed below.

Formal logic

Informal logic

Symbolic Logic

Mathematical logic

1. Formal Logic: This is traditional logic or philosophical logic that studies formal rules passed down from
Aristotle. It is the study of inference with purely formal and explicit content i.e. it can be expressed as
a particular application of a wholly abstract rule.
2. Informal Logic: It studies natural language or ordinary language and is a discipline that developed
recently. Natural language here means a language that is spoken, written or signed by humans
for general-purpose communication, as distinguished from formal languages (such as computer-
programming languages) or constructed languages (such as Esperanto). It focuses on the reasoning and
argument one finds in personal exchange, advertising, political debate, legal argument, and the social
commentary that characterizes newspapers, television, the Internet and other forms of mass media.
3. Symbolic Logic: Symbolic Logic is the study of symbolic abstractions that capture the formal features
of logical inference. It deals with the relations of symbols to each other, often using
complex mathematical calculus.
4. Mathematical Logic: Both the application of the techniques of formal logic to mathematics and
mathematical reasoning, and, conversely, the application of mathematical techniques to the
representation and analysis of formal logic.7
IX Formal logic studies the abstract patterns or forms of correct reasoning. Here
the focus is on form rather than content, that is, on the logical structure of reasoning
apart from what it is specifically about. Since ancient times, logicians have used
special symbols and formulas, similar to those used in mathematics, to record the
abstract logical forms they have discovered. This is why formal logic is sometimes
also called “symbolic logic” or “mathematical logic.”

Informal logic studies the non-formal aspects of reasoning—qualities that cannot be

accurately translated into abstract symbols. This is why informal logic for the most
part dispenses with special symbols and formulas. In this division of logic, the focus is
often reasoning expressed within everyday language.