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For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). Philosophy_sentence_0

Philosophy (from Greek: φιλοσοφία, philosophia, 'love of wisdom') is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Philosophy_sentence_1

Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. Philosophy_sentence_2

The term was probably coined by Pythagoras (c. 570 – 495 BCE). Philosophy_sentence_3

Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Philosophy_sentence_4

Historically, philosophy encompassed all bodies of knowledge and a practitioner was known as a philosopher. Philosophy_sentence_5

From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy, medicine, and physics. Philosophy_sentence_6

For example, Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy later became classified as a book of physics. Philosophy_sentence_7

In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize. Philosophy_sentence_8

Since then, various areas of investigation that were traditionally part of philosophy have become separate academic disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, linguistics, and economics. Philosophy_sentence_9

Today, major subfields of academic philosophy include metaphysics, which is concerned with the fundamental nature of existence and reality; epistemology, which studies the nature of knowledge and belief; ethics, which is concerned with moral value; and logic, which studies the rules of inference that allow one to deduce conclusions from true premises. Philosophy_sentence_10

Other notable subfields include philosophy of science, political philosophy, aesthetics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind. Philosophy_sentence_11

Origins and evolution Philosophy_section_0

Initially the term referred to any body of knowledge. Philosophy_sentence_12

In this sense, philosophy is closely related to religion, mathematics, natural science, education, and politics. Philosophy_sentence_13

Though it has since been classified as a book of physics, Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687) uses the term natural philosophy as it was understood at the time, encompassing disciplines such as astronomy, medicine and physics that later became associated with the sciences. Philosophy_sentence_14

In section thirteen of his Lives and Opinions of the Eminent Philosophers, the oldest surviving history of philosophy (3rd century), Philosophy_sentence_15

Diogenes Laërtius presents a three-part division of ancient Greek philosophical inquiry: Philosophy_sentence_16


  • Natural philosophy (i.e. physics, from Greek: ta physika, lit. 'things having to do with physis [nature]') was the study of the constitution and processes of transformation in the physical worldPhilosophy_item_0_0
  • Moral philosophy (i.e. ethics, from êthika, 'having to do with character, disposition, manners') was the study of goodness, right and wrong, justice and virtuePhilosophy_item_0_1
  • Metaphysical philosophy (i.e. logic, from logikós, 'of or pertaining to reason or speech') was the study of existence, causation, God, logic, forms, and other abstract objects (meta ta physika, 'after the Physics')Philosophy_item_0_2

In Against the Logicians the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus detailed the variety of ways in which the ancient Greek philosophers had divided philosophy, noting that this three-part division was agreed to by Plato, Aristotle, Xenocrates, and the Stoics. Philosophy_sentence_17

The Academic Skeptic philosopher Cicero also followed this three-part division. Philosophy_sentence_18

This division is not obsolete, but has changed: natural philosophy has split into the various natural sciences, especially physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, and cosmology; moral philosophy has birthed the social sciences, while still including value theory (e.g. ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, etc.); and metaphysical philosophy has given way to formal sciences such as logic, mathematics and philosophy of science, while still including epistemology, cosmology, etc. Philosophy_sentence_19

Philosophical progress Philosophy_section_1

Many philosophical debates that began in ancient times are still debated today. Philosophy_sentence_20

McGinn claims that no philosophical progress has occurred during that interval. Philosophy_sentence_21

Chalmers, by contrast, sees progress in philosophy similar to that in science, while Brewer argues that "progress" is the wrong standard by which to judge philosophical activity. Philosophy_sentence_22

Historical overview Philosophy_section_2

In one general sense, philosophy is associated with wisdom, intellectual culture, and a search for knowledge. Philosophy_sentence_23

In this sense, all cultures and literate societies ask philosophical questions, such as "how are we to live" and "what is the nature of reality." Philosophy_sentence_24

A broad and impartial conception of philosophy, then, finds a reasoned inquiry into such matters as reality, morality, and life in all world civilizations. Philosophy_sentence_25

Western philosophy Philosophy_section_3

Main article: Western philosophy Philosophy_sentence_26

Western philosophy is the philosophical tradition of the Western world, dating back to pre-Socratic thinkers who were active in 6th-century Greece (BCE), such as Thales (c. Philosophy_sentence_27

624 – 546 BCE) and Pythagoras (c. 570 – 495 BCE) who practiced a 'love of wisdom' (Latin: philosophia) and were also termed 'students of nature' (physiologoi). Philosophy_sentence_28

Western philosophy can be divided into three eras: Philosophy_sentence_29


  1. Ancient (Greco-Roman)Philosophy_item_1_3
  2. Medieval philosophy (referring to Christian European thought)Philosophy_item_1_4
  3. Modern philosophy (beginning in the 17th century)Philosophy_item_1_5

Ancient era Philosophy_section_4

While our knowledge of the ancient era begins with Thales in the 6th century BCE, little is known about the philosophers who came before Socrates (commonly known as the pre-Socratics). Philosophy_sentence_30

The ancient era was dominated by Greek philosophical schools. Philosophy_sentence_31

Most notable among the schools influenced by Socrates' teachings were Plato, who founded the Platonic Academy, and his student Aristotle, who founded the Peripatetic school. Philosophy_sentence_32

Other ancient philosophical traditions influenced by Socrates included Cynicism, Cyrenaicism, Stoicism, and Academic Skepticism. Philosophy_sentence_33

Two other traditions were influenced by Socrates' contemporary, Democritus: Pyrrhonism and Epicureanism. Philosophy_sentence_34

Important topics covered by the Greeks included metaphysics (with competing theories such as atomism and monism), cosmology, the nature of the well-lived life (eudaimonia), the possibility of knowledge, and the nature of reason (logos). Philosophy_sentence_35

With the rise of the Roman empire, Greek philosophy was increasingly discussed in Latin by Romans such as Cicero and Seneca (see Roman philosophy). Philosophy_sentence_36

Medieval era Philosophy_section_5

Medieval philosophy (5th–16th centuries) is the period following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and was dominated by the rise of Christianity and hence reflects Judeo-Christian theological concerns as well as retaining a continuity with Greco-Roman thought. Philosophy_sentence_37

Problems such as the existence and nature of God, the nature of faith and reason, metaphysics, the problem of evil were discussed in this period. Philosophy_sentence_38

Some key Medieval thinkers include St. Philosophy_sentence_39 Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Boethius, Anselm and Roger Bacon. Philosophy_sentence_40

Philosophy for these thinkers was viewed as an aid to Theology (ancilla theologiae) and hence they sought to align their philosophy with their interpretation of sacred scripture. Philosophy_sentence_41

This period saw the development of Scholasticism, a text critical method developed in medieval universities based on close reading and disputation on key texts. Philosophy_sentence_42

The Renaissance period saw increasing focus on classic Greco-Roman thought and on a robust Humanism. Philosophy_sentence_43

Modern era Philosophy_section_6

Early modern philosophy in the Western world begins with thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes and René Descartes (1596–1650). Philosophy_sentence_44

Following the rise of natural science, modern philosophy was concerned with developing a secular and rational foundation for knowledge and moved away from traditional structures of authority such as religion, scholastic thought and the Church. Philosophy_sentence_45

Major modern philosophers include Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Philosophy_sentence_46

19th-century philosophy (sometimes called late modern philosophy) was influenced by the wider 18th-century movement termed "the Enlightenment", and includes figures such as Hegel a key figure in German idealism, Kierkegaard who developed the foundations for existentialism, Nietzsche a famed anti-Christian, John Stuart Mill who promoted utilitarianism, Karl Marx who developed the foundations for communism and the American William James. Philosophy_sentence_47

The 20th century saw the split between analytic philosophy and continental philosophy, as well as philosophical trends such as phenomenology, existentialism, logical positivism, pragmatism and the linguistic turn (see Contemporary philosophy). Philosophy_sentence_48

Middle Eastern philosophy Philosophy_section_7

Pre-Islamic philosophy Philosophy_section_8

See also: Middle Eastern philosophy Philosophy_sentence_49

The regions of the Fertile Crescent, Iran and Arabia are home to the earliest known philosophical wisdom literature and is today mostly dominated by Islamic culture. Philosophy_sentence_50

Early Wisdom Literature from the Fertile Crescent was a genre which sought to instruct people on ethical action, practical living and virtue through stories and proverbs. Philosophy_sentence_51

In Ancient Egypt, these texts were known as sebayt ('teachings') and they are central to our understandings of Ancient Egyptian philosophy. Philosophy_sentence_52

Babylonian astronomy also included much philosophical speculations about cosmology which may have influenced the Ancient Greeks. Philosophy_sentence_53

Jewish philosophy and Christian philosophy are religio-philosophical traditions that developed both in the Middle East and in Europe, which both share certain early Judaic texts (mainly the Tanakh) and monotheistic beliefs. Philosophy_sentence_54

Jewish thinkers such as the Geonim of the Talmudic Academies in Babylonia and Maimonides engaged with Greek and Islamic philosophy. Philosophy_sentence_55

Later Jewish philosophy came under strong Western intellectual influences and includes the works of Moses Mendelssohn who ushered in the Haskalah (the Jewish Enlightenment), Jewish existentialism, and Reform Judaism. Philosophy_sentence_56

The various traditions of Gnosticism, which were influenced by both Greek and Abrahamic currents, originated around the first century and emphasized spiritual knowledge (gnosis). Philosophy_sentence_57

Pre-Islamic Iranian philosophy begins with the work of Zoroaster, one of the first promoters of monotheism and of the dualism between good and evil. Philosophy_sentence_58

This dualistic cosmogony influenced later Iranian developments such as Manichaeism, Mazdakism, and Zurvanism. Philosophy_sentence_59

Islamic philosophy Philosophy_section_9

See also: Islamic philosophy Philosophy_sentence_60

Islamic philosophy is the philosophical work originating in the Islamic tradition and is mostly done in Arabic. Philosophy_sentence_61

It draws from the religion of Islam as well as from Greco-Roman philosophy. Philosophy_sentence_62

After the Muslim conquests, the translation movement (mid-eighth to the late tenth century) resulted in the works of Greek philosophy becoming available in Arabic. Philosophy_sentence_63

Early Islamic philosophy developed the Greek philosophical traditions in new innovative directions. Philosophy_sentence_64

This intellectual work inagurated what is known as the Islamic Golden Age. Philosophy_sentence_65

The two main currents of early Islamic thought are Kalam, which focuses on Islamic theology, and Falsafa, which was based on Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism. Philosophy_sentence_66

The work of Aristotle was very influential among philosophers such as Al-Kindi (9th century), Avicenna (980 – June 1037) and Averroes (12th century). Philosophy_sentence_67

Others such as Al-Ghazali were highly critical of the methods of the Islamic Aristotelians and saw their metaphysical ideas as heretical. Philosophy_sentence_68

Islamic thinkers like Ibn al-Haytham and Al-Biruni also developed a scientific method, experimental medicine, a theory of optics and a legal philosophy. Philosophy_sentence_69

Ibn Khaldun was an influential thinker in philosophy of history. Philosophy_sentence_70

Islamic thought also deeply influenced European intellectual developments, especially throught the commentaries of Averroes on Aristotle. Philosophy_sentence_71

The Mongol Invasions and the destruction of Bagdhad in 1258 is often seen as marking the end of the Golden Age. Philosophy_sentence_72

Several schools of Islamic philosophy continued to flourish after the Golden Age however, and include currents such as Illuminationist philosophy, Sufi philosophy, and Transcendent theosophy. Philosophy_sentence_73

The 19th- and 20th-century Arab world saw the Nahda movement (literally meaning 'The Awakening'; also known as the 'Arab Renaissance'), which had a considerable influence on contemporary Islamic philosophy. Philosophy_sentence_74

Eastern philosophy Philosophy_section_10

Main article: Eastern philosophy Philosophy_sentence_75

Indian philosophy Philosophy_section_11

Main article: Indian philosophy Philosophy_sentence_76

Indian philosophy (Sanskrit: darśana, lit. Philosophy_sentence_77

'point of view', 'perspective') refers to the diverse philosophical traditions that emerged since the ancient times on the Indian subcontinent. Philosophy_sentence_78

Indian philosophical traditions share various key concepts and ideas, which are defined in different ways and accepted or rejected by the different traditions. Philosophy_sentence_79

These include concepts such as dhárma, karma, pramāṇa, duḥkha, saṃsāra and mokṣa. Philosophy_sentence_80

Some of the earliest surviving Indian philosophical texts are the Upanishads of the later Vedic period (1000–500 BCE), which are considered to preserve the ideas of Brahmanism. Philosophy_sentence_81

Indian philosophy is commonly grouped based on their relationship to the Vedas and the ideas contained in them. Philosophy_sentence_82

Jainism and Buddhism originated at the end of the Vedic period, while the various traditions grouped under Hinduism mostly emerged after the Vedic period as independent traditions. Philosophy_sentence_83

Hindus generally classify Indian philosophical traditions as either orthodox (āstika) or heterodox (nāstika) depending on whether they accept the authority of the Vedas and the theories of brahman and ātman found therein. Philosophy_sentence_84

The schools which align themselves with the thought of the Upanishads, the so called "orthodox" or "Hindu" traditions, are often classified into six darśanas or philosophies:Sānkhya, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaisheshika, Mimāmsā and Vedānta. Philosophy_sentence_85

The doctrines of the Vedas and Upanishads were interpreted differently by these six schools of Hindu philosophy, with varying degrees of overlap. Philosophy_sentence_86

They represent a "collection of philosophical views that share a textual connection," according to Chadha (2015). Philosophy_sentence_87

They also reflect a tolerance for a diversity of philosophical interpretations within Hinduism while sharing the same foundation. Philosophy_sentence_88

Hindu philosophers of the six orthodox schools developed systems of epistemology (pramana) and investigated topics such as metaphysics, ethics, psychology (guṇa), hermeneutics, and soteriology within the framework of the Vedic knowledge, while presenting a diverse collection of interpretations. Philosophy_sentence_89

The commonly named six orthodox schools were the competing philosophical traditions of what has been called the "Hindu synthesis" of classical Hinduism. Philosophy_sentence_90

There are also other schools of thought which are often seen as "Hindu", though not necessarily orthodox (since they may accept different scriptures as normative, such as the Shaiva Agamas and Tantras), these include different schools of Shavism such as Pashupata, Shaiva Siddhanta, non-dual tantric Shavism (i.e. Trika, Kaula, etc). Philosophy_sentence_91

The "Hindu" and "Orthodox" traditions are often contrasted with the "unorthodox" traditions (nāstika, literally "those who reject"), though this is a label that is not used by the "unorthodox" schools themselves. Philosophy_sentence_92

These traditions reject the Vedas as authoritative and often reject major concepts and ideas that are widely accepted by the orthodox schools (such as Ātman, Brahman, and Īśvara). Philosophy_sentence_93

These unorthodox schools include Jainism (accepts ātman but rejects Īśvara, Vedas and Brahman), Buddhism (rejects all orthodox concepts except rebirth and karma), Cārvāka (materialists who reject even rebirth and karma) and Ājīvika (known for their doctrine of fate). Philosophy_sentence_94

Jain philosophy is one of the only two surviving "unorthodox" traditions (along with Buddhism). Philosophy_sentence_95

It generally accepts the concept of a permanent soul (jiva) as one of the five astikayas (eternal, infinite categories that make up the substance of existence). Philosophy_sentence_96

The other four being dhárma, adharma, ākāśa ('space'), and pudgala ('matter'). Philosophy_sentence_97

Jain thought holds that all existence is cyclic, eternal and uncreated. Philosophy_sentence_98

Some of the most important elements of Jain philosophy are the jain theory of karma, the doctrine of nonviolence (ahiṃsā) and the theory of "many-sidedness" or Anēkāntavāda. Philosophy_sentence_99

The Tattvartha Sutra is the earliest known, most comprehensive and authoritative compilation of Jain philosophy. Philosophy_sentence_100

Buddhist philosophy Philosophy_section_12

Main article: Buddhist philosophy Philosophy_sentence_101

Buddhist philosophy begins with the thought of Gautama Buddha (fl. Philosophy_sentence_102

between 6th and 4th century BCE) and is preserved in the early Buddhist texts. Philosophy_sentence_103

It originated in the Indian region of Magadha and later spread to the rest of the Indian subcontinent, East Asia, Tibet, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. Philosophy_sentence_104

In these regions, Buddhist thought developed into different philosophical traditions which used various languages (like Tibetan, Chinese and Pali). Philosophy_sentence_105

As such, Buddhist philosophy is a trans-cultural and international phenomenon. Philosophy_sentence_106

The dominant Buddhist philosophical traditions in East Asian nations are mainly based on Indian Mahayana Buddhism. Philosophy_sentence_107

The philosophy of the Theravada school is dominant in Southeast Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand. Philosophy_sentence_108

Because ignorance to the true nature of things is considered one of the roots of suffering (dukkha), Buddhist philosophy is concerned with epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and psychology. Philosophy_sentence_109

Buddhist philosophical texts must also be understood within the context of meditative practices which are supposed to bring about certain cognitive shifts. Philosophy_sentence_110

Key innovative concepts include the four noble truths as an analysis of dukkha, anicca (impermanence), and anatta (non-self). Philosophy_sentence_111

After the death of the Buddha, various groups began to systematize his main teachings, eventually developing comprehensive philosophical systems termed Abhidharma. Philosophy_sentence_112

Following the Abhidharma schools, Indian Mahayana philosophers such as Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu developed the theories of śūnyatā ('emptiness of all phenomena') and vijñapti-matra ('appearance only'), a form of phenomenology or transcendental idealism. Philosophy_sentence_113

The Dignāga school of pramāṇa ('means of knowledge') promoted a sophisticated form of Buddhist epistemology. Philosophy_sentence_114

There were numerous schools, sub-schools, and traditions of Buddhist philosophy in ancient and medieval India. Philosophy_sentence_115

According to Oxford professor of Buddhist philosophy Jan Westerhoff, the major Indian schools from 300 BCE to 1000 CE were: the Mahāsāṃghika tradition (now extinct), the Sthavira schools (such as Sarvāstivāda, Vibhajyavāda and Pudgalavāda) and the Mahayana schools. Philosophy_sentence_116

Many of these traditions were also studied in other regions, like Central Asia and China, having been brought there by Buddhist missionaries. Philosophy_sentence_117

After the disappearance of Buddhism from India, some of these philosophical traditions continued to develop in the Tibetan Buddhist, East Asian Buddhist and Theravada Buddhist traditions. Philosophy_sentence_118

East Asian philosophy Philosophy_section_13

Main articles: Chinese philosophy, Korean philosophy, Japanese philosophy, Vietnamese philosophy, and Eastern philosophy Philosophy_sentence_119

East Asian philosophical thought began in Ancient China, and Chinese philosophy begins during the Western Zhou Dynasty and the following periods after its fall when the "Hundred Schools of Thought" flourished (6th century to 221 BCE). Philosophy_sentence_120

This period was characterized by significant intellectual and cultural developments and saw the rise of the major philosophical schools of China such as Confucianism (also known as Ruism), Legalism, and Taoism as well as numerous other less influential schools like Mohism and Naturalism. Philosophy_sentence_121

These philosophical traditions developed metaphysical, political and ethical theories such Tao, Yin and yang, Ren and Li. Philosophy_sentence_122

These schools of thought further developed during the Han (206 BCE – 220 CE) and Tang (618–907 CE) eras, forming new philosophical movements like Xuanxue (also called Neo-Taoism), and Neo-Confucianism. Philosophy_sentence_123

Neo-Confucianism was a syncretic philosophy, which incorporated the ideas of different Chinese philosophical traditions, including Buddhism and Taoism. Philosophy_sentence_124

Neo-Confucianism came to dominate the education system during the Song dynasty (960–1297), and its ideas served as the philosophical basis of the imperial exams for the scholar official class. Philosophy_sentence_125

Some of the most important Neo-Confucian thinkers are the Tang scholars Han Yu and Li Ao as well as the Song thinkers Zhou Dunyi (1017–1073) and Zhu Xi (1130–1200). Philosophy_sentence_126

Zhu Xi compiled the Confucian canon, which consists of the Four Books (the Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean, the Analects of Confucius, and the Mencius). Philosophy_sentence_127

The Ming scholar Wang Yangming (1472–1529) is a later but important philosopher of this tradition as well. Philosophy_sentence_128

Buddhism began arriving in China during the Han Dynasty, through a gradual Silk road transmission and through native influences developed distinct Chinese forms (such as Chan/Zen) which spread throughout the East Asian cultural sphere. Philosophy_sentence_129

Chinese culture was highly influential on the traditions of other East Asian states and its philosophy directly influenced Korean philosophy, Vietnamese philosophy and Japanese philosophy. Philosophy_sentence_130

During later Chinese dynasties like the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) as well as in the Korean Joseon dynasty (1392–1897) a resurgent Neo-Confucianism led by thinkers such as Wang Yangming (1472–1529) became the dominant school of thought, and was promoted by the imperial state. Philosophy_sentence_131

In Japan, the Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867) was also strongly influenced by Confucian philosophy. Philosophy_sentence_132

Confucianism continues to influence the ideas and worldview of the nations of the Chinese cultural sphere today. Philosophy_sentence_133

In the Modern era, Chinese thinkers incorporated ideas from Western philosophy. Philosophy_sentence_134

Chinese Marxist philosophy developed under the influence of Mao Zedong, while a Chinese pragmatism developed under Hu Shih. Philosophy_sentence_135

The old traditional philosophies also began to reassert themselves in the 20th century. Philosophy_sentence_136

For example, New Confucianism, led by figures such as Xiong Shili, has become quite influential. Philosophy_sentence_137

Likewise, Humanistic Buddhism is a recent modernist Buddhist movement. Philosophy_sentence_138

Modern Japanese thought meanwhile developed under strong Western influences such as the study of Western Sciences (Rangaku) and the modernist Meirokusha intellectual society which drew from European enlightenment thought and promoted liberal reforms as well as Western philosophies like Liberalism and Utilitarianism. Philosophy_sentence_139

Another trend in modern Japanese philosophy was the "National Studies" (Kokugaku) tradition. Philosophy_sentence_140

This intellectual trend sought to study and promote ancient Japanese thought and culture. Philosophy_sentence_141

Kokugaku thinkers such as Motoori Norinaga sought to return to a pure Japanese tradition which they called Shinto that they saw as untainted by foreign elements. Philosophy_sentence_142

During the 20th century, the Kyoto School, an influential and unique Japanese philosophical school developed from Western phenomenology and Medieval Japanese Buddhist philosophy such as that of Dogen. Philosophy_sentence_143

African philosophy Philosophy_section_14

Main article: African philosophy Philosophy_sentence_144

African philosophy is philosophy produced by African people, philosophy that presents African worldviews, ideas and themes, or philosophy that uses distinct African philosophical methods. Philosophy_sentence_145

Modern African thought has been occupied with Ethnophilosophy, with defining the very meaning of African philosophy and its unique characteristics and what it means to be African. Philosophy_sentence_146

During the 17th century, Ethiopian philosophy developed a robust literary tradition as exemplified by Zera Yacob. Philosophy_sentence_147

Another early African philosopher was Anton Wilhelm Amo (c. 1703–1759) who became a respected philosopher in Germany. Philosophy_sentence_148

Distinct African philosophical ideas include Ujamaa, the Bantu idea of 'Force', Négritude, Pan-Africanism and Ubuntu. Philosophy_sentence_149

Contemporary African thought has also seen the development of Professional philosophy and of Africana philosophy, the philosophical literature of the African diaspora which includes currents such as black existentialism by African-Americans. Philosophy_sentence_150

Some modern African thinkers have been influenced by Marxism, African-American literature, Critical theory, Critical race theory, Postcolonialism and Feminism. Philosophy_sentence_151

Indigenous American philosophy Philosophy_section_15

Main article: Indigenous American philosophy Philosophy_sentence_152

Indigenous-American philosophical thought consists of a wide variety of beliefs and traditions among different American cultures. Philosophy_sentence_153

Among some of U.S. Philosophy_sentence_154 Native American communities, there is a belief in a metaphysical principle called the 'Great Spirit' (Siouan: wakȟáŋ tȟáŋka; Algonquian: gitche manitou). Philosophy_sentence_155

Another widely shared concept was that of orenda ('spiritual power'). Philosophy_sentence_156

According to Whiteley (1998), for the Native Americans, "mind is critically informed by transcendental experience (dreams, visions and so on) as well as by reason." Philosophy_sentence_157

The practices to access these transcendental experiences are termed shamanism. Philosophy_sentence_158

Another feature of the indigenous American worldviews was their extension of ethics to non-human animals and plants. Philosophy_sentence_159

In Mesoamerica, Aztec philosophy was an intellectual tradition developed by individuals called Tlamatini ('those who know something') and its ideas are preserved in various Aztec codices. Philosophy_sentence_160

The Aztec worldview posited the concept of an ultimate universal energy or force called Ōmeteōtl ('Dual Cosmic Energy') which sought a way to live in balance with a constantly changing, "slippery" world. Philosophy_sentence_161

The theory of Teotl can be seen as a form of Pantheism. Philosophy_sentence_162

Aztec philosophers developed theories of metaphysics, epistemology, values, and aesthetics. Philosophy_sentence_163

Aztec ethics was focused on seeking tlamatiliztli ('knowledge', 'wisdom') which was based on moderation and balance in all actions as in the Nahua proverb "the middle good is necessary." Philosophy_sentence_164

The Inca civilization also had an elite class of philosopher-scholars termed the Amawtakuna who were important in the Inca education system as teachers of religion, tradition, history and ethics. Philosophy_sentence_165

Key concepts of Andean thought are Yanantin and Masintin which involve a theory of “complementary opposites” that sees polarities (such as male/female, dark/light) as interdependent parts of a harmonious whole. Philosophy_sentence_166

Women in philosophy Philosophy_section_16

Main article: Women in philosophy Philosophy_sentence_167

Although men have generally dominated philosophical discourse, women philosophers have engaged in the discipline throughout history. Philosophy_sentence_168

Ancient examples include Hipparchia of Maroneia (active c. 325 BCE) and Arete of Cyrene (active 5th–4th centuries BCE). Philosophy_sentence_169

Some women philosophers were accepted during the medieval and modern eras, but none became part of the Western canon until the 20th and 21st century, when many suggest that G.E.M. Philosophy_sentence_170 Anscombe, Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, and Susanne Langer entered the canon. Philosophy_sentence_171

In the early 1800s, some colleges and universities in the UK and US began admitting women, producing more female academics. Philosophy_sentence_172

Nevertheless, U.S. Philosophy_sentence_173 Department of Education reports from the 1990s indicate that few women ended up in philosophy, and that philosophy is one of the least gender-proportionate fields in the humanities, with women making up somewhere between 17% and 30% of philosophy faculty according to some studies. Philosophy_sentence_174

Branches of philosophy Philosophy_section_17

Philosophical questions can be grouped into various branches. Philosophy_sentence_175

These groupings allow philosophers to focus on a set of similar topics and interact with other thinkers who are interested in the same questions. Philosophy_sentence_176

These divisions are neither exhaustive, nor mutually exclusive. Philosophy_sentence_177

(A philosopher might specialize in Kantian epistemology, or Platonic aesthetics, or modern political philosophy). Philosophy_sentence_178

Furthermore, these philosophical inquiries sometimes overlap with each other and with other inquiries such as science, religion or mathematics. Philosophy_sentence_179

Aesthetics Philosophy_section_18

Main article: Aesthetics Philosophy_sentence_180

Aesthetics is the "critical reflection on art, culture and nature." Philosophy_sentence_181

It addresses the nature of art, beauty and taste, enjoyment, emotional values, perception and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. Philosophy_sentence_182

It is more precisely defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. Philosophy_sentence_183

Its major divisions are art theory, literary theory, film theory and music theory. Philosophy_sentence_184

An example from art theory is to discern the set of principles underlying the work of a particular artist or artistic movement such as the Cubist aesthetic. Philosophy_sentence_185

Ethics Philosophy_section_19

Main article: Ethics Philosophy_sentence_186

Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, studies what constitutes good and bad conduct, right and wrong values, and good and evil. Philosophy_sentence_187

Its primary investigations include how to live a good life and identifying standards of morality. Philosophy_sentence_188

It also includes investigating whether or not there is a best way to live or a universal moral standard, and if so, how we come to learn about it. Philosophy_sentence_189

The main branches of ethics are normative ethics, meta-ethics and applied ethics. Philosophy_sentence_190

The three main views in ethics about what constitute moral actions are: Philosophy_sentence_191


  • Consequentialism, which judges actions based on their consequences. One such view is utilitarianism, which judges actions based on the net happiness (or pleasure) and/or lack of suffering (or pain) that they produce.Philosophy_item_2_6
  • Deontology, which judges actions based on whether or not they are in accordance with one's moral duty. In the standard form defended by Immanuel Kant, deontology is concerned with whether or not a choice respects the moral agency of other people, regardless of its consequences.Philosophy_item_2_7
  • Virtue ethics, which judges actions based on the moral character of the agent who performs them and whether they conform to what an ideally virtuous agent would do.Philosophy_item_2_8

Epistemology Philosophy_section_20

Main article: Epistemology Philosophy_sentence_192

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies knowledge. Philosophy_sentence_193

Epistemologists examine putative sources of knowledge, including perceptual experience, reason, memory, and testimony. Philosophy_sentence_194

They also investigate questions about the nature of truth, belief, justification, and rationality. Philosophy_sentence_195

Philosophical skepticism, which raises doubts about some or all claims to knowledge, has been a topic of interest throughout the history of philosophy. Philosophy_sentence_196

It arose early in Pre-Socratic philosophy and became formalized with Pyrrho, the founder of the earliest Western school of philosophical skepticism. Philosophy_sentence_197

It features prominently in the works of modern philosophers René Descartes and David Hume, and has remained a central topic in contemporary epistemological debates. Philosophy_sentence_198

One of the most notable epistemological debates is between empiricism and rationalism. Philosophy_sentence_199

Empiricism places emphasis on observational evidence via sensory experience as the source of knowledge. Philosophy_sentence_200

Empiricism is associated with a posteriori knowledge, which is obtained through experience (such as scientific knowledge). Philosophy_sentence_201

Rationalism places emphasis on reason as a source of knowledge. Philosophy_sentence_202

Rationalism is associated with a priori knowledge, which is independent of experience (such as logic and mathematics). Philosophy_sentence_203

One central debate in contemporary epistemology is about the conditions required for a belief to constitute knowledge, which might include truth and justification. Philosophy_sentence_204

This debate was largely the result of attempts to solve the Gettier problem. Philosophy_sentence_205

Another common subject of contemporary debates is the regress problem, which occurs when trying to offer proof or justification for any belief, statement, or proposition. Philosophy_sentence_206

The problem is that whatever the source of justification may be, that source must either be without justification (in which case it must be treated as an arbitrary foundation for belief), or it must have some further justification (in which case justification must either be the result of circular reasoning, as in coherentism, or the result of an infinite regress, as in infinitism). Philosophy_sentence_207

Metaphysics Philosophy_section_21

Main article: Metaphysics Philosophy_sentence_208

Metaphysics is the study of the most general features of reality, such as existence, time, objects and their properties, wholes and their parts, events, processes and causation and the relationship between mind and body. Philosophy_sentence_209

Metaphysics includes cosmology, the study of the world in its entirety and ontology, the study of being. Philosophy_sentence_210

A major point of debate is between realism, which holds that there are entities that exist independently of their mental perception and idealism, which holds that reality is mentally constructed or otherwise immaterial. Philosophy_sentence_211

Metaphysics deals with the topic of identity. Philosophy_sentence_212

Essence is the set of attributes that make an object what it fundamentally is and without which it loses its identity while accident is a property that the object has, without which the object can still retain its identity. Philosophy_sentence_213

Particulars are objects that are said to exist in space and time, as opposed to abstract objects, such as numbers, and universals, which are properties held by multiple particulars, such as redness or a gender. Philosophy_sentence_214

The type of existence, if any, of universals and abstract objects is an issue of debate. Philosophy_sentence_215

Logic Philosophy_section_22

Main article: Logic Philosophy_sentence_216

Logic is the study of reasoning and argument. Philosophy_sentence_217

Deductive reasoning is when, given certain premises, conclusions are unavoidably implied. Philosophy_sentence_218

Rules of inference are used to infer conclusions such as, modus ponens, where given “A” and “If A then B”, then “B” must be concluded. Philosophy_sentence_219

Because sound reasoning is an essential element of all sciences, social sciences and humanities disciplines, logic became a formal science. Philosophy_sentence_220

Sub-fields include mathematical logic, philosophical logic, Modal logic, computational logic and non-classical logics. Philosophy_sentence_221

A major question in the philosophy of mathematics is whether mathematical entities are objective and discovered, called mathematical realism, or invented, called mathematical antirealism. Philosophy_sentence_222

Other subfields Philosophy_section_23

Mind and language Philosophy_section_24

Main articles: Philosophy of language and philosophy of mind Philosophy_sentence_223

Philosophy of language explores the nature, origins, and use of language. Philosophy_sentence_224

Philosophy of mind explores the nature of the mind and its relationship to the body, as typified by disputes between materialism and dualism. Philosophy_sentence_225

In recent years, this branch has become related to cognitive science. Philosophy_sentence_226

Philosophy of science Philosophy_section_25

Main article: Philosophy of science Philosophy_sentence_227

The philosophy of science explores the foundations, methods, history, implications and purpose of science. Philosophy_sentence_228

Many of its subdivisions correspond to specific branches of science. Philosophy_sentence_229

For example, philosophy of biology deals specifically with the metaphysical, epistemological and ethical issues in the biomedical and life sciences. Philosophy_sentence_230

Political philosophy Philosophy_section_26

Main article: Political philosophy Philosophy_sentence_231

Political philosophy is the study of government and the relationship of individuals (or families and clans) to communities including the state. Philosophy_sentence_232

It includes questions about justice, law, property and the rights and obligations of the citizen. Philosophy_sentence_233

Politics and ethics are traditionally linked subjects, as both discuss the question of how people should live together. Philosophy_sentence_234

Philosophy of religion Philosophy_section_27

Main article: Philosophy of religion Philosophy_sentence_235

Philosophy of religion deals with questions that involve religion and religious ideas from a philosophically neutral perspective (as opposed to theology which begins from religious convictions). Philosophy_sentence_236

Traditionally, religious questions were not seen as a separate field from philosophy proper, the idea of a separate field only arose in the 19th century. Philosophy_sentence_237

Issues include the existence of God, the relationship between reason and faith, questions of religious epistemology, the relationship between religion and science, how to interpret religious experiences, questions about the possibility of an afterlife, the problem of religious language and the existence of souls and responses to religious pluralism and diversity. Philosophy_sentence_238

Metaphilosophy Philosophy_section_28

Metaphilosophy explores the aims of philosophy, its boundaries and its methods. Philosophy_sentence_239

Applied and professional philosophy Philosophy_section_29

Main article: Contemporary philosophy § Outside the profession Philosophy_sentence_240

Some of those who study philosophy become professional philosophers, typically by working as professors who teach, research and write in academic institutions. Philosophy_sentence_241

However, most students of academic philosophy later contribute to law, journalism, religion, sciences, politics, business, or various arts. Philosophy_sentence_242

For example, public figures who have degrees in philosophy include comedians Steve Martin and Ricky Gervais, filmmaker Terrence Malick, Pope John Paul II, Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger, technology entrepreneur Peter Thiel, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Bryer and vice presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. Philosophy_sentence_243

Curtis White has argued that philosophical tools are essential to humanities, sciences and social sciences. Philosophy_sentence_244

Recent efforts to avail the general public to the work and relevance of philosophers include the million-dollar Berggruen Prize, first awarded to Charles Taylor in 2016. Philosophy_sentence_245

Some philosophers argue that this professionalization has negatively affected the discipline. Philosophy_sentence_246

See also Philosophy_section_30

Main article: Outline of philosophy Philosophy_sentence_247


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