Philosophy

Topics: Philosophy, Western philosophy, Metaphysics Pages: 29 (10008 words) Published: June 25, 2013
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.[1][2] Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument.[3] In more casual speech, by extension, "philosophy" can refer to "the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group".[4] The word "philosophy" comes from the Ancient Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means "love of wisdom".[5][6][7] The introduction of the terms "philosopher" and "philosophy" has been ascribed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.[8] Contents [hide]

1 Areas of inquiry
1.1 Epistemology
1.2 Logic
1.3 Metaphysics
1.4 Moral and political philosophy
1.5 Aesthetics
1.6 Specialized branches
2 History
2.1 Ancient philosophy
2.1.1 Egypt and Babylon
2.1.2 Ancient Chinese
2.1.3 Ancient Graeco-Roman
2.1.4 Ancient Indian
2.1.5 Ancient Persian
2.2 5th–16th centuries
2.2.1 Europe
2.2.1.1 Medieval
2.2.1.2 Renaissance
2.2.2 East Asia
2.2.3 India
2.2.4 Middle East
2.3 17th–20th centuries
2.3.1 Early modern philosophy
2.3.2 19th-century philosophy
2.3.3 20th-century philosophy
3 Major traditions
3.1 German idealism
3.2 Pragmatism
3.3 Phenomenology
3.4 Existentialism
3.5 Structuralism and post-structuralism
3.6 The analytic tradition
4 Applied philosophy
5 See also
6 References
7 Further reading
7.1 Introductions
7.2 Topical introductions
7.3 Anthologies
7.4 Reference works
8 External links
Areas of inquiry

Philosophy is divided into many sub-fields. These include epistemology, logic, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics.[9][10] Some of the major areas of study are considered individually below. Epistemology

Main article: Epistemology
Epistemology is concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge,[11] such as the relationships between truth, belief, and theories of justification. Skepticism is the position which questions the possibility of completely justifying any truth. The regress argument, a fundamental problem in epistemology, occurs when, in order to completely prove any statement P, its justification itself needs to be supported by another justification. This chain can do three possible options, all of which are unsatisfactory according to the Münchhausen trilemma. One option is infinitism, where this chain of justification can go on forever. Another option is foundationalism, where the chain of justifications eventually relies on basic beliefs or axioms that are left unproven. The last option, such as in coherentism, is making the chain circular so that a statement is included in its own chain of justification. Rationalism is the emphasis on reasoning as a source of knowledge. Empiricism is the emphasis on observational evidence via sensory experience over other evidence as the source of knowledge. Rationalism claims that every possible object of knowledge can be deduced from coherent premises without observation. Empiricism claims that at least some knowledge is only a matter of observation. For this, Empiricism often cites the concept of tabula rasa, where individuals are not born with mental content and that knowledge builds from experience or perception. Epistemological solipsism is the idea that the existence of the world outside the mind is an unresolvable question. Parmenides (fl. 500 BC) argued that it is impossible to doubt that thinking actually occurs. But thinking must have an object, therefore something beyond thinking really exists. Parmenides deduced that what really exists must have certain properties—for example, that it cannot come into existence or cease to exist, that it is a coherent whole, that it remains the same eternally (in fact, exists altogether outside time). This is known as the third man argument. Plato (427–347 BC) combined rationalism with a form of realism. The philosopher's work is to...
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