Meaning and Definition of Philosophy
The term “Philosophy” is derived from two Greek words, Philia meaning “to love” or “to befriend” and, Sophia meaning “wisdom.” Thus, philosophy, means “the love of wisdom”. It was coined by Pythagoras, one of the sages of ancient Greece, born about the year 584 B.C. Philosophy is an activity people undertake when they seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationships to the world and to each other. As an academic discipline philosophy is much the same. Those who study philosophy are perpetually engaged in asking, answering, and arguing for their answers to life’s most basic questions. To make such a pursuit more systematic academic philosophy is traditionally divided into major areas of study.
Characteristics of Philosophy
Philosophy is distinguished from theology in that philosophy rejects dogma and deals with speculation rather than faith. Covers areas of inquiry where no facts as such are available. Philosophy attains knowledge, not by making use of the principles or articles of faith, but by the use of the principle of natural cognition, which may be obtained from the investigation of nature and the natural study of things.
Methods of Philosophy
Philosophy investigates the ultimate causes of things, it is enough for it to part from unquestionable experience. It employs rational inference as its main instrumentality. Hence, it is experiential, but chiefly rational.
Philosophy uses the rational method in solving problems. The rational method means not only reasoning but also contemplation combined with and confirmed by experience, observation, reflection and tradition. Philosophy as a Science and as an Art
Philosophy is a science that systematically develops a hypothesis with the use of analytical tools that would help resolve the problem through logical reasoning. It is open for debates as a human endeavor to seek the truth through learnt knowledge.
Philosophy is an art because you require inherent skills & natural ability to apply the philosophical principles. Philosophy stands at the pinnacle of artistic pursuits. Philosophy is the crystallization of artistic expression.
Distinction and Commonalities between Science and Philosophy a) Objects - Both science and philosophy attempts to understand and explain nature and reality. Science asks what and how and is only concerned with measurable data. In philosophy, it also asks why and is also concerned with things that can’t be measured.
b) Methods - The methods of both science and philosophy is done through observation and rationality. The only difference is that science uses instruments while philosophy only uses reflection.
c) Procedure - Both science and philosophy starts with a thing that is unknown which you want to know something about. The only difference between the two is that science uses scientific method to come up with a result while philosophy don’t.
d) Conclusions - Both science and philosophy raises questions even after they have come up with a conclusion. Science’ conclusion, if proven, may become a law while in philosophy is only a way of how to look at things and can’t become a law.
Main Branches of Philosophy
It is a branch of philosophy that studies the ultimate structure and constitution of reality. It is usually concerned with questions such as, what is being, what is a thing, what is the thing hood of things and what makes our world a world of things at all? Aristotle, Plato and Aquinas are some of the people who supported Metaphysics.
Also known as moral philosophy, the field of ethics involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. Philosophers in this branch attempts to answer questions such as: what is good? What is right? Is morality objective or subjective? How should I treat others? Immanuel Kant and Plato are some who advocated ethics....
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