What is philosophy... and particularly political philosophy? Philosophy is a broad or specific study of areas concerned with existence, values, ethics, knowledge and reason. The word philosophy is rooted in the Greek word philosophia which literally meant ‘the love of knowledge’ So questioning human existence is one example: Does God really exists etc. Important as well are questions about what we know and what we can know; both constitute the area of philosophy known as epistemology (the theory of knowledge) Ethics is also a part of philosophy dealing with human conduct. What responsibilities do we have to ourselves as well as others? The study of political philosophy asks questions surrounding a just society and or state. David Rafael defines political philosophy as a doctrine or ideology setting up norms or ideal standards for the society. He claims that the ideal philosophy tells us what we ought to be or to do. In this regard political philosophy differs from political science. Political science seeks to explain facts as instances of general laws, but political philosophy is more idealistic. Hence;
philosophy- what ought to be done (idealist)
science- what actually happens/ based on facts (more realist) In studying philosophy, a central feature or one can say is the most dominant feature is the Western Civilization. Western civilization should not be confused as a geographical concept. As noted by Ebenstein and Ebenstein (2000) “Its birthplace is the Mediterranean ¬ Greece, Palestine and Italy. From there it spread through Europe and the Middle East. A penetration into Asia and Africa lasted for several centuries.” Importantly, the spread of the west should not be confused with mere colonial expansion. It’s broader than that. It is the way of thought, Language yes, but religion, ethics, morals, ideas of life and livelihood are only some of the broader areas that the “West” embodies. E.g. Less than two hundred and fifty years old, the United States...
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