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This is a photo of the French philosopher Catherine Perret. Credit: Valueyou.

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with 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]

"Philosophy is a study of problems which are ultimate, abstract and general. These problems are concerned with the nature of existence, knowledge, morality, reason and human purpose."[1]

"The aim of philosophical inquiry is to gain insight into questions about knowledge, truth, reason, reality, meaning, mind, and value."[2]

Theory of philosophy[edit]

"Philosophy is rationally critical thinking, of a more or less systematic kind about the general nature of the world (metaphysics or theory of existence), the justification of belief (epistemology or theory of knowledge), and the conduct of life (ethics or theory of value). Each of the three elements in this list has a non-philosophical counterpart, from which it is distinguished by its explicitly rational and critical way of proceeding and by its systematic nature. Everyone has some general conception of the nature of the world in which they live and of their place in it. Metaphysics replaces the unargued assumptions embodied in such a conception with a rational and organized body of beliefs about the world as a whole. Everyone has occasion to doubt and question beliefs, their own or those of others, with more or less success and without any theory of what they are doing. Epistemology seeks by argument to make explicit the rules of correct belief formation. Everyone governs their conduct by directing it to desired or valued ends. Ethics, or moral philosophy, in its most inclusive sense, seeks to articulate, in rationally systematic form, the rules or principles involved."[3]


  1. a written work, or academic discipline, “that seeks truth through reasoning rather than empiricism”[4]
  2. a "love of wisdom"[5]
  3. a "comprehensive system of belief"[6]
  4. a "view or outlook [regarding fundamental principles underlying][7] of some other domain"[8] is called a philosophy.

Philosophy is often [generally] "divided into five major subtopics [branches]: logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics."[9]

Continental philosophy[edit]

"Continental philosophy is a term used in philosophy to designate one of two major contemporary "traditions" of current Western philosophy. It is so named to distinguish it from analytic philosophy, because, at the time when this, so-called, "Schism between Analytic and Continental Philosophy" first occurred (in the mid-twentieth century), continental philosophy was the dominant style of philosophy in continental Europe, while analytical philosophy was the predominant style in the English-speaking world and in Scandinavia. Continental philosophy is generally agreed to include phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, structuralism, post-structuralism and post-modernism, deconstruction, French feminism, critical theory such as that of the Frankfurt School, psychoanalysis, the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Søren Kierkegaard, and most branches of Marxism and Marxist philosophy (though there also exists a self-described Analytical Marxism)."[3]

Dominant group[edit]

“The dominant group in educational philosophy, if one is to judge by the lists of set texts and required readings at English-speaking universities, is the School of Philosophical Analysis represented by Richard S. Peters, Paul H. Hirst, and Michael Oakeshott, with their American contemporaries Israel Scheffler, William R. Perry, and others who are cited in Chapter 7. Deconstruction, Critical Theory and Post-Modernism figure in Chapters 10 and 12, with scandinavian thinkers from Kierkegaard to Bohr in Chapter 11.”[10]

"But, in Western societies, when litigation does take place, the plaintiff is unable to be heard because the regulation of the conflict takes place in the idiom of one party-the economically dominant group."[11]


"When we examine common words, we find that, broadly speaking, proper names stand for particulars, while other substantives, adjectives, prepositions, and verbs stand for universals."[12]


  1. Philosophers work on unanswerable questions.

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Jenny Teichmann and Katherine C. Evans, Philosophy: A Beginner's Guide (Blackwell Publishing, 1999), p. 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 A.C. Grayling, Philosophy 1: A Guide through the Subject (Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 1
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Anthony Quinton, in T. Honderich (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 666
  4. Verbo (5 June 2009). philosophy. San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  5. Madthales (26 March 2010). "philosophy". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  6. (20 October 2004). "philosophy". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  7. WikiPedant (26 March 2007). "philosophy". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  8. (17 June 2006). "philosophy". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  9. (20 October 2004). "philosophy". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  10. Desmond Keegan (2000). Desmond Keegan, ed. Introduction, In: Theoretical Principles of Distance Education. New York: Routledge. pp. 1–6. ISBN 0-203-98306-8. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  11. Patrick Fitzsimons, Graham Smith (April 2000). "Philosophy and indigenous cultural transformation". Educational Philosophy and Theory 32 (1): 25-41. doi:10.1111/j.1469-5812.2000.tb00430.x. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-5812.2000.tb00430.x/abstract. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  12. Bertrand Russel (1912). Chapter 9, In: The Problems of Philosophy. Retrieved 2014-06-04.

External links[edit]