has almost as many definitions as there have been philosophers, both as a subject matter and an activity, and no simple definition can do it justice. The issue of the definition of philosophy is thus a controversial subject that is nowadays tackled by Metaphilosophy
(or the philosophy of philosophy). The word is derived from the ancient Greek words philo-
, to love or to befriend, and -sophia
, wisdom. Modern usage of the term is much broader; the concept of philosophy encompasses all of knowledge and all that can be known, including the means by which such knowledge can be acquired. However, in the contemporary English-speaking academic world, the term is often used implicitly to refer to analytic philosophy
and, in non-English speaking countries, it often refers implicitly to a different, European strain, continental philosophy
. The ancient Greeks organized the subject into five basic categories: metaphysics
. This organization of the subject is still largely in use in Western philosophy
Thought or thinking is a mental process which allows beings to model the world, and so to deal with it effectively according to their goals, plans, ends and desires. Words referring to similar concepts and processes in the English language include cognition, sentience, consciousness, idea, and imagination. Thinking involves the cerebral manipulation of information, as when we form concepts, engage in problem solving, reason and make decisions.
Thinking is a higher cognitive function and the analysis of thinking processes is part of cognitive psychology.
Philosophy – The study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.
- Branches of philosophy
- Aesthetics – The study of the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty.
- Epistemology – The study of knowledge and belief.
- Ethics – The study of the right, the good, and the valuable. Includes study of applied ethics.
- Sexual ethics – The study of sexual relations rooted in particular behaviors and standards.
- Logic – The study of good reasoning, by examining the validity of arguments and documenting their fallacies.
- Metaphysics – traditional branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it, although the term is not easily defined.
- Atheism – the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.
- Critical theory – examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities.
- Humanism – approach in study, philosophy, worldview or practice that focuses on human values and concerns.
- Transhumanism – international intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. It is often abbreviated as H+ or h+.
- Political philosophies:
- Anarchism – political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy.
- Libertarianism – political philosophy that advocates minimization of the government and maximization of individual liberty and political freedom.
- Philosophical debates:
Thought – mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas.