What is Philosophy?

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What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is one of the oldest and most controversial subjects that mankind has ever come up with. It is has mostly been a source of questions on every facet of human life while offering very little in the form of answers that are acceptable to a wider portion of the population. The word philosophy is derived from Greek meaning love for wisdom. Philosophers may have a love for wisdom but that is often the only thing that they have in common with each other. With an endless number of subjects that are addressed in all kinds of ways it is very difficult to give an exact definition of philosophy.

Philosophy seeks to comprehensively understand the existence of human beings by addressing ethics, knowledge and other similar issues. Through observation and reasoning, philosophers have over the years brought out questions pertaining to human life and tried to provide answers to these questions. These are issues that have not been addressed by other scholars or fields of study because they do not fit under these fields. In the earlier days, philosophy encompassed the natural studies of mathematics and science. Today the study of philosophy involves the questions that cannot be addressed by either of these fields. These are mostly speculative issues that cannot be addressed by employing scientific methods. However when addressing these speculative issues, philosophy must come up with hypothesis that satisfy reason and that have some form of evidence to back them.

Modern philosophy is divided into four broad branches that are; logic, which looks into rational thinking, metaphysics which addresses issue of nature, ethics that looks into right and wrong and how it relates to morality and practicality and finally epistemology which is a study of knowledge. These branches will almost always overlap with each other due to the interrelated nature of the subject addressed by each. Often you will find that many philosophers will also be historians due to the nature of the questions that they seek to address most of which have historical significance or reference. Most philosophical arguments will progress through the four branches of this broad study and will demand intelligence, courage, patience, discipline and humility to be able to successfully handle them.

The teachings of philosophy can be applied in most areas of life due to the fact that its teachings are developed through addressing very many subjects. Philosophy can be applied in general problem solving through analysis, definition and arguments that are organized around ideas and issues of ethics, values and other philosophical subjects. Philosophical teachings also come into play in persuasion as they enable the presentation and formulation of arguments that are ethical, logical and based on some form or evidence. These two examples prove that philosophy as a subject and its techniques are interrelated and encompass almost all areas of life.

Philosophy demands a high level of reasoning from those who practice and study it. It also requires extensive study of issues and involves qualifying as opposed to quantify the issues of life.

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