Topics: Philosophy, Metaphysics, Western philosophy Pages: 45 (15180 words) Published: February 21, 2013
The History of Philosophy is often divided into three periods: Ancient philosophy, Medieval philosophy, and Modern philosophy.

Philosophy is the discipline concerned with questions of how one should live (ethics); what sorts of things exist and what are their essential natures (metaphysics); what counts as genuine knowledge (epistemology); and what are the correct principles of reasoning (logic). The word is of Ancient Greek origin (philosophía), meaning love of wisdom.

Definition of philosophy:

Every definition of philosophy is controversial. The field has historically expanded and changed depending upon what kinds of questions were interesting or relevant in a given era. It is generally agreed that philosophy is a method, rather than a set of claims, propositions, or theories. Its investigations are based upon rational thinking, striving to make no unexamined assumptions and no leaps based on faith or pure analogy. Different philosophers have had varied ideas about the nature of reason. There is also disagreement about the subject matter of philosophy. Some think that philosophy examines the process of inquiry itself. Others, that there are essentially philosophical propositions which it is the task of philosophy to answer. Although the word "philosophy" originates in Ancient Greece, many figures in the history of other cultures have addressed similar topics in similar ways. The philosophers of East and South Asia are discussed in Eastern philosophy, while the philosophers of North Africa and the Middle East, because of their strong interactions with Europe, are usually considered part of Western philosophy.

Branches of philosophy:

"The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as to seem not worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it." To give an exhaustive list of the main divisions of philosophy is difficult, because various topics have been studied by philosophers at various times. Ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, and logic are usually included. Other topics include politics, aesthetics, and religion. In addition, most academic subjects have a philosophy, for example the philosophy of science, the philosophy of mathematics, and the philosophy of history. Metaphysics was first studied systematically by Aristotle. He did not use that term; the term emerged because in later editions of Aristotle's works the book on what is now called metaphysics came after Aristotle's study of physics. He calls the subject "first philosophy" (or sometimes just "wisdom"), and says it is the subject that deals with "first causes and the principles of things". The modern meaning of the term is any inquiry dealing with the ultimate nature of what exists. Epistemology is concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge, and whether knowledge is possible. Ethics, or 'moral philosophy', is concerned with questions of how agents ought to act. Plato's early dialogues constitute a search for definitions of virtue. Metaethics is the study of whether ethical value judgments can be objective at all. Ethics can also be conducted within a religious context. Logic has two broad divisions: mathematical logic (formal symbolic logic) and what is now called philosophical logic, the logic of language.

Greek philosophy and Hellenistic philosophy:

Ancient Greek philosophy may be divided into the pre-Socratic period, the Socratic period, and the post-Aristotelian period (or Hellenistic period). The pre-Socratic period was characterized by metaphysical speculation, often preserved in the form of grand, sweeping statements, such as "All is fire" or "All changes". Important pre-Socratic philosophers include Pythagoras, Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Democritus, Parmenides, Heraclitus, and Empedocles. The Socratic period is named in honor of Socrates, who, along with his pupil Plato, revolutionized philosophy through the use of the Socratic method, which developed the very...
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