Updated: Jan 19
What is philosophy? Is it Passive or Active? Is it Fundamental? And why are we concerned? What's with all the "isms"? What are the main branches of philosophy, and how are they interrelated?
What Philosophy is?
When philosophers think of everything, they tend to have a broader view of everything, looking at things further to see how they fit together. And for this tricky question, I believe the answer is simple. "Philosophy is the activity of finding the proper way of thinking things."
Active or Passive?
Therefore, it is crucial to see philosophy as an activity, not a subject, and we must engage in it. To understand the philosophy, you must stay stuck and do it, and you must begin to think about the philosophical issues and how other thinkers have approached them.
Can we avoid it? Is it fundamental?
We can't avoid philosophy. Like everyone else, you live your life with ideas and assumptions about the world that you have gathered along the way.
And Although Some people feel that it is perhaps wrong to say that philosophy is a fundamental issue. If you are a surgeon, you don't ever have to step back and think about philosophical questions like "what a brain is" to be good at your job. There are many things that activities can do without thinking about it philosophically. Besides, philosophy can be very frustrating, so we know that if we are constantly asked "why" for everything we say, this can be a challenging experience.
But It's often said that philosophy asks big or essential questions in some unique sense, and most practical philosophy aims to think clearly about the things that matter most to us.
We can take a step back and ask for a justification, or the articulation of particular hypotheses or presuppositions of what we implore, or think of something in a certain way. You can compare it to what a child does when he continually asks why in response to everything, even asking why your answer to why things happen. But if you take a deeper look at it, you will find that thinking philosophically can help us see past dogma or accepted wisdom that may not be the best version to think or believe.
We can think of many examples where it was crucial that people stepped back and thought, "hold on, is this the right way of thinking about the world and things are"?
so at various times thought out history, it seems okay for people to commit genocide or to enslave people to discriminate against people based on their race or sex; as soon as they step back and think about it, we realize that thinking about it like that can't be right."
Another example, many people believed that the gods had to be angry whenever something terrible happened. They thought their gods wanted them to prove their faithfulness and obedience by making sacrifices, even of their children!
Gradually, people started to question this hypothesis. This idea gave rise to a great reflection on life, God, and human nature.
So, If you're not happy with how things are as you think they should be, you might want to rethink your thoughts on what reality is all about.
This question is what philosophers have been asking for centuries. Of course, we have to distinguish between thinking about things and finding the right way to think about things.
For instance, when we do physics, we study physical reality by building experiments, measuring, and theorizing. But while doing the philosophy of physics, one may wonder: what do we mean by physical reality? How do experimental findings support or refute an assumption?
For instance, consider medieval medicine, when "Four Humors" explained the illnesses. "Four Humors" is blood, flame, black bile, and yellow bile. And if anything goes wrong with you, it will be an imbalance in those "four humors," and you will be dealt with accordingly.
Of course, we no longer think like this. So how does our mindset changed?
It comes with asking questions like:
do we understand that imbalance, whether results support or refute our assumptions, and why our method isn't very successful?
Why do we even care?
People have different thoughts and perspectives on reality. If you can sift through these ideas and make sense of them, you may better understand your reality. Seeing where your ideas came from and how others used them can help you better understand who you are and what your life stands for.
Plato offers sensible advice, "Know Yourself." There are several meanings of this idea, though, knowing what you want, knowing your limitations, weaknesses, and how others see you.
These are some of the potential significance of this maxim. The idea reinforces the famous statement made by Plato's teacher, Socrates: "The unexamined life is not worth living."
People engage in philosophy when they think of life and all within it.
The word philosophy means "love of wisdom."
From ancient Greek eve, where people started thinking about life and call themselves philosophers, philosophy at this old-time and for centuries afterward had a vast scope. Philosophy was linked to many subjects separated from it after that, like science, math, theology, psychology, and sociology.
The Ancient Greeks didn't distinguish these fields from philosophy. As
philosophers, these were all practiced. Philosophy, of course, still applies to all of those areas so that you can study the philosophy of science alongside science, as we mentioned earlier.
Why all these "Isms"?
Philosophers may be challenging to comprehend. That's because they often use words that have a highly developed lexicon (a specialized vocabulary, or group of terms used by a particular group of people and not shared by most everyone else. The philosophical lexicon is large because philosophy has many subdivisions and categories. Each has different movements; an "ism" is a belief system or way of thinking that considers specific ideas to be true.
For instance, if you believe that "Superman" holds the answer to the most profound questions of life, and you "supermanisez" your understanding of life, then you believe in "Supermanism." Some of the "isms" within philosophy include sophism, skepticism, stoicism, mysticism, Taoism, empiricism, rationalism, idealism, naturalism, materialism, existentialism, and that doesn't have all the isms named after people (like Freudianism) and periods (like early post-modernism).
What are the main branches of philosophy, and how are they interrelated?
Moreover, philosophers state subdivisions within philosophy to deal with the deep questions they ask; subdivisions have to deal with (Being, Knowing, and Acting)? These subdivisions are:
1- Ontology (The study of being or existence)
2- Epistemology (The study of Knowing)
3- Ethics (The study of how to act)
Even though you think about these three different subjects separately, they all work together to make philosophy what it is; different philosophies emphasize these subjects.
Most philosophers expand their foundational ideas.
For example, A philosopher's epistemology and ethics are derived from his ontology; so his ideas about knowledge and how he should act are based on his thoughts about existence.
And that's what we will discuss in detail in the following articles. We will go through every subdivision individually and then see how they integrate at the end.