Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.[1][2] It is distinguished from other ways of addressing fundamental questions (such as mysticism, myth, or religion) by being critical and generally systematic and by its reliance on rational argument.[3] It involves logical analysis of language and clarification of the meaning of words and concepts.

The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek philosophia (φιλοσοφία), which literally means "love of wisdom".[4][5][6]

Branches of philosophy

The branches of philosophy and their sub-branches that are used in contemporary philosophy are as follows.


Aesthetics is study of the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and the creation of personal kinds of truth.


Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies the source, nature and validity of knowledge.


Ethics – study of value and morality.


Logic – the systematic study of the form of valid inference and reasoning.

Also regarded as the separate formal science


Metaphysics – concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it.


Philosophic traditions by region

Regional variations of philosophy.

Africana philosophy

Main article: Africana philosophy

Eastern philosophy

Main article: Eastern philosophy

Middle Eastern Philosophy

Main article: Middle Eastern philosophy

Indigenous American philosophy

Main article: Indigenous American philosophy

Western philosophy

Main article: Western philosophy

History of philosophy

Main article: History of philosophy

The history of philosophy in specific contexts of time and space.

Timeline of philosophy

Main articles: Timeline of philosophers and List of years in philosophy

Ancient and classical philosophy

Main article: Ancient philosophy

Philosophies during ancient history.

Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy

Main articles: Ancient Greek philosophy and Ancient Roman philosophy

Classical Chinese philosophy

Classical Indian philosophy

Medieval and post-classical philosophy

Main article: Medieval philosophy

Philosophies during post-classical history.

Christian philosophy

Main article: Christian philosophy

Islamic philosophy

Main article: Early Islamic philosophy

Jewish philosophy

Main article: Medieval Jewish philosophy

Post-classical Chinese philosophy

Modern and contemporary philosophy

Main article: Modern philosophy

Philosophies during the modern era.

Renaissance philosophy

Main article: Renaissance philosophy

Early modern philosophy

Main article: Early modern philosophy

Contemporary philosophy

Main article: Contemporary philosophy

Philosophical schools of thought

Main articles: List of philosophies and Glossary of philosophy

Philosophical schools of thought not tied to particular historic contexts.

Aesthetical movements

See also: List of art movements

Epistemological stances

Ethical theories

Logical systems

Metaphysical stances

Political philosophies

Philosophy of language theories and stances

Philosophy of mind theories and stances

Philosophy of religion stances

Philosophy of science theories and stances

Philosophical literature

Main article: Philosophy and literature

Reference works

General introduction

Topical introductions




Historical introductions




Modern and contemporary[edit]


Main article: Index of philosophy

See also


  1. ^ Jenny Teichmann and Katherine C. Evans, Philosophy: A Beginner's Guide (Blackwell Publishing, 1999), p. 1: "Philosophy is a study of problems which are ultimate, abstract and very general. These problems are concerned with the nature of existence, knowledge, morality, reason and human purpose."
  2. ^ A.C. Grayling, Philosophy 1: A Guide through the Subject (Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 1: "The aim of philosophical inquiry is to gain insight into questions about knowledge, truth, reason, reality, meaning, mind, and value."
  3. ^ Anthony Quinton, in T. Honderich (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 666: "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."
  4. ^ Philosophia, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus
  5. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  6. ^ The definition of philosophy is: "1.orig., love of, or the search for, wisdom or knowledge 2.theory or logical analysis of the principles underlying conduct, thought, knowledge, and the nature of the universe". Webster's New World Dictionary (Second College ed.).