Before beginning to define which are the main branches of philosophy , we must know the etymology of that word. The word philosophy comes from the ancient Greek language and is a word composed of ” fileîn “, which means “love”, and the word ” sofia “, which means “wisdom”. Therefore, the literal translation of philosophy is “love of wisdom . ” What are the main branches of philosophy?
Philosophy is the science that is responsible for finding answers to the questions arising from fundamental problems such as existence, knowledge, truth, morality, beauty, mind and language, among others, using rational arguments above arguments from authority.
In general, the philosopher conducts his research in a non-empirical way , using conceptual analysis, speculation, thought experiments and any other similar method as methods, without ignoring, of course, the importance of empirical data (based on experience ).
Philosophy has a long and rich history, dating back to the 6th century BC in Greece. It arises as a result of the different questions that the man made in relation to everything that surrounded him. Such questions led him to seek a rational explanation at a time marked by many myths and legends.
Talking about philosophy always brings to our minds the ancient Greek civilization, with its great exponents such as:
- Thales of Miletus , who is considered the first philosopher of Western culture.
- Heraclitus , who was nicknamed “the dark man of Ephesus.”
- Pythagoras , great philosopher and mathematician.
- Socrates , considered the wisest philosopher of the Greeks.
- Plato , who was the first to study the body as something separate from the Soul.
- Aristotle , who sought the ultimate essence of the human being, among many other great thinkers of this millenary culture. What are the main branches of philosophy?
Talking about the branches of philosophy implies focusing on the present, because throughout history this science, as well as the problems it studies, have varied. Such is the case of the study of the heavens, which today we call astronomy, but which at the beginning of philosophy was one of its objects of study.
Here is a brief description of some of the areas of study that philosophy encompasses today.
This is a word of Greek origin composed of two terms: “ metà ” (beyond, after) and “ physika ” (physical) and whose meaning is “ beyond the physical ”.
This branch of philosophy studies the nature, structure, components and principles that underpin reality. This includes the investigation and clarification of some fundamental concepts that we use to understand the world, such as being, existence, entity, property, time and space, to name just a few.
As its name indicates, metaphysics goes beyond the physical to try to explain questions related to being, to the essence, for which it focuses its attention on everything that transcends the physical. Look for answers that answer the question What?
His study is divided into two large areas:
1.1. THE ONTOLOGY
Its objective is the study of being and its essence . Its basic premise is the study of what there is. Try to answer general questions like what is matter? God exists? What makes an object real? As well as studying the way in which existing entities are related, or the relationship between an act (Carlos drank water) and its participants (Carlos and the water).
It is the discipline that focuses its objective on the study of God and his essence . It pursues the understanding of the divine nature through reason.
Metaphysics uses various forms or approaches to answer the questions it poses. One of these approaches is through induction . Or it also does it through speculation . His method is to build a simple whole based on assumptions, to use it as a starting point until you find the answers you are looking for.
This term comes from the Greek “gnosis” which means knowledge, and from “logos” which means reasoning. It is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature, origin and limits of knowledge. Not in some particular form of knowledge, but in the nature of knowledge in general. The objective of gnoseology is to reflect on the origin , essence or nature, and the limits of the cognitive act (the act of knowing). What are the main branches of philosophy?
Epistemology encompasses three different types of knowledge:
2.1. PROPOSITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
They are knowledge based on a proposition that is known to be true. When it is said that 3 + 1 = 4, or that the earth revolves around the sun, propositions are used, the results of which are known.
2.2. PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE
Awarded when you learn to use a skill or ability . For example, riding a bike, or swimming, or writing an email.
2.3. DIRECT OR OBJECTIVE KNOWLEDGE
It comes from the knowledge of another entity , an entity being any person, animal, plant or object. For example, say that we know our brother, or that we know that song.
Contemporary gnoseology the greatest effort focuses mainly on propositional knowledge.
The word Epistemology comes from the Greek “epistḗmē”, which means knowledge and “lógo”, which means study . Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that focuses on the study of scientific knowledge . Knowledge that is reached through reflection, fundamentals and the relationship with the environment itself. What are the main branches of philosophy?
Epistemology must analyze the coherence of the reasoning s that lead to knowledge. This knowledge must follow a methodology based on the objectives, the historical context, limitations, sociological context.
To understand epistemology we must answer the following questions: What scientific knowledge can we achieve? or what is the same, what can we know? and what methods should we use? .
Epistemology must examine the limits of knowledge and for this, it must consider whether the methods that have been used for knowledge respond satisfactorily to the questions that have been generated from ignorance.
For this reason, it is very important to evaluate the methodology used, both positively and negatively. Epistemology may come to question whether it is useful to analyze animal behavior through experiments, to extract knowledge about human behavior.
However, we must differentiate it from the methodology, since it deals with physical issues. Thus and continuing with the previous example, the methodology will focus on whether the laboratory conditions were correct or whether the animal chosen for the scientific study is the ideal one.
The word ” logic ” has its origin in the ancient Greek ” logikḗ “, which means “endowed with reason.” Logic is the formal science derived from philosophy (and closely related to mathematics) that studies the principles of proof and valid inference, fallacies, paradoxes, and the notion of truth.
Inference is the object of study for logic, just as life is for biology and matter for chemistry.
Three kinds of inferences are generally distinguished:
- Deduction : it is the argument where the conclusion reached is necessarily inferred from the premises (propositions).
- Induction : refers to the reasoning that studies the tests that allow to measure the probability of the arguments, as well as the rules to build strong inductive arguments.
- Abduction : generates a hypothesis from the description of an event or phenomenon, to explain the possible reasons or motives for the event through the premises obtained.
The word ethics comes from the Greek language ” ēthikós ” which means “the form”, and is one of the branches of philosophy that studies human behavior from the perspective of the actions of the individual. What is right and wrong, happiness, duty, virtue, morality and good living are all objects of study in this branch of philosophy.
Ethics and morals are often confused, although they are not the same. While morality represents the set of norms, rules, beliefs, values, customs and conventions that guide the conduct of people in society, ethics represents the study of morality. It becomes the theoretical explanation of morality. That is, morality is the norms that regulate behavior and ethics is the explanatory study of norms.
It was the philosopher Socrates who first theorized the basic moral concepts: good and virtue. And so he put it: “the greatest good of man is to speak of virtue every day of his life”
The word aesthetic is derived from the word of Greek origin ” aisthetikê “, and means “sensation, perception”. This branch of philosophy studies the perception of beauty and its essence ; studies art and its qualities such as beauty, the eminent, and the ugly or dissonant; studies the origin of pure feeling manifested as art. It is the study of perception in general, whether it is sensory or understood more broadly.
Aesthetics also studies the laws of the development of art, the attitude of art towards reality, its role in society, as well as the methods and forms of artistic creation. What are the main branches of philosophy?
It is the branch of philosophy that studies how the relationship between society and the individuals that compose it should be . Fundamental questions about government, politics, laws, freedom, equality, property, justice, rights, political power, the application of a legal code by authority, as well as questions of a general nature such as: what makes a legitimate government? What obligations does a citizen have with his government? What freedoms should a government protect?
This branch of philosophy has an intimate relationship with ethics, since the adequacy of a governmental institution will largely depend on answering the question of what kind of life is considered the most suitable for that group.
Philosophy of language
It is the branch of philosophy that studies the fundamentals of language in a general way. The nature of meaning and reference, interpretation, translation and the limits of language are some of the objects of study of this science. What are the main branches of philosophy?
Philosophy of mind
It is the branch of philosophy that studies perceptions, emotions, fantasies, thoughts, dreams, beliefs and everything related to the mind.
Philosophy of history
This science studies the way in which human beings create history.
Philosophy of nature
It is the branch of philosophy responsible for the study of phenomena that are characterized as natural, beginning with movement and passing through the composition of the things that make up reality, the human body and the cosmos. What are the main branches of philosophy?