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Philosophy Definition


Rajat: Hello, Kartik; what Knowledge Means to You?

Kartik: Knowledge is a fact, information acquired through education and experience.

Philosophy Definition

This is one of the discussions between two friends; they are trying to understand some basic universal truths. Have you ever tried to think about the basis for this Knowledge? Let us find out how some fundamental questions find their answers. Numerous branches help to understand reality and give answers to universal questions. Many universal questions are necessary to understand, for example, what is Knowledge, what idea means to you, etc.

Have you ever thought that numerous realities in the world have different meanings? The world is very large and consists of numerous natural concepts, ideas, and people. We witnessed different types of Knowledge that help to understand humans and natural features like mountains, rivers, forests, etc. From Older times, we know that many people are involved in developing Knowledge and trying to spread Knowledge by creating pictures, graphics, and statues.

In every period of history, we find different types of figures that depict the examples or lifestyles of that period. Looking outside, we find a statue of great philosophers like Pluto, Socrates, etc., representing the Knowledge that developed in ancient times. It creates a basis for different other concepts, like what freedom is. Not only the statues of Liberty but numerous other statues are also developed worldwide, which does some revelation. Have you ever thought about the concept behind this Knowledge?

In this article, we try to understand the meaning of one of the most remarkable theories that create the basis for the development of other disciplines. Philosophy is one of the earliest theories to explain fundamental questions.

What is Philosophy?

The meaning of the word Philosophy is the love of wisdom. It is one of the most notable theories in human history which try to study fundamental questions. Philosophy is the systematic study of fundamental and general questions of the universe. It tries to give answers about existence, reason, Knowledge, values, mind, and language. According to some theories, this term was coined by Pythagoras, but some scholars dispute the claim of this theory. The ambit of philosophy is very large; it includes several methods to get answers; for instance, it involves questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation to find answers to universal questions.

The philosopher is the guy who tries to find answers to universal questions. Philosophy encompasses all bodies of Knowledge, especially those theories that explain universal questions. Natural Philosophy is one of the examples of philosophy that originated in ancient India and Ancient Greek, and it includes astronomy, medicine, and physics.

For instance, Isaac Newton's mathematical principle of Natural Philosophy was later known as the classified physics book. With the advent of the 19th, the growth in education led to the growth of research universities, creating a basis for other disciplines to professionalize and specialize. And with the advancement in education and research, different areas of investigation traditionally included in philosophy have become separate subjects in academic disciplines. The most notable disciplines are psychology, sociology, linguistics, and economics.

With time, new concepts and ideas developed; for example, today, major subfields of academic philosophy include metaphysics. Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy related to the fundamental nature of existence and reality. It also includes epistemology, which studies the nature of Knowledge and belief. Ethics is also part of it that is concerned with moral values; and logic. Some other notable subfields included in philosophy are the philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, political philosophy, aesthetics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind.

There are numerous scholars in philosophy, and their Knowledge and understanding of the universe supplemented the subjects. From ancient to modern times, numerous theories given by scholars shaped philosophy as a whole subject. Some of the most notable scholars include Plato and Socrates.

Plato was one of the greatest thinkers of all time, an ancient Greek philosopher born in Athens. Plato gave birth to numerous theories, he founded Academy where he taught philosophy doctrine, and this Academy, later known as Platonism.

Branches of Philosophy:

In the above paragraphs, we discussed the definition of philosophy. With the advancement of Knowledge and research, the scope of philosophy is not limited to any particular field or stream. With time, numerous branches of philosophy develop. These branches are used to assimilate Knowledge related to them. For example, when we talk about ethics, it consists of moral principles.

Similarly, other fields also developed. Important philosophical questions can be grouped into different branches. These groupings allow philosophers to focus on a set of similar topics. This grouping of topics also helps interact with other thinkers trying to find the answers to the same questions. The division of subjects into several branches is neither exhaustive nor mutually exclusive. Also, these philosophical inquiries overlap and have similarities with other inquiries such as science, religion, or mathematics.

1. Aesthetics:

The aesthetic is one of the most famous branches of philosophy. The word aesthetic is related to the beauty or appreciation of beauty. It is regarded as a critical reflection on art, culture, and nature. Under the aesthetic as a branch, we find the nature of art, beauty and taste, enjoyment, emotional values, perception, and the creation and appreciation of beauty. Most precisely, it is considered as sensory or sensory emotional values. Sometimes it was observed as a judgment of sentiment and taste. The major aesthetic sub-branch was founded on art, literature, film, and music theories.

2. Ethics:

As we already know, moral value is the basis for good character. Life with moral values is worth living. When we discuss moral values, it is necessary to discuss Ethics. Ethics is one of the most important and notable branches of philosophy. With ethics, philosophy is complete. It creates a basis for the development of other branches. Let us discuss how ethics is regarded as an important branch of philosophy.

Ethics is considered a moral philosophy that differentiates your actions from good and bad conduct, right and wrong values, and good and evil. Ethics' primary aim is to live a good life full of moral values and identify high standards of morality. Ethics identify the ways that are the best way to live or not. If it is not, then find ways to learn about it. There are numerous branches of ethics, including normative ethics, meta-ethics, and applied ethics.

Apart from these branches, certain other ethics inquiries help identify what constitutes moral actions. These inquiries are -


Consequentialism is the branch of ethics that judges your actions based on their consequences. Consequences are the key to consequentialism. In consequentialism, we studied utilitarianism, which judges action based on the amount of net happiness or pleasure and the lack of suffering or pain the action produces. This branch's basis is maximizing happiness for a maximum number of people.


This branch of Ethics is based on action, not the consequences of the action. Deontology judges actions based on the morality of the action. If it follows one moral duty, then it is moral and right action. Immanuel Kant defends this branch. Deontology found its basis in respect of choice, which means it respects the moral agency of other people regardless of its consequences.

Virtue ethics-

Virtue is related to the values that are present inside the human. This branch of Ethics judges actions based on the moral character of the agents who perform them. It is based on values, or we can say what virtuous people do.

In today's times, ethics is considered one of the essential branches of philosophy. We are in the 21st century, and people started losing their core values. We find numerous examples where people comprise their values for pleasure. Ethics helps people to live meaningful and dignified life. Ethics supports creating happiness. People with high ethical and moral values are happy because it gives a sense of pride. It helps ethical people to be progressive in every field. Ethical people never discriminate against anyone based on any parameters; for them, everyone is equal. If society is ethical, then there is social cohesion between the people.

3. Political Philosophy:

The most popular branch of philosophy is political philosophy. Political philosophy helps us to understand the political nature of society. There are various types of government all over the world. For example, we find democracy in the U.S.A.

And India, constitutional monarchy in the U.K., anarchy in Myanmar, etc. This branch of philosophy helps us understand the country's current political nature and relationship with individuals. In other words, political philosophy is the study of government and the relationship of individuals with the state. This branch tries to find the answers to the most discussed universal questions, such as justice, law, rights, and the obligation of citizens toward the state.

Ethics, aesthetics, and political science are related subjects. They are part of value theory because they involve normative and evaluative aspects of the subject. Political science is not new, but it has roots in ancient times. This subject has been one of the most important in the education system since ancient times. Political philosophy taught how to rule and deal with the state's people. This theory got impetus in ancient Greeks when philosophers like Pluto and Socrates started discussing this subject. These ancient philosophers created the basis for the development of other related subjects.

4. Philosophy of religion:

Religion is one of the most discussed subjects of philosophy. Religion is defined as faith and belief in any ideal or thought. This branch of philosophy involves a discussion about religion and its related concepts. Philosophy of religion tries to find the answers to religion and religious ideas from the perspective of philosophy, as against the theories of religious convictions. From ancient times questions related to religious ideas and religion are not treated as separate subjects. With the advent of the 19th century, questions related to religious ideas were treated as different branches of philosophy. This branch of philosophy tries to find the basic questions related to religion. For instance, they try to find the existence of God, the existing relationship between reason and faith,

Questions related to religious epistemology, science, and religious relationships. Also, it accounts for religious experience, the question regarding the possibility of the afterlife, the existence of the soul, diversity, etc.

As we witnessed different forces in religion, the most notable one is religious fundamentalism. Religious fundamentalism is one of the most discussed issues of current times. This is the basis for a large number of religious killings. This one community thinks they are superior to others, leading to civil war. Not every religion in the world promotes violence; all religions promote peace. Religion is the elemental force to unite people; this can be used positively to transform society. Religious philosophy is very important as it helps philosophers to understand the society in the true sense.

5. Philosophy of science:

Science is best described as Knowledge of any kind. Science tries to explore the fundamental questions of the universe. The philosophy of science helps us to understand the foundation, methods used, history, and purpose of science. Philosophy of science helps to understand the implications of science in current times. There are subdivisions in the philosophy of science; for example, the philosophy of biology includes questions related to metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical issues in the biomedical and life sciences. Due to the philosophy of science, we can find the answers to fundamental questions. For instance, Newton's laws are one example that helps us understand the basis behind the motion.

Similarly, other fundamental questions are answered with the help of the philosophy of science. Science is one of the largest branches of philosophy; apart from that, it includes numerous sub-branches. Under this philosophy, philosophers always try to find the answers to those questions that are visible and non-visible to us but have an impact on us. For example, they try to find the logic behind an apple falling from tea, the motion of a person, gravity, etc. All these together make this philosophy one of the most important branches of philosophy.

6. Epistemology:

The branch of philosophy in which Knowledge is studied is known as epistemology. It is regarded as one of the most important branches of philosophy; it examines Knowledge in every possible way. Under epistemology, scholars examine putative sources of Knowledge, including perceptual experience, reason, memory, and testimony. Apart from that, epistemology also tries to find answers to those questions that involve the nature of truth, belief, justification, and rationality. In philosophy's history, numerous doubts have been raised against Knowledge, all of which are taken into philosophical skepticism. This school emerged in the Pre - Socratic times but got formalized after its founder Pyrraho started a Western school of philosophical skepticism.

This school thoroughly studied the works of modern philosophers René Descartes and David Hume. Even in today's times, it has remained a central topic in contemporary epistemological debates. The most remarkable debates in epistemology are between Empiricism and rationalism.

Under Empiricism, the emphasis is on observational evidence with the help of sensory experience as the source of Knowledge. Empiricism is linked with Knowledge obtained from experience, such as scientific Knowledge. On the other hand, rationalism emphasizes reason as the source of Knowledge. Under rationalism knowledge is independent of experience; for example, it includes logic, mathematics, etc. The most remarkable modern debate of epistemology is the condition required for the constitution of Knowledge, including truth and justification.

And this debate is due to the attempt to solve the problem of Gettier. Another notable debate in epistemology is the regress problem, which occurs when we offer proof or justification for any belief, statement, or proposition.

This branch of philosophy is very important as it helps to develop Knowledge based on experience. Knowledge without experience is nothing; if it is supplemented with proofs and justification, it becomes a full theory.

Philosophers in Philosophy:

Scholars, philosophers, theorists, and critics are the backbone of any subject. They offer different theories necessary for the further development of existing theories. From ancient times we witnessed many scholars who contributed to the development of philosophy. Philosophers who try to study philosophy become professional philosophers. They do that by working as professors in educational institutions, doing research, or writing in academic institutions. But the advancement in philosophy is not limited to only philosophy but also spreads to other subjects. Philosophers who are part of academic philosophy later contributed to the development of law, journalism, religion, sciences, politics, business, and various arts.

Some of the most notable figures in other fields are students of philosophy, for example, comedians Steve Martin and Ricky Gervais, Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger, technology entrepreneur Peter Thiel, and U.S. vice presidential candidate Carly. Numerous scholars in the field of philosophy contributed to the development of these subjects. Most scholars continue as academic philosophers, while others choose other professions; some claim that professionalization in philosophy has negatively affected the discipline.

Women in Philosophy:

Philosophy was a subject dominated by men scholars initially, but with the advancement in education, women became scholars. Despite being dominated by men, philosophy as a subject has seen a huge engagement of women throughout history. There are numerous female philosophers of ancient times; the most remarkable are Hipparchia of Maroneia and Arete of Cyrene. Some women philosophers tried to preach philosophy in medieval and modern eras but only became part of the Western canon in the 20th and 21st centuries. With the entry of G.E.M. Anscombe, Hannah Arendt, bell hooks, Simone de Beauvoir, and Simone Weil, the scope of modern philosophy was enlarged. With the further advancement in education, women demanded more rights for them. In the early 1800s, numerous colleges and universities in U.K. and U.S.A. started admitting many female academics. But the study in the U.S.A. found that only some women ended up in philosophy.

The Conclusion:

According to some studies, philosophy is one of the least gender-proportionate fields in the humanities, with women making up between 17% and 30% of the philosophy faculty. Despite numerous challenges, prominent 21st-century philosophers include Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Martha Onora O'Neill, and Nancy Fraser.

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