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Branches of Philosophy

Ethics or Moral Philosophy


At its simplest, ethics is a system of moral principles. They affect how people
make decisions and lead their lives.
Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also
described as moral philosophy.
The term is derived from the Greek word ethos which can mean custom,
habit, character or disposition.
Ethics covers the following dilemmas:

how to live a good life

our rights and responsibilities

the language of right and wrong

moral decisions - what is good and bad?


Our concepts of ethics have been derived from religions, philosophies and
cultures. They infuse debates on topics like abortion, human rights and
professional conduct.

Metaphysics or Ontology
Metaphysics , the study of first principles or the essence of things.
In general, Ontology is the study or concern about what kinds of things exist
- what entities there are in the universe. It derives from the Greek onto
(being) and logia (written or spoken discourse). It is a branch of metaphysics.
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy responsible for the study of
existence. It is the foundation of a worldview. It answers the question "What
is?" It encompasses everything that exists, as well as the nature of existence
itself. It says whether the world is real, or merely an illusion. It is a
fundamental view of the world around us.
Why is Metaphysics important?
Metaphysics is the foundation of philosophy. Without an explanation or an
interpretation of the world around us, we would be helpless to deal with
reality. We could not feed ourselves, or act to preserve our lives. The degree
to which our metaphysical worldview is correct is the degree to which we are
able to comprehend the world, and act accordingly. Without this firm
foundation, all knowledge becomes suspect. Any flaw in our view of reality
will make it more difficult to live.

Theology
Philosophy of religion is the philosophical study of the meaning and nature of
religion. It includes the analyses of religious concepts, beliefs, terms,
arguments, and practices of religious adherents. The scope of much of the
work done in philosophy of religion has been limited to the various theistic
religions. More recent work often involves a broader, more global approach,
taking into consideration both theistic and non-theistic religious traditions.
The range of those engaged in the field of philosophy of religion is broad and
diverse and includes philosophers from the analytic and continental
traditions, Eastern and Western thinkers, religious believers and agnostics,
skeptics and atheists. Philosophy of religion draws on all of the major areas
of philosophy as well as other relevant fields, including theology, history,
sociology, psychology, and the natural sciences.
There are a number of themes that fall under the domain of philosophy of
religion as it is commonly practiced in academic departments in North
America and Europe. The focus here will be limited to six: (1) religious
language and belief, (2) religious diversity, (3) concepts of God / Ultimate
Reality, (4) arguments for and against the existence of God, (5) problems of
evil and suffering, and (6) miracles.

Philosophy of Man
A course that delves into the origin of human life, the nature of human life,
and the reality of human existence. Philosophy of man is ones desire to
know who and what man is. Thus, Philosophy of man , asks a crucial question
about himself and gradually answers the question himself. In general the
Philosophy of man is a course that deals with man, man is the superstar in
Philosophy of man

Cosmology
The branch of philosophy dealing with the origin and general structure of the
universe, with its parts, elements, and laws, and especially with such of its
characteristics as space, time, causality, and freedom.

Political Philosophy
Political philosophy begins with the question: what ought to be a person's
relationship to society? The subject seeks the application of ethical concepts
to the social sphere and thus deals with the variety of forms of government
and social existence that people could live in and in so doing, it also
provides a standard by which to analyze and judge existing institutions and
relationships.
Although the two are intimately linked by a range of philosophical issues and
methods, political philosophy can be distinguished from political science.
Political science predominantly deals with existing states of affairs, and
insofar as it is possible to be amoral in its descriptions, it seeks a positive
analysis of social affairs for example, constitutional issues, voting behavior,
the balance of power, the effect of judicial review, and so forth. Political
philosophy generates visions of the good social life: of what ought to be the
ruling set of values and institutions that combine men and women together.
The subject matter is broad and connects readily with various branches and
sub-disciplines of philosophy including philosophy of law and of economics.
This introduction skims the most relevant theories that the student of
political philosophy is likely to encounter. The article covers Liberalism,
Conservativism, Socialism, Anarchism, and Environmentalism.

Aesthetics
Aesthetics may be defined narrowly as the theory of beauty, or more broadly
as that together with the philosophy of art. The traditional interest in beauty
itself broadened, in the eighteenth century, to include the sublime, and since
1950 or so the number of pure aesthetic concepts discussed in the literature
has expanded even more. Traditionally, the philosophy of art concentrated
on its definition, but recently this has not been the focus, with careful
analyses of aspects of art largely replacing it. Philosophical aesthetics is here
considered to center on these latter-day developments. Thus, after a survey
of ideas about beauty and related concepts, questions about the value of
aesthetic experience and the variety of aesthetic attitudes will be addressed,
before turning to matters which separate art from pure aesthetics, notably
the presence of intention. That will lead to a survey of some of the main
definitions of art which have been proposed, together with an account of the
recent de-definition period. The concepts of expression, representation,
and the nature of art objects will then be covered.

Epistemology
Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Epistemologists concern themselves
with a number of tasks, which we might sort into two categories.
First, we must determine the nature of knowledge; that is, what does it mean
to say that someone knows, or fails to know, something? This is a matter of
understanding what knowledge is, and how to distinguish between cases in
which someone knows something and cases in which someone does not
know something. While there is some general agreement about some
aspects of this issue, we shall see that this question is much more difficult
than one might imagine.
Second, we must determine the extent of human knowledge; that is, how
much do we, or can we, know? How can we use our reason, our senses, the
testimony of others, and other resources to acquire knowledge? Are there
limits to what we can know? For instance, are some things unknowable? Is it
possible that we do not know nearly as much as we think we do? Should we
have a legitimate worry about scepticism, the view that we do not or cannot
know anything at all?

Logic
Logic (from the Greek "logos", which has a variety of meanings including
word, thought, idea, argument, account, reason or principle) is the study
of reasoning, or the study of the principles and criteria of valid inference
and demonstration. It attempts to distinguish good reasoning from bad
reasoning.
Aristotle defined logic as "new and necessary reasoning", "new" because
it allows us to learn what we do not know, and "necessary" because its
conclusions are inescapable. It asks questions like "What is correct
reasoning?", "What distinguishes a good argument from a bad one?", "How
can we detect a fallacy in reasoning?"
Logic investigates and classifies the structure
of statements and arguments, both through the study of formal
systems of inference and through the study of arguments in natural
language. It deals only with propositions (declarative sentences, used to
make an assertion, as opposed to questions, commands or sentences
expressing wishes) that are capable of being true and false. It is not
concerned with the psychological processes connected with thought, or
with emotions, images and the like. It covers core topics such as the study
of fallacies and paradoxes, as well as specialized analysis of reasoning
using probability and arguments involving causality and argumentation
theory.
Logical systems should have three things: consistency (which means that
none of the theorems of the system contradict one
another); soundness (which means that the system's rules of proof will
never allow a false inference from a true premise);
and completeness (which means that there are no true sentences in the
system that cannot, at least in principle, be proved in the system).