Understanding Philosophy

 Understanding Philosophy (  Greek derivation meaning the love of wisdom)


Insights from Philosophy provide an excellent basis and structured approach for personal development

The discipline of philosophy has traditionally been broken into five main branches or areas of study:

1.Metaphysics (or ontology) is the study of reality. Some of the questions that Metaphysics deals with are: (1) What is ultimate reality? (2) Is it one thing or is it many different things? (3) Can reality be grasped by the senses or is it transcendent? (3) What is the mind and what is its relation to the body?

2. Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Among the questions that Epistemology deals with are: (1) What is knowledge? (2) Is knowledge acquired exclusively through the senses or by some other means? (3) How do we know that what we perceive through our senses is correct?

3. Ethics is the study of right and wrong in human action. Some of the questions treated by the field of Ethics are: (1) What is right? (2) Are there any objective standards of right and wrong? (3) Are moral values absolute or relative?

4.Aesthetics is the study of beauty. Among the questions Aesthetics deals with are: (1) What makes a thing beautiful? (2) Are there any objective standards of beauty?

5. Logic is the study of the principles of right reasoning. Logic is the basic tool that philosophers use to investigate reality. Among the questions raised by Logic are: (1) What makes an argument valid or invalid (2) What is a sound argument?

These are the main branches of philosophy. Throughout its history, however, the discipline of philosophy has also been used as a tool to investigate other domains of life.


For example:

  • philosophy of God
  • philosophy of religion
  • political philosophy
  • social philosophy
  • philosophy of science
  • philosophy of law


Philosophy and Personal Development

Socrates famously stated that the unconsidered life is not worth living

To some extent he meant that a life well lived is one which has goals and integrity chosen and managed by the one who lives it in fullness as a human being caught in the webs of society, culture and historical precedent

One view is that a considered life is one enriched by thinking about things that matter such as values, norms, society, constraints on human actualisation and the meaning of life.

Consider the fact that we can have autonomy of mind, be aware of the world and make choices – what a gift and risk all rolled into one!

A person who who does not think about life is like a stranger, without a map in a foreign land

A person who does not learn from and build on the giants of thought who have gone before is missing the treasure trove and springboard of history and the adventure of life

For example how can we develop and become liberated from the tyranny of destructive beliefs and move to tolerance and greater levels of wisdom if we do not learn and move on

Philosophy is indeed the love of wisdom


“Seven Blunders of the World” Gandhi 
1. Wealth without work

2. Pleasure without conscience

3. Knowledge without character

4. Commerce without morality

5. Science without humanity

6. Worship without sacrifice

7. Politics without principle


lone tree july 2013

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