What Is Philosophy?

Philosophy has a number of different definitions, but most people agree that philosophy is the study of knowledge, nature, existence, and the personal beliefs that surround these subjects. Historically, philosophers were held in high regard by a community and many people turned to philosophers for advice. There is a large variety of books written by famous philosophers such as Aristotle and Nietzsche that are now studied by students of philosophy. Highly regarded liberal universities offer philosophy degrees for those wanting to delve deeply into the study of general knowledge and theories and put that education into action.

Today, philosophy is micromanaged by being broken down into different branches. Philosophers tend to focus on one or two particular areas rather than specializing in philosophy as a whole. However, the basic idea behind studying and pursuing wisdom and relating it to the natural environment is still the same. Thanks to the intense study of philosophy by some of the world's most notable philosophers, there are now many fields of philosophical thought.

Philosophy Is More than the Study of Ideas

Some people have the misconception that philosophy is nothing more than the study of other's ideas. Philosophy is actually the pursuit of knowledge or a way of thought. Some people think that everything they believe about a certain subject is their philosophy on that subject. However, your thoughts or beliefs on something aren't necessarily a philosophy. You can't create a philosophy until you've pursued the knowledge and reasoning behind why you have certain beliefs.

Philosophy is a particular way of thinking. Some people think scientifically or religiously, but philosophers think with logic, practicality, and criticism. All philosophers use former schools of thought that they analyze logically and then decide whether or not they buy into that school of thought or want to pursue different angles and produce their own philosophical stance.

Philosophy Is a Tradition

Some philosophers believe that the tradition of philosophy has been lost in translation. Too many people now believe that philosophy is nothing more than the study of ideas and coming up with your own personal beliefs about life. Philosophy breaks off into branches, and each branch covers different aspects of wisdom and the attainment of knowledge. The common branches of philosophy include: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and logic. Among these branches, philosophers study and discuss relationships between nature, the mind and the body, formulate arguments to refute or prove points, and study knowledge concerning the right way to live.

Beyond the general branches of philosophy, there are now specialized branches of philosophy. It's not uncommon for people interested in philosophy to break their studies down into either law, science, religion, logic or language. Philosophers study the nature of each branch, find out how the environment affects the subject, how history has effected and changed that branch of philosophy, and how each relate to each other. This allows for the procurement of new philosophies and keeps the field of philosophy full of modern thought.