Outline Of Philosophy

The following outline (outline of philosophy) is provided as an overview of and topical guide to philosophy.

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It is distinguished from other ways of addressing fundamental questions (such as mysticism, myth, or religion) by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. It involves logical analysis of language and clarification of the meaning of words and concepts.

The word “philosophy” comes from the Greek philosophia (φιλοσοφία), which literally means “love of wisdom“.





Fields of philosophy

The branches of philosophy are divided into the many fields of philosophy:


Aesthetics is study of the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and the creation of personal kinds of truth


Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies the source, nature and validity of knowledge. Central questions –

  1. How is knowledge different from belief?
  2. What can we know?
  3. How does knowledge arise?
  4. Can there be objective knowledge?


Ethics – study of the right, the good, and the valuable


Logic – the systematic study of the form of valid inference and reason. Ability to test arguments for logical consistency and understanding the logical consequences of certain assumptions.


Metaphysics – traditional branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it. Metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms: “What is ultimately there?” and, “What is it like?”

  • Ontology – philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.
  • Philosophy of mind – studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness, and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain.
  • Philosophy of space and time – branch of philosophy concerned with the issues surrounding the ontology, epistemology, and character of space and time.
  • Philosophy of action – theories about the processes causing willful human bodily movements of a more or less complex kind. This area of thought has attracted the strong interest of philosophers ever since Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (Third Book).

Philosophy of language

Philosophy of mind

Political philosophy

Philosophy of science

Religious philosophy

Philosophy of religion


History of philosophy

History of philosophy – study of philosophical ideas and concepts through time. Issues specifically related to history of philosophy might include (but are not limited to): How can changes in philosophy be accounted for historically? What drives the development of thought in its historical context? To what degree can philosophical texts from prior historical eras be understood even today?

See also: Metaphilosophy and Qur’anic Concept of History

Ancient philosophy

Medieval philosophy

Contemporary philosophy

The School of Athens by Rafael - closeup

The School of Athens by Rafael – detail


We have collected some of the well-known philosophers so you can enjoy reading their life stories, thoughts, and contributions resolving existential questions about the human condition.

Related articles

Philosophical literature

Reference works

  • Encyclopedia of Philosophy – one of the major English encyclopedias of philosophy. The second edition, edited by Donald M. Borchert, was published in ten volumes in 2006 by Thomson Gale. Volumes 1–9 contain alphabetically ordered articles.
  • Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – free online encyclopedia on philosophical topics and philosophers founded by James Fieser in 1995. The current general editors are James Fieser (Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tennessee at Martin) and Bradley Dowden (Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Sacramento). The staff also includes numerous area editors as well as volunteers.
  • Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy – encyclopedia of philosophy edited by Edward Craig that was first published by Routledge in 1998 (ISBN 978-0415073103). Originally published in both 10 volumes of print and as a CD-ROM, in 2002 it was made available online on a subscription basis. The online version is regularly updated with new articles and revisions to existing articles. It has 1,300 contributors providing over 2,000 scholarly articles.
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – combines an online encyclopedia of philosophy with peer reviewed publication of original papers in philosophy, freely-accessible to internet users. Each entry is written and maintained by an expert in the field, including professors from many academic institutions worldwide.

See also

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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