The Discipline Of Philosophy
This article covers The Discipline of Philosophy.
Philosophy – the love of wisdom – is an activity of attempting to understand the world, in all its aspects. There are four pillars of philosophy: theoretical philosophy (metaphysics and epistemology), practical philosophy (ethics, social and political philosophy, aesthetics), logic, and history of philosophy. Theoretical philosophy asks questions about knowledge such as “Is anything absolutely certain?” and “What grounds our belief that the past is a good indicator of the future?” and questions about the world such as “What is the world like independently of human perception?” and “Does God exist?” Studying Practical Philosophy exposes us to such questions as: How ought we to live our lives? Which social and political arrangements are just or legitimate? The study of Logic teaches us what distinguishes good from bad reasoning and thereby enables us to think critically. In History of Philosophy, we learn how the greatest thinkers in the history of humankind answered these and similar questions. All of these areas of interest are grounded in facts and responsive to the theories put forth by experts in a myriad of disciplines, such as physics and psychology.
Philosophy looks at the meaning of life, considering topics and questions surrounding human existence and experience, society, knowledge, and the universe. There are many branches of philosophy, the main ones being logic, or the structure of argument and rational thought; metaphysics, the study of all that exists; epistemology, which studies knowledge; and axiology, which includes the study of ethics and aesthetics.
New findings in psychology and neuroscience are pushing philosophers to rethink such big questions as the relationship between mind and body, the meaning of free will, just exactly what faith is, the nature of consciousness, and what constitutes happiness. There’s some evidence that issues such as free will itself reflect temperament and personality. There’s even more evidence that we are terrible at predicting what will make us happy, which is why we have such a hard time finding durable happiness.