/fi los"euh fee/, n., pl. philosophies.
1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
2. any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.
3. a system of philosophical doctrine: the philosophy of Spinoza.
4. the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, esp. with a view to improving or reconstituting them: the philosophy of science.
5. a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.
6. a philosophical attitude, as one of composure and calm in the presence of troubles or annoyances.
[1250-1300; ME philosophie < L philosophia < Gk philosophía. See PHILO-, -SOPHY]

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Critical examination of the rational grounds of our most fundamental beliefs and logical analysis of the basic concepts employed in the expression of such beliefs.

Philosophy may also be defined as reflection on the varieties of human experience, or as the rational, methodical, and systematic consideration of the topics that are of greatest concern to humanity. Philosophical inquiry is a central element in the intellectual history of many civilizations. Difficulty in achieving a consensus about the definition of the discipline partly reflects the fact that philosophers have frequently come to it from different fields and have preferred to reflect on different areas of experience. All the world's great religions have produced significant allied philosophical schools. Western philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas, George Berkeley, and Søren Kierkegaard regarded philosophy as a means of defending religion and dispelling the antireligious errors of materialism and rationalism. Pythagoras, René Descartes, and Bertrand Russell, among others, were primarily mathematicians whose views of reality and knowledge were influenced by mathematics. Figures such as Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and John Stuart Mill were mainly concerned with political philosophy, whereas Socrates and Plato were occupied chiefly by questions in ethics. The Pre-Socratics, Francis Bacon, and Alfred North Whitehead, among many others, started from an interest in the physical composition of the natural world. Other philosophical fields include aesthetics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophical anthropology. See also analytic philosophy; Continental philosophy; feminist philosophy; philosophy of science.
(as used in expressions)
Islamic philosophy
education philosophy of
history philosophy of
language philosophy of
logic philosophy of
mathematics philosophy of
mind philosophy of
religion philosophy of
science philosophy of

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      (from Greek, by way of Latin, philosophia, “love of wisdom”) the critical examination of the grounds for fundamental beliefs and an analysis of the basic concepts employed in the expression of such beliefs. Philosophical inquiry is a central element in the intellectual history of many historical civilizations.

      The subject of philosophy is treated in a number of articles. For treatment of major systems of Eastern philosophy, see Buddhism; Confucianism; Confucius; Taoism (Daoism); Shintō; Hinduism; Jainism; Sikhism; Indian philosophy. For historical treatment of Western philosophy, see philosophy, Western. For individual treatment of major systems, see atomism; analytic philosophy; Eleaticism; Empiricism; Epicureanism; Existentialism; Idealism; Materialism; Phenomenology; Positivism; Pragmatism; Pythagoreanism; Rationalism; realism; Scholasticism; Skepticism; Stoicism; Utilitarianism. See also Aristotle; Aristotelianism; Augustine, Saint; Christianity; Descartes, René; Cartesianism; Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich; Hegelianism; Hume, David; Islam: Islamic philosophy (Islām); Judaism; Kant, Immanuel; Kantianism; Locke, John; Marx, Karl; Marxism; Mill, John Stuart; Nietzsche, Friedrich; Plato; Platonism; Socrates. For treatment of particular branches of philosophical inquiry, see aesthetics; education, philosophy of; epistemology; ethics; history, philosophy of; ideology; law, philosophy of; logic; logic, philosophy of; mathematics, philosophy of; metaphysics; mind, philosophy of; nature, philosophy of; philosophical anthropology; religion, philosophy of; science, philosophy of.

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Universalium. 2010.

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