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Legal Dictionary

philosophy

Definition of philosophy

Etymology

    From Ancient Greek φιλοσοφία from φίλος (philos), "beloved") & σοφία (sophia), "wisdom").

Pronunciation

Noun

philosophy (countable and uncountable; plural philosophies)

  1. (uncountable) (originally) The pursuit of wisdom
  2. (uncountable) An academic discipline that seeks truth through reasoning rather than empiricism

    Philosophy is often divided into five major branches: logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics.

  3. (countable) A comprehensive system of belief.
  4. (countable) A view or outlook regarding fundamental principles underlying some domain.

    a philosophy of government
    a philosophy of education


  5. (countable) A general principle (usually moral).
  6. (archaic) A broader branch of (non-applied) science

Derived terms

  • philosophize
  • analytic philosophy
  • continental philosophy
  • philosophy of mind
  • personal philosophy

Related terms

  • philosopher
  • philosophic
  • philosophical
  • philosophically

Further reading

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.

There are at least two senses in which the term philosophy is used. In the more formal sense, philosophy is an intellectual endeavor or academic study focusing on the fields of metaphysics, logic, ethics, epistemology, and aesthetics. In the more informal sense, philosophy is a way of life whose focus is resolving the most basic existential questions about the human condition. Both definitions can be quite vague and can be seemingly synonymous on many levels.

Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing fundamental questions (such as mysticism or mythology) by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on reasoned argument. Philosophy comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία [philosophia], which literally translates to "love of wisdom".

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



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