- from Greek, by way of Latin, philosophia, “love of wisdom” – love is an unconditioned feeling, it has no aim out of itself, it is very strong, it cannot be ignored; philosophers are not the wise, they love wisdom, seek it,
- the critical examination of the grounds for fundamental beliefs
- 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.
It would be difficult if not impossible to find two philosophers who would define philosophy in exactly the same way. Throughout its long and varied history in the West, philosophy has meant many different things. Some of these have been:
- a search for wisdom;
- an attempt to understand the universe as a whole;
- an examination of humankind’s moral responsibilities and social obligations;
- an effort to fathom the divine intentions and the place of human beings with reference to them;
- an effort to ground the enterprise of natural science;
- a rigorous examination of the origin, extent, and validity of human ideas;
- an exploration of the place of will or consciousness in the universe;
- an examination of the values of truth, goodness, and beauty;
- and an effort to codify the rules of human thought in order to promote rationality and the extension of clear thinking.
Even these do not exhaust the meanings that have been attached to the philosophical enterprise, but they give some idea of its extreme complexity and many-sidedness.
The same truth is expressed in different ways (science, religion, myth, art and philosophy).
Philosophy originates from the doubt and the sense of wonder.
Philosophical problems and disciplines
Philosophical problems evolved over centuries, from ancient Greek questions about the origin and nature of cosmos, validity of sensual impressions, possibility to obtain certain knowledge; over eternal questions about beauty, art, science, politics, values; to contemporary issues, such as finding a new basis for common values, new basis for social identification, mind-body problem, freedom of the will in the era of highly developed science, distinguishing good from bad information, intellectual property, collective decision-making and collective rationality, what exactly is a human person when its every aspect can be manipulated at will, humans and environment and global justice.
Main philosophical disciplines are: ethics, logic, aesthetics (is beauty objective or subjective), philosophy of science, political philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology (nature and grounds of knowledge and its limits and validity) and the history of philosophy.
There are three main eras of Philosophy:
Ancient, Medieval and Modern
Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy can be divided into:
- The pre-Socratic period
- The seminal thinkers (influential, formative, ground-breaking, pioneering, original, innovative; major, important)
- Hellenistic and Roman philosophy
The pre-Socratic period can be divided into:
- Cosmology and the metaphysics of matter
- Epistemology of appearance
- Metaphysics of number
- Antropology and relativism
Cosmology and the metaphysics of matter can be divided into:
- Monistic cosmologies (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Xenophanes, Parmenides and Heracleitus)
- Pluralistic cosmologies (Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Leucippus and Democritus)