of philosophic fields and their main types:
- aesthetics - the appreciation of beauty
- epistemology - the study of the origins, nature & limitations
- empiricist - trace truth of propositions to observations &
- sceptic - deny any knowledge is possible because our senses &
reasons are so misleading
- pragmatist - knowledge comes from practical action
- rationalist - humans have innate ideas that are prior to experience
& necessarily true
- metaphysics - the search for reality beyond what we know from our
- materialist - reality is what we can grasp with our hands
- idealist - only ideas are real
- monist - only one kind of stuff exists
- dualist - two kinds exist - mind & matter
- determinist - events are caused by other events & are predictable
according to laws
- libertarian - uncaused events exist - human free will
- ethics - the study of how man should behave toward each other
- existentialist - man's existence precedes his essential nature which
is not given to him, but is made by him in the choice he makes
- stoic - emphasise the practical aspect of philosophy as a guide to
living, thus reason & not our desires should be our guide to action
- hedonist - the only thing good in its own right is the experience of
- utilitarian - measure the goodness of an act by its utility
- deontologist - an action is right or wrong regardless of the value of
- teleologist - the concept of good is more basic than right thus right
action is determined by its consequences
- logic - the study of the rules and methods of correct reasoning
a philosophical system can be judged important:
- we may think that it is true
- it may have beauty
- it may express well what men are prone to believe in certain moods or in
- to understand a culture, we must understand its philosophy
- the circumstances of men's lives do much to determine their philosophy,
but conversely, their philosophy does much to determine their circumstances
- science tells us what we can know, but this is little & if we forget
how much we cannot know we become insensitive to many things of great
- theology induces a dogmatic belief that we have knowledge where in fact we
have ignorance, & by doing so generates a kind of impertinent insolence
towards the universe
- it is not good to forget the questions that philosophy asks, or to
persuade ourselves that we have found indubitable answers to them
- to teach how to live without certainty, & yet without being paralysed
by hesitation is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy can still do for
those that study it
- is the world divided into mind & matter, & if so what is mind
& what is matter?
- is mind subject to matter or is it possessed of independent powers?
- has the universe any unity or purpose?
- is it evolving towards some goal?
- are there really laws of nature, or do we believe in them only because of
our innate love of order?
- is man what he seems to the astronomer, a tiny lump of impure carbon &
water impotently crawling on a small & unimportant planet, or is he what
he appears to Hamlet?
- is there a way of living that is noble and another that is base, or are
all ways of living merely futile?
- must the good be eternal in order to deserve to be valued, or is it worth
seeking even if the universe is inexorably moving towards death?
- is there such a thing as wisdom, or is it what seems such, merely the
ultimate refinement of folly?