About Philosophy

Philosophy ThinkingPHILOSOPHY is the study of the Big Picture. Philosophers ponder the central questions of existence, reason, knowledge, values, and language. Throughout history, countless brilliant minds strived to find patterns and systems of universal perfection to reveal the mysteries of the human condition. Many philosophical premises are essentially opposed to each other. Others have influenced society in both fruitful and adverse ways. Philosophy, as religion, failed to bring harmony and peace to the world. Ultimately philosophical thinking adds more complexity to the already overburdened human mind. Instead of generating clarity, philosophy, necessary and exciting it is, increases global scepticism.

Three important aspects of philosophy
Methods of philosophy
Philosophical method (philosophical methodology) describes the method of how to approach philosophical investigation.

Click here for some primary methods of philosophical investigation.

Schools of Philosophy
A school of philosophy is like a school of thought. A group of individuals share a common outlook on philosophical issues. Schools are often referred to as 'old', 'new', modern or 'classic'. Sometimes they are named after their founder, as in Marxism, after Karl Marx.

Click here for some notable schools of philosophical examination.

Branches of philosophy
Branches of philosophy refer to subject divisions. These branches include the study of Metaphysics, Axiology, Logic, Aesthetics, Epistemology, Ethics and Political Philosophy.

Click here for essential branches of philosophical research.

The timeline below illustrates the great diversity and intensity of philosophical thinking. Many leading western schools are listed here. There was an equal, if not more advanced, intellectual activity in the East.
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Five Methods of Philosophical Investigation

Method Philosophy Socrates

Socratic Questioning

Socrates invented this method; the teacher asks questions from the students. Socrates believed that “the disciplined practice of thoughtful questioning enables the scholar/student to examine ideas and be able to determine the validity of those ideas.” The teacher pretends an ignorant mindset, and the student assumes a higher level of knowledge. This system is effective in exploring ideas, getting to the essence of things, and analyze concepts.

Critical Method Philosophy

Critical Discussion

The Socratic method works with the interaction of peers. The focus is on exploring multiple perspectives on a given topic. Opening questions usually begin the discussion. Guiding questions help to deepen and elaborate the arguments. Closing questions summarize the topic.

Dialectic Method Symbol

Dialectical Method through Rational Argumentation

The dialectical method involves a discourse between people holding different points of view. The aim is to expose the truth of a topic by rational argumentation. Reasoning advocates a position as well as a counter-proposition. The outcome may be a refutation of the initial proposition or a synthesis of the various views.

Scholar Symbol

Scholarly Method

The scholarly method or scholarship is the body of principles and practices used by scholars and academics to make their claims about the subject as valid and trustworthy as possible and make them known to the scholarly public.


Analytic Method

The analytical method dreams of a precise, logical, and unambiguous language. Analytic philosophy stresses logic, testability, precision, and clarity. The universe consists of independent (atomic) entities, particles, sense data, impressions, and entities described as facts. Only logic and linguistics can sort out philosophical confusion. One philosophical representative of the analytical approach is Ludwig Wittgenstein.


Science Symbol

Empirical Method

This method has relied on science since the later 17th century. A subject is carefully but skeptically observed. A hypothesis, based on these observations as well as related experiments and measure-based testing, is formulated. The predictions and logical consequences of the premises are further examined and tested.


Five Schools of Philosophical Investigation

Nihilism Philosophy


Nihilism holds that human values are baseless, life is meaningless and accurate knowledge, and communication is impossible. Nihilism is often associated with extreme pessimism. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. Nihilism’s primary philosopher was Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900).


Existentialism Philosophy


Existentialism sees humans as particular and individual. Existence enters on the experience of thinking, feeling, and acting. Every person is responsible for creating purpose or meaning in their own life. No sense of purpose comes from god(s), governments, teachers, or authorities. Existence is merely a mode of being and ultimately unfathomable. Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was a prominent existential philosopher.

Positivism Philosophy

Logical Positivism

Logical positivism, also called logical empiricism or neopositivism, centers around the verification principle, which states that a theory of knowledge can only be verifiable by rational proof. Fundamentally scientific knowledge is the only kind of factual knowledge, and all traditional metaphysical doctrines are rejected as meaningless. The founder of logical positivism was A. J. Ayer (1910-1989).

Idealism Philosophy


Idealism sees reality as ideas in the mind rather than material objects. Experiences have mental and spiritual components. Reality is composed of ideas, thoughts and the human experience takes place in the mind. An idealist is a person who strives for higher or noble principles and goals. Plato said that only ideas encapsulate the true and essential nature of things.

Rationalism Philosophy


Rationalism concentrates on reason and regards reason as the chief source of knowledge. The criterion of truth is not sensory but strictly intellectual and deductive. Reality has an intrinsically logical structure based on reason. There is an independent objective world of accessible things and facts. Rationalists do not believe in the supernatural and will not let their emotions guide decision-making. René Descartes (1596–1650) was a prominent rationalist philosopher.


Analytical Philosophy

Analytic philosophers emphasize the need to clear up linguistic confusions to show that most philosophical problems start in the abuse of language. Analytic philosophers are very interested in technical issues in language and logic instead of traditional philosophical concerns such as the meaning of life. They tended to advocate realism. Realism is the belief that there exists an independent objective world of accessible things and facts. Philosophy should concern itself with identifying and eliminating false claims about reality.

Branches of Philosophical Investigation



This branch of philosophy deals with abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time, and space and defines their nature. The metaphysical study uses deductive thinking based on a priori (knowledge independent of experience). Some central questions of metaphysics are ontology (nature of existence, being, becoming, reality), identity and change (what exactly someone is and what constitutes change), space and time (how do they relate to each other etc.), causality (how one event impacts on the next etc.), cosmology (contemplation of totality), mind and matter (mind in relationship to body), determinism and free will. Parmenides of Elea (c.515) is considered the father of metaphysics. 

Paul Lapie Philosopher


Axiology studies the nature of values and value judgments. It connects to ethics, aesthetics, and religion. It asks the question, What kind of things has value? Central is the distinction between intrinsic (something that has a value from within) and extrinsic (something that has value as a means to something else) is of central importance. Some philosophers state that values do not exist on the most fundamental level of reality. The philosopher Paul Lapie first used the term in 1902.



Logic studies the truth and reasoning. Formal logic represents statements and argument patterns symbolically. Informal logic uses dialectics and argumentation. Logic has been studied since Antiquity. Philosophical logic is the study of logic within philosophy. Aristotle (384 BC—322 BC) is considered the father of western logic.

Guy Scorillo Philosopher


Aesthetics embraces the philosophical study of beauty and taste. It also includes philosophy or art. Aesthetic values expressed through judgments of taste are examined, covering both natural and artificial sources. The philosophy or art studies specifically how artists imagine, create and perform works of art. Aesthetics is defined as a critical reflection on art, culture, and nature. Guy Sircello (1936-1992) was an influential philosopher in this field.

Jean Piaget Philosopher


Epistemology is the theory of knowledge, especially concerning its methods, validity, and scope. Another focus is on the distinction between justified belief and opinion. Epistemology is a significant subfield of philosophy along with ethics, logic, and metaphysics. Jean Piaget (1896-1980) is considered the father of epistemology.



Ethics (moral philosophy)involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. Seeks to resolve questions of human morality, define concepts such as good and evil, right or wrong, or crime and justice. Socrates (300BC) is considered the father of ethics and inquiry.

Martin Heidegger

Continental Philosophy

Continental philosophy explains things not by reducing them to simple entities but by understanding them in a broader, holistic, historical context. This approach includes phenomenology, existentialism, and Deconstruction. One philosophical archetype of the continental system is Martin Heidegger (1989-1976).