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Introduction Knowledge Traditionally, the term "philosophy" referred to any body of knowledge. Newton's " Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy " is classified in the s as a book of physics; he used the term " natural philosophy " because it used to encompass disciplines that later became associated with sciences such as astronomymedicine and physics.
Metaphysical philosophy "logic" was the study of existencecausation, Godlogicforms and other abstract objects "meta ta physika" lit: Natural philosophy has split into the various natural sciences, especially astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and cosmology. Moral philosophy has birthed the social sciences, but still includes value theory including aesthetics, ethics, political philosophy, etc.
Metaphysical philosophy has birthed formal sciences such as logic, mathematics and philosophy of science, but still includes epistemology, cosmology and others. Philosophical progress Many philosophical debates that began in ancient times are still debated today.
Colin McGinn and others claim that no philosophical progress has occurred during that interval. In that sense, all cultures and literate societies ask philosophical questions such as "how are we to live" and "what is the nature of reality".
A broad and impartial conception of philosophy then, finds a reasoned inquiry into such matters as reality, morality and life in all world civilizations. Socrates was a very influential philosopher, who insisted that he possessed no wisdom but was a pursuer of wisdom.
The Ancient era was dominated by Greek philosophical schools which arose out of the various pupils of Socrates, such as Platowho founded the Platonic Academy and his student Aristotle founding the Peripatetic schoolwho were both extremely influential in Western tradition.
Important topics covered by the Greeks included metaphysics with competing theories such as atomism and monismcosmologythe nature of the well-lived life eudaimoniathe possibility of knowledge and the nature of reason logos. With the rise of the Roman empireGreek philosophy was also increasingly discussed in Latin by Romans such as Cicero and Seneca.
Medieval philosophy 5th — 16th century is the period following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and was dominated by the rise of Christianity and hence reflects Judeo-Christian theological concerns as well as retaining a continuity with Greco-Roman thought. Problems such as the existence and nature of Godthe nature of faith and reason, metaphysics, the problem of evil were discussed in this period.
Some key Medieval thinkers include St. Philosophy for these thinkers was viewed as an aid to Theology ancilla theologiae and hence they sought to align their philosophy with their interpretation of sacred scripture. This period saw the development of Scholasticisma text critical method developed in medieval universities based on close reading and disputation on key texts.
The Renaissance period saw increasing focus on classic Greco-Roman thought and on a robust Humanism. The 20th century saw the split between Analytic philosophy and Continental philosophyas well as philosophical trends such as PhenomenologyExistentialismLogical PositivismPragmatism and the Linguistic turn.
Middle Eastern philosophy See also: Islamic philosophy and Middle Eastern philosophy The regions of the fertile CrescentIran and Arabia are home to the earliest known philosophical Wisdom literature and is today mostly dominated by Islamic culture.
Early wisdom literature from the fertile crescent was a genre which sought to instruct people on ethical action, practical living and virtue through stories and proverbs.
In Ancient Egyptthese texts were known as sebayt 'teachings' and they are central to our understandings of Ancient Egyptian philosophy. Babylonian astronomy also included much philosophical speculations about cosmology which may have influenced the Ancient Greeks.
Jewish philosophy and Christian philosophy are religio-philosophical traditions that developed both in the Middle East and in Europe, which both share certain early Judaic texts mainly the Tanakh and monotheistic beliefs.
Later Jewish philosophy came under strong Western intellectual influences and includes the works of Moses Mendelssohn who ushered in the Haskalah the Jewish EnlightenmentJewish existentialism and Reform Judaism. Pre-Islamic Iranian philosophy begins with the work of Zoroasterone of the first promoters of monotheism and of the dualism between good and evil.
This dualistic cosmogony influenced later Iranian developments such as ManichaeismMazdakismand Zurvanism. After the Muslim conquestsEarly Islamic philosophy developed the Greek philosophical traditions in new innovative directions.
This Islamic Golden Age influenced European intellectual developments. The two main currents of early Islamic thought are Kalam which focuses on Islamic theology and Falsafa which was based on Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism.
The work of Aristotle was very influential among the falsafa such as al-Kindi 9th centuryAvicenna — June and Averroes 12th century. Others such as Al-Ghazali were highly critical of the methods of the Aristotelian falsafa. Islamic thinkers also developed a scientific methodexperimental medicine, a theory of optics and a legal philosophy.
Ibn Khaldun was an influential thinker in philosophy of history. In Iran several schools of Islamic philosophy continued to flourish after the Golden Age and include currents such as Illuminationist philosophySufi philosophyand Transcendent theosophy. The 19th- and 20th-century Arab world saw the Nahda awakening or renaissance movement which influenced contemporary Islamic philosophy.
Indian philosophy Main articles: Eastern philosophy and Indian philosophy Indian philosophy Sanskrit: Jainism and Buddhism originated at the end of the Vedic period, while Hinduism emerged as a fusion of diverse traditons, starting after the end of the Vedic period.
Jain philosophy Jain philosophy accepts the concept of a permanent soul jiva as one of the five astikayas, or eternal infinite categories that make up the substance of existence.Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.
The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concern matters of value, and thus comprise the branch of philosophy called axiology.. Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong.
Kenneth Cauthen is the John Price Crozer Griffith emeritus Professor of Theology at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. John Locke (—) John Locke was among the most famous philosophers and political theorists of the 17 th century.
He is often regarded as the founder of a school of thought known as British Empiricism, and he made foundational contributions to modern theories of limited, liberal government. My personal values Values are those things that are important, meaningful and valued by an individual, a group of people, or an organization.
Whether we are aware of them or not, every individual has his or her core set of values, which consist of many different kinds of values. The Geography of Morals is a work of extraordinary ambition: an indictment of the parochialism of Western philosophy, a comprehensive dialogue between anthropology, empirical moral psychology, behavioral economics, and cross-cultural philosophy, and a deep exploration of the opportunities for self, social, and political improvement provided by world philosophy.
Kenneth Cauthen is the John Price Crozer Griffith emeritus Professor of Theology at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York.