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Branches of Philosophy: Profiles of Different Branches of Philosophy

Philosophy is broken down into several specialties, but this doesn’t mean that each branch of philosophy is autonomous. There is often much overlap between some fields: for example, political and legal philosophy often cross with ethics and morality, while metaphysical questions are common in the philosophy of religion. Sometimes deciding which branch of philosophy a question properly belongs in isn’t clear, but understanding the differences between the branches is important.
  1. Philosophy of Religion (9)
  2. Philosophy of Science (70)
  3. Epistemology: What is Truth (19)

The Role of Art in Public Life
Everyone is familiar with art. Everyone has, at some point, taken classes in art in school. Art is all around us in one form or another. But does everyone really value art and what art represents? That's a difficult question to answer, but it seems like the answer might be "no" - and that this "no" is a very fundamental aspect of American culture.

Truth, Art, and Propaganda
What kind of truth can be found in art? Some argue that art contains its own kind of truth, a truth that can be distinguished from simple 'empirical' truth dealt with in fields like science. Is this really a type of truth, though, or just an excuse to slip propaganda past our perceptual filters?

Aesthetics: The Philosophy of Art, Beauty and Perception
Aesthetics is the study of beauty and taste, whether in the form of the comic, the tragic or the sublime. The word derives from the Greek aisthetikos, meaning 'of sense perception.' Aesthetics has traditionally been part of other philosophical pursuits like the investigation of epistemology or ethics, but it started to come into its own and...

Epistemology: Philosophy of Truth, Knowledge, and Belief
Epistemology is the investigation into the grounds and nature of knowledge itself. Epistemological studies are usually focused upon our means for acquiring knowledge and, as a consequence, modern epistemology generally involves a debate between rationalism and empiricism, or the question of whether knowledge can be acquired a priori or a...

Ethics & Morality: Philosophy of Behavior, Choice, and Character
The terms ethics and morality are often used interchangeably - indeed, they usually can mean the same thing and in casual conversation there isn’t a problem with switching between one and the other. Strictly speaking, though, morality is used to refer to what we would call moral standards and moral conduct while ethics is used to refer to the...

Philosophy of Education: Philosophy of Teaching, Learning, and Instruction
The Philosophy of Education deals with how children should be educated, what they should be educated in, and what the ultimate purpose of education should be for society. This is an often neglected field of philosophy and, when it is addressed, it tends to only be in educational programs designed to train teachers - in this context, it is a part...

Philosophy of History: Philosophy of Historical Events and Current Understanding
The Philosophy of History is the study of history, writing about history, and what impact history has upon the present day. It can be referred to as the Critical, Analytical, or Formal Philosophy of History, as well as the Philosophy of Historiography. If the focus is on the progress of history and whether history is moving towards a final,...

Logic & Philosophy of Language: Philosophy of Thinking, Reasoning, and...
Logic and the Philosophy of Language are often treated separately, but they are close enough that they are presented together here. Logic is the study of methods of reasoning and argumentation, both proper and improper. The Philosophy of Language involves the study of how our language interacts with our thinking.

Metaphysics: Philosophy of the Nature of Being, Existence, and Reality
In Western philosophy, metaphysics has become the study of the fundamental nature of all reality - what is it, why is it, and how we can understand it. Some regard metaphysics as the study of 'higher' reality or the 'invisible' nature behind everything, but that isn’t true. It is, instead, the study of all of reality, visible and invisible.

Philosophy of Mind: Philosophy of Thought, Perception, Consciousness, and...
The Philosophy of Mind is a more recent field that deals with questions of consciousness and how it interacts with the body and the outside world. The Philosophy of Mind asks not only what mental phenomena are and what gives rise to them, but also what relationship they have to the larger physical body and the world around us.

Philosophy of Religion: Philosophy of Religious Belief, Theism, and Practice
The Philosophy of Religion is the philosophical study of religious beliefs, religious doctrines, religious arguments and religious history. The line between theology and the philosophy of religion and theology isn’t always sharp because they share much in common. Theology tends to be apologetical in nature, committed to the defense of particular...

Philosophy of Politics & Law: Philosophy of Governance, Justice, and Society
The Philosophy of Politics and the Philosophy of Law (jurisprudence) are often studied separately, but they are presented here jointly because they both come back to the same thing: the study of force. Politics is the study of political force in the general community and jurisprudence is the study of how laws can and should be used to achieve...

Philosophy of Science: Philosophy of Scientific Investigation, Research,...
The Philosophy of Science is concerned with how science operates, what the goals of science should be, what relationship science should have with the rest of society, the differences between science and other activities, etc. Everything that happens in science has some relationship with the Philosophy of Science and is predicated upon some...

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