What is Philosophy: Definition and 336 Discussions

Philosophy (from Greek: φιλοσοφία, philosophia, 'love of wisdom') is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. Some sources claim the term was coined by Pythagoras (c. 570 – c. 495 BCE), others dispute this story, arguing that Pythagoreans merely claimed use of a preexisting term. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation.Historically, philosophy encompassed all bodies of knowledge and a practitioner was known as a philosopher. From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy, medicine, and physics. For example, Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy later became classified as a book of physics.
In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize. Since then, various areas of investigation that were traditionally part of philosophy have become separate academic disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, linguistics, and economics.
Today, major subfields of academic philosophy include metaphysics, which is concerned with the fundamental nature of existence and reality; epistemology, which studies the nature of knowledge and belief; ethics, which is concerned with moral value; and logic, which studies the rules of inference that allow one to derive conclusions from true premises. Other notable subfields include philosophy of science, political philosophy, aesthetics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind.

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  1. seikorbnsn

    How the Philosophy of Art made me want to become a Physicist

    Hey all, glad to find and join this community. I'm 28 years old, excelled in math and science in high school but because of mental health and life circumstances took a 10 year hiatus from education to focus on healing, primarily using art a means to understand the "self". This sent me down a...
  2. Username34

    Leibniz's idealism is often ridiculed but...

    If the universe is entirely deterministic, would that not necessarily connect the beginning to the end in such a way that they exchange each other? And as such, wouldn't it mean that we live in Leibnitz's best of all worlds practically speaking, simply because it can't be any different? ...
  3. murshid_islam

    I What are some good arguments against mathematics being discovered?

    What are some good arguments against mathematics being discovered (or for it being invented)?
  4. CallMeDirac

    How great is the overlap of Philosophy and Physics?

    For much of physics, its language is fundamentally math, but to a certain point, does philosophical thinking ever play an important part in creating or exploring physics? It would seem, at least to me, that there is some significant overlap, given that much of understanding physics can't quite...
  5. Quest Ion

    Questioning Truth: The Struggle of a Scientist in Pursuit of Knowledge

    Hi. I'm an independent researcher within the realm of philosophy and the sciences. I am a huge questioner, so I continually doubt (or way more than "second guess") what I have accepted as truth. This questioning impulse sometimes "serve me well", as I may stumble across more accurate ideas...
  6. Graempz

    Exploring the Origins and Diversity of Life in the Universe

    Flipboard, Big Think URL, Astro-Physics interest.
  7. M

    I Is there any way in the future to determine the Universe's size?

    I am frequently contemplating the size of the universe. Logic tells me that existence cannot is end as there really can’t be anything as anti-existence but if the universe loops back on itself; it may not be an issue. Is there a possible way in the far future to semi-accurately measure its size...
  8. EclogiteFacies

    I Special Relativity philosophy and anxiety

    Hello all you clever people, I was wondering if you guys could answer a question for me regarding special relativity and the none existence of time. At least in the sense that the block universe people believe. So I'm writing as if the block universe is the correct interpretation What does...
  9. beethovenscroissant

    Admissions Climbing my way to a Physics PhD 10 years after a Philosophy BA

    Hi all! It's been a decade since I graduated with a bachelor's in philosophy. I went to an ivy planning double major with physics, but I ultimately dropped the latter after my introductory courses and graduated with a poor GPA (2.7). To save you the sob story, I basically had no ability to cope...
  10. L

    Everything Energy? My Thoughts on the Question

    I wondered about this question. According to me, there 2 ways you can look at it. A system can have energy, or a system is energy. Next to that, the idea of energy, the definition of energy seems a bit vague to me. There are so many types of energy, but what is it really? A system can have...
  11. ShellWillis

    I Exploring the Next Generation of Set Theory: A Discussion on an Intriguing Paper

    https://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~mhe/papers/omniscient-journal-revised.pdf Might be my favorite article I’ve ever came across I would like to see some interpretations on it to broaden my currently very narrow point of view… Have fun! -oliver
  12. P

    Methodology / Philosophy of Science

    Summary:: When experimenting to improve a theory, account for the fact that your experimental equipment is made using the very same theory which you are trying to improve. 1.) It would take many decades (~ 80 years?) to design and make equipment entirely using a proposed new theory which has...
  13. M

    Is there a limit to technology?

    Bernard Stiegler said that technology is an evolving organism that never ends as long as their are people; yet as an aspiring futurist; I feel that I’ve reached the limit to all the different concepts for technology. All the futurism stuff is repetitive because their are only so many things a...
  14. Sophrosyne

    A philosophy of quantum mechanics question

    There is an interpretation of quantum mechanics out there, and I was not sure if physicists take this seriously, or if it's one of those woo-woo popular misunderstandings of quantum mechanics. So I am posing it to our esteemed physicists here. It says that there can be all sorts of universes...
  15. T

    I Justification (or philosophy) of modal analysis

    Hello I have tried asking this different ways, here. I do not know exactly what I am asking. So I am hoping to try again. Say we have a differential equation for a multi-body system. We cannot solve it because of the coupling (too difficult). So, we turn to a modal analysis (eigen value...
  16. P

    Coulomb's Law and Conditional Convergent Alternating Harmonic Series

    Mary Boas attempts to explain this by pointing out that the situation cannot arise because charges will have to be placed individually, and in an order, and that order would represent the order we sum in. That at any point the unplaced infinite charges would form an infinite divergent series...
  17. F

    I Why Does Special Relativity Not Contradict General Philosophy?

    I hear that philosophy refuse to "relativity concepts"(e.g relativity moral).Relativity theory says about the relativity of spacetime.I do not understand why special relativity does not contradict with general philosophy?(I know the theory Idea Form of Plato)
  18. What's the Real Meaning of Quantum Mechanics? - with Jim Baggott

    What's the Real Meaning of Quantum Mechanics? - with Jim Baggott

    Jim explores what are the most popular interpretations of quantum mechanics and how we might need to be a little more specific when we talk about ‘reality’. Excellent layman's explanation of the Bell Inequality experiments.
  19. Demystifier

    A Philosophy of quantum field theory

    I usually don't read papers on philosophy of quantum field theory, but this one is really good: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/8890/ In particular, the prelude which I quote here is a true gem: "Once upon a time there was a community of physicists. This community be- lieved, and had good...
  20. K

    History Philosophy and history forums recommendation

    I have only found so far on the web forums about physics and math. I have questions about philosophy and history that I would like to ask. Does anyone know of good webforums where I can do that? (Since that's forbidden on here :wink:)
  21. J

    I Physics and Philosophy are intertwined....

    I know zilch about both of the above. But I thought maybe this could be discussed a bit...and I could learn something. (Me, who got thru high school with a C- average and no college). About a year ago I submitted a question similar to this... and the moderator shot it down as not germane to...
  22. Jarvis323

    I Modern Assesment of Grete Hermann's Philosophy on Quantum Mechanics

    As a quarantine hobby I've been learning about Grete Hermann and the early history of QM. I find her early philisophical contribution to be interesting, but I lack the background to put it into a modern context. A brief description can be found in the arxiv paper: Grete Hermann: An early...
  23. S

    Quantum physics and philosophy (books)

    Summary:: Looking for recommendations Are there any books on the philosophical implications of quantum theory by people who know what they're talking about?
  24. R

    Some lines from the book "Ideas and Opnions" by Albert Einstein

    I read these lines from the book Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein- "Gradually the conviction gained recognition that all knowledge about things is exclusively a working-over of the raw material furnished by the senses." what I interpret from is that knowledge is obtained by observing...
  25. R

    Other Books about interpretation and philosophy of physics

    I'm studying physics with math as a minor and I'm currently at 4th semester. Don't get me wrong, I love studying physics. But I'm starting to feel that something is missing. Most of my courses are really focused on learning the formalism and technical methods, so we are able to solve different...
  26. A. Neumaier

    I On the relation between physics and philosophy

    I'd like to point to the following paper: C. Rovelli, Physics needs philosophy. Philosophy needs physics. Foundations of Physics 48 (2018), 481-491. From the abstract:
  27. C

    The Combination Of Philosophy And Quantum Physics

    Is there any evidence that Panpsychism may hold its own in the quantum world? What quantum physics principals violate the ideology of Panpsychism? This is meant to be fun. I am curious what other people think.
  28. S

    I Did Erwin Schrödinger propose that reality could be contradictory?

    Did Schrödinger believe that contradictory or inconsistent things could exist in reality?
  29. F

    Math How important is it to understand math?

    Hey, I'm a senior in a high school in Canada and I'm thinking of pursuing mathematics and philosophy in university. I'm quite interested in mathematics and philosophy but I am also interested in lots of other topics. The main reasons that I want to study math and philosophy at university is...
  30. K

    Quantum The Philosophy of Quantum Physics by Cord Friebe

    Summary: CordFriebe et al. Has anybody read this book? I am wading through this tome for the second time. Was wondering what others whom might have read it thought. https://www.amazon.com/dp/3319783548/?tag=pfamazon01-20
  31. xyzyx314

    Programs Physics and Philosophy BSc - What to expect?

    Hi, I'm applying for 2020 entry in the UK (coming from Poland) and the subject that I'm most interested in is BSc in Physics and Philosophy (well maybe next to Natural Sciences degree, but I feel like that's out of my grasp), with the intent to later pursue MSc, PhD and ultimately an academic...
  32. shushi

    Philosophy of Science: Discussing Maths, Physics, Mind, & AI

    Is this the proper thread to discuss the philosophy of science/physics (metaphysics/ontology/epistemology)? How about the philosophy of mathematics and logic? As a side note that I'm not sure if this information really relates to the connection between science maths and philosophy, but in my...
  33. AchillesWrathfulLove

    Philosophy or Math, what is at the heart of all science?

    I am wondering which you think is the foundation of all sciences, I have no real understanding of either but I have a general idea of it I think so please offer your opinion!
  34. F

    I Is this a new theory, an enhanced theory or just philosophy?

    I get new notification from new scientist usually about some virus or some weird anthropology theory. Once in a while a physics subject and this time I got this "https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24132220-100-schrodingers-kittens-new-thought-experiment-breaks-quantum-theory/" Can somebody...
  35. Ronemberg Junior

    The second law of the thermodynamics and philosophy

    The second law of thermodynamics tells us that the amount of useful energy in an isolated system tends to decrease. Does this imply that mankind will reach a point where it cannot longer use any kind of energy? If so, do we have an estimate of how long it will be necessary for to haven't useful...
  36. A. Neumaier

    I The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics

    I'd like to point to the book The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics by C. Friebe et al., Springer 2018. It contains many topics usually underrepresented in foundational discussions of quantum physics, in chapters on many-particle systems and quantum field theory. It also has in its last chapter a...
  37. Q

    Policy update on philosophical topics?

    Hello, I am by nature philosophically oriented, whatever that means. I think it means something like the fact that I can't turn down the volume on my philosophical inclinations. Anyway, the forum guidelines/rules state the following in regards to philosophical topics: Philosophical...
  38. Q

    Wikipedia phenomenon: converging topics to philosophy

    There's a phenomenon over at Wikipedia. Namely, all or most (?) topics converge to "philosophy". Is there a name or some kind of coherent explanation for this phenomenon? Is it just simply the case that most branches of science originated from philosophy, and this is apparent in how Wikipedia...
  39. H

    MHB Actual infinity vs. potentially infinity - Math philosophy

    what the differences between actual infinity to potentially infinity?
  40. J

    Anybody interested in the Philosophy / Sociology of Science?

    I'd really like to know. :) Typically, practitioners of science treat the concerns raised by these disciplines in a very defensive manner. I don't mean to use "Philosophy" and "Sociology" interchangeably here, although that wouldn't be entirely wrong. In short, I'm really only interested in...
  41. Abscissas

    I Philosophy of Math: Interesting Leads & Ideas

    Dear everyone, So I am looking into the broad topic "Philosophy of mathematics." Do you guys have any interesting leads that relate to the topic I can follow? I have no particular direction I want to go in, I am just looking for cool stuff, ideas, and people you think are interesting with...
  42. José Ricardo

    Suggestion Homework help suggestions: Human Sciences

    Could you guys put Philosophy, Sociology, History and Arts in the Homework sections? I would be very appreciated.
  43. S

    Other Self-Study Philosophy: A Guide for Physics Majors

    I have recently been very intrigued with philosophy, I have heard some keywords and basic concepts in philosophy before but nothing too serious. I wanted to self-study philosophy (undergraduate curriculum) in the sense like philosophy majors, can anyone recommend on how to proceed? I have a...
  44. Phylosopher

    Foundations Logic in philosophy and mathematics Textbook

    Hello,Lately, I have been interested in philosophy and in particular the branches of philosophy where there is a tie with mathematics and physics. From this point, I think the best branch to start studying would be the most robust one for scientists. i.e Logic. But I am having a problem finding...
  45. Robin04

    Why does physics keep a distance from philosophy?

    I've seen it on this forum when someone asked a philosophical question ant the moderator closed the thread saying that this does not concern physics. Why not accepting philosophy?
  46. A

    Programs Physics? Engineering? Buisness? Philosphy?

    Hello! My dream is to be a Inventor and entrepreneur. My biggest strengths are my ambition and desire to learn. I rarely hang out w/ friends, go to parties etc. Instead, in my spare time I like to read & watch informative content, do online programs, seek people I can learn from, attend...
  47. Mohammed Alqadhi

    Physics and Philosophy: Does Physics Need Philosophy?

    Does Physics need Philosophy?
  48. Tukhara

    Books on mathematical logic, foundations, and philosophy

    Hello, all. I am looking for some good books to start becoming invested in mathematical logic, the foundations of the field of mathematics, and also basically in general the philosophical heart of this wide subject which has interested me greatly. Now I have already read Shoenfield and Halmos...
  49. M

    What are the Benefits of a Holistic Approach in Science?

    Hi, my Name is Markus and I'm from Germany, I have more a lingustic & IT background with basics in physics from school times (some years ago, I have to say). I have a couple of more holistic questions, hope that is ok, please let me know, Have a great day!
  50. PetSounds

    GEB: Exploring Douglas R. Hofstadter's Strange Loops

    Lately, I've been hooked on Douglas R. Hofstadter's book Gödel, Escher, Bach. In it, he discusses the idea of "strange loops"—often apparent logical paradoxes—and argues that they are the key to understanding consciousness. He includes witty dialogues, as well as examples of "strange loops" in...