subject matter

Instead of being treated as a single, unified subject, philosophy is typically broken down into a number of specialties and it is common for contemporary philosophers to be experts in one field but know little about another. After all, philosophy addresses complex issues from all facets of life – being an expert on all of philosophy would entail being an expert on all of the most fundamental questions which life has to offer. It is a most important thing that philosophy helps us to find wisdom for the shaping and living of our lives. After examining the nature of philosophy, we can see that there are three basic problems in philosophy, which engaged human beings to other problems.

According to Richard E. Creel, “Philosophy is an open-ended, pioneering discipline, forever opening up new areas of study and new methods of inquiry.” There are three basic problems of philosophy:

  1. The Problem of Knowledge: It is mainly discusses within Epistemology.
  2. The Problem of Value: It is discusses within the Ethics and Axiology. Jointly this called as Value Theory.
  3. The Problem of Reality: This is the area of Metaphysics.

With the above said problems we can classifies main braches of philosophy as:

Branches of Philosophy

Metaphysics: In this area of philosophy it discuss about the nature of reality. There are basically three views about the nature of reality:

  1. Theism: Mind and matter are both real.
  2. Materialism: No, only Matter is real.
  3. Idealism: Matter is not real, only Mind is. It is basically views of the Eastern philosophies.

Epistemology: The area of philosophy that investigates the nature sources, authority and limits of human knowledge is called “Epistemology”.

Axiology: It is the study of the nature and achievement of happiness. Here we can include:

Ethics or “moral philosophy”, is concerned primarily with the question of the best way to live, and secondarily, concerning the question of whether this question can be answered.

Aesthetics deals with beauty, art, enjoyment, sensory-emotional values, perception, and matters of taste and sentiment.

There are even more areas of philosophy than these. It includes logic, social philosophy, philosophy of mind, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language etc. The problems and concepts discussed in these branches constitute an interconnected enterprise that goes by the name “Philosophy”. Certain problems are of wider importance which concern common people in general and intellectuals in particular. Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is the passionate pursuit of knowledge of the real and the good .

The goal of philosophy as we know is the knowledge of the truth about the reality and the values. High motivation and a right attitude play an important role in the achievement of the goal of philosophy. We need to focus and carry out our ambitions good intentions. Especially we need some methods for carrying out the business of philosophy.

Methods of Philosophy

Human reason is the method used by philosophy in inquiring about the nature of things. Philosophical method is the study of how to do philosophy. A common view among philosophers is that philosophy is distinguished by the methods that philosophers follow in addressing philosophical questions. There is not just one method that philosophers use to answer philosophical questions. For our course we will concentrate on only two methods i.e. Phenomenological and Analytical Methods. Some common features of the methods that philosophers follow include:

Doubt: Notice doubts that one has about the meaning or justification of some common, everyday belief one has.

Formulate a problem; Formulate the doubts in a philosophical problem, or question. Explain the problem very clearly and carefully.

Offer a solution: Offer a solution to the problem: either something like a philosophical analysis or a philosophical explanation.

Argument; Give an argument or several arguments supporting the solution.

Dialectic :Present the solution and arguments for criticism by other philosophers, and help them judge their own.

There are some methods of philosophy which play an important role to do philosophy. These can be named as:

  1. The Socratic Method
  2. The Rational Dialogue
  3. The Method of Criticism
  4. The Speculative Method
  5. The Descriptive Method
  6. Inductive Method
  7. Deductive Method
  8. Dialectical Method
  9. The. Method of Analysis
  10. The Method of Synthesis
  11. Method of Intuition

The above said methods are generally used in philosophical speculations. It is an important part to study philosophy. In our course we will study a few later.


  • Richard E. Creel, Thinking Philosophically: An Introduction to Critical Reflection and Rational Dialogue, Wiley-Blackwell, 2001.
  • BA First Year (Notes), Philosophy, Paper-I, USOL, Panjab University Chandigarh.

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