philosophy
(Gk., love of knowledge or wisdom) The study of the most general and abstract features of the world and categories with which we think: mind, matter, reason, proof, truth, etc. In philosophy, the concepts with which we approach the world themselves become the topic of enquiry. A philosophy of a discipline such as history, physics, or law seeks not so much to solve historical, physical, or legal questions, as to study the concepts that structure such thinking, and to lay bare their foundations and presuppositions. In this sense philosophy is what happens when a practice becomes self-conscious. The borderline between such ‘second-order’ reflection, and ways of practising the first-order discipline itself, is not always clear: philosophical problems may be tamed by the advance of a discipline, and the conduct of a discipline may be swayed by philosophical reflection (see also owl of Minerva ). At different times there has been more or less optimism about the possibility of a pure or ‘first’ philosophy, taking an a priori standpoint from which other intellectual practices can be impartially assessed and subjected to logical evaluation and correction (see methodology ). The late 20th-century spirit of the subject is hostile to any such possibility, and prefers to see philosophical reflection as continuous with the best practice of any field of intellectual enquiry.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • Philosophy — • Detailed article on the history of the love of wisdom Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Philosophy     Philosophy     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • philosophy —    Philosophy (from the Greek philo (love) and sophia (wisdom)) in British culture has undergone a series of revolutionary changes since 1960. Until recently, English language philosophy was dominated by analytic and linguistic philosophy based… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • Philosophy — Phi*los o*phy (f[i^]*l[o^]s [ o]*f[y^]), n.; pl. {Philosophies} (f[i^]*l[o^]s [ o]*f[i^]z). [OE. philosophie, F. philosophie, L. philosophia, from Gr. filosofi a. See {Philosopher}.] 1. Literally, the love of, inducing the search after, wisdom;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • philosophy —    Philosophy in the early years of the twentieth century was heavily influenced by two different traditions. On the one hand, there was the legacy of the Europeanizing movement known as Krausism, a kind of secular humanism with a religious tinge …   Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture

  • philosophy — [fi läs′ə fē] n. pl. philosophies [ME philosophie < OFr < L philosophia < Gr < philosophos: see PHILOSOPHER] 1. Archaic love of, or the search for, wisdom or knowledge 2. theory or logical analysis of the principles underlying conduct …   English World dictionary

  • philosophy — c.1300, from O.Fr. filosofie (12c.), from L. philosophia, from Gk. philosophia love of knowledge, wisdom, from philo loving (see PHILO (Cf. philo )) + sophia knowledge, wisdom, from sophis wise, learned; of unknown origin. Nec quicquam aliud est… …   Etymology dictionary

  • philosophy — index doctrine, posture (attitude), principle (axiom), theory Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • philosophy — [n] principles, knowledge aesthetics, attitude, axiom, beliefs, conception, convictions, doctrine, idea, ideology, logic, metaphysics, ontology, outlook, rationalism, reason, reasoning, system, tenet, theory, thinking, thought, truth, values,… …   New thesaurus

  • philosophy — ► NOUN (pl. philosophies) 1) the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence. 2) the theories of a particular philosopher. 3) a theory or attitude that guides one s behaviour. 4) the study of the theoretical basis of a… …   English terms dictionary

  • Philosophy — For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

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