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Philosophy Branches

An accessible overview of the main branches of philosophy, including Ethics, Aesthetics, Metaphysics, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Language, Logic, Philosophy of Science.

Metaphysics
Metaphysics is one of the core branches of philosophy and it is among the oldest ones. Metaphysics centers on the study of the most fundamental categories of reality and their relations, such as god, person, thing, event, property, causation. The question typical of this branch is, hence: “What is there, really?”

Ethics
Ethics is one of the major branches of philosophy and an ethical theory is part and parcel of all philosophies broadly conceived. The aim of ethics has been viewed in different ways: according to some, it is the discernment of right from wrong actions; to others, ethics separates that which is morally good from what is morally bad;...

Epistemology
What do you know, really? And how did you arrive at it? These are the two central questions of epistemology, or "theory of knowledge", one of the most central branches in philosophy along with metaphysics and ethics. Epistemological views have been elaborated in all philosophical traditions. They divide primarily among so-called rationalist and...

Philosophy of Biology
Philosophy of biology is that branch of philosophy dealing with the major issues arising from biological sciences, such as the proper understanding of evolutionary processes, the demarcation between living and non-living entities, the nature of species and – more generally – of biological taxa.

Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of mind is a core area of philosophical research, which touches on a wide spectrum of themes, including: the nature of meaning (in conjunction with philosophy of language; the relationships between mind and body; the metaphysical status of the mind; self-consciousness; agency.

Logic
Logic is one of the most important and oldest branches of philosophy and its subject matter falls at the core of philosophizing. Logic studies patterns of reasoning dividing them into those that are "valid" and "invalid" with respect to a set of given rules. Classical logic studies those arguments that are valid with respect to some rules as...

Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of language takes central place in contemporary philosophizing and its dealt in quite different manners in the analytic and continental traditions (roughly, the modern-day Anglo-Saxon and German-French philosophical schools respectively). In the analytic tradition, philosophy of language has focused on the characterization of meaning,...

Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of science is a branch of philosophy whose importance has extensively grown over the past century, in connection to the raising prestige and influence of disciplines such as physics, chemistry and – most lately – biology in understanding basic questions regarding the world as well as human identity and agency. Although its existence...

Environmental Ethics
Environmental ethics is that branch of philosophy dealing with the major ethical questions regarding the relationships between humans and the environment. This includes issues such as biodiversity, wildlife management, ecological preservation, hunting practices, farming techniques, and food regulations.

Philosophy of Sport
Whether the thought of it was implicit in your attitude or whether you actually took the time to spell it out, there is a great deal of philosophical substance in sport. Any sport, really. From team sports such as football and basketball to individual sports such as tennis and car racing, it is easy to devise a plethora of philosophical issues...

Aesthetics
What is beauty? How to tell what is art from what art is not? These are the two fundamental questions if aesthetics. The first one concerns beauty in its most general form, thus not only artifacts, but also beauty as encountered in a landscape, a sunset, a stone, or a flower. What is it that makes something beautiful? Is beauty always one and the same property, exemplified by entities of radically different sorts?

Philosophy of Education
Education is a key component of cultural processes. Every process of acculturation can indeed be regarded as a process within which an individual, or a group, is educated to act or behave in a given manner. Although education is often thought in relation to the school system, by no means educational processes are restricted to what is imparted...

Philosophy of Art
How to tell an artwork from what is a work of art is not? What is it that makes an object, or a gesture, a work of art? Those questions lie at the core of Philosophy of Art, a major subfield of Aesthetics. Let’s see how they may be answered.

Philosophy of Food
An introductory article to the main topics and issues in the Philosophy of Food

Philosophy of Culture
The ability to transmit information across generations and peers by means other than genetic exchange is a key trait of the human species; even more specific to humans seems the capacity to use symbolic systems to communicate. In the anthropological use of the term, "culture" refers to all the practices of information exchange that are not genetic or epigenetic. This includes all behavioral and symbolic systems.

Philosophy of Hunting
The philosophy of hunting is a subfield of the philosophy of food, which deals most importantly with the ethical, environmental, and evolutionary aspects of the practice of hunting. Among its central questions: can hunting ever be regarded as morally good? Which methods for hunting are most ethical? Is hunting for sport rather than for food,...

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