The word philosophy comes from the ancient Greek language and means “love of Wisdom”. Philosophy has different branches: Ethics, Logic, Epistemology, Metaphysics and Aesthetics.
Some branches of philosophy deal with questions about reality and how people understand and experience it. The ideas in philosophy are often general and abstract, but it doesn’t mean that philosophy is not about the real world. In other words, philosophy tries to answer important questions with answers about real things.
There are different types of philosophy from different places: the first great western philosophers are Plato and Aristotle from ancient Greece; others are from Asia, like Confucius or Buddha, some are from medieval Europe, like William of Ockham or Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Sometimes, philosophy tries to answer the same questions as religion and science. Not all philosophers give the same answers to questions. Some people think that there aren’t right answers in philosophy, only better and worse answers. Philosophers believe that asking philosophical questions is useful because it brings wisdom and helps people to learn about the world and about each other. Philosophy is a field of study that asks questions and reflects on the world.
A philosopher is someone who asks questions or who interprets questions other people have. These are two of the most important philosophers:
Plato (428 – 348 BC) was a Greek philosopher who wrote down the ideas of Socrates (his teacher and also a very important philosopher). Plato’s main idea about reality is that we see things but that we think about them as well. Plato thought about lots of things that are still being studied today. You can say that he built the foundation for modern philosophy.
Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) was a student of Plato. Aristotle had a different view on reality. For him the things we see are more important than the what we think about them. He was the inventor of the syllogism. For example: All cats can fly, Plato is a cat, so Plato can fly.
Beatrice and Gianluca (Class 5)