what is philosophy ?

Philosophy is a word of Greek origin, whose literal meaning is love of wisdom . Philosophy studies essential problems of humanity, in search of an understanding of reality and how man relates to the world. The problems studied by philosophy are, basically, existence, knowledge, truth, moral values, aesthetics, mind and language.

Philosophizing is the attitude of reflecting, criticizing and speculating about the conditions of human beings and other living beings, bearing in mind, mainly, their roles in the universe. In this way, philosophy involves all conceptions of science, knowledge and rational knowledge. It is important to keep in mind that philosophy is concerned with issues concerning the human being, but in a different way than religion, which is based on faith. In philosophy, reason is the keyword.

The philosopher then arrives at his conclusions from an internal research, turned to himself. He moves by a feeling of curiosity and is supported by the foundations of reality. This attitude of looking at oneself with the intention of understanding the role of human beings in the universe made philosophy a discipline, studied for many, many centuries. From a social perspective, philosophy is not a form of knowledge per se, but a behavior, a natural attitude of people towards themselves and the world.

Origin of the Term Philosophy

The term philosophy is a portmanteau of the two Greek words philo and sophia . The first means friendship, fraternity and respect among equals , while the second means wisdom . Thus, we arrive at the definition “love of wisdom”, the philosopher being the one who has a desire for knowledge. In this sense, philosophy is the state of mind of those who seek and respect knowledge.

The origin of Philosophy dates back to Ancient Greece, with the first records dating from the 6th century BC, approximately. At the time, Greece was an important cultural and political center, and the diversity – provided by the various influences received by the Greek people – was responsible for triggering critical thinking on the part of those who began to reflect on the universe and seek answers outside the premises of mythology. greek.

The main authors in the area say that Thales of Miletus was the first philosopher in History, although Pythagoras was the first to define himself as a lover of wisdom , or philosopher. It is also worth mentioning that even before the appearance of the word philosophy , Herodotus already used the verb “philosophizing” and Heraclitus already used the noun “philosopher”.


As a discipline of study and, consequently, the “mother of Science”, philosophy branches out in several directions, ranging from metaphysics to epistemology – the study of knowledge – and ethics. Because it is such a broad study and divided into so many aspects, philosophy has several names marked in its history, and many philosophers – such as Plato, Aristotle, Freud, Descartes, Kant, among others – have their ideas debated until the days of today.

Plato’s thought, for example, argues that the philosopher’s goal is to reach true knowledge – which he named episteme . For him, episteme is the opposite of doxa , which is knowledge based exclusively on appearance. Aristotle, on the other hand, divides knowledge into three categories – theoretical (mathematics, metaphysics, psychology, etc.), practical (politics, ethics, etc.), and poetic (poetics, economics, etc.).

In a didactic way, we can divide Philosophy into five major groups:

Logic: which involves preserving the truth and avoiding inference and invalid reasoning;

Metaphysics or ontology: dealing with reality, being and nothingness;

Epistemology or “theory of knowledge”: dealing with belief, justification and knowledge;

Ethics: which refers to the dualities of right and wrong, good and evil;

Philosophy of Art or Aesthetics: dealing with the beautiful and the “sensible”.

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