The Nature and Division of Philosophy
“To teach how to live with uncertainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy in our age can still do for those who study it.” This statement, given by Bertrand Russell, conveys the simple yet infinite nature of philosophy itself: the uncertain. Philosophy is the seemingly natural result of man’s ability to wonder. It questions what is real and, ultimately, what is the explanation of reality.
There are four distinct yet somewhat overlapping divisions of philosophy. The first, metaphysics, is concerned with the discovery of ultimate reality. This area of philosophy itself has three divisions. The first deals with the being and the non-being, the second with the basic structures of the world, and the third with matters such as the soul, immortality, and God. Metaphysics raises questions such as: What is mind? How is mind related to body? Is there a God?
Epistemology is the area of philosophy that deals with the nature of knowledge. It raises questions such as: What can I know? How do I justify what I claim to know? What are the limits of reason?
Axiology is the division of philosophy that deals with the study of values. It deals with the questioning of more abstract objects such as morality and beauty. Axiology raises questions such as: What justifies our definitions of right and wrong? Does morality depend on religion? Are all men equal?
Logic is the fourth division of philosophy. Logic itself has three distinct areas. Deductive logic is the reasoning toward a necessary proof. Inductive logic is the reasoning toward a probable truth of future occurrences with the possibility of fallibility. The final division, abductive logic, is the reasoning of a probable truth that is already existing, with the possibility of fallibility. Logic raises questions such as: What is a valid argument? What is a sound argumen...