"There are a thousand hacking at the
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"The men who are not interested in philosophy
Looking at Philosophy—the word means love of wisdom−can be compared to evaluating a piece of real estate. The property has land, a house, road access, utility service, landscaping, a view, a code of regulations and restrictions, location in respect to other significant centers of activity and geological features, an address identity, and a market value. Changing any aspect of the property can change the other aspects. Philosophy has at least these many different aspects, and changing them affects the other facets. The overall model or foundation for the different aspects can be called a Paradigm, and it provides the framework for all philosophical discussion. Usually, the regulators for such discussion are rationality (fact-based), logic, and reason.
The different challenges of philosophy being dealt with correspond to different branches. Epistemology, the theory of knowledge, is probably first and foremost. It deals with knowing: what we can know, how, and the degree of certainty we can legitimately have. Logic, another branch, is a tool for certifying knowledge and verifying consistency. Sometimes Mathematics is considered to be a branch of logic.
Usually considered secondary to epistemology is Metaphysics*, which is the study of the nature of reality, the study of what features of experience are actually real and which are possibly only apparent. The philosophy of Science is included under metaphysics, and underlying every theory of science is metaphysics. Change your metaphysics and you change your theory or scientific explanation. Ontology, the study of being as such, could be considered as a branch of metaphysics. These two branches, epistemology and metaphysics, are especially intertwined and significantly affect the other branches of philosophy.
Ethics, another branch of philosophy deals with what actions are socially and politically just. Aesthetics, deals with what is beautiful, pleasing, and elegant. Politics, deals with evaluation of what is proper governmental structure and conduct.
Our philosophy is never developed or proposed in a vacuum, because it is always colored and conditioned by history, culture, our education and value programming, our personal experiences, our chosen and programmed beliefs.
* Aristotle calls the science of metaphysics by no less than three different names. Sometimes he calls it First Science, πρωτη φιλοσοφια, φιλοσοφια being his regular name for science as I have just defined the word.** The word 'first' refers to logical priority. First Science is the science whose subject-matter is logically prior to that of every other, the science which is logically presupposed by all other sciences, although in order of study it comes last. Sometimes he calls it Wisdom, σοφια, with the implication that this is the thing for which φιλοσοφια, science, is the search; this again implying that in addition to their own immediate function of studying each its own peculiar subject-matter the sciences have a further function as leading to a goal outside themselves, namely the discovery of what they logically presuppose. Sometimes he calls it Theology, θεολογικη, or the science which expounds the nature of God.
** See Defintions: Science