Philosophy [fi-los-uh-fee] – Love for Wisdom

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

In most languages there are words that are translated into English as ‘philosophy’ — in European languages, those words often share the same Greek roots as the English word. The activities to which such words refer have a history shared with philosophy, but at some point after Kant there was a parting of the ways. The activities referred to by `philosophy’ are different in various ways from the activities referred to by words like `philosophie’, `Philosophie’, `filosofia’, etc.

The derivation of the word “philosophy” from the Greek is suggested by the following words and word-fragments.

  • philo—love of, affinity for, liking of
  • philander—to engage in love affairs frivolously
  • philanthropy—love of mankind in general
  • philately—postage stamps hobby
  • phile—(as in “anglophile”) one having a love for
  • philology—having a liking for words
  • sophos—wisdom
  • sophist—lit. one who loves knowledge
  • sophomore—wise and moros—foolish; i.e. one who thinks he knows many things
  • sophisticated—one who is knowledgeable

Defining  Philosophy

In fact, it is virtually impossible to give one universally accepted definition of philosophy. All philosophers will not agree even upon some general formal characteristics, for instance that philosophy is a discursive activity of our intellect. Widely circulated definitions of philosophy are either too general or too one-sided to be considered as anything better than useful hints about the character of philosophical thinking. In that respect philosophy is a unique discipline.

.            A suggested definition for our beginning study is as follows.

Philosophy is the systematic inquiry into the principles and presuppositions of any field of study.              From a psychological point of view, philosophy is an attitude, an approach, or a calling to answer or to ask, or even to comment upon certain peculiar problems .

There is, perhaps, no one single sense of the word “philosophy.” Eventually many writers abandon the attempt to define philosophy and, instead, turn to the kinds of things philosophers do.

Philosophy is a persistent attempt to gain insight into the nature of the world and of ourselves by means of systematic reflection.

There are certain difficulties in defining the philosophy in a universally accepted way. These may be summarized as;

History:  Philosophy changes historically both in respect to its content and its character.. Thus we cannot find a definition of philosophy that would be both essential and sensitive to its historical variety.

Subject Matter:  Philosophy does not have any specific subject matter and hence cannot be defined with regard to any particular area of investigation. It may deal with every dimension of human life and can raise questions in any field of Hence trying to tie philosophy exclusively to one or any specific sphere would be an unjustified limitation of its reach.

Questioning . Philosophy pursues questions rather than answers.. It is not an exaggeration to say that a philosopher is someone who can make a riddle out of any answer. Hence philosophy cannot be defined with recourse to some accepted tenets, beliefs and established class of propositions.

“Philosophy,”Encyclopedia Britannica (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911) Vol. 21defines “Philosophy … has no other subject matter than the nature of the real world, as that world lies around us in everyday life, and lies open to observers on every side. But if this is so, it may be asked what function can remain for philosophy when every portion of the field is already lotted out and enclosed by specialists? Philosophy claims to be the science of the whole; but, if we get the knowledge of the parts from the different sciences, what is there left for philosophy to tell us? To this it is sufficient to answer generally that the synthesis of the parts is something more than that detailed knowledge of the parts in separation which is gained by the man of science. It is with the ultimate synthesis that philosophy concerns itself; it has to show that the subject-matter which we are all dealing with in detail really is a whole, consisting of articulated members.”.

Eastern Thought, has different forms ranging from Taoism to Zen-Buddhism and Transcendental Meditation; despite some practically oriented strains (Confucianism), it is mostly intuitive, directed toward the Self and introspection; its insights come from our inwardness that needs to be emptied from all external influences; the Self is meditative, with ready made precepts for the resolution of all life problems; this is why so many self-help books draw on this tradition; Eastern sage is balanced, poised, silent; his/her prototype is the Buddha. The findings of Eastern wisdom are not fully communicable which prevents it from being entirely discoursive and argumentative.

Despite many deserved attempts to integrate Eastern thought (primarily Indian and Chinese) into Western intellectual tradition the differences are so huge that it is advisable not to apply the same term “philosophy” (itself of Western origin) to both.

The Source of Philosophy

Philosophy starts with bewilderment, astonishment, amazement about the world, life, and ourselves. Philosophy arises from the workings of an inquisitive mind which is bewildered by seemingly common things or by those that appear to be entirely impractical. It emerges out of readiness to follow the call of human intellectual curiosity beyond common sense acquaintanceship with the world

Philosophy does not stay by pure bewilderment and amazement. Philosophers articulate their initial amazement by formulating questions (mostly what- and why-questions and what ought to be) that guide their curiosity toward comprehension of the problem. This does not mean that they seek a simple formula for all the puzzles of the world Philosophy aims at understanding and enlightenment rather than shorthand answers.

“The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think, but how to think. It is the study of meaning, of the principles underlying conduct, thought and knowledge. The skills it hones are the ability to analyze, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly. However arcane some philosophical texts may be … the ability to formulate questions and follow arguments is the essence of education.”

Problem Areas of Philosophy

Today, most philosophers are actively concerned with life. THEY SEEK ANSWERS TO BASIC PROBLEMS. Thus we find that philosophers are doing as well as thinking, and it is their thinking which guides their doing .What they do is rooted in the search for answers to certain types of problems and the tentative answers they have formulated.

The three great problems of philosophy are the problems of reality, knowledge, and value-

This way philosophy deals with three basic areas

.Area related with what aspect ,it is METAPHYSICS

.Area related with how aspect ,it is EPISTOMOLOGY,and

Area related with what ought to be aspect, it is AXIOLOGY.

(1)The problem  of reality is this; What is the nature of the universe in which we live? Or ,in the last analysis, what is real ? The branch of philosophy which deals with this problem is termed as METAPHYSICS

Questions Asked in Metaphysics are

What is out there?

What is reality?

Does Free Will exist?

Is there such a process as cause and effect?

Do abstract concepts (like numbers) really exist?

(2) The problem of knowledge is this; How does a man know what is real? That is to say, how do we come by our knowledge and how can we be sure it is true, not error or illusion? The area of philosophy which is devoted to solving this problem is termed as EPISTOMOLOGY.

Fundamental Problems in Epistemology are

What can we know?

How can we know it?

Why do we know some things, but not others?

How do we acquire knowledge?

Is knowledge possible?

Can knowledge be certain?

How can we differentiate truth from falsehood?

Why do we believe certain claims and not others?

(3 )The problem of value ,is this ;What are the important values which are to be desired in living? Are these values rooted in reality? And how can they be realized in our experience? The branch  of philosophy dealing with such questions are these is named AXIOLOGY . Axiology, then  is the subject area which tries to answer problems like these:

•How are values related to interest, desire, will, experience, and means-to-end?

•How do different kinds of value interrelate?

•Can the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental values be maintained?

•Are values ultimately rationally or objectively based?

•What is the difference between a matter of fact and a matter of value?

(4) Most closely related to epistemology, is another branch of philosophy which deals with the exact relating of ideas.This area of philosophy is commonly referred to as the science of LOGIC.

Metaphysics (Ontology):

(2) Metaphysics or Ontology (theory of reality): the inquiry into what is real as opposed to what is appearance, either conceived as that which the methods of science presuppose, or that with which the methods of science are concerned; the inquiry into the first principles of nature; the study of the most fundamental generalizations as to what exists. : the study of what is really real. Metaphysics deals with the so-called first principles of the natural order and “the ultimate generalizations available to the human intellect.” Specifically, ontology seeks to indentify and establish the relationships between the categories, if any, of the types of existent things

Metaphysics-Meta means above; this is the study of the nature of things above physics.(What comes after Physics) Metaphysics covers the kinds of things most people probably think of if asked what philosophy covers e.g. those ‘big questions’, such as, is there God, why are we here, what is the ultimate nature of the universe, and so on. Another important area of metaphysics is the nature of substance, that is, what is the universe really made of,

Metaphysics (derived from the Greek words “ta meta ta physika biblia”) – meaning ‘the book that follows the physics book’. It was the way students referred to a specific book in the works of Aristotle, and it was a book on First Philosophy. (The assumption that the word means “beyond physics” is misleading) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the study of “first principles” and “being” (ontology). In other words, Metaphysics is the study of the most general aspects of reality, such as substance, identity, the nature of the mind, and free will.

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that goes beyond the realms of science. It is concerned with answering the questions about identity and the world. The name is derived from the Greek words, Meta which means beyond or after, and Physika which means physics. Aristotle, one of the most well-known philosophers, acknowledged Thales as the first known meta physician. The main branches of metaphysics are ontology, natural theology and universal science.

In Western philosophy, metaphysics has become the study of the fundamental nature of all reality — what is it, why is it, and how are we can understand it. Some treat metaphysics as the study of “higher” reality or the “invisible” nature behind everything, but that isn’t true. It is, instead, the study of all of reality, visible and invisible; and what constitutes reality, natural and supernatural. Because most of the debates between atheists and theists involve disagreements over the nature of reality and the existence of anything supernatural, the debates are often disagreements over metaphysics.

In popular parlance, metaphysics has become the label for the study of things which transcend the natural world — that is, things which supposedly exist separately from nature and which have a more intrinsic reality than our natural existence. This assigns a sense to the Greek prefix meta which it did not originally have, but words do change over time. As a result, the popular sense of metaphysics has been the study of any question about reality which cannot be answered by scientific observation and experimentation. For atheists, this sense of metaphysics is usually regarded as literally empty

Because atheists typically dismiss the existence of the supernatural, they may dismiss metaphysics as the pointless study of nothing. Because metaphysics is technically the study of all reality, and thus whether there is any supernatural element to it at all, in truth metaphysics is probably the most fundamental subject which irreligious atheists should focus on. Our ability to understand what reality is, what it is composed of, what “existence” means, etc., is fundamental to most of the disagreements between irreligious atheists and religious theists.

Some irreligious atheists, like logical positivists, have argued that the agenda of metaphysics is largely pointless and can’t accomplish anything. According to them, metaphysical statements cannot be either true or false — as a result, they don’t really carry any meaning and shouldn’t be given any serious consideration. There is some justification to this position, but it is unlikely to convince or impress religious theists for whom metaphysical claims constitute some of the most important parts of their lives. Thus the ability to address and critique such claims can be important.

The only thing all atheists have in common is disbelief in gods, so the only thing all atheist metaphysics will have in common is that reality doesn’t include any gods and isn’t divinely created. Despite that, most atheists in the West tend to adopt a materialistic perspective on reality. This means that they regard the nature of our reality and the universe as consisting of matter and energy. Everything is natural; nothing is supernatural. There are no supernatural beings, realms, or planes of existence. All cause and effect proceeds via natural laws.

Branches of Metaphysics:

Aristotle’s book on metaphysics was divided into three sections: ontology, theology, and universal science. Because of this, those are the three traditional branches of metaphysical inquiry.

Ontology is the branch of philosophy which deals with the study of the nature of reality: what is it, how many “realities” are there, what are its properties, etc. The word is derived from the Greek terms on, which means “reality” and logos, which means “study of.” Atheists generally believe that there is a single reality which is material and natural in nature.

Theology, of course, is the study of gods — does a god exist, what a god is, what a god wants, etc. Every religion has its own theology because its study of gods, if it includes any gods, will proceed from specific doctrines and traditions which vary from one religion to the next. Since atheists don’t accept the existence of any gods, they don’t accept that theology is the study of anything real. At most, it might be the study of what people think is real and atheist involvement in theology proceeds more from the perspective of a critical outsider rather than an involved member.

The branch of “universal science” is a bit harder to understand, but it involves the search for “first principles” — things like the origin of the universe, fundamental laws of logic and reasoning, etc. For theists, the answer to this is almost always “god” and, moreover, they tend to argue that there can be no other possible answer. Some even go far as to argue that the existence of things like logic and the universe constitute evidence of the existence of their god

Metaphysics  Theories of the nature of reality-

A .Cosmology. Theories of the nature of the cosmos and explanations of its origin and development. It deals with the origin and structure of the universe. It accepts the principles of science and attempts to find the principles of existence ,in whatever form They may take.

Some considerations in cosmology are

a . Causality.

  • The nature of cause and effect relationship ,
  • The nature of time and
  • The nature of space..

There are two distinctive views in cosmology

Evolutionism .universe evolved by itself.

b. .Creationism. The universe came to be as the result of the working of a Creative cause or Personality.

B.The nature of man as one important aspect of Reality.The problem of essential nature of the self. There are no particular terms but there are divergent answers which can be identified with general viewpoints.

a. The self is a soul, a spiritual being. A principle of idealism and spiritual realism.

b. The self is essentially the same as the body. A principle of naturalism and physical realism

c. The self is a social-vocal phenomenon. A principle held especially by experimentalists

2. The problem of the relation of body and mind.

a. Interactionism. Mind and body are 2 different kind of reality, each of which can affect the other.

B. Parallelism. Mind and body are two different kinds of reality which do not and cannot affect each other. But in some unknown way, every mental event is paralleled by a corresponding physical event.

c. Epiphenomenalism. Mind is merely a function of the brain, an overtone accompanying bodily activity. It is an onlooker at events, never influencing them.

d. Double Aspect Theory. Mind and body are two aspects of a fundamental reality whose nature is unknown.

e. Emergence Theory. Mind is something new which has been produced by Nature in the evolutionary process, neither identical with body, parallel to it, nor wholly dependent upon it.

f. Spiritualism. (A definition common to most idealists and spiritual realists.) Mind is more fundamental than body. The relation of body and mind is better described as body depending upon mind, as compared to the common-sense description according to which mind depends upon body.

3. The problem of freedom

a. Determinism. Man is not free. All of his actions are determined by forces greater than he is.

b. Free Will. Man has the power of choice and is capable of genuine initiative.

c. There is a third alternative proposed especially by the experimentalists, for which there is no name. Man is neither free nor determined; but he can and does delay some of his responses long enough to reconstruct a total response, not completely automatic but not free, which does give a new direction to subsequent activity.

C. Conception of and about God.

1.Atheism. There is no ultimate reality in or behind the cosmos which is Person or Spirit.

2.Deism. God exists quite apart from, and is disinterested in, the physical universe and human beings. But He created both and is the Author of all natural and moral law.

3.Pantheism. All is God and God is all. The cosmos and God are identical.

4.The conception of God as emerging, for which there is no common name. God is evolving with the cosmos; He is the end toward which it is moving, instead of the beginning from which it came.

5.Polytheism. Spiritual reality is plural rather than a unity. Thee is more than one God.

6.Theism. Ultimate reality is a personal God who is more than the cosmos but within whom and through the cosmos exists.

D. Teleology. Considerations as to whether or not there is purpose in the universe.

1.Philosophies holding that the world is what it is because of chance, accident, or                blind mechanism are no teleological.

2.Philosophies holding that there has been purpose in the universe from its beginning, and /or purpose can be discerned in history, are teleological philosophies.

3.It may be that a special case must be made of the experimentalists again on this particular question, as they do not find purpose inherent in the cosmos but by purposeful activity seek to impose purpose upon it.

E. Considerations relating to the constancy, or lack of it, in reality.

1.Absolutism. Fundamental reality is constant, unchanging, fixed, and dependable.

2.Relativism. Reality is a changing thing. So called realities are always relative to something or other.

F. Problems of quantity. Consideration of the number of ultimate realities, Apart from qualitative aspects.

1.Monism. Reality is unified. It is one. It is mind, or matter, or energy, or will but only one of these.

2.Dualism. Reality is two. Usually these realities are antithetical, as spirit and matter, good and evil. Commonly, the antithesis is weighted, so that one of the two is considered more important and more enduring than the other.

3.Pluralism. Reality is many. Minds, things, materials, energies, laws, processes, etc., all may be considered equally real and to some degree independent of each other.

G. Ontology. The meaning of existence as such. To exist, to have being, means what?

1.Space-time or Nature as identical with existence. To exist means to occupy time and space, to be matter or physical energy. (e.g., naturalism and physical realism).

2.Spirit or God as identical with existence. To exist means to be Mind or Spirit, or to be dependent upon Mind or Spirit. (Especially true of idealism.)

3.Existence as a category which is not valid. This is held by those, especially the pragmatists, who insist that everything is flux or change and there is nothing which fits into the category of existence in any ultimate sense.


Epistemology, from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge.

A branch  of philosophy dealing with the nature of knowledge .theory of knowledge: the inquiry into what knowledge is, what can be known, and what lies beyond our understanding; the investigation into the origin, structure, methods, and validity of justification and knowledge; the study of the interrelation of reason, truth, and experience. Epistemology investigates the origin, structure, methods, and integrity of knowledge. The study of knowledge. In particular, epistemology is the study of the nature, scope, and limits of human knowledge

It deals with the definition of knowledge and its scope and limitations. It translates from Greek to mean ‘theory of knowledge’. It questions the meaning of knowledge, how we obtain knowledge, how much do we know and how do we have this knowledge? Some of the famous epistemologists are Descartes, Kant and Hume.

Kinds of knowledge

As Epistemology is the investigation into the grounds and nature of knowledge itself. The study of epistemology focuses on our means for acquiring knowledge and how we can differentiate between truth and falsehood. knowledge can be acquired

Priori it is possible to know things before we have had experiences — this is known as a priori knowledge because priori means before. It includes  Independent of the knowledge of experience. Belonging to the mind prior to experience. This term is usually applied to principles or judgments whose validity is independent of sense data Knowledge which is self-evident. Principles which, when once understood, are recognized to  be true and do not require proof through observation, experience, or experiment.)

Posteriori: we can only know things after we have had the relevant experience — this is labeled a posteriori knowledge because posteriori means “after.”It includes  (Inductive thinking beginning with the data of experience opposed to a priori)Knowledge which is based upon experience and observation

Experimental knowledge- It is something to be put to work in experience as a function which carries experience forward satisfactorily.

The Theories of the nature of knowledge-The theories deals with the possibility of knowledge.

Agnosticism is the doctrine that holds tha one can not know the existence of anything beyond the phenomenon of experience, it may mean no more  than the suspension of judgment on ultimate questions because of insufficient evidence, or it may constitute a rejection of traditional religious tenets. The position that conclusive knowledge of ultimate reality is an impossibility.

Skepticism- Philosophical doubting of knowledge claims in various areas ,a challenge to accepted views in science ,morals, and religion. A questioning attitude toward the possibility of having any knowledge.

The affirmation of knowledge. The position that true knowledge of ultimate reality is possible,

The affirmation of functional knowledge. The position that knowledge is always fractional, never total , and functions in a present field or situation where it is needed, and that we can appropriate such fractional and functional knowledge.

The Instruments of Knowledge

Epistemology is important because it is fundamental to how we think. Without some means of understanding how we acquire knowledge, how we rely upon our senses, and how we develop concepts in our minds, we have no coherent path for our thinking. A sound epistemology is necessary for the existence of sound thinking and reasoning — this is why so much philosophical literature can involve seemingly arcane discussions about the nature of knowledge.

Empiricism: knowledge is obtained through experience.The position, or sense-perceptual experience, is the medium through which knowledge is gained. Empiricism, , is more uniform in the sense that it denies that any form of rationalism is true or possible. Empiricists may disagree on just how we acquire knowledge through experience and in what sense our experiences give us access to outside reality; nevertheless, they all agree that knowledge about reality requires experience and interaction with reality

Rationalism: knowledge can be acquired through the use of reason.The position that reason is the chief source of knowledge. Rationalism is not a uniform position. Some rationalists will simply argue that some truths about reality can be discovered through pure reason and thought (examples include truths of mathematics, geometry and sometimes morality) while other truths do require experience. Other rationalists will go further and argue that all truths about reality must in some way be acquired through reason, normally because our sense organs are unable to directly experience outside reality at all.

Intuitionism-A position that knowledge is gained through immediate insight and awareness .Direct or immediate knowledge of self , others ,or data.An internal, personal phenomenon.

Autoritarionism-The position that much important knowledge is certified to us by an indisputable authority

Reveleation –T he position that  God presently reveals himself in the holy books or holy places. A communication of God,s will to man from some external source

Logic: Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy amongst philosophers (see below). However the subject is grounded, the task of the logician is the same: to advance an account of valid and fallacious inference to allow one to distinguish good from bad arguments.

The study of the proper methods of thinking and reasoning. Logic languages, like Predicate Logic, promise to produce arguments which, if the premises are true, can only lead to true conclusions. Logic is slightly different than the other branches as it aims to suggest the correct ways of studying philosophy in general.

Logic is the science of exact thought. The .The systematic treatment of the relation of ideas. A study of methods distinguishing valid thinking   which is fallacious. : Among the branches of philosophy, logic is concerned with the various forms of reasoning and arriving at genuine conclusions. It includes the system of statements and arguments. It is now divided into mathematical logic and philosophical logic. It tries to avoid the imaginary or assumptions without real logical proof.
A.Induction. Reasoning from particulars to a general conclusion.

B.Deduction. Reasoning from general principle to particulars included within the scope of that principle.

C.The syllogism. A form in which to cast deductive reasoning. It is comprised of three propositions : the major premise, the minor premise, and the conclusion.

D.Experimental reasoning or problem-solving. A form of reasoning, largely inductive but using deduction as well, which begins wigh a  problem observes all the data relating to the problem, formulates hypotheses and tests them to reach a workable solution of the problem.

E.Dialectic. A method of reasoning of reasoning in which the conflict or contrast of ideas is utilized as a means of detecting the truth. In hegel’s formulation of it there are three stages: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.

Axiology: the Study of Value: the study of value; the investigation of its nature, criteria, and metaphysical status. More often than not, the term “value theory” is used instead of “axiology” in contemporary discussions even though the term “theory of value” is used with respect to the value or price of goods and services in economics. . The general theory of value. The nature of values, the different kinds of value, specific values worthy of possession

Axiology (theory of value): the inquiry into the nature, criteria, and metaphysical status of value. Axiology, in turn, is divided into two main parts: ethics and æsthetics.

Although the term “axiology” is not widely used outside of philosophy, the problems of axiology include

(1) how values are experienced,

(2) the kinds of value,

(3) the standards of value, and

(4) in what sense values can be said to exist.

A. The nature of value.

1.The interest theory. Values depend upon the interest of the person who enjoys them. Strictly speaking, they do not exist but are supported by the interest of the value.

2.The existence theory. Values have an existence in their own right which is independent of the valuer and his interest. Values are not qualities or essences without foundation in existence; they are essence plus existence.

3.The experimentalist theory. That is of value which yields a greater sense of happiness in the present and at the same time opens the way to further goods in future experiences.

4.The part whole theory. The key to realizing and enjoying value is the effective relating of parts to wholes.

B. Realms of value.

1. Ethics. : Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the “science (study) of morality”. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is “good” or “right.” The Western tradition of ethics is sometimes called moral philosophy.

It is concerned with questions on morality and values and how they apply to various situations. It can be divided into the branches of meta-ethics, normative and applied ethics. Ethics seeks to understand the basis of morals, how they develop and how they are and should be followed. Famous works on ethics are by philosophers as early as Plato, Aristotle, Kant and Nietzsche.

The study of values in human behavior or the study of moral problems: e.g., (1) the rightness and wrongness of actions, (2) the kinds of things which are good or desirable, and (3) whether actions are blameworthy or praiseworthy The nature of good and evil. The problems of conduct and ultimate objectives.

a. The worth of living.

1.Optimism. Existence is good. Life is worth living. Our outlook can be hopeful.

2.Pessimism. Existence is evil. Life is not worth the struggle; we should escape it by some means.

3.Meliorism. Conclusions as to the goodness or evil of existence cannot be made final. Human effort may improve the human situation. The final end cannot be assured, but we must face life, not escape it, applying all the effort and resource we can command.

B. The highest good or summum bonum. The end, aim, or objective of living which is above all other ends. In absolutist philosophies it is the ultimate end which by its nature cannot be a means to another end.

1.Hedonism. The highest good is pleasure. Hedonist ranging from the intense pleasure of the moment to highly refined and enduring pleasure or contentment. Utilitarianism is a form of hedonism having society as its frame of reference. According to it, the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the prime objective.

2.Perfectionism. The highest good is the perfection of the self, or self-realization. Perfection of the self, or self realization. Perfectionism may also have its social frame of reference, envisioning  and ideal social order as the ultimate objective of society.

C. The criteria of conduct. From one’s conception of the highest good there follow logically certain practical principles for everyday living. Some examples are

1.Kant’s maxim: act only on those principles which you are willing should become universal moral laws.

2.Spencer’s principal: action to be right must be conducive to self-preservation.

3.Dewey’s principle: discover the probable consequences of what you consider doing, by going through an imaginative rehearsal of the possibilities.

4.The religious principle: obey the will of God; commit yourself completely to the fulfillment of God’s purpose for yourself and the world.

D. The motivation of conduct. The kind and scope of the interests which guide conduct.

1.Egoism. The interests of self should be served by an individual’s actions.

2.Altruism. The interest of other or of the social group should be served by an individual’s actions. One realizes his won fullest selfhood in seeking the best interests of others.

3.Religious Values. The kind, nature, and worth of values to be possessed in worship, religious experience, and religious service.

4.Educational Values. The kind, nature and worth of values inherent in the educative process.

5.Social Values. The kind, nature and worth of values only realized in community and in the individual’s relation to society. Some more specific kinds of social values are the political and the economic

6.Utilitarian Values. The kind, nature, and worth of values to be realized in harmonious adjustment to or efficient control of the forces of the physical environment.

There are two main subdivisions of axiology: ethics and æsthetics.. Each of these subdivisions are briefly characterized below.

Aesthetics:The philosophy of art. Concerned with questions like why do we find certain things beautiful, what makes things great art, so on. the study of value in the arts or the inquiry into feelings, judgments, or standards of beauty and related concepts. Philosophy of art is concerned with judgments of sense, taste, and emotion.

Aesthetics deals with sense, perception and appreciation of beauty. It broadly includes everything to do with appreciating of art, culture and nature. It also examines how the perception of beauty is determined by taste and aesthetic judgment. The practice of defining, criticizing and appreciating art and art forms is based on aesthetics.

Aesthetics involves the conceptual problems associated with the describing the relationships among our feelings and senses with respect to the experience of art and nature .It is the inquiry into feelings, judgments, or standards concerning the nature of beauty and related concepts such as the tragic, the sublime, or the moving—especially in the arts; the analysis of the values of sensory experience and the associated feelings or attitudes in art and nature; the theories developed in les beaux arts.

Actually Aesthetics deals with the nature of the values which  are found in the feeling aspects of experience. The conscious search for the principles governing the creation and appreciation of beautiful things.

(b) Ethics: This is probably the most self-explanatory of all the branches. Concerned with such things as what is good/evil, is there such a thing as objective morals or are they created by us, or some other being, how we should live our lives, and so on.. Ethics involves the theoretical study of the moral valuation of human action—it’s not just concerned with the study of principles of conduct .It is the inquiry into the nature and concepts of morality, including the important problems of good, right, duty, virtue, and choice; the study of the principles of living well and doing well as a human being; the moral principles implicit in mores, religion, or philosophy.

Philosophy- Indian point of view

From the Indian viewpoint,  the word ‘philosophy’ suggests “observing and surveying”  the existence. In Sanskrit, the philosophy is referred to as  ‘darshana’.  The Sanskrit word ‘darshana’ has its root in the word ‘drs’ that means ‘to see’, ‘to look’ or ‘to view’. “Seeing” or “viewing” the reality and the facts of experience forms the basis of philosophy. Senses, mind and even consciousness are involved in this ‘seeing’. “Seeing” also encompasses “contemplation”. Seeing is not simply a sensory activity. ‘Seeing’ may primarily be a perceptual observation. But it may also concern the conceptual knowledge or an intuitional flash.  Thus ‘darshana‘ suggests vision. In other words, ‘darshana’ is a whole view revealed to the inner self, what we term as the soul or the spirit or the inner being.  Philosophy or ‘darshana’ is concerned with the vision of ‘truth and reality’.

This way while  Philoosophy is considered as Goal while in Indian context  Darshan is considered as m Means

All systems of Indian philosophy are ranged  in two categories:

Astika systems, which affirm, and Nastika systems.Indian philosophy, include both orthodox (astika) systems, namely, theNyayaVaisheshikaSamkhyaYoga, Purva-Mimamsa (orMimamsa), andVedanta schools of philosophy.

Nastika systems, which were chiefly those of the Charvakas, the Buddhists, and the Jains. But, strange to say, these systems were called Nastika, heterodox and nihilist, not because they questioned or denied the existence of God ,but because they questioned, denied or ignored the authority of the Vedas.

Each of these systems differs in one way or the other in terms of its concepts, phenomena, laws and dogmas. Each system has it’s own founder as well. It is important to know that the founders of these systems of philosophy are sages of the highest order that have devoted their lives for the study and propagation of philosophy..

Each darsana explains the origin of the world, its creation and transformation.

There are three different approaches that these darsanas follow:

1- Arambha vada- holds that the universe is created.

2- Parinama vada- holds that the universe is not created or destroyed but it only transforms. Particularly, it is transformation of the manifesting form of the immutable absolute.

3- Vivarta vada- holds that the Universe as it appears is but because of the limitation of observer and it appears so, because of Maya.

It becomes difficult, sometimes, to name a single founder or a promoter of a system. However, the following are widely acknowledged as proponents of the above systems: Gautama for Nyaya, Kanada for Vaisheshika, Patanjali for Yoga, Kapila for Samkhya, Jaimini for Purva-Mimamsaand Shamkara for Uttar-Mimamsa.

Charvakism is believed to have been promoted by Charvaka. Vardhamana Mahavira is acknowledged as the founder of Jainism and GautamaBuddha as the founder of Buddhism.

The common characteristics in Indian Philosophies:

The systems of Indian philosophies, with a singular exception of Charvakism, have certain common characteristics. Charvakism remarkably differs from other systems as it promotes materialism.

Brief outline of Shad-Darshan is given below:

1. NYAYA- by Sage Gautam

Logical Quest of Supreme, Phases of Creation, Science of Logical Reasoning

2.  VAISHESIKA – by Sage Kanad

Science of Logic, Futility of Maya, Vedic Atomic Theory

3. SANKHYA -  by Sage Kapil

Eliminate Physical and Mental Pains for receiving liberations, Nontheistic Dualism

4. YOGA – by Sage Patanjali

Practice of Meditation and Samadhi for Renunciation, Self Discipline for Self Realization

5. KARMA MIMANSA -  by Sage Jaimini

Poorv Mimamsa explaining the Vedas are eternal and Divine; Elevation Through the Performance of Duty

6.VEDANTA – by Sage VedVyas

Uttar Mimansa (Brahma Sutra) explaning the divine nature of Soul, Maya and Creation; Conclusion of edic Revelation

The six Darshan Shastras are divided in the groups of two each based on their closely related texts, such as Nyaya and Vaisheshika are closely allied to each other. The next twoSankhaya and Yoga are closed to each other, and finally the Poorva Mimamsa and Uttar Mimamsa are allied to each other.


Another pre-Buddhistic system of philosophy, the Charvaka, or the Lokayata, is one of the earliest materialistic schools of philosophy.The name Charvakais traced back to one Charvaka, supposed to have been one of the great teachers of the school. The other name, Lokayata, means “the view held by the common people,” “the system which has its base in the common, profane world,” “the art of sophistry,” and also “the philosophy that denies that there is any world other than this one.” Brihaspati probably was the founder of this


Jainism, founded about the 6th century bce by Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th in a succession of religious leaders known either as Tirthankaras(Saviours) or as Jinas (Conquerors), rejects the idea of God as the creator of the world but teaches the perfectibility of humanity, to be accomplished through the strictly moral and ascetic life.


Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, He came to be called “the Buddha,” which means “awakened one,” after he experienced a profound realization of the nature of life, death and existence. He taught that awakening comes through one’s own direct experience, not through beliefs and dogmas.



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Butler, J.Donald, Four Philosophies and Their Practice in Education and Religion. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1957.

Cotter, A.C. ABC of Scholastic Philosophy. Weston, Massachusetts: Weston College Press, 1949

Frank Thilly, “A History of philosophy”, Central Publishing House, Allahabad.

John Dewey, “Reconstruction in Philosophy,” p-38. London, University of London Press Ltd. 1921.

Morries, Van Cleve, Philosophy and the American School. Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside Press, 1961.

Rusk, R.R., “Philosophical Basis of Education” p-68, footnote, London, University of London Press, 1956.

Weber, Christian O., Basic Philosophies of Education. New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1960.




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