GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy

GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy

GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy





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Philosophy is regarded as the most difficult as well as abstract of all subjects, far removed

from issues of daily life. Despite the fact that many of us think of it being extremely far

from normal interests and beyond comprehension, almost all of us are philosophical. Most

people are unclear about what philosophy is, the term appears commonly used in their



The word, philosophy is delivered from a Greek language, filosofia (philosophia), which is

a union of two words, filia (philia, that is, love) and Sofia (Sophia, that is, wisdom). Thus

philosophy is love of wisdom. If one love something, he or she searches for it. Similarly, love

of wisdom means searching for wisdom. However, in popular usage, many different ideas

are involved in the manner we use the term. At times we mean by ‘philosophy’ an attitude

towards certain undertakings, for example, one may say ‘I disapprove your philosophy of

doing agriculture’ or ‘I am voting for that person because I favour his/her philosophy about



Also, people talk about being ‘philosophical’ when they mean taking a long – range and

detached view of certain immediate problems. When one is disappointed, people may

suggest to him or her that he or she be ‘philosophical in handling the issue,’ like when one

misses a bus. Here they mean to say that he or she should not be over – concerned with

events of the moment, instead should ponder about alternatives. In yet another sense, we

think of philosophy as an evaluation or interpretation of what is important or meaningful in

life. Such usage may be indicated by the story of two people who were drinking tea together.

One of them held his teacup to the front, scrutinized it thoughtfully, and then observed,

‘life is like a teacup. ‘his companion looked up at the teacup, turned to his friend and asked,

‘when is life like a teacup? He answered, ‘how should I know? I am not a philosopher?

However, philosophy has many definitions depending on one’s orientation. Indeed,

throughout history, philosophy has been defined to mean one thing or another. Generally,

philosophy is the science of primary causes =of being for the purpose of solving life problems.

It is a science because its objective is to understand concepts through an investigation of their

causes. In addition, philosophy is the science of primary causes because it is metaphysical or

it transcends experience and it does not stop until it has investigated the whole procession

of causes from the ultimate cause.

It is the science of prime causes in order to find solutions to problems of life contained in

the question, “Why am I on this earth?’’


  • Specifically, philosophy is the study of science of truth or principles underlying all

knowledge and being or reality.

GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy

  • It is a system of speculative beliefs such as when one speaks of Aristotelian philosophy or

Marxist philosophy.


  • It also denotes a set of convictions or stands on sensitive issues, such as when one speaks

of Mrema’s philosophy or Mtikila’s philosophy.


  • It also means a system of doctrine such as Ujamaa philosophy, the Idealist philosophy,

and so on.


  • It can mean a study of principles of a particular branch or subject of knowledge, for

example, Philosophy of History.


  • Philosophy also means a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs, for example,

the philosophy of the United States of America on foreign affairs policies concerning the

Middle East. In summary, philosophy can be defined as man’s intellectual and critical

activity of which he desires to understand and explain things as he experiences them

as well as they are in themselves. Thus, through philosophy, man is desirous to pursue




There are many ways of branching philosophy, writers are providing a varying number of

branches of philosophy, but in this chapter let us stick to 6 branches of philosophy, as they

are listed down:

(a) Metaphysics

(b) Ethics

(c) Logic

(d) Epistemology

(e) Aesthetics

GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy


is a branch of philosophy which studies the whole of reality, seeking for its

ultimate causes in an absolute sense. Metaphysics seeks for causes that, in the final analysis,

account for being, including diverse manners of being things.

In a philosophical sense, metaphysics literally means “after physics” or “beyond physics

such that it is normally understood as the branch of philosophy that comes after natural

philosophy and has for its study not merely physical being, but being as such. The discipline

is also know as ontology (from the Greek word on, that is, being) because it studies the

meaning, structure and principles of whatever exists and how it exists. In due regard,

metaphysics is not limited to some kinds of being, unlike other branches of philosophy and

particular sciences.

Thus, it is a study of the fundamental nature of reality and existence, including the essence

of things.

Essence = What make something to be what it is.

Existence = The isness of things, it is reality, it is BEING.

The study of metaphysics tries to solve the following questions.

  • What is real?
  • What is the distinction between reality and appearance?
  • What are the most general principles and concepts by which our experiences can be

interpreted, as well as understood?


Ontology has some fundamental characteristics that include unity, truth and goodness. The

characteristics are said to be coexistent with being, such that in regard to the measure as well

as manner in which a thing shares in these characteristics it possesses. Together with the

study of the fundamental characteristics of being, metaphysics examines the first principles

and principles of being. The former includes

first, the principle of contradiction which holds that the same thing cannot be and be at the sametime.

Second, the principle of identitystates that every being is determined in itself, is oneself as well as is consistent in itself.

Third, the principle of excluded middle that states that there cannot be an intermediate between contradictions.

Fourth, the principle of intelligibility that holds that everything that is, insofar as it is, intelligible.

Fifth, the principle of sufficient reason states that everything that exists has a sufficientMreason for its existence.

Sixth, the principle of causality holds that whatever comes to has a cause. Seventh, the principle of finality maintains that everything acts as an end, or that all beings, when acting, tend to have definite effect.


On the other hand, principles of being are principles that explain how being can be shared by different entities, and how such entities, while differing from one another, can still be similar as beings. Principles of being are distinguished into intrinsic and extrinsic principles. The former are potency acts as well as essence and existence. The later principles are causality and participation.

  • Natural theology is part of metaphysics. Metaphysics can seek for knowledge of God only as He is related to material things as their principle or first cause. Thus, natural theology works out proofs of God’s existence and it attempts to expound something about His essence and attributes. Finally, natural theology studies divine causality and the nature of evil.
  • Metaphysicians do not agree on the same answer as each group regards. Its stand to be most correct of all positions. For example, on the question of composition of the universe. There is a problem whether there is any single stuff or substance of which all things are composed. Some metaphysicians (especially monists) hold that there is but one such substance. Monists reduce the composition of the universe either to matter only or to spirit (mind) only. According to them either matter is reduced to spirit consciousness or experience. They are known as idealists, such as Berkeley and Hume, or spirit is reduced to activities of matter and become nothing else but matter they are known as materialists, such as Democritus and Hobbes.
  • Still some other philosophers believe that matter and spirit are two forms of existence irreducible and equally real. One of these philosophers is Descartes, according to these metaphysicians, both matter and spirit contributed to the composition of the universe.



Theodicy is the study of God according to human mind. It is distinct from Theology, which studies God according to revelation. Theodicy is the activity of human mind combined with experience to understand existence of God.

Theodicy tries to answer questions like:

  • Is the idea of God a reality in itself?
  • Can man know God without revelation?
  • How does the idea of God come about?
  • It is because of finiteness of man that the idea of God comes?
  • Does the universe need any god for its being?
  • Does man possess a free will or are our actions determined by causes over which we have no control?

In this regard, we have THEISM, which attributes everything including mind to originate from the Supreme Being, the Uncaused Causer, the Unmoved Mover, the Degree of Perfection, the Designer of Order in the Universe and the Finality of Creation. These are five ways of proving the existence of God, using the human mind.

Theism is divided into two parts,

  Monotheism – belief in the existence of one God,

  Polytheism –belief in the existence of many gods.


Metaphysics is divided into two areas, i.e. Cosmology and Ontology.


Cosmology also referred to as “philosophy of nature” is the branch of philosophy, which deals with the study of material beings that make up the physical universe. The study of cosmology tries to solve the following questions:-

  • What is time?
  • What is space?
  • Is there a relation between time and space?
  • Where does the universe come from?
  • What is the finality of the universe?
  • Does the universe have a purpose?

In fact, cosmology examines the being of bodies in two main ways: First, bodies as three – dimension extensions (that is, width, length and height) and second, bodies as perceived by senses, that is, as possessing certain active as well as passive properties. The subject matter of cosmology is “nature”. Nature is defined as the principle cause of

motion and rest in which it is primarily, by reason it self and not accidentally. Motion denoted to any kind of bodily change, accidental or substantial, while rest refers to attainment of the end to which change was directed. In cosmology, motion has two meanings. In the wide sense, motion stands for any continous as well as successive change, usually said to be movement. Cosmology deals with the issues of time and place (or space).


Time and Space:

When philosophers want to understand the nature of the universe, they often begin by examining the nature of time and space. Such questions include the following.

“Can there be time without change?”

“Is space something distinct from objects in the universe?’’

In this regard, some philosophers argue that time and space are absolute, that is, independent of any change in arrangement of contents of the universe. Time and space are absolute.

GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy

Other philosophers are relativistic, that is, they believe that both time and space can be reduced to relationships between things in the universe. According to relativists, time and space are limited to things in the universe. Ontology is the study of being.

Dualism contends that mind and matter are two fundamentally distinct kinds of things.

According to dualism, it could be impossible for a physical process to have a non – physical effect or mental event to result in changes in the physical world. Therefore, physical phenomenon results to physical changes and mental or spiritual phenomenon give rise to spiritual or mental changes. These two phenomena interact to one another and are responsible to physical as well as non – physical events.

Monism denies that mind and matter are two different things. According to monists, the two are but only one phenomenon. Monists as Materialists, assert that only matter exists and all mental phenomena are produced by the activity of matter. Soul/mind has no real existence. Idealist, on the other hand, hold that only ideas exist. All material things are an expression of an idea/ mind. There is on existence without mind and therefore, matter has no real existence.

Philosophical psychology studies human knowledge. It is also concerned with other human faculties such as desire, wish (or volition) as well as love psychology develops into philosophical anthropology. Philosophical anthropology analyses the nature of human and its immortality. In addition, it examines the mystery of personality and individual differences.

Metaphysics is having a number of theories developed by the philosophers, i.e

  • materialism
  • idealism
  •  mechanism 
  • teleology



maintains that only matter has real existence and that feelings, thoughts and other mental phenomena are produced by the activity of matter.



states that every material thing is an idea or a from of an idea. In idealism mental phenomena are what is fundamentally important.



maintains that all happenings result from purely mechanical forces not from purpose, and that it makes no sense to speak of the universe itself as having a




on the other hand, states that the universe and every thing in it exist and occur for some purpose.

GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy

Traditional metaphysics does not seem to meet all requirements. The conclusions arrived at by metaphysicians tend to be private and idiosyncratic. The extravagant claim of metaphysics as “the queen of sciences” is now largely abandoned for much of its subject matter is now in the domain of the empirical sciences which use the scientific methods.



The term ethics has its roots connected with a Greek term ethos, meaning custom or conduct. It is equivalent in meaning to moral philosophy which is similarly connected with a Latin term mores, customs and behaviour. Ethics or moral philosophy studies the moral aspect of human activity in order to orient such activity toward what is “good” for man – self-actualization. Thus, the study seeks to uncover the moral of such acts (good or bad, duty or prohibitive) in order to discover some safe perceptions that help man use correctly his freedom to actualize himself. In addition, the study does not deal with how humans behave, but how they ought to behave.

In due regard, ethics discusses problems such as:-

  • What makes right actions right and wrong actions wrong?
  • What is good and what is bad?
  • What are proper values of life?


Problems arise about the ethics because we always have difficulties in knowing exactly the right thing to do. In many cases, our obligations culminate in conflict or are vague. In addition, people often disagree about whether a particular action or principle is morally right or wrong.

Moral Values:

  • The question of moral values lies outside the domain of science. Scientific investigation can tell us how people behave under a given condition (psychology). But it cannot tell us how they ought to behave under those conditions. Laws of nature can have nothing to say about good and evil.
  • There are, for instance, no scientifically observable facts, which will settle the question whether or not armed robbers ought to be put to death.
  • In questions about what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, we are concerned with making value judgments. To say that such things as fairness, honesty, liberty, and democracy are good, and that murder, cruelty, exploitation, dictatorship, and dishonesty are bad, is to make a value judgment. There is no scientific proof to support the verdict that they are good or bad.

Value judgments are expressions of attitudes or wishes of those making them. They are essentially private and not public. Since value judgments are expressions of individual preferences, they do not necessarily commit any body else.

Agreement on Ethical Values:

In matters of ethics, there can be only persuasions and agreements between individuals or groups. Surprisingly, however, human societies have always shown the remarkable capacity to adhere to common ethical values. If it were not so, chaos would reign. More surprisingly still, humans as a whole seem to agree on certain basic ethical values, such as respect to others life, lusts, individualism and so on.


This philosophy maintains that what is right or wrong depends on a particular culture concerned. What is right in one society can be wrong in another society. There is no basic standard by which a certain culture may be judged right or wrong.


In objectivism, it is claimed that there are objective standards of right and wrong, which can be discovered as well as be applied to all (everyone). These are inborn senses of ethics, that do not need to be taught.


Subjectivists claim that all moral standards are subjective matters of taste or opinions. Everyone has his/her taste and opinions. Thus, it is impossible to have the standard moral value or practice. In fact, the term ethics has been used in three quite related manners, signifying the following:

Firstly, a general pattern or way of life, for example, people commonly speak of Buddhist or Christian ethics.

Secondly, the term ethics signifies a set of rules of conduct or moral code, e.g. professional ethics (for example, medical ethics, teaching ethics and so on) or unethical behaiour.

Finally, the term ethics signifies an inquiry about ways of life as well as rules of conduct. In this sense, ethics is a branch of philosophy.

GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy


Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy, which deals with creation and principles of art as well as beauty. It also studies our thoughts, feelings and attitudes when we see, hear or read about something beautiful. There could be works of art such as a painting, symphony or poem, or it may be a sunset or other natural phenomena. Aesthetics also investigates the experience of engaging in activities such as painting, dancing, acting and playing. Also this branch deals with experience and principles of criticism. Furthermore, it involves both works of art created by human beings and beauty found in nature.

Aesthetics is sometimes identified with the philosophy of art which deals with the following:-

  • the nature of art;
  • the process of artistic creation;
  • the nature of artistic experience; and
  • principles of criticism.

But aesthetics has a wider application. It involves both works of art created by human beings and beauty found in nature.

  • Philosophers per se do not include this branch in philosophy, but rather, places it under science of beauty or practical philosophy. Aesthetics, Ethics and Political Philosophy

What are the differences between Aesthetics, Ethics and Political Philosophy? How do they relate?

Aesthetics relates to Ethics and Political philosophy when we ask questions about what role art and beauty should play in a society, as well as in an individual’s life. Such questions include:-

  • How can people’s taste in the arts be improved?
  • How should arts be taught in schools?
  • Do governments have the right to restrict artistic expressions?
  • Are there any international standards for art and beauty?
  • How standard are those international standards?



Logic is a branch philosophy, which deals with the study of the principles and methods of reasoning. Logic distinguishes between good (sound) and bad (unsound) reasoning.

Logic comes from Greek word logo V (logos meaning word). Therefore, it means the study of words. Words are uttered when we reason, when we utter words. All branches of philosophy employ thinking, whether or not such thinking will be correct, will depend on whether or not such thinking is in accord with laws of logic.

It has to be noted that logic is not a branch of psychology and that it does not deal with all types of thinking. Logic differs markedly from psychology be cause it does not deal with all types of thinking such as learning, remembering, day – dreaming, supposing and so

  1. But it only deals with that types of reasoning known as reasoning. In addition, it has to be borne in mind that while the psychologist is concerned with mental processes of the thinker, the logicians is concerned with the reasoning itself. The logician is concerned not with why people think in certain ways, but with formulation of rules that will enable us to test whether or not any particular piece or reasoning is coherent as well as consistent. That is, whether or not it is logical.

Thus logic shows the manner and according to what rules reason gets truth, as well as acquires sound knowledge. In due regard, logic studies our mental processes such that it uncovers laws governing them. There are three orders of rational thinking, namely: Simple apprehension, that is, grasping mentally an object without affirming or denying anything about it. Judgment, that is, a mental act whereby people affirm or deny something of something else. Reasoning, that is, the mental process whereby people proceed to new knowledge from prior former knowledge.

  • The three orders give a threefold division, namely, logic of the term, logic of judgment and logic of reasoning.

Simple Apprehension:

Simple apprehension is the first knowledge, which we get before making judgment. Man uses sense of knowledge to have the first instance of knowing. The five senses of the human body, namely, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching (feeling) are the most important sources of knowledge of simple apprehension.

GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy

Simple apprehension also depends on the condition of a sense organ which leads to a defect on knowledge and therefore, the whole simple apprehension process. For example, a sick person undergoing malaria treatment using quinine will taste everything bitter and hearing will be partially impaired. Thus, two sensory organs will be temporarily incapacitated. This endangers the process of simple apprehension.


Judgment is the second process of Logic. After observation of things having the same characteristics, we start making judgments. For example, when one sees a giraffe in a National Park (Mikumi or Serengeti National Park), that simple apprehension remains in one’s intellect. When that person sees another creature of that type, he/she will say, “that is a giraffe”.That person will judge even characteristics of that animal as when he or she saw the animal for the first time. For example, behavioral attributes, like feeding on acacia tree leaves. Thus, judgment is an essential part of the reasoning process.


Reasoning is the final stage in Logic. It comes after simple apprehension and judgment.

For example, when a person observes (biological) characteristics of a donkey and later on observes that they are similar to those of a zebra, that person can conclude that donkeys and zebras belong to the same group (family). The process can be arrived at through a process of using a syllogism.

For example, all animals having the same characteristics belong to the same family:-

  • Zebras and donkeys have similar characteristics.
  • Zebra and donkeys belong to the same family.

An inference of reasoning is called argument. An argument consists of a set of statements called premises together with a statement called conclusion. Normally, the conclusion is derived from premises. This is called a syllogism, that, an argument of which given two premises with a middle term, conclusion follows with necessity. The middle term is the word or clause or phrase, which joins the two premises but is not found in the conclusion.

For example, all human beings are mortal.

  • All Greeks are human beings.
  • All Greeks are mortal.

In the above statement: All human being are mortal and all Greek are human beings.

  • The use of human beings is in both premises. That means human beings form the middle term because the words appear in both premises.
  • Again the word mortal is in the first sentence but it is not contained in the second sentence. The word mortal becomes our first term in the premises.
  • Conclusion is normally joining the first term and the second term by omitting the middle term, that is, all Greeks are mortal.
  • But the first premise must be universal while the second premise should not contain ideas shared by members of all those included in the first premise and others outside the premise to make the argument valid. Otherwise, the argument will be invalid.
  • For example, all human beings are mortal, all Greek are mortal, and all Greeks are human beings.


The problem here is the idea of mortality, which is shared by all living things. The term mortal does not belong to human beings only and cannot be the middle term for such comparison, because one could also argue in the following manner.

All the human being are mortal

  • All dogs are mortal
  • All dogs are human beings.

GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy

Types of Reasoning:

There are two types of reasoning called deductive and inductive:

Deductive reasoning is undertaken whereby a conclusion is necessarily taken from the premises. Given the true and valid premises, conclusion becomes true and valid.

Deductive reasoning is used to explore necessary consequences of certain assumptions.

For example all passengers in that bus died in the accident:-

  • Kakeli was one of passengers in the bus.
  • Kakeli died in the accident.


Inductive reasoning involves premises derived from observations of certain common phenomena. In fact, conclusion begins with generalization of certain characteristic features and results to other conclusions.


Epistemology (Criteriology)

Epistemology is the branch of metaphysics devoted to the study of nature, basis and extent of knowledge. It explorers the various ways of knowing, the nature of truth and the relationship between knowledge and belief. The name comes from the Greek name, episteme, meaning knowledge in the truth, as well certain sense. Epistemology is also called Criteriology, from the Greek name, criterion, meaning a criterion or rule by which one may test knowledge to distinguish the true from the false. Less frequently it is known as a knownledge to distinguish the true from the false. Less frequently it is known as Gnoseology, from the Greek name, gnosis, meaning knowledge in a quite general sense. As already presented, the diversity of names reflects the controversial aspects of the discipline.


Epistemology (Criteriology) tries to solve the following questions:-

  • What are features of genuine knowledge as distinct to what appears to be knowledge?
  • What is truth?
  • How can we know what is true from false?
  • Are there different kinds of knowledge with different grounds and characteristics?
  • What is knowledge? Is it in the book? Is it in the person?
  • What does “to know” mean?
  • Is knowing means understanding? Or is knowing the same as remembering? Is believing


also a Philosophers distinguish between two kinds of knowledge, namely, a priori and a posteriori. A priori knowledge we arrive at through thinking without appealing to experience. It is knowledge from reason alone. For example a minute consists 60 seconds. 60 minutes make one hour. Therefore, there are 3,600 second in one hour. This knowledge is arrived at through the activity of thinking alone.

A posteriori knowledge or empirical knowledge is knowledge we get through observation and experience. Such knowledge like typing, playing a piano, playing a guitar, driving a motor vehicle, riding a bicycle, tailoring and so forth are obtained through observations and experience.

The nature of Truth:

Philosophers have been discussing the nature of truth since ancient time, partly because people so often use the term ”true” for ideas they find congenial, and want to believe and “false” for ideas they find not congenial. People also disagree about, which ideas are true and, which are false.


Criteria for truth:

Philosophers have attempted to define criteria for distinguishing between truth and error. But they disagree about what truth means and how to arrive at true ideas.


Examples include the following:

  • Correspondence theory: holds that an idea is true if it correspondences to facts of reality.
  • Pragmatic theory: maintains that an idea is true if it works or settles problems it deals with.
  • Skepticism theory: claims that knowledge is impossible to attain and that truth is unknowable.


Sources of knowledge:

(i) Intuitive knowledge:-

This is the first knowledge. It is obtained through intuition. It is the most basic and most stable knowledge, which we get without being taught. Also it is a knowledge which comes from the insight of a person. A person just come up to conclusion through experiences. He many reach the conclusion about certain issue without analytical processes and not with scientific evidences. This knowledge includes sense of prediction, telepath of the work of tradition healers/doctors. the intuitive knowledgeis a source of empirical knowledge, which also is used in military plans.

find of knowing?

GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy

(ii) Empirical knowledge:-

This is sense knowledge. It is obtained through use of our senses. It is the foundation of so many forms of knowledge that human beings obtain. It is learnt by seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. It is a kind of knowledge which is the surest and most dependable to understand the reality. Sometimes our senses are limited to give us exactly picture of an object e.g. always the stick that looks bent in the water but is not true. Other variables contributing a lot to make our senses perfect. For example, prejudices, physical fitness, weather condition etc. All these may affect our sensible knowledge of the world. Empirical knowledge is not reliable knowledge to depend on, because it needs other factors to be complete. It is only one of the avenues to understanding reality.


(iii) Scientific knowledge/pragmatism and extencialism

This knowledge is obtained through observations, experience trial and error as well as reasoning. It is the mixture of reasoning and experience. It is stable knowledge. Its theory maintains that an idea is true if it works or settles something it deals with.


(iv) Authoritative knowledge:

This is the knowledge we get from people with authority in their respective fields. People often believe easily something given from people with authority. For example, political leaders, religious leaders, institutional authorities, elders in societies, teachers and so on. These are people entrusted with power to pass knowledge to others. Also it is the type of knowledge which its research has already been done and various books (text books) have been written about them e.g. dictionaries, journals, encyclopedias, historical and geographical books, atlas, and other written documents. Sometimes knowledge from highly learned people, e.g. professors, doctors and other academicians, is believed because we are sure that they cannot deceive us from what they have written or said. For example through (geography we know more about the earth and its components, including cities, countries, climates, economical and political activities) and we believe everything is true.


(v) Revealed knowledge:

This is divine knowledge given to human beings through revelation. Religious knowledge has its authority based on this. Thus, God revealed it. Knowledge gained from Holy Books is believed because it was revealed. Such knowledge is only stable to followers of the same religious denomination and may not be believed by others who are not of the same faith. Also it is the knowledge which comes from revelation. Through knowledge from faith (fideis) people believed that there were some people who received various messages from God through revelation and they put these messages into writings and produced books such as the Bible, the Koran, the Upanishads etc.


Those people believed to have been divinely inspired. The contents of the books are very useful to the believers. But non – believers could say that what is contained in the Holly Books is not revelation at all.

GS For Advanced Level: Meaning, Nature And Branches Of Philosophy

The importance of studying Philosophy:

Thus, philosophy makes a person think about basic foundations of outlook, knowledge and beliefs. It makes one ask reasons for what one accepts and undertakes, including the importance of ones ideas, as well as ideals; hopefully that one’s final convictions, whether or not they remain the same as a result of examination, will at least be rationally held ones.

The following aspects underscore the importance of studying philosophy.

(i) Philosophy is guidance of life. It is needed for the ordinary man in everyday life especially in this age of science and technology. Life lacks meaning if we cannot think and plan for the future in this fast changing world.

(ii) Philosophy is needed to distinguish truth from false. In the fear from, or false, ideas occupying the minds with particular questions, philosophy will liberate man from such fears and false ideas.

(iii) Philosophy stimulates learners to be more inquisitive. This is because philosophy raises the urge to learn more by understanding that we know less and less. There is no point we can say that we know everything, so learners should strive to know more at all times.

(iv) Philosophy is the mother of all sciences. All sciences (physical and social science) are results of philosophical speculations.

(v) Mystical life and religious life are parts of philosophy because they come as a result of man reasoning and acting to solve problems that cannot be easily solved. These sciences (political and pure) together with religious life are made perfect through reflection and speculation.

(vi) Systems of education follow a society philosophical ideas about what children should be taught and for what purposes. Democratic societies stress that people must learn to think and to make choices for themselves. In non democratic societies people are discouraged to think and make choices. The leaders want their citizens always to be sabmissive.

(vii) The value and skills taught by the educational system of any society should reflect the society’s philosophical ideas of what is important.

(viii) Philosophy helps to face the crisis / problems with concessors by investigating the situation critically with open mindedness.

(ix) Philosophy involves accurate thinking into formal, logical and evaluating ways of thinking.

(x) It insists to have an attempt of addressing the issue thoroughly and holistically at all levels.

(xi) It helps in the logical analysis of a language and classification of the meaning of words and concepts, ie use of linguistic analysis, eg classification of words.

(xii) It exposes confusion and nonsenses and clarify the meaning of the use of terms or concepts of a language.

(xiii) If focuses in inquiring into deeper rather than partial problems of human existence, by answering philosophical questions coming up from paradigms of thoughts ie.

  • Metaphysics or idealism
  • Empiricism or realism
  • Pragmatism
  • Existentialism

(xiii) Philosophy also deals with the systematic body of principles and assumptions underlying the particular field of knowledge /discipline eg. Science, education, arts, music, laws, mathematics and religion.

(xiv) Moreover philosophy is used in every institution of society because it is based on philosophical ideas, ie. Law. Government, the family, marriage, industry, school, business. Philosophical differences will lead to a number of changes, including the overthrow of governments, change in laws or economic systems.