Portal:Philosophy
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Portal:Philosophy
The Philosophy Portal
a portal for Wikipedia's
philosophy resources,
17,740 articles in English.

Introduction to Philosophy

The Thinker, a statue by Auguste Rodin, is often used to represent philosophy.

Philosophy (from Greek: , philosophia, 'love of wisdom') is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras (c. 570 - c. 495 BCE). Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation.

Historically, philosophy encompassed all bodies of knowledge and a practitioner was known as a philosopher. From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy, medicine, and physics. For example, Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy later became classified as a book of physics.

In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize. Since then, various areas of investigation that were traditionally part of philosophy have become separate academic disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, linguistics, and economics.

Today, major subfields of academic philosophy include metaphysics, which is concerned with the fundamental nature of existence and reality; epistemology, which studies the nature of knowledge and belief; ethics, which is concerned with moral value; and logic, which studies the rules of inference that allow one to derive conclusions from true premises. Other notable subfields include philosophy of science, political philosophy, aesthetics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind. (

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Broad classification of Karmas as per Jain philosophy

Karma is the basic principle within an overarching psycho-cosmology in Jainism. Human moral actions form the basis of the transmigration of the soul (j?va). The soul is constrained to a cycle of rebirth, trapped within the temporal world (sa?s?ra), until it finally achieves liberation (mok?a). Liberation is achieved by following a path of purification.

Jains believe that karma is a physical substance that is everywhere in the universe. Karma particles are attracted to the soul by the actions of that soul. Karma particles are attracted when we do, think, or say things, when we kill something, when we lie, when we steal and so on. Karma not only encompasses the causality of transmigration, but is also conceived of as an extremely subtle matter, which infiltrates the soul--obscuring its natural, transparent and pure qualities. Karma is thought of as a kind of pollution, that taints the soul with various colours (le?y?). Based on its karma, a soul undergoes transmigration and reincarnates in various states of existence--like heavens or hells, or as humans or animals. (Full article...)

Selected article of the week

Non-cognitivism is the meta-ethical view that moral statements lack truth-value and do not assert propositions. A noncognitivist denies the cognitivist claim that "moral judgments are capable of being objectively true, because they describe some feature of the world." If moral statements cannot be true, and if one cannot know something that is not true, noncognitivism implies that moral knowledge is impossible.

While the bare term non-cognitivism usually refers to ethics, it can also be applied in other branches of philosophy, as in theological noncognitivism.


Academic Branches of Philosophy

Philosophy ponders the most fundamental questions humankind has been able to ask. These are increasingly numerous and over time they have been arranged into the overlapping branches of the philosophy tree:

  • Aesthetics: What is art? What is beauty? Is there a standard of taste? Is art meaningful? If so, what does it mean? What is good art? Is art for the purpose of an end, or is "art for art's sake?" What connects us to art? How does art affect us? Is some art unethical? Can art corrupt or elevate societies?
  • Epistemology: What are the nature and limits of knowledge? What is more fundamental to human existence, knowing (epistemology) or being (ontology)? How do we come to know what we know? What are the limits and scope of knowledge? How can we know that there are other minds (if we can)? How can we know that there is an external world (if we can)? How can we prove our answers? What is a true statement?
  • Ethics: Is there a difference between ethically right and wrong actions (or values, or institutions)? If so, what is that difference? Which actions are right, and which wrong? Do divine commands make right acts right, or is their rightness based on something else? Are there standards of rightness that are absolute, or are all such standards relative to particular cultures? How should I live? What is happiness?
  • Logic: What makes a good argument? How can I think critically about complicated arguments? What makes for good thinking? When can I say that something just does not make sense? Where is the origin of logic?
  • Metaphysics: What sorts of things exist? What is the nature of those things? Do some things exist independently of our perception? What is the nature of space and time? What is the relationship of the mind to the body? What is it to be a person? What is it to be conscious? Do gods exist?
  • Political philosophy: Are political institutions and their exercise of power justified? What is justice? Is there a 'proper' role and scope of government? Is democracy the best form of governance? Is governance ethically justifiable? Should a state be allowed? Should a state be able to promote the norms and values of a certain moral or religious doctrine? Are states allowed to go to war? Do states have duties against inhabitants of other states?

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Selected philosopher of the week

Jacques-Marie-Émile Lacan (April 13, 1901 – September 9, 1981) was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist. His work, like most psychoanalytic work, owes a heavy, explicit debt to Sigmund Freud, but also drew from a number of other fields, including linguistics, philosophy, and mathematics. This interdisciplinary focus in his work has led him to be an important figure in many fields beyond psychoanalysis - particularly within critical theory.

His central idea was that the human subject is a creation of its use of language. From this understanding Lacan develops his study of psychoanalysis and his treatment strategies. His work, while controversial, continues to influence the development of psychoanalysis worldwide. In France and elsewhere various "schools" of Lacanian thought have emerged.

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Miscellaneous

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Did you know

Sebastian Petrycy's tomb effigy in Kraków

R?mabhadr?c?rya meditating on the banks of Mandakini river during a Payovrata. He is seated in the Sukhasana pose with fingers folded in the Chin Mudra.

  • ...that Jagadguru R?mabhadr?c?rya (pictured), a blind Hindu religious leader, has observed nine Payovrata, a six-month diet of only milk and fruits, per the fifth verse of the Doh?val? composed by Tulasid?sa, which says that chanting the name of R?ma subsisting on a diet of milk and fruits for six months will result in all the auspiciousness and accomplishments in one's hand?

Topics

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General images

The following are images from various Philosophy-related articles on Wikipedia.

Task forces

Tasks

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  • Falsificationism Looking for comments on lead.
  • Optimism should have a separate page that focuses on the philosophical idea of optimism and distinguishes the philosophical view from "positive thinking" and other everyday uses of the word.
  • Philosophy of social science, has some okay points but requires elaboration on Wittgenstein and Winch, perhaps other linguistic critiques, whether logical positivist or postmodernist.
  • Exchange value needs to be redone, it shouldn't be under 'Marxist theory'- although it's an important component of Marxist theory it's also vital for all economics. That said the article's weight on Marx is also absurd.
  • German Idealism and the articles related to it may need to be rewritten or expanded to avoid undue weight on Arthur Schopenhauer.
  • Protected values first section confuses right action and values and needs a copy edit, moving and wikifying
  • Quality (philosophy) needs a more clear explanation.
  • Socratic dialogues could do with some tidying and clarification. See the talk page for one suggested change.
  • Problem of universals: The introductory definition is (perhaps) fixed. But, the article is poor. Check out the German version.
  • Teleology: the article is shallow and inconsistent.
  • Existentialism: the quality of this article varies wildly and is in desperate need of expert attention.
  • Analytic philosophy This is a very major topic, but still has several sections which are stubs, and several topics which are not covered.
  • Lifeworld A philosophical concept that seems to have fallen exclusively into the hands of the sociologists. Could use some attention; it's a major and complex issue in phenomenology.
  • Perception Needs the attention of philosophically minded Wikipedians. This is only the start of an overhaul of perception and related articles.

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