The Basics


What is philosophy?

Philosophy is the activity of seeking wisdom. In Greek, which was the first language of Western philosophy, “philosophy” means love of wisdom. One loves wisdom by trying to figure out what it is. There are many ways human beings seek wisdom, including art, religion, and lived experience. Philosophy is distinct because it seeks wisdom through the systematic use of reason.

Philosophers focus on ideas, the meaning of ideas, and beliefs by analyzing them. They break them down into their parts and then build them back up again and combine them in new ways. In addition to analysis, philosophers reflect on what goes on in the mind and the world; they seek wisdom through intuitions of whole structures of thought or experience.


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