Branches of Philosophy

Aesthetics

This branch of philosophy deals with beauty , art and taste of things. It examines what happens in our minds when we are involved in aesthetic objects like art, music, poetry or while exploring Nature. Aesthetics consider why we like some specific thing over other. Aesthetic judgements may be linked to emotions and mood. When we say an object or art piece is beautiful , it triggers an aesthetic pleasure in ourselves . Beauty is a positive aesthetic value in contrast to ugliness, which is negative.

Epistemology

It deals with questions on nature and scope of knowledge. It focuses on sources of people’s consciousness, cognition ( structure and forms) and the relationship between mind and reality. It examines questions such as ‘ what we mean when we say we know something?’ ; the ability to differentiate between what one knows and what one believes.

Ethics

Ethics is the study of morals and the concept of right and wrong conduct. It deals with questions such as – What is morality ; does morality exists? It has 3 types :

Meta ethics ~ deals with foundations and nature of moral values.

Normative ethics ~ deals with systems of morality and questions on how one ought to act morally.

Applied ethics~ deals with what a person is obliged to do in specific situations.

Logic

It is the act of being rational by application of reason. The reasoning process can be done well or badly. Logic allows human beings to distinguish good reasoning from bad. In logic , we study rules and techniques that enables us to do correct ( whether good /bad ) reasoning. A logic must formulate precise standards for evaluating reasoning by developing proper set of arguments.

Metaphysics

Metaphysics deals with existence. It concerns with the fundamental nature of reality.

Theme 1~ The study of first causes — It studies that which does not change and from which the world has come into play. Some identify it with God.

Theme 2~ The study of being— Study of the fundamental categories of being or which exists. This field is also called Ontology.

It is further divided into disciplines such as cosmology, rational psychology and theology. Specific issues like immortality , free will are discussed.

Philosophy of mind

The branch of philosophy that deals with nature of mind and its relation with body . The aspects of mind such as thought, mental properties , consciousness are studied. It addresses issues like the hard problem of consciousness. It tries to explain how a supposedly non materialistic mind can influence material body and vica-versa. Rene Descartes was the first person to clearly identify mind with consciousness and self-awareness and to distinguish it from the brain , where intelligence lies.

Axiology

It is the study of origin of values or study of worth. Through axiology, one can determine what is valuable and why something can be said to be valuable.

Philosophy of language

It investigates nature of language , meaning, language use and language cognition. It explains how the meaning of complex sentences is derived from the meaning of their parts.

Political philosophy

Political philosophers seek to establish basic principles that will justify the formation of state, show individuals their rights and tell the fair distribution of society’s resources among its members . This usually involves analysing ideas like freedom , justice , authority and democracy and then applying them to institutions in a methodological way.

Philosophy of Science

It studies assumptions , foundation and implications of science. Questions addressed are: What is science; does science lead to certainty and truth; nature of statements and conclusions or how does science explain , predict and harness technology. It deals with the reliability of scientific theories and the ultimate purpose of science .