Philosophy is the investigation of fundamental issues
by rational argument

  • Philosophy is the investigation of fundamental issues by rational argument.
Investigating Fundamental Issues
  • Investigating fundamental issues proceeds like any rational investigation.
    • Articulate the question.
    • Frame competing hypotheses.
    • Formulate the arguments.
    • Evaluate the arguments and draw a conclusion.
  • View Example
  • View Investigation
Subject Matter of Philosophy
Any Fundamental Issue
  • Britannica Western Philosophy
    • “[Philosophy] has no explicitly designated subject matter of its own but is a method or type of mental operation (like science or history) that can take any area or subject matter or type of experience as its object.”
Traditional Branches
  • Epistemology is the investigation of knowledge and rational belief.
    • A Priori and a Posteriori Knowledge, Analysis of Knowledge, Arguments, Probability, Rational Belief, Skepticism
    • View Epistemology
  • Metaphysics is the investigation of basic questions about reality.
    • Abstract Entities, Afterlife, Causation, Free will, God and Supernatural Beings, Identity through Time, Matter and Consciousness, Modality, Persons, Space and Time
    • View Metaphysics
  • Logic is the investigation of valid reasoning
    • Applied Logic, Arguments, Axiom Systems, Decision Theory, Deductive Logic, Probability Theory, Syllogisms and Venn Diagrams
    • View Logic
  • Ethics is the investigation of right and wrong, good and bad, and what should be done
    • Normative Ethics, Applied Ethics, Metaethics
    • View Ethics
  • Political Philosophy is the normative and conceptual inquiry into forms of government
    • Electoral Systems, Equality, Fairness, Forms of Government, Justice, Liberty, Libertarianism, Property, Representation, Rights, Welfare State
    • View Political Philosophy
Philosophies of …
  • Issues today are grouped under the heading Philosophies of [Topic].
  • For example:
Philosophic Method
  • The fundamental method of philosophy is the analysis of arguments, more aptly described as critical thinking with a vengeance.
  • An argument is a piece of reasoning, from premises to a conclusion.
  • Analyzing an argument comprises:
    • formulating the argument so its premises, conclusion, and reasoning are clear
    • determining whether the premises are true.
    • determining whether the argument’s reasoning is sound.
  • The analysis of arguments has become very sophisticated since 1900, with the development of formal logic, probability theory, and decision theory.
Example of a Philosophical Investigation
What happens to you when you die?

View Afterlife