Philosophy (From Greek: φιλοσοφία, [philosophia], meaning love of wisdom or friend of wisdom) is the critical study of the most fundamental questions that humankind has been able to ask. These questions are increasingly numerous and over time they have been arranged into various but overlapping branches, such as
- Metaphysics: The study of being as such. It poses questions like: 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 nature of thought and thinking? What is it to be a person? What is it to be conscious? Is there a god?
- Epistemology: Is knowledge possible? If it is possible, what is it? How do we come to know what we know? Can we know that there are other minds? How?
- Ethics: Is there a difference between morally right and wrong actions (or values, or institutions)? If so, what is that difference? Which actions are right, and which wrong? Are they necessarily based on value? Are they divine commands or is there something else that makes them "just right?" Is ethical analysis dependent on the situation? Is it relative or absolute? In general or particular terms, how should I live? How should we live?
- Logic: What makes for good thinking? When can I say for sure that something just doesn't make sense? How can I think critically about complicated arguments?
- Aesthetics: What is art? What is beauty? Is everything that is beautiful art? 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? Does art have limits? Can art corrupt societies? Can it elevate them? Do artists really know anything about the content of their work? For example, does an actor who plays the President of United States well know anything about being President of the United States? Is all art imitation? Is there something lost or gained in the imitative process? Is anything original?
- Anthropology : The study of man. It poses questions about what it is to be human. What is human existence? Is there a shared human nature?