Philosophy Map


The Map of Philosophy – just a set of


Adapted by RP from an article by Mike Fuller pub. in Philosophy Now Issue 13 Autumn 1995

NB RP – Philosophy is classically thought of as “love of wisdom”. With children it is to put them in the “I wonder (Criticality) mode… not the mode of wonderment which is where they are taken up into the world of story and lose, temporarily, the sense of self. Typical philosophical question: ‘Is that always true or just sometimes true?, Can you give a counter-example? Who wants to support X? What sorts of difference are there between X and Y?, ‘What is meant by…..?’ Teachers should model the reflectivity they want to hear.

1 Ontology: (aka. Metaphysics) Greek: on = being + Logos = science

What is being? What is real? What is only apparently related? How many kinds & levels of reality are there?

2 Epistemology: The theory of knowledge.

What is truth? What is knowledge? How are truth and knowledge related to appearance and reality? How many types of knowledge are there? How can we justify that they are true & apply to reality? Can we only justify that they apply only to appearances?

3 Aesthetics: The philosophy of art. Gk. aisthetikos & aisthanesthai – to perceive, feel

What is beauty? What is ugliness? How are beauty 7 ugliness related to good and bad? How are they related to truth & reality What is art? How is art related to truth, reality, morality, meaning etc?

4 Philosophy of Language? – What is language? What is meaning? How do language & meaning relate to appearance and reality? And to knowledge and thinking?

5 Logic : Gk. logos = science – What are the forms and methods & limits of rational thought and expression?

6 Psychology & Philosophy of Mind: Gk. psyche = soul; logos = science.

What is human nature? What is human mind? How do we think? How is thinking related to knowledge, language and reality? How is mind related to body?

7 Political Philosophy: What are the possible forms of society? Which possible form is best? (How) can the best be achieved?

8 Ethics: Three forms, one ‘pure’, one applied and one that bridges ethics with other philosophical concerns

Pure ethicsWhat should I do? Why should I do it? Am I free to do it? Is there a purpose to life? If so, how to fulfil it? What are good and evil? Is there an ‘ultimate’ good? What is the Good Life? What is happiness?

Applied ethics (Casuistry) – How can I relate the principles of pure ethics to judge good and bad, right and wrong, actions and behaviour, in particular situations?

MetaethicsHow many types of moral theory are there? (Objectivist, subjectivist, motivist, consequentialist etc) How is morality related to truth and reality? How are facts related to values?

Philosophy then at its simplest =

Love of wisdom in seeking to answer these questions:-

1 What is – and is it real? (Ontology)

2 What is (true) knowledge? (Epistemology)

3 What is beautiful – and is it art? (Aesthetics)

4 What is meaning? (The Philosophy of Language)

5 What are the forms, and methods & limits, of rational thought and expression? (Logic)

6 What is human nature & mind? (The Philosophy of Mind)

7 What are the best possible forms of society? (Political Philosophy)

8 What should I/we do that is good? (Ethics)

I centre my SunWALK answer to No. 6 by answering that it is 8 (Caring), 3 (Creativity – but doing it not talking about it) and 5 (Criticality – the basis of science). All three need Justice – as an internal quality of mind.

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