​The 10 branches of Philosophy (and its main thinkers)

​The 10 branches of Philosophy (and its main thinkers)

A summary of the branches of philosophy to better understand the topics it studies.

Philosophy is one of the most difficult fields of knowledge to define. This means that, throughout history, many thinkers have set themselves the task of putting words to such an abstract concept.

Perhaps less difficult is to delimit the different branches of philosophy in order, by specifying more what each one is about, to have a better global vision of both this discipline and the philosophers who dedicate themselves to it.

Main branches of philosophy

Bearing in mind that everything we think we know can be questioned in a thousand different ways and that any type of belief we have, no matter how deeply rooted, is in danger before philosophy, it is interesting to know which are the different flanks by which the task of philosophers can help us learn, leaving behind outdated ideas.

Next, we will review the different branches of philosophy, which as a whole are evidence of the extent to which this is a varied and prolific activity, as well as the different thinkers who stood out in each of them.

1. Epistemology

Epistemology focuses on the study of how human beings generate knowledge from our reflections and our relationship with the environment.

It is a question of examining both the validity of the conclusions we reached, taking into account both the initial data and the methodology used, but also considering the social and historical context in which the hypotheses and the questions that must be answered arise.

Epistemology has been around for many centuries, since the Renaissance, and among its most famous representatives are historical figures such as René Descartes, David Hume, and John Locke.

2. Philosophy of Logic

Philosophers belonging to this field are dedicated to studying logical systems, their qualities, and coherence, as well as how they allow knowledge to be extracted. On the other hand, this field of philosophical research also reflects on the nature and anthology of logical operations: are they part of nature, or are they only a human construct, for example?

In addition, it currently has a close relationship with the fields of computer engineering.

Kurt Gödel, Aristotle, and Charles Sanders Peirce are some of the thinkers who stood out in this discipline.

​The 10 branches of Philosophy (and its main thinkers)

3. Epistemology

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies the scope, origin, and nature of knowledge in general. That is, it addresses the formal aspects of knowledge, not its content concretely.

Unlike epistemology, epistemology investigates the act of knowing in general, not only the soundness of hypotheses and arguments, nor the concrete way in which we generate specific beliefs and try to test them or give them legitimacy so that they pass. to be knowledge (epistemology tends to focus on the production processes of scientific knowledge and on the systematic efforts to discover the reality behind it). For this reason, some authors affirm that epistemology includes epistemology.

4. Ethics

Ethics is the branch of philosophy that is responsible for examining how we can establish what is morally correct and what is not. Virtually all people act according to morality, but very few systematically ask themselves questions to examine to what extent their scales of values ​​and their application of morality are correct.

Among the unknowns that ethics tries to solve, it stands out whether universal morality exists or if morality is just a human creation product of historical development and the contexts that are taking place in our path.

Socrates, Plato, and Thomas Aquinas are examples of this type of philosopher.

5. Aesthetics

This is the branch of philosophy that focuses on the study of the perception of beauty, inside and outside the forms of artistic expression, and whether it is a visual perception or not. Although they were not dedicated solely to this branch, both Martin Heidegger, Plato, and Denis Diderot worked in this area.

6. Axiology

Axiology is the branch of philosophy that deals with the study of values, which are divided into ethical values ​​and aesthetic values. Therefore, from these investigations, we try to know how and why we consider some things valuable and others, whether in the field of ethics and morality or the field of beauty. Due to this, it is often considered that it is the union of ethics and ethics and aesthetics, while for other authors, uniting both issues, already raises an interesting debate: how the good and the beautiful are related. , and how both criteria interact with each other.

7. Philosophy of science

It is the branch of philosophy that is responsible for examining both the nature of science and the extent to which it is applied in practice to obtain valid and reliable knowledge.

Its appearance dates back to the end of the 1920s when it emerged from epistemology from the Vienna Circle. Among the most prominent thinkers in this field are Rudolf Carnap, Karl Popper, and Thomas Kuhn. Although in many aspects it overlaps with epistemology, it also includes research aspects of a sociological or even moral nature, such as through questions such as what the goal of science should be, or why certain approaches tend to be more successful in science. generation of initial hypotheses and not others.

8. Ontology

Ontology is the branch of philosophy dedicated to inquiring about the existence of phenomena. This does not only imply asking what exists and what does not but also considering in what sense things exist: is a crocodile the same as the concept of a dragon, since the latter only exists in fiction?

Some of the philosophers who stood out in this field were Plato, Aristotle, Georg Hegel, Gottfried Leibniz, and George Berkeley.

9. Political Philosophy

The thinkers dedicated to this tradition are dedicated to thinking and researching the concepts and logic behind political ideologies, social movements, and value systems that underlie political and economic proposals.

Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Max Stirner, Karl Marx, Simone de Beauvoir, and Thomas Hobbes are some of the most important thinkers in this field.

​The 10 branches of Philosophy (and its main thinkers)

10. Philosophy of Language

This branch of philosophy directs its inquiries toward the nature of language and the type of information exchange that takes place through its daily or institutional use. In addition, it can serve as support for the areas of science dedicated to understanding the use that we make of language in practice.

An example of a question to be resolved by philosophers in this field is whether there is a direct relationship between signifier and signified, and how verbalizable concepts are created.

Ferdinand de Saussure and Ludwig Wittgenstein are examples of thinkers who were interested in this area.

 

Bibliographic references

  • Benton, M. (2017). Epistemology Personalized. The Philosophical Quarterly. 67 (269): p. 813 – 834.
  • Bunge, M. (2000). Scientific research. Mexico City: XXI Century.
  • Dear, P. (2007). The scientific revolution. Madrid: Martial Pons History.
  • Popper, K. (1983). Conjectures and refutations: the development of scientific knowledge. Barcelona: Paidos.
  • Quine, WVO (2004). Philosophy of Logic. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

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