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Philosophy: The Basics
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By Branch / Doctrine

A philosophical branch is a broad division of the overall subject. A philosophical doctrine is a particular theory, principle, position, system, code of beliefs or body of teachings. These are the famous “-isms” of Philosophy.

Within each branch, there are any number of related, similar or opposing doctrines covering different aspects of the whole, although many doctrines overlap with, and may have repercussions in, more than one branch of Philosophy. The distinction between philosophical doctrines or theories, and the various movements or schools of philosophy is sometimes blurred.

Philosophy as a whole is traditionally split into four or more main branches. The main four are:

(the study of existence and the nature of reality)
(the study of knowledge, and how and what we know)
(the study of how people should act, and what is good and valuable)
(the study of basic philosophical questions about art and beauty)

In addition to these, two more branches are often added:

(the study of good reasoning, by valid inference and demonstration)
Political Philosophy
(the study of how people should
in a proper society)

In addition to these, there are other branches concerned with philosophical questions arising from other disciplines, including:

Philosophy of Mind
(the study of the nature of mind, consciousness, etc)
Philosophy of Religion
(the study of the nature of religion, God, evil, prayer, etc)
Philosophy of Language
(the study of the nature, origins, and usage of language)
Philosophy of Education
(the study of the purpose, process, nature and ideals of education)
Philosophy of History
(the study of the eventual significance, if any, of human history)
Philosophy of Science
(the study of the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science)

Many others could be added to this list such as Philosophy of Law, Philosophy of Sociology, Philosophy of Mathematics, Philosophy of Ethnology (also known as Ethnophilosophy), Philosophy of Psychology, even Philosophy of Philosophy (also known as Meta-Philosophy).

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