Western Philosophy refers to philosophical thinking in the Western or Occidental world, (beginning with Ancient Greece and Rome, extending through central and western Europe and, since Columbus, the Americas) as opposed to Eastern or Oriental philosophies (comprising Indian, Chinese, Persian, Japanese and Korean philosophies) and the varieties of indigenous philosophies.
In general, this website is limited to a discussion of Western Philosophy, although a brief overview of Eastern Philosophy and African Philosophy are also provided.
Over the centuries, Western Philosophy has strongly influenced and been influenced by Western religion, science, mathematics and politics. Indeed, in ancient times, the word "philosophy" was used to mean ALL intellectual endeavors, and, as late as the 17th Century, the natural sciences (physics, astronomy, biology) were still referred to as branches of "natural philosophy".
It has also influenced (and in turn been influenced by) the teachings of the Abrahamic religions (Jewish philosophy, Christian philosophy, and Islamic philosophy).
Very broadly speaking, according to some commentators, Western society strives to find and prove "the truth", while Eastern society accepts the truth as given and is more interested in finding the balance. Westerners put more stock in individual rights; Easterners in social responsibility.
There are 4 common ways in which Western Philosophy can be usefully broken down or organized: