The branches of Western philosophy

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Philosophy is far from being a well-defined field of knowledge in the sense that the problems it confronts are of extreme variety. It studies many objects, that is why its subdivision into different branches is problematic and arbitrary. Moreover, if entire sections of philosophy appeared in the twentieth century, certain domains emerged very clearly from philosophy in modern times. Physics, for example, was considered to belong to philosophy until the eighteenth century. But detachment is not always so clear; thus political science, considered as an old branch of the philosophy that has become autonomous, maintains a permanent dialogue with political philosophy (which is therefore not dead). Similarly, biology, which has long been hampered by its belonging to philosophy with the finalist, mechanistic, and vitalist theses, returns through a backdoor. Indeed, at the dawn of the twenty-first century the development of biotechnology has as corollary the emergence of a new field of philosophical study: bioethics.

In spite of these difficulties, the following branches are distinguished today because each has a well-defined own object which it subjects to specific questions (and in particular those indicated here):

  • Metaphysics and its various branches (“Are there immaterial realities?”, “Is there God?”, “Is the soul immortal? Incorporeal?”);
  • Ontology, attached or not to metaphysics according to interpreters (“What is the being?”, “Why is there being rather than nothing?”);
  • Philosophy of religion, partly connected with metaphysics, since it tries to define the divine and raises the question of the existence of God, which it doubles as an interrogation on the nature of the sacred in general;
  • Morality or ethics: practical and normative discipline to define the best conduct for each situation: (“What is the end of human actions?”, “Is good and evil universal values allowing ​​to define this end?”);
  • Political philosophy (“Where can the legitimacy of power come from?”, “What is the best political regime?” “Can and has ethics to guide political action?”);
  • Philosophy of law (“What are the relations between law and justice?”, “How do legal norms arise?”, “According to what criteria are they to be judged?”);
  • Gnoseology (“Where does knowledge come from?”);
  • Theory of knowledge (“What is truth?”);
  • Aesthetics (“What is beautiful?”, “What is art?”)
  • Philosophy of the mind (“What are the relations between body and mind?”, “How does cognition work?”);
  • Philosophy of logic;
  • Philosophy of action (“Is liberty Illusory?”);
  • Philosophy of history (“Is history governed by laws, a necessity, or is it the absurd fruit of contingency?”);
  • Philosophy of language (“What is the origin of language?”, “How is language distinguished from other communication systems?”, “What relationships exist between language and thought”);
  • Philosophy of freedom consists, according to Rudolph Steiner, of combining rationalism and empiricism to found an ethical individualism.
  • Epistemology which is literally a discourse on knowledge (or even science in a rather restricted sense) and in this sense joins in the gnoséologie or theory of knowledge, while also referring to the methodology and philosophies of language and action.

Translated from Wikipedia

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