Philosophy is a theorized worldview that emerges to transform one’s beliefs about the world. The word “theoretically” is used here extensively and implies intellectual (logical, conceptual) elaboration of the entire set of problems of world understanding. This comprehension can manifest itself in formulations and the nature of solving various issues. Philosophy is a system of general theoretical views on the world, human’s place in it, and clarification of different forms of human attitudes to the world. If we compare this definition with the definition of worldview, it becomes clear that they are similar. And this is not by chance: philosophy differs from other forms of worldviews not so much in its subject matter as in the way it is analyzed, the degree of the intellectual development of problems, and methods of approaching them. When defining philosophy, it is necessary to use such notions as a theoretical worldview or system of views.
Philosophical currents arose depending on what picture of the world this or that thinker imagined: differences are observed between Aristotle and Socrates and between Democritus and Plato. Differences in the philosophical worldview and views on the world and the main problematic issues over which the thinkers were thinking identified three main branches of intellectual knowledge. Among these is epistemology, which covers questions about the prerequisites of knowledge and its formation; ethics studies morality, morality, and the qualities of people; and metaphysics deals with ideas about the creation of reality, the world, and being.
The epistemological branch includes Socrates, who tried to find answers to the origin of Knowledge. He had the Socratic method of dialectics to help him and tried to find the truth by posing leading questions. In this, his connection with ethics can be seen, but Socrates was more interested in the definition of Knowledge. He defined Knowledge as something that could even be answered (The First Step on the Path to Wisdom, 32). Most important to this philosopher was defining truth as the primary category of knowledge.
The ethical branch included Epictetus: he reasoned about why people’s lives are not good and why they do bad things. He also taught a humane attitude toward all beings, so when asked what a good life is, he would answer that one should live “according to nature and in a perfect way” (How We Direct What Is in Our Power, 132). Ethics went alongside Stoicism, and although Epictetus was not its classical representative, he made a significant contribution to the formation of society: this is due to his slave-owning background.
Aristotle was a great philosopher in his own right, and he paid particular attention to metaphysics. He questioned the formation of reality and looked for the cause and origin of all things. He probably would have defined reality as a collection of dynamic processes leading to certain ends (Aristotle’s Scientific Approach, 104). It means that the world is constantly changing, and existence cannot be equated with reality: it requires a category of ideas and things that must have first causes.
Crager, A., 2018. Three ones and Aristotle’s metaphysics. Metaphysics, 1(1), pp.110–134.
Strevens, M. (2019). Philosophical knowledge. In Thinking off your feet: How empirical psychology vindicates armchair philosophy (pp. 1–22). Harvard University Press.
Unit 1 tutorials: Great philosophers. (2021). In SOFIA tutorials. Online Courses.