Essay about Branches of Philosophy

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Branches of Philosophy

It is my understanding that there are three main branches of philosophy. These three branches include Metaphysics, Ethics and Epistemology. Metaphysics finds its focus through questions on reality. These questions include: What is real? What is mind and what is matter? What kind of reality do we have? Epistemology deals with truth versus opinion. Questions include what is truth, and what is its source? Is truth absolute or relative? Lastly, Ethics deals with right and wrong. It also deals with the interactions between people and their society. Students of Ethics might ask ‘What are our obligations to ourselves and society?’ and ‘Why should one be moral?’ I will attempt to answer this question.

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Socrates believed that no man could knowingly do wrong if that person truly knew the right course of action. Socrates defines moral as being the logical result of rational thought. Through reason, one will know morality. Plato, a student of Socrates, held a similar view. Plato taught that moral values are absolute truths and thus are abstract perfect entities. He called this the ‘Idea of the Good.’ The Idea of the Good is the supreme source of all values. Plato felt that this was the fulfillment of truth and reality. He also defines this good as unachievable. This good is something to be sought after, but never achieved.

Aristotle held that there were two kinds of virtue: moral and intellectual. He felt that morals are the tempering of man’s natural desires and appetites. Intellect, he says, is the development of acceptable habits through repetition. He believed that ‘We become just by doing just acts.’ Aristotle argues that most virtues fall at a mean between more extreme character traits. According to Aristotle, it is not an easy task to find the perfect mean between extreme character traits. In fact, we need assistance from our reason to do this. Additionally, Aristotle disassociated morality from God. He taught that God is too pure to bother with such trifles. He states that God is ‘Thought thinking thought.’

Descartes felt it necessary to prove the existence of God. He attempts rational deduction based upon unproven axioms of supposed self-evident

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