philosophy

(Greek: philes, love; sophia, wisdom)

A term the literal meaning of which is love of wisdom. Philosophy is expected to give a man a complete view of the world and his place in it. Many define philosophy as the science of the totality of things, or that science which is concerned with the first and farthest causes of all reality. It is sometimes called the science of sciences. However, the term science is applied to philosophy in a very general sense. Today philosophy may be regarded as a logical system of inferences from facts supplied by the particular sciences, attempting to give an ultimate explanation of all being. Being, as such, and its most general divisions, constitute the object of the branch of philosophy called ontology, or general metaphysics. Man tries to give some ultimate explanation of the world of sense experience. The branch of philosophy which attempts this is called the philosophy of nature, or cosmology. Inasmuch as man is a thinking person, or self, he constitutes the object of the philosophy of. the mind. Men find that they cannot satisfactorily account either for themselves or the world, without the admission of. the existence of a supramundane being, God, the Creator. To Him is devoted a special branch of philosophy named theodicy, or natural theology, to distinguish it from theology based on revelation. Man then questions the conditions of knowledge and its validity and endeavors to give a critical account of it, which gives rise to the theory of knowledge, or epistemology. Man also observes that if he wishes to think correctly he must follow certain rules; these are supplied by logic. He finds that he must act, and act rightly; ethics supplies the rules of man's conduct and the ultimate reasons of right and wrong.

New Catholic Dictionary

NCD Index SQPN Contact Author