What is philosophy?
Students studying philosophy cover such topics as:
- What gives our lives value?
- How do we decide what is morally right or wrong?
- How should we respond to questions about God?
- What is real; what is true?
- What makes us who we are?
Philosophy: Abstract and Applied
Some questions in philosophy are very abstract, such as "what is moral truth?" Other questions are very applied and personal, such as, "Morally, should we provide full life support to a loved one who has requested that it be removed?" The questions asked in philosophy are important questions about our personal values, our self-understanding, our religious ideals, and our relationship to society at large.
How is philosophy different from psychology?
Contemporary empirical psychology focuses on using behavioral and biological experiments to understand human nature. Philosophy (while informed by biology and experimentation) focuses on questions which cannot be answered scientifically, often because they focus on values, and beliefs which cannot be directly tested, but still make up an important aspect of human beliefs and experiences.
How is philosophy different from English, Literature, or creative writing?
These fields overlap to some degree. The most marked difference is that the field of philosophy has a focus on using logic, argument, and analysis to answer questions. While the fields of writing and literature often include these same methodologies, other elements found in literature and creative writing such as style, expression and narrative play a smaller role in philosophy.