Glossary of Basic Philosophy Terms
Part of the Philosophy For Dummies Cheat Sheet
To be a really great (or even fair-to-middling) philosopher, you need to understand some of the lingo of philosophy. Some basic terms in philosophy include:
Philosophy: Love of wisdom.
Aesthetics: The study of beauty, ugliness, and maybe even the sublime. The question, What is art?, is an aesthetical one.
Meta-aesthetics tip: If a theoretical aesthetician can’t match a suit and tie or a skirt and shirt, take anything they say with a grain of salt.
Epistemology: The study of belief, truth, knowledge, and rationality.
Ethics: The study of good and evil, right and wrong, rules and virtues, character and vice, success and happiness.
Ethics has lots of sub-areas, including:
Business ethics: What is it okay to do?
Legal ethics: Who is it okay to sue?
Medical ethics: When is it okay to clone?
Techno ethics: Why is it okay to tap a phone?
Metaphysics: The study of being, or what really exists. All the 'ultimate stuff' questions are metaphysical ones. Meta means after or transcending.
Wisdom: Practical insight for living.