Philosophy as other discipline of study like biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and others is stated into different branches. These branches are what the subject matter of philosophy can be studied and deeply understood by the learners, teachers, educators and other scholars. Example of these branches includes Axiology, Metaphysics, Epistemology and logic. These branches are further divided in sub-branches as will be explained later.
Etymologically the term metaphysics means place after physics or material reality or that comes after material reality. Metaphysics came from two Greek words. “Meta” which means “after” or beyond and “physics” means “material reality” metaphysics as the subject matter is interested in matter beyond the material reality. It can also be stated as the study of relationship between matter and mind (soul).
It is the philosophy of existences, being and reality. It speculates about the existence of God and meaning of being. Metaphysics is dived into four major sub-branches theology, cosmology, anthropology and ontology.
This is the study of existence. It is the sub branch of metaphysics that answers the questions like the meaning of life and existence and what is existence, what exists, the size, shape and color of existing idea etc.
This is the sub-branch of metaphysics dealing with the study of origin, nature, origin, space period and purpose nature and structure of the universe in its material (as a whole). Under this study several questions are posed which ask about the purpose of the universe. There are some questions which work with this branch like what is the universe to man? What things make the universe or the space?
The sub branch of metaphysics in the realm of religious belief. It deals with the study of reality about faith, religions and beliefs in question like the nature of humanity, the divine power, existence of God or gods, how many gods, Satan and Angels, and the relationship between man and God. It attempts to answer several questions which probe about the existence of God and the ability of the God to the universe. Some question which proper work with theology includes, is there one or more than one God? What are attribute of God? If God is good and powerful how that is evil exists? Are there such beings as Angles and Satan? If yes, what is their relation to God?
It is also called an Anthropological aspect of inquiry.
- It is a branch of philosophy which deals with study of man and inquiry.
- It deals much with the society cultural systems, beliefs and ideas.
- It studies the questions about relationship of mind and the body, about the nature of moral status, whether man is born good, evil or neutral and others.
- It studies a man as an object and subject.
- It answers the questions who and what man is the relationship between body and mind, the evil and goods that man has, and the soul of man.
It is branch of philosophy concerned with judgment of right or wrong deed in human institution. It studies systems and customs as seen in the lives of particular groups of human beings. The study concentrates on moral values and human conducts. The branch is grouped into two sub- branches, ethics and aesthetics
It is the branch of Axiology which judges the moral values and conduct of people in certain society. It is the standard of conduct either good or bad within a given institution.
Its judgment focuses on socio – cultural practices of a particular society including customs, traditions, and taboos. Thus, the good or bad deed is judged to a particular member of society depending on the given moral values of that particular society.
For example in the societies which practices Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), to them a good wife is that who is circumcised. In ethics therefore, circumcised one is considered good behavioured and none circumcised is not behavioured due to some standards of conduct (ethics) in such particular society.
Ethics works with these questions: –What is good life for all people? What is moral conduct? What is standard by which a good action is judged?
In other words Ethics attempt these questions by putting certain standards of judgment either good or bad.
Importance of ethics in our society
It directs a person to a particular goal which is success. For example a business man has to follow a good path in his business for example acquisition of license, paying tax on time and others. A man like this therefore excels easily in the future.
Ethics comprise of the principle which shape a person to act in a good conduct that helps him/her to be acceptable in the society.
Ethics direct people to follow principles, rules, law and customs put in place by the society. By doing this bad deed such as theft, violence, drug abuse, prostitution and others will be reduced.
It helps an individual to judge the rights and evil things in the society.
Ethics enhances proper decision making on some individuals. It is rules, law and custom which can make an individual to participate in future decision making
This is a branch of Axiology dealing with arts and beauty. It closely related to imagination and creativity and therefore tends to become highly personalized and subjectivity. Aesthetics deals with judgment about the values of specific forms of music, literature and visual arts.
Aesthetics probes these questions: what is beauty? Where does beauty reside? Is beauty in the eyes of the beholder or is it in the things that are being observed? What is art and what is its purpose?
This is another branch of philosophy which deals with of reasoning. Logic refers to the science of thinking about or explaining the reasons for a particular method or system of reasoning.
It deals much with the way of thinking or explaining weather right or wrong and the ability to reason correctly.
In all of these explanations, reasoning has been often repeated. Reasoning can be defined as the process of collecting evidences weighing it and drawing conclusion on the basis of those set activities.
The methods of thinking in logic are divided into two; Inductive methods and Deductive methods.
This is the method of reasoning which starts from specific approach to general one. The conclusion is drawn from the premises surrounding a phenomena or an entity.
All human beings have blood.
Juma is a human being.
Therefore, Juma has a blood.
The given premises are correct and the conclusion drawn is also correct, thus, the reasoning of this nature is referred to as inductive reasoning.
This is the type of reasoning which starts from general to specific. The conclusion reached is thought to follow necessarily from the premises. In other words, it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false at the same time because wherever someone reasons, there has to be logical relationship between the propositions that the statement in the argument express. Example of deductive reasoning is as follows.
Not all form one students are young
Rwegoshora is a form one student
In deductive reasoning, the conclusion for this argument must be made by studying his age exclusively from other students that are there students who are older or younger than Rwegoshora. Therefore that conclusion cannot be inferred from the premises. If we conclude otherwise, then we are not arguing logically.
Incorrect way of reasoning is the situation where by an argument is not collected from correct premise rather from partially judged information and evidences
Importance of logic to man
The following are important of logic to human development:-
1. It investigate how arguments are made and language use in the given masterpiece.
2. It crosscheck the correct and incorrect way of reasoning in a given premises. For example the argument is correct if the conclusion is drawn from the correct premises.
3. It helps much in decision making decision making, as it deals with things by being directed by reasoning.
This is other branch of philosophy, which means the “theory of knowledge” The term epistemology is derived from two Greek words, “epistemo”, which means knowledge or truth and “logos”, the study or theory.
Therefore it is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature, source and validity of knowledge. It intends to answer questions such as: What does it mean to “know”? What are the sources of knowledge? What is truth? How do we come to know? What can we know?
In this branch of philosophy, various major sources of knowledge have been identified, namely; empirical knowledge, revealed knowledge, authoritative knowledge, rational knowledge and intuitive knowledge. Others are like scientific knowledge.
This is knowledge derived from human sense organ. It is the most practically verifiable and reliable source of knowledge. These senses of organs works properly through faculty of seeing, hearing, smelling feeling and tasting. According to this view, empirical knowledge is built upon the very nature of human experience, gained from assimilating observed data. However, these sources have some limitations which hinder its practicability.
Physical conditions such as sickness, fatigue and mind frustration may disrupt and limit sensory perception to work properly but responding on this limitation human being have developed scientific instrument to aid them beyond the capacity of the senses. It has been done through laboratories and observations of various natures.
Revealed knowledge falls in the realm of religion. It is kind of knowledge which is obtained through supernatural reality. Revelation is God’s communication regarding the Devine will. The truth gained through this method is said to be absolute and uncontaminated. However, it has disadvantages because of dependence on faith and that cannot be proved or disproved empirically.
It is kind of knowledge that originate with experts a kind of knowledge which has made authoritative overtime by tradition, for example some books, written by a certain author cannot be disputed by any one because contain authoritative knowledge ,originating as it does with expert who have written it.
The important of authoritative knowledge is that brings knowledge to all without each of us going out to search for that same information. It saves time and enhances progress. On the other hand, this source of knowledge is valid only if the assumptions upon which it stands are correct.
Rational knowledge is derived from reasoning. Reasoning is the core of rational knowledge. According to the rationalists knowledge obtained through sensation is a raw knowledge. It has to be organized by the mind through reasoning in a meaningful way before it has accepted as knowledge.
It is type of knowledge derived from intuition. Involves coming to know without having gone through the formal process of reasoning or an intermediate stage of thinking and sensory perceptions. It occurs beyond consciousness and experienced as a flash of in sight. It is a personal way of knowing in which there is a direct appreciation of a perception accompanied by an intense conviction that one has discovered what he/she is looking for.
Scientific knowledge (pragmatism and extencialism)
This knowledge is obtained through observations, experience trial and error as well as reasoning. It is the mixture of reasoning and experience. It is stable knowledge. Its theory maintains that an idea is true if it works or settles something it deals with.
Branches of philosophy are very crucial in development of philosophy as a discipline. It is these branches whereby different principles, critical thinking and argumentations are drawn. Some Philosophers and writers use these branches to develop their philosophical thought and covering the subject matter and content of philosophy as a discipline.