Diagram: The Divisions of Philosophy


How philosophy is to be divided into sub-disciplines has seemed to fascinate philosophers throughout its history. Four different approaches to the divisioning of philosophy are given as diagrams below:

  • The Aristotelian Division
  • The Thomistic Division
  • The Wolffian Division
  • A Modern Revision by Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty

In general, the following non-technical definitions will apply:

  • Ontology: The philosophic science of the nature of being “in general”
  • Epistemology: The philosophic science dealing with the problem of knowledge
  • Psychology: Really “rational” or “philosophical” psychology, dealing with man as a “being”
  • Theodicy: The philosophic science of God, First Cause, Creator – sometimes “natural theology”
  • Logic: The philosophic science of correct thinking
  • Ethics: The philosophic science dealing with human acts – sometimes “moral philosophy”
  • Politics: The philosophic science of man’s social end, including the form of state organization
  • Axiology: The philosophic science which studies the general nature of “value”
  • Aesthetics: The philosophic science which studies art, beauty, artistic value

The Aristotelian Division

Implicit in the writings of Aristotle.

 

Propaedeutic or Introductory Logic
Speculative Philosophy Physics
Mathematics
Metaphysics
Practical Philosophy Ethics
Politics
Poetical Philosophy Art

The Thomistic Division

Implicit in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas.

 

Propaedeutic Logic
Speculative Philosophy Philosophy of Nature Cosmology
Psychology
Philosophy of Mathematics
Philosophy of Being Ontology
Natural Theology
Practical Philosophy Philosophy of Art
Philosophy of Morals Ethics
Political Philosophy

The Wolffian Division

Wolff (1679-1754) was a disciple of Leibniz and stressed the ontological aspects of the philosophy of nature.
Some realistic philosophers prefer to follow him on this point.
 
 

 

Metaphysics General
Special Ontology
Psychology
Cosmology
Theodicy
Normative Sciences Logic
Ethics General
Special
Aesthetics

A Modern Revision of the Divisions of Philosophy

by Jonathan Dolhenty, Ph.D.

 

Descriptive Philosophy
Metaphysics Ontology

Psychology

Cosmology

Theodicy

Criteriology Logic

Epistemology

Normative Philosophy
Axiology
Ethics Individual
Social
Special Medical
Scientific
Legal
Business
Politics
Aesthetics
Applied Philosophy
As applied to Disciplines and Knowledge Philosophy of Law
Philosophy of History
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Religion
Philosophy of Mathematics
Philosophy of Education
As applied to Institutions and Individuals Philosophical Consulting for Institutions
Philosophical Counseling for Individuals

 



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