Etymologically philosophy was coined from two Greek words “Philos” and ‘Sophia which means “Love” and “Wisdom” respectively. This simply means that Philosophy is the ‘LOVE OF WISDOM’. Let us look at some philosophical speculations about philosophy.

15 Definitions of Philosophy By Prominent Philosophers

1. Edmund Husserl

For Husserl, Philosophy is an all-encompassing, intellectually justified knowledge of all that is.

2. Martin Heidegger

For Heidegger, Philosophy aims at the first or ultimate grounds of being, particularly of man himself.

3. Thomas Aquinas

For Thomas Aquinas, philosophy proceeds from the natural light of human reason (ex naturali lumen rationis humanae)

4. Bertrand Russell

For Bertrand Russell, Philosophy concerns itself with the logical analysis of language and the clarification of the meaning of words and concepts.

5. William James

For William James, Philosophy is a collective name for questions that have not been answered to the satisfaction of that have asked them.

6. Aristotle

For Aristotle, philosophy consists in the knowledge of the truth, He also sees philosophy as the science which investigates the ultimate causes of all things in so far as they are knowable by reason.

7. Pythagoras

For Pythagoras, philosophy is that science which employs the power of reason and observation in order to acquire understanding.

8. Plato

For Plato, philosophy is that science which proceeds by criticizing received opinions. Plato makes use of what He calls ‘dialectic’ (that is Criticizing received opinions). For Plato, the first characteristic of philosophical wisdom is that it can face the test of critical discussion.

9. Rene Descartes

For Descartes, Philosophy is a method of reflective thinking and reasoned inquiry

10. Louis de Raeymaker

Philosophy is a body of natural knowledge methodically acquired and ordered, which undertakes to give the fundamental explanation of all things, justifying itself down to its very own fundamental bases- resting on no postulate or further principle.


11. Jacques Maritain

According to J. Maritain, philosophy is the science which by the natural light of reason studies the first causes or highest principles of things, the science of things in their first causes in so far as these belong to the natural order.

12. Simon Blackburn

Philosophy is a process of reflection on the deepest concepts, that is, the structures of thought that make up the way in which we think about the world. 

13. John Armstrong

Philosophy is the successful love of thinking.

14. Marilyn Adams

Philosophy is thinking really hard about the most important questions and trying to bring analytic clarity both to the questions and the answers.

15. Luciano Floridi

Philosophy is conceptual engineering. That means dealing with questions that are open to informed reasonable disagreement by providing new concepts that can be superseded in the future if more economic solutions can be found, but it’s a matter of rational agreement.

These are fifteen definitions of philosophy according to prominent philosophers. However, there are many other definitions as there are many other philosophers and scholars.

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