NAME; UGO BOLOUERE BECKY COURSE; GST 113 DEPARTMENT; MBBS DATE; 30-10-2016 UNDERSTANDING PHILOSOPHY AND ITS BRANCHES Introduction: Every academic discipline ultimately exists for a purpose the provision of solutions to certain problems affecting human beings. Philosophy is also like every other academic discipline in this regard. It studied and practiced with the belief that it matters for meeting certain human needs. The most important thing is to know what philosophy is, by examining philosophical problems in the various problems addressed in philosophy. THE NATURE OF PHILOSOPHY The key to understanding philosophy is having an insight into the activities the practitioners of the discipline have undertaken since its inception and this was Oladipo (2008:11) suggest when he holds that is possible to provide a fairly acceptable characterization of philosophy by considering “the preoccupation of philosophers-professionals and nonprofessional alike_ down the ages and cross culture.”. This approach to the study of philosophy enables one to understand the goals that the progenitors of the discipline set for it and how the practitioner of this is important enterprise have practiced the trade since its inception. This approach also enables one to see how the discipline has evolved over time. The Milesian philosophers- Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes– had as their main preoccupation speculating about the basic constituent of nature and explaining change in nature. The Milesian philosopher departed radically from the kind of explanations that prevailed in their society at the same time and gave rational once by adducing reasons in support of their positions. The answers that these NAME; UGO BOLOUERE BECKY COURSE; GST 113 DEPARTMENT; MBBS DATE; 30-10-2016 three philosophers gave in their attempts to account for change and in their aspiration to name the fundamental entity making up things differ. For Thales, it is water; for Anaximander, it is Ape iron (infinite or boundless); for Anaximeners, it is air (See stump f 2003:5-11; Onigbinde 2009:243-249). Some things can also be deduced about the nature of philosophy from the way the Milesian philosophers practiced the discipline. The first thing is that philosophy beings from “wonder”. For the Milesian philosophers, the postulation of basic constituent of reality started out of wonder of whether or not through the various changes in the society in which these philosophers lived there was something unchanging, which may be identified as the basic stuff of reality. The second thing that may be deduced from the way the Milesian philosophers engaged in the philosophy is that philosophy tries to resolve puzzles in order to aid our understanding of phenomena so as enable humans deal better with the phenomena in question. It may also be inferred from the way Milesian philosophers practiced philosophy that philosophy is a discipline in which reasons are adduced for any position held. In it, rational explanations are given for those ideas that are basic to our existence. When we submit to the authority of reason we are reminded that: The ideas and ideals-core aspects of world-views-we live by are best regarded as tentative guides, which can be re-examined from time to time in the light of new knowledge or information and our understanding of our socio-cultural condition and its existential demands at any given time ( oladipo 2008:16). NAME; UGO BOLOUERE BECKY COURSE; GST 113 DEPARTMENT; MBBS DATE; 30-10-2016 THE BRANCHES OF PHILOSOPHY The branches of philosophy may be divided into two broad categories the cardinal branches of philosophy and philosophy as a second order discipline. The cardinal branches are:-metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and logic, while the second order disciplines include philosophy of sciences, philosophy of education, and philosophy of law, philosophy of social sciences, philosophy of education, and philosophy of law, history, among others. Firstly discussing about: METAPHYSICS: Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with the study of reality and most basic issues regarding existence. Issues and problems in metaphysics are addressed in two sub-branches cosmology and ontology. Cosmology deals with the study of the origin and structure of the universe, while ontology deals with being or the nature of existence. There are also a few perennial problems addressed in this traditional branch of philosophy and they include the problem of mindbody problem, substance and accident, appearance and reality, existence of God etc. EPISTEMOLOGY: Is a branch of philosophy that subjects to rigorous analysis issues and problems relating to the origin, nature, justification and limit of human knowledge. According to Michael Williams in his book, problems of knowledge: A Critical Introduction to Epistemology (2001), identifies five problem tackled in epistemology as a cardinal branch of philosophy. The first is analytic problem. The second is the problem of demarcation. The third relate to the problem of method. The fourth problem tackled is the skepticism that addresses itself to NAME; UGO BOLOUERE BECKY COURSE; GST 113 DEPARTMENT; MBBS DATE; 30-10-2016 weather it is possible to obtain knowledge at all. Finally the last problem of value which considers weather knowledge is worth having, why and what for? Ethics: Humans are social beings and most of their action or inaction has implication for other creatures that they share the biosphere with. Ethics, also referred to as moral philosophy, is the branch of philosophy that deals with moral rules that ought to guide social relations among humans as well as regulate how human beings ought to relate with other living and non-living entities around them. It is concerned with the evaluation of human actions in order to determine whether these actions are right or wrong, good or bad, just or unjust. It helps furnish humans with “direction on what is the appropriate way to conduct ourselves in the pursuit of what is good over evil, what is right over what is wrong, and what is just over what is unjust, among others”. Logic: Philosophy involves the construction of good argument, that is, arguments that are devoid of errors in reasoning. Philosophy also deals with evaluation of people’s arguments in order to subject to thorough scrutiny the premise(s) on which they rest. As a branch of philosophy, logic deals with the inculcation of skills that are crucial for the construction of good arguments and for evaluation of arguments made by others. PHILOSOPHY AS A SECOND ORDER DISCIPLINE Apart from the primary concerns philosophy studied in the four cardinal branches discussed above, there are other branches which may NAME; UGO BOLOUERE BECKY COURSE; GST 113 DEPARTMENT; MBBS DATE; 30-10-2016 be categorized under the second order disciplines of philosophy. A second order discipline in that a first order discipline in that a first order discipline examines a particular subject-matter. For example, Physics is a first order discipline that studies matter and energy while Biology, as a first order discipline, studies living things. Other first order disciplines include Sociology, Economics, English, Law and Chemistry. Philosophy, as a second order enterprise, examines salient issues in other academic fields like Law, Social Science, Science, and Education and so on CONCLUSION We have projected an understanding of philosophy by trying to see what can be gleaned from the way the progenitors of the discipline have practiced it. From this approach, through the exploration of the way Milesian philosophers started off philosophy, it is shown that philosophy as a discipline has wonder as it origin; is committed to addressing puzzling events or explanations with the aim of understanding of phenomena in order to enable people deal better with them; demands reasons for any position advanced; involves constructing and assessing arguments: and employs critical reflection in engaging its subject-matter.