Philosophy

The discipline of philosophy looks at the meaning of life, considering topics and questions surrounding human existence and experience, society, knowledge, and the universe. There are many branches of philosophy, the main ones being logic, or the structure of argument and rational thought; metaphysics, the study of all that exists; epistemology, which studies knowledge; and axiology, which includes the study of ethics and aesthetics.

New findings in psychology and neuroscience are pushing philosophers to rethink such big questions as the relationship between mind and body, the meaning of free will, just exactly what faith is, the nature of consciousness, and what constitutes happiness. There's some evidence that issues such as free will itself reflect temperament and personality. There's even more evidence that we are terrible at predicting what will make us happy, which is why we have such a hard time finding durable happiness.

Free Will

The question of whether or not we have control over, and responsibility for, our choices and behavior has long been debated by philosophers and religious leaders, among others. If we have free will, what is it and where does it come from? Does it mean we are morally responsible for all of our decisions and actions? Even if we do not have free will, are we still fully responsible for ourselves? Free will is at the foundation of many philosophical questions, and although it appears that we are free to make choices, there is no solid evidence to support this.

CONNECTED TOPICS

Decision-Making

Consciousness

In a nutshell, consciousness is your awareness of everything you experience in your mind and through your senses. There are some philosophers who argue that consciousness, like free will, cannot be proven by science and is, therefore, a meaningless illusion. Most agree, however, that while we have yet to understand the nature of consciousness, it does exist. As neuroscientists come to better understand the biology of the brain, philosophers may be better able to understand and defend the seat of consciousness that dictates how we feel, what we hear and see, and how we maintain a sense of our past, present, and future selves.

CONNECTED TOPICS

Meditation, Spirituality

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