A Look into Philosophy   no comments

Posted at 8:27 pm in Uncategorized

Over the past couple of weeks I have decided to introduce myself to the wonderful world of philosophy, as this seems as good a place to start as any. From my understanding, philosophy tries to gain an understanding of the more fundamental questions of human existence, with the idea that this will lead to a more thorough understanding of life itself. In this sense some argue that philosophy adds to traditional science by giving answers to questions beyond. However unlike traditional science its methods are very different. As traditional scientific methods are arguably involved in philosophical questions themselves, philosophy does not rely on these but instead it builds up knowledge from its own history using systematic reflection. Further to this some have commented that philosophy cannot necessarily be studied and learnt like other disciplines as it something you learn by doing as opposed to by reading about.

Main theories

As stated before there are three main theories in philosophy (although these themselves arguably interrelate with each other, as well as containing an almost endless supply of sub-theories).

Metaphysics – this is about the study of the ‘ultimate nature of reality’, and attempts to distinguish how we can know whether everyday reality is ‘real’. This area includes topics such as dualism, materialism and realism, the latter of which argues that reality exists independently from the mind.

Epistemology – this explores whether knowledge can be independent and includes topic such as empiricism, rationalism and idealism.

Moral and Political Philosophy – explores how individuals behave within society and includes topics such as consequentalism, utilitarianism and contract theory, the former of which argues that moral reasoning should focus mainly on the consequences of our actions.

Regarding the area of social change on the internet I believe the theory most applicable to the study is Moral and Political Philosophy. Whilst metaphysics and epistemology are clearly important areas of study they are perhaps to abstract to such a specific topic. However moral and political philosophy applies well. For example moral philosophy might explore why people behave differently in an online space to physical space, or ask whether a lack of consistent societal norms might have an impact. Political philosophy might look at whether we should follow governmental rules in the first place, or ask whether liberty online is a freedom citizens should have. Political philosophy particular is an area I hope to explore further as this both applies to the topic and succinctly combines the disciplines of study.

In the next blog post I am going to look at the area of politics specifically to explore whether there are particular themes or theories that are most appropriate to the topic area.


Nutall, J. ‘An Introduction to Philosophy’
Warburton, N. ‘Philosophy the Basics’
Craig, E. ‘Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction’
Sellars, R. ‘The Principles, Perspectives and Problems of Philosophy’
Newtown, I. ‘Giants’
Honderich, T. ‘The Oxford Companion to Philosophy’

Written by Laura Hyrjak on October 27th, 2013

Leave a Reply