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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Philosophy


PHILOS'OPHY, noun [Latin philosophia; Gr. love, to love, and wisdom.]

1. Literally, the love of wisdom. But in modern acceptation, philosophy is a general term denoting an explanation of the reasons of things; or an investigation of the causes of all phenomena both of mind and of matter. When applied to any particular department of knowledge, it denotes the collection of general laws or principles under which all the subordinate phenomena or facts relating to that subject, are comprehended. Thus, that branch of philosophy which treats of God, etc. is called theology; that which treats of nature, is called physics or natural philosophy; that which treats of man is called logic and ethics, or moral philosophy; that which treats of the mind is called intellectual or mental philosophy or metaphysics.

The objects of philosophy are to ascertain facts or truth, and the causes of things or their phenomena; to enlarge our views of God and his works, and to render our knowledge of both practically useful and subservient to human happiness.

True religion and true philosophy must ultimately arrive at the same principle.

2. Hypothesis or system on which natural effects are explained.

We shall in vain interpret their words by the notions of our philosophy and the doctrines in our schools.

3. Reasoning; argumentation.

4. Course of sciences read in the schools.