Definition of philosophy in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /fəˈläsəfē/

noun (plural philosophies)

1The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline. See also natural philosophy.
Example sentences
  • Theology ‘is an academic discipline like philosophy, English literature or the classics,’ he said.
  • One of the fundamental tasks of philosophy has always been to determine what belongs to nature.
  • Those who question the existence of African philosophy argue that philosophy is rooted in epistemology and metaphysics.
1.1A particular system of philosophical thought: Schopenhauer’s philosophy
More example sentences
  • At Jena, Hegel published a long pamphlet on the differences between the philosophies of Fichte and Schelling: in every case, in his opinion, Schelling's view was to be preferred.
  • Compatibilist philosophies seek to reconcile free will and determinism in a modern time.
  • This is because traditional notions of determinism in positivist and empiricist philosophies of science produced the odd idea that causation in the human world is agent-less and is not a force.
1.2The study of the theoretical basis of a particular branch of knowledge or experience: the philosophy of science
More example sentences
  • This is a distinction central to the branch of the philosophy of social science known as epistemology (simply defined as the study of how we can claim to know something).
  • One explanation looks to the institutional and disciplinary history of theoretical physics and the philosophy of science.
  • The philosophy of science deals with philosophical issues that arise in connection with science.
thinking, thought, reasoning
1.3A theory or attitude held by a person or organization that acts as a guiding principle for behavior: don’t expect anything and you won’t be disappointed, that’s my philosophy
More example sentences
  • Urban schools provide a different context for the development of knowledge, attitudes, and philosophies that guide the behaviors of beginning teachers.
  • The philosophy of ‘live by the camera, die by the camera ‘must also be on the minds of some editors.’
  • The philosophy of auctions took off in the '90s, and one can grant de facto property rights without de jure property rights.
beliefs, credo, convictions, ideology, ideas, thinking, notions, theories, doctrine, tenets, principles, views, school of thought
informal ism


Middle English: from Old French philosophie, via Latin from Greek philosophia 'love of wisdom'.

Words that rhyme with philosophy

gymnosophy, theosophy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: phi·los·o·phy

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.