philosophy

As an intellectual activity, philosophy is the most broad-ranging of the academic disciplines, since it addresses a wide range of interlinked questions about the nature of understanding, logic, language, and causality, many of which occur in the various other sciences. The sociologist is most likely to encounter philosophical debate in the fields of epistemology and ethics-both of which branches of philosophy are dealt with elsewhere in this dictionary.
The philosophy of the social sciences is a recognized specialism among sociologists, and asks questions about (among other things) the processes of concept-formation, the relationships between theory and evidence, the place of values, nature of motivation, role of language, and the nature of proof in the social sciences generally and sociology in particular. Again, many of the most significant arguments and most influential schools of thought concerning these issues have been treated separately, as discrete items in this dictionary.
It has sometimes been argued that much of what passes as sociological theory (for example in the works of Anthony Giddens) is actually social philosophy, since it consists mainly of metaphysical speculation about the human condition, rather than concrete or testable propositions about social life. However, this is probably a minority view, although there is quite widespread agreement that sociology has in the past (most obviously during the 1960s) suffered from an excessive reflexivity and obsession with exploring the epistemological foundations of the discipline. See also historiography ; methodological pluralism.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • philosophy — (Gk., love of knowledge or wisdom) The study of the most general and abstract features of the world and categories with which we think: mind, matter, reason, proof, truth, etc. In philosophy, the concepts with which we approach the world… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Philosophy — broad field of inquiry concerning knowledge; in which the definition of knowledge itself is one of the subjects investigated. Philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom, spans the nature of the universe and human nature (of the mind and the body), the… …   Mini philosophy glossary

  • philosophy — (falsafa; hikma)    Falsafa is an Arabic neologism for the Greek word philosophia, meaning ‘love of wisdom’. The derivation of this term points to the profound initial influence of Greek thought upon Islamic philosophy, due to the eastern… …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

  • Philosophy — • Detailed article on the history of the love of wisdom Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Philosophy     Philosophy     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • philosophy —    Philosophy (from the Greek philo (love) and sophia (wisdom)) in British culture has undergone a series of revolutionary changes since 1960. Until recently, English language philosophy was dominated by analytic and linguistic philosophy based… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • Philosophy — Phi*los o*phy (f[i^]*l[o^]s [ o]*f[y^]), n.; pl. {Philosophies} (f[i^]*l[o^]s [ o]*f[i^]z). [OE. philosophie, F. philosophie, L. philosophia, from Gr. filosofi a. See {Philosopher}.] 1. Literally, the love of, inducing the search after, wisdom;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • philosophy —    Philosophy in the early years of the twentieth century was heavily influenced by two different traditions. On the one hand, there was the legacy of the Europeanizing movement known as Krausism, a kind of secular humanism with a religious tinge …   Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture

  • philosophy — [fi läs′ə fē] n. pl. philosophies [ME philosophie < OFr < L philosophia < Gr < philosophos: see PHILOSOPHER] 1. Archaic love of, or the search for, wisdom or knowledge 2. theory or logical analysis of the principles underlying conduct …   English World dictionary

  • philosophy — c.1300, from O.Fr. filosofie (12c.), from L. philosophia, from Gk. philosophia love of knowledge, wisdom, from philo loving (see PHILO (Cf. philo )) + sophia knowledge, wisdom, from sophis wise, learned; of unknown origin. Nec quicquam aliud est… …   Etymology dictionary

  • philosophy — index doctrine, posture (attitude), principle (axiom), theory Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • philosophy — [n] principles, knowledge aesthetics, attitude, axiom, beliefs, conception, convictions, doctrine, idea, ideology, logic, metaphysics, ontology, outlook, rationalism, reason, reasoning, system, tenet, theory, thinking, thought, truth, values,… …   New thesaurus

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