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The harmony of principles, or causes, produces the universal order.And thus philosophy is the profound knowledge of the universal order, in the sense of having for its object the simplest and most general principles, by means of which all other objects of thought are, in the last resort, explained.philosophy] is the science which considers first and universal causes; wisdom considers the first causes of all causes" (In Metaph. Descartes regards philosophy as wisdom: "Philosophiae voce sapientiae studium denotamus" -- "By the term philosophy we denote the pursuit of wisdom" ( Princ. , preface); and he understands by it "cognitio veritatis per primas suas causas" -- " knowledge of truth by its first causes" (ibid.). This idea of philosophy as the ultimate science of values (Wert lehre) is emphasized by Windelband, Déring, and others.For Locke, philosophy is the true knowledge of things; for Berkeley, "the study of wisdom and truth " ( Princ. The many conceptions of philosophy given by Kant reduce it to that of a science of the general principles of knowledge and of the ultimate objects attainable by knowledge -- "Wissenschaft von den letzten Zwecken der menschlichen Vernunft". The list of conceptions and definitions might be indefinitely prolonged.the combination of two bodies), but to all being and all becoming.All being has within it its constituent principles, which account for its substance (constitutive material and formal causes); all becoming, or change, whether superficial or profound, is brought about by an efficient cause other than its subject; and lastly things and events have their bearings from a finality, or final cause.Etymology According to its etymology, the word "philosophy" ( philosophia , from philein , to love, and sophia , wisdom) means "the love of wisdom".This sense appears again in sapientia , the word used in the Middle Ages to designate philosophy.

The Fathers of the Church and the first philosophers of the Middle Ages seem not to have had a very clear idea of philosophy for reasons which we will develop later on ( section IX ), but its conception emerges once more in all its purity among the Arabic philosophers at the end of the twelfth century and the masters of Scholasticism in the thirteenth. Thomas, adopting the Aristotelean idea, writes: "Sapientia est scientia quae considerat causas primas et universales causas; sapientia causas primas omnium causarum considerat" -- Wisdom [i.e. In general, modern philosophers may be said to have adopted this way of looking at it.For the numerous German philosophers who derive their inspiration from his criticism -- Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, Schleiermacher, Schopenhauer, and the rest -- it is the general teaching of science (Wissenschaftslehre). All of them affirm the eminently synthetic character of philosophy.Many contemporary authors regard it as the synthetic theory of the particular sciences : "Philosophy", says Herbert Spencer, "is completely unified knowledge " ( First Principles , #37). For Wundt, the object of philosophy is "the acquisition of such a general conception of the world and of life as will satisfy the exigencies of the reason and the needs of the heart" -- "Gewinnung einer allgemeinen Welt -- und Lebensanschauung, welche die Forderungen unserer Vernunft und die Bedurfnisse unseres Gemüths befriedigen soll" ( Einleit. In the opinion of the present writer, the most exact and comprehensive definition is that of Aristotle.the study of being in its unchangeable and (whether naturally or by abstraction ) incorporeal determinations ( chôrista kau akinêt ).Practical philosophy comprises ethics, economics, and politics, the second of these three often merging into the last.

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