The Meaning of Philosophy: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you have a philosophy on a specific topic? This article will cover the meaning of philosophy and topics related to philosophy.

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What does it mean if someone has a philosophy about something? What does it mean if someone is studying philosophy? This article will cover the meaning of the word philosophy, the origin of the word philosophy, and other topics and examples related to the various meanings of philosophy. Keep reading to learn all about philosophy!

What Does the Word Philosophy Mean?

According to Dictionary, philosophy is a noun that refers to the study of the principles and truths of existence, conduct, and knowledge. This field is typically classified into three branches: metaphysical philosophy, moral philosophy, and natural philosophy. 

Metaphysical philosophy studies the origin of the universe and the nature of existence. As the name implies, moral philosophy focuses on studying ethics and morality. Finally, natural philosophy is concerned with studying the natural world and the existence of nature.

Philosophy can also refer to the academic discipline of studying the nature of human beings. The study of philosophy is related to epistemology, which studies knowledge. If someone studies philosophy, they likely research what famous philosophers believed and try to devise their system of beliefs. 

The noun philosophy can also refer to a specific system of beliefs or principles that people look to as guidance. An individual might have a philosophy, a group of people might have a philosophy, or a business might have a philosophy. 

Philosophy can also refer to a calm, composed attitude despite troubles,

What Is the Etymology of Philosophy?

The word philosophy has been in the English language since the 13th century as the Middle English philosophie. This word comes from the Latin philosophia and Ancient Greek philosophía.

How Can Philosophy Be Used in a Sentence?

Philosophy is a common word that we can use in many circumstances. We can use this word generally to refer to beliefs or values or a specific philosopher’s beliefs. When you read the example sentences of the word philosophy listed below, see if you can determine how the word philosophy is used. 

Example #1: A Philosophical Debate

The two people debated their philosophy of religion versus the other’s philosophy of science. Russell, who was watching the debate, believed that each belief system could coexist alongside the other.

Example #2: A Class on Philosophy

In my analytic philosophy class, we studied many different schools of thought, including utilitarianism, Buddhism, Stoicism, pragmatism, existentialism, empiricism, and more.

Example #3: Comparing Different Philosophies

He sought to compare the moral philosophy and belief in God of many famous philosophers, including Plato, Descartes, Aristotle, Kant, Aquinas, Nietzsche, Socrates, Confucius, and more. 

Example #4: The Candidate’s Philosophy

He had an Aristotelian political philosophy, making him a divisive candidate in the New York City election. 

Example #5: A Personal Philosophy

Her philosophy of mind was that humans deserve free will and the right to a good life no matter their particular system of beliefs. She pondered the meaning of life and other philosophical questions often.

Example #6: An Educational Philosophy

The new teacher was shocked by the brutal philosophy of education at her new school. They taught children, not for the love of wisdom, but to pass a test.

What Are Translations of Philosophy?

Knowing how to use the word philosophy in English is very useful, but if you are discussing philosophies with people who do not speak English, you can use this list of translations of philosophy from Nice Translator

It can be very interesting to explore different philosophies on things like education, religion, justice, and more worldwide. People from different parts of the world may have different philosophies or perspectives due to their country of origin and their beliefs systems. Learning 

how to say philosophy in other languages is a great first step to connecting with people around the world!

  • Serbian: филозофија
  • Filipino: pilosopiya
  • Urdu: فلسفہ
  • Marathi: तत्त्वज्ञान
  • Arabic: فلسفة
  • Italian: filosofia
  • Chinese (PRC): 哲学
  • Malayalam: തതശാസ്തം
  • Slovenian: Filozofija
  • Dutch: filosofie
  • Icelandic: heimspeki
  • Gujarati: ફિલસૂફી
  • Hindi: दर्शन
  • German: Philosophie
  • Malay: falsafah.
  • Croatian: filozofija
  • Hebrew: פִילוֹסוֹפִיָה
  • Portuguese (Brazil): filosofia
  • Latvian: filozofija
  • Danish: filosofi
  • Swedish: filosofi
  • Japanese: 哲学
  • Finnish: filosofia
  • Slovak: filozofia
  • Telugu: తత్వశాస్త్రము
  • Turkish: Felsefe
  • Spanish: filosofía
  • Bengali: দর্শনশাস্ত্র
  • Basque: filosofia
  • Estonian: filosoofia
  • Swahili: Falsafa
  • Kannada: ತತ್ವಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 哲學
  • Amharic: ፍልስፍና
  • Polish: filozofia
  • Greek: φιλοσοφία
  • Catalan: filosofia
  • Norwegian: filosofi
  • Lithuanian: Filosofija
  • Indonesian: filsafat
  • Russian: философия
  • Korean: 철학
  • Welsh: athroniaeth
  • Romanian: filozofie
  • Thai: ปรัชญา
  • Vietnamese: triết học
  • Ukrainian: філософія
  • Bulgarian: философия
  • Hungarian: filozófia
  • Tamil: தத்துவம்
  • Czech: filozofie
  • Portuguese (Portugal): filosofia
  • French: philosophie

What Are Synonyms of the Word Philosophy?

To learn different words that one can use in place of philosophy, you can reference this list of philosophy synonyms from Power Thesaurus

Sometimes, the word philosophy might not be a specific term or have the right connotation for the type of ideology you mean to reference. In these cases, you can use synonyms of philosophy, like the ones below:

  • aesthetics
  • approach
  • attitude
  • axiom
  • belief
  • beliefs
  • classics
  • concept
  • conception
  • conviction
  • convictions
  • credo
  • creed
  • culture
  • doctrine
  • dogma
  • ethics
  • faith
  • fine arts
  • gospel
  • humanities
  • idea
  • ideas
  • ideology
  • ism
  • knowledge
  • languages
  • liberal arts
  • line of thought
  • logic
  • metaphysics
  • notion
  • ontology
  • opinion
  • outlook
  • personal belief
  • persuasion
  • philosophical system
  • point of view
  • position
  • principle
  • principles
  • rationale
  • rationalism
  • reason
  • reasoning
  • school of thought
  • stance
  • standpoint
  • system
  • system of beliefs
  • teaching
  • tenet
  • tenets
  • testament
  • theory
  • thinking
  • thought
  • truth
  • values
  • view
  • viewpoint
  • weltanschauung
  • wisdom
  • world view


The definition of philosophy is a belief or ideology on a specific subject. The word philosophy can also reference the study of said belief system. The word philosophy comes from Latin and Ancient Greek words. 

Do you have specific philosophies on different topics or agree with a particular philosopher in history? 


  1. Philosophy synonyms – 963 Words and Phrases for Philosophy | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Philosophy Definition & Meaning | 
  3. Philosophy antonyms – 51 Opposites of Philosophy | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Philosophy | Nice Translator