What is Philosophy

Philosophy (φιλοσοφία, 'love of wisdom', in Ancient Greek) is a systematic study of general and fundamental questions concerning topics like existence, reason, knowledge, value, mind, and language. It is a rational and critical inquiry that reflects on its own methods and assumptions.

Historically, many of the individual sciences, such as physics and psychology, formed part of philosophy. However, they are considered separate academic disciplines in the modern sense of the term. Influential traditions in the history of philosophy include Western, Arabic–Persian, Indian, and Chinese philosophy. Western philosophy originated in Ancient Greece and covers a wide area of philosophical subfields. A central topic in Arabic–Persian philosophy is the relation between reason and revelation. Indian philosophy combines the spiritual problem of how to reach enlightenment with the exploration of the nature of reality and the ways of arriving at knowledge. Chinese philosophy focuses principally on practical issues in relation to right social conduct, government, and self-cultivation.

Major branches of philosophy are epistemology, ethics, logic, and metaphysics. Epistemology studies what knowledge is and how to acquire it. Ethics investigates moral principles and what constitutes right conduct. Logic is the study of correct reasoning and explores how good arguments can be distinguished from bad ones. Metaphysics examines the most general features of reality, existence, objects, and properties. Other subfields are aesthetics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of history, and political philosophy. Within each branch, there are competing schools of philosophy that promote different principles, theories, or methods.

Philosophers use a great variety of methods to arrive at philosophical knowledge. They include conceptual analysis, reliance on common sense and intuitions, use of thought experiments, analysis of ordinary language, description of experience, and critical questioning. Philosophy is related to many other fields, including the sciences, mathematics, business, law, and journalism. It provides an interdisciplinary perspective and studies the scope and fundamental concepts of these fields. It also investigates their methods and ethical implications.


Having information about right and wrong is called knowledge. Differentiating between right and wrong is called wisdom.
In the Western world, love for wisdom is called Philosophy. Darshan!= Philosophy.



Religion is a collection of answers to the complex questions of ordinary people.

Religion and Spirituality are two separate sets with an intersected area overlap.

Indian Philosophy Timeline

source: https://youtu.be/J4sYkNBErpU

  1. Vedic Age and Vedas
    • Four types
      • Ruk,
      • Sham,
      • Yajur and
      • Atharwa
    • Structure:
      • Samhita
      • Brahman
      • Aranyak
      • Upanishads (aka Vedant)
        • 108 Upanishads are there
        • Vedaranyak (part of Yajur) and Chhandogya (part of Sham) are two oldest Upanishads
  2. Nastik (Hetrodox) -> Started in oppose to Vedas
    1. Those who do NOT believe in the Vedas are called Nastik.
    2. 3 philosophies
      1. Charwak or Charvak
      2. Jainism
        1. Swetambar
        2. Digambar
      3. Buddhisim
        1. Hiniyan
        2. Mahayan
        3. Nabyan (in 1956 by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar)
  3. Astik (Orthodox) -> Started to disregard Nastik and in support of Vedas
    1. Those who believe in the Vedas are called Astik.
    2. 6 philosophies (aka shat darshan or hindu darshan or Sanatan darshan)
      1. Sankhya (Dualism)
        1. Kapil muni made Sankhya sutra
      2. Yoga
        3. Maharshi Patanjali consolidated Yoga sutra
      3. Nyay (Logic)
        1. Gautam muni (not Buddha) wrote Nyay sutram
      4. Vaisheshik (Empiricism)
        3. Kanad Vaisheshik
      5. Mimamsa (Orthopraxy)
        1. Gemini rishi wrote Mimamsa
      6. Vedant
        1. Acharya Badrayan wrote Vedant or Brahma sutra (90% overlapping with current hindu)
        2. aka Uttara Mimamsa
  4. Vedant
    1. Interpretation started citing below three books
      1. Upanishads
      2. Geeta
      3. Brahma sutra
    2. Interpretations are
      1. Advait vedant
        1. written by Adi Shankaracharya
        2. Almost similar with Mahayan written by Nagarjun
      2. VishishtaDvait vedant
        1. Vishishtadvaitvad Written by Ramanujacharya
          1. Ramanujacharya discipile was Ramanand
          2. Ramanand's disciple was Kabir Das -> Sikhism by Guru Nanak written around 15th century during the era of Kabir Das
        2. Shuddhaadvaitvad written by Balhavacharya
        3. Dvaitaadvaitvad written by Nimbark
        4. Dvaitvad written by Madhvacharya
        5. Achintya dvaitadvait by Chaitanya mahaprabhu
  5. Renaissance (NabaJagaran) -> 19th/20th century
    1. Neo-Vedant/Neo-Hindusim -> Established Nationalism
      1. Brahmo Samaj
        1. Raja RamMohan Roy
        2. Debendra Nath Tagore
        3. Keshav Chandra Sen
      2. Narendra Nath Dutt (Swami Vivekanand) supported Brahmo Samaj first, then went to Ram Krishna Paramhans.
      3. Maharshi Arvind
      4. Mahatma Gandhi
      5. Dr. Sarbapalli Radhakrishnan
      6. Arya Samaj
        1. Swami Dayanand Saraswati
  6. Post-Independence
    1. Dr. BR Ambedkar established Neo-Buddhism/Navyan
    2. J. Krishnamurti (God son of Anibeshant)
    3. Osho Rajnish
  1. Karma theory
    1. Except Charbak, all Upanishads accept this Karma Siddhant
    2. Three types of Karmas are there
      1. Sanchit -> Past karmas which are yet to start
      2. Prarabdha -> present karma
      3. Sancheeyaman -> present karma, which will come back in the future or next birth
    3. krit panas -> What you did will comeback to you
    4. akrita upagam -> What you did not do, will not come to you
  2. Atma
    1. Except Charvak and Boudh, all philosophies accepted atma theory.
  3. Rebirth
    1. All except Charvak agree this.
    2. Pythagoras supported reincarnation. Also Plato and Socrates.
    3. Ian Stevenson written good books on this.
    4. Christianism supports Resurrection -> Rebirth in the same body.
  4. Suffering
    1. World is full of sufferings.
    2. Charvak does not accept this.
    3. Buddh's philosophy
      1. Sarvam dukham
        1. Happiness is a suffering in three stages: to acquire, to keep and to leave
  5. Moksh (Liberation)
    1. Charvak does not agree
    2. Also known as
      1. Nirvana -> Buddh
      2. Kaibalya -> Jain
      3. Apabarg -> Nyaya
      4. Nishreyas -> Mimamsa
      5. Mukti -> Shankaracharya
    3. To get freed from Karma
    4. No Rebirth after Moksha
  6. Jagat Satya
    1. All agree except three
      1. Advait vedant
      2. Mahayani Buddhisim -> Made at Nalanda University
        1. Madhyamik Shunyavad -> By Nagarjun
        2. Yogachar Vigyanvad
    2. 5 mahabhut
      1. Charvak does not accept Aakash as one
    3. Sankhya -> nature is made up of
      1. Satwa -> Mediocre all
      2. Rajas -> Full energy
      3. Tamas -> Lot of food and Sleep
  7. Dharma = Darshan

Ultimate Reality of Metaphysics

source: https://youtu.be/pbsbauDvrw0
Two questions are there.

  1. How many ultimate existences are there?
    1. Pluralism -> Most philosophies support this
    2. Monism (Ekvadi) -> Advait vedant by Adi Shankaracharya.
    3. Dualism (Dvaitvadi) -> Sankhya/Yoga
      1. Matter (Iron, Fire, Water)
        1. It takes space or volume.
        2. The five senses of the human can perceive it.
      2. Consciousness (Emotion, Thought, Will power, Opinion)
        1. There is no weight of consciousness like atma.
        2. Consciousness can not be captured, locked, or destroyed.
  2. How is the ultimate existence? Nature of ultimate existence
    1. Matter
      1. Materialism/Bhoutikvaad/Jadvaad
      2. Only Charwak philosophy supports this.
      3. M.N. Roy (advisor of Lenin) supported Charwak.
      4. Karl Marx also believed in this.
    2. Consciousness
      1. Idealism/Spiritualism
      2. Adi Shankaracharya's Advait Vedant supports this.
      3. Hegel
        1. We are the consciousness (Chetna) of God dreaming.
        2. We are not matters.
    3. Neutral
      1. Spinoja, William James, B Russel
      2. No support in Indian philosophy
      3. Spinoja said- God has not given us the senses to perceive him. With the given senses, we can perceive only matter and consciousness. However, several aspects can be perceived if more senses were given to us. Therefore, in the end, the ultimate existence is neutral.
    4. Dualism
      1. Plato supports this.

Now let's combine the above.

  1. Monoism
    1. Materialism -> Thales
    2. Idealism/Consciousness/Spiritualism -> Adi Shankaracharya
    3. Neutral -> Spinoza
  2. Dualism
    1. Matter
    2. Conscious
  3. Pluralism
    1. Materialism -> Charwak
    2. Conscious
      1. Leibnitz <- Calculus guy in Mathematics.
    3. Neutral
    4. Both matter and Consciousness
      1. Almost all philosophies of India support this

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Thoughts 🤔 by Soumendra Kumar Sahoo is licensed under CC BY 4.0