philosophy

noun
phi·​los·​o·​phy | \ fə-ˈlä-s(ə-)fē How to pronounce philosophy (audio) \
plural philosophies

Definition of philosophy

1a(1) : all learning exclusive of technical precepts and practical arts
(2) : the sciences and liberal arts exclusive of medicine, law, and theology a doctor of philosophy
(3) : the 4-year college course of a major seminary
b(1) archaic : physical science
(2) : ethics
c : a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology
2a : pursuit of wisdom
b : a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means
c : an analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs
3a : a system of philosophical concepts
b : a theory underlying or regarding a sphere of activity or thought the philosophy of war
4a : the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group
b : calmness of temper and judgment befitting a philosopher

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Synonyms for philosophy

Synonyms

credo, creed, doctrine, dogma, gospel, ideology (also idealogy), testament

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Examples of philosophy in a Sentence

There's plenty of blame to go around: poor regulation, eight years of a failed Republican economic philosophy, Wall Street-friendly Democrats who helped stymie reform, misguided bipartisan efforts to promote home ownership, Wall Street greed, corrupt CEOs, a botched rescue effort, painfully fallible central bankers. — Daniel Gross, Newsweek, 9 Mar. 2009 Broadly speaking, philosophy has three concerns: how the world hangs together, how our beliefs can be justified, and how to live. — Jim Holt, New York Times Book Review, 15 Feb. 2009 Almost none of the kids were older than twenty-five, as if there were a sell-by date on radical social philosophy, a legal age limit after which one must surrender lofty ideals and shave off all dreadlocks. — Matthew Power, Harper's, March 2008 In their mission statement, the editors bragged of their firm commitment to equality and social justice, but their philosophy didn't prevent them from summoning Lindsey to perform all their menial tasks. — Kim Wong Keltner, The Dim Sum of All Things, 2004 Her degree is in philosophy and religion. The group eventually split over conflicting political philosophies. Her main cooking philosophy is to use only fresh ingredients.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Hatch is in Yale's Directed Studies program, which teaches students how to analyze great texts and write persuasive essays through courses in philosophy, literature, and historical and political thought. Pat Eaton-robb, courant.com, "Former Navy SEAL enters Yale as a 52-year-old freshman," 3 Sep. 2019 Is there a different philosophy here about weed abatement and funding trash collection? Gary Richards, The Mercury News, "Traffic around Valley Fair is a mess: Roadshow," 2 Sep. 2019 One of the most inventive shows on TV this comedy/philosophy/ethics exploration returns for its fourth and final season. oregonlive, "Fall TV 2019 highlights: ‘Stumptown,’ ‘Country Music,’ and more shows worth checking out," 31 Aug. 2019 Teaching their students rhetoric and philosophy, Sophists infused the traditional values of arete with a new spirit of intellectual inquiry. Raquel López, National Geographic, "Did sons and daughters get the same education in ancient Greece?," 28 Aug. 2019 Her own background was in the abstract mathematics of algorithms, not philosophy. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "What Sci-Fi Can Teach Computer Science About Ethics," 26 Aug. 2019 That has long been the philosophy of Chabad, whose rabbis also have cultivated good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. James Mcauley, Washington Post, "Hungary’s Orban has asked a rabbi to take over a stalled Holocaust museum. Many Jews still fear a whitewash.," 26 Aug. 2019 At least, that seems to be the guiding philosophy for supermodel Gigi Hadid, who has entered a budding romance with The Bachelorette runner-up Tyler Cameron. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gigi Hadid and Tyler Cameron Go on an NYC Dinner Date with Serena Williams," 21 Aug. 2019 On the red carpet, celebrities opted for long ponytails and protective styling, which is a problem-free philosophy for anyone who may be wondering how to maintain their natural hair this summer. Essence, "All The Amazing Hair From The Lion King Premiere," 10 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'philosophy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of philosophy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for philosophy

Middle English philosophie, from Anglo-French, from Latin philosophia, from Greek, from philosophos philosopher

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Statistics for philosophy

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for philosophy

The first known use of philosophy was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for philosophy

philosophy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of philosophy

: the study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.
: a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.
: a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live

philosophy

noun
phi·​los·​o·​phy | \ fə-ˈlä-sə-fē How to pronounce philosophy (audio) \
plural philosophies

Kids Definition of philosophy

1 : the study of the basic ideas about knowledge, right and wrong, reasoning, and the value of things
2 : a specific set of ideas of a person or a group Greek philosophy
3 : a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live Live and let live—that's my philosophy.

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