philosophy

noun
phi·​los·​o·​phy | \ fə-ˈlä-s(ə-)fē \
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

During the 45-minute speech, the governor offered an interpretation of Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt’s governing philosophy, and accomplishments from his own first two terms in office. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "Cuomo Lays Out His Third-Term Priorities," 17 Dec. 2018 That philosophy and my consciousness of the world was instilled early on by my grandmother, who hitchhiked across the globe and met my grandfather in India in the late forties—a crazy thing for a young white woman to do at the time. Leila Janah, Glamour, "This Sustainable Moisturizer Laughs In the Face of 12-Hour Days," 17 Oct. 2018 Interested in philosophy and spiritualism, af Klint was part of de Fem (The Five), a group of women artists who conducted seances and experimented with automatic drawings long before Surrealists began their automatic writing projects. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Abstract Painter Hilma af Klint Inspires a Collaborative Capsule Collection for the Guggenheim Museum Store," 13 Oct. 2018 The 9th House Travel, philosophy, and higher education all define the ninth house. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 Nominated to replace the court's key swing vote, Kavanaugh is considered a intellectual powerhouse with a clear conservative judicial philosophy and a lengthy record. Jan Crawford, CBS News, "Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh starts making the rounds on Capitol Hill," 10 July 2018 The Cherries built both a successful promotion campaign and gained a foothold in the Premier League on a small budget, but under one specific philosophy and manager. SI.com, "Why Aston Villa's Financial Situation Should Be a Warning for Other Promotion Chasing Clubs," 9 July 2018 And his first two coaching hires, track and field coach Edrick Floréal and softball coach Mike White, reflect the Texas AD’s philosophy and approach. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Del Conte, UT grinding their way back to the mountaintop," 28 June 2018 Kathleen is relentlessly animated and quick-witted, with thick tangerine hair, steely eyes, and an endearing personal idiolect that suggests both an autodidactic reading in philosophy and economics and the gusty crudity of the merchant marine. Gideon Lewis-kraus, WIRED, "The Blockchain: A Love Story—And a Horror Story," 18 June 2018

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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Last Updated

12 Jan 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 \
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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