Map of the major branches of philosophy

The following map is intended to give a perspicuous overview of the branches and sub-branches of philosophy. The image is quite large and may take some time to load. Please be patient. You will probably need to use the horizontal scroll bar to view the complete map.

The Major Branches of Philosophy [Large Image: Please be patient]

We can think of the boxes lower down in the map as representing increasingly more concrete aspects of philosophy, the boxes higher up more abstract. As can be seen, the different branches of philosophy are interrelated in complex ways (probably far more complex and myriad than could be usefully represented in such a diagram). We can think of logic, metaphysics, epistemology and ethics as being the "theoretical core" of philosophy. Areas such as Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Religion consist in clusters of logical, metaphysical, epistemological and ethical questions concerning a particular topic. As we get further down the tree the problems become more concrete and they often become interrelated in increasingly complex ways.

Studying philosophy consists in both "top-down" approaches, where rather abstract problems in, say, logic or metaphysics are examined, and the implications and repercussions for more concrete issues considered, and "bottom-up" approaches, where the questions and problems examined are very concrete, but can be seen to have ramifications for the abstract problems, which in turn percolate back down other branches of the tree.

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