Introduction to the Five Branches of Philosophy

Philosophy can be divided into five branches which address the following questions:

MetaphysicsStudy of ExistenceWhat's out there?
EpistemologyStudy of KnowledgeHow do I know about it?
EthicsStudy of ActionWhat should I do?
PoliticsStudy of ForceWhat actions are permissible?
EstheticsStudy of ArtWhat can life be like?

There is a hierarchical relationship between these branches as can be seen in the Concept Chart. At the root is Metaphysics, the study of existence and the nature of existence. Closely related is Epistemology, the study of knowledge and how we know about reality and existence. Dependent on Epistemology is Ethics, the study of how man should act. Ethics is dependent on Epistemology because it is impossible to make choices without knowledge. A subset of Ethics is Politics: the study of how men should interact in a proper society and what constitutes proper. Esthetics, the study of art and sense of life is slightly separate, but depends on Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Ethics.

Copyright 2001 by Jeff Landauer and Joseph Rowlands