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Front Matter — Vol I

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Updated:  Aug 12, 2013

Curricula: Philosophy

The science "which is concerned with first causes and principles"; "the profound knowledge of the universal order, of the duties which that order imposes upon man, and of the knowledge which man acquires of reality."

This Curricula: Philosophy pulls together the most common aspects of this subject for easy access.

A few prior Curricula related to Philosophy have been absorbed by this page:

  • Curricula: Ethics
  • Curricula: Epistemology
  • Curricula: Logic
  • Curricula: Metaphysics

NOTE: This is not an article from the Catholic Encyclopedia. It is provided here for the benefit of those interested in pursuing additional studies in this area.



Definitions, divisions, methods, historical outline

The philosophical disciplines


with their special problems and theories

A. Cosmology

The science of the world, the philosophical study of the material universe

B. Psychology

In the most general sense the science which treats of the soul and its operations. During the past two centuries, however, the term has come to be frequently employed to denote the latter branch of knowledge—the science of the phenomena of the mind, of the processes or states of human consciousness.

1. Mental Processes
2. Body and Soul
C. Logic

The science and art which so directs the mind in the process of reasoning and subsidiary processes as to enable it to attain clearness, consistency and validity in those processes

  • Logic - we examine the name, definitions, divisions and history
  • Reason - general meanings, reason vs. feelings
  • Analysis - Process by which the complex is resolved into simpler parts
  • Deduction - advance from truths already known to other truths implied
  • Induction - passing from perception to the knowledge of general truths
  • Analogy - used to designate a property of things; or a process of reasoning
  • Dialectic - the art of inference or argument in search of truth
D. Epistemology

Branch of philosophy which is concerned with the value of human knowledge

Epistemology is that part of philosophy which, in the first place, describes, analyzes, examines genetically the facts of knowledge as such (psychology of knowledge), and then tests chiefly the value of knowledge, and of its various kinds, its conditions of validity range and limits (critique of knowledge).

1. General Survey
2. Nature, sources and criteria of knowledge
3. Object, extent and validity of knowledge
E. Metaphysics

"That portion of Philosophy treats the most general and fundamental principles underlying all reality and all knowledge"

  • Ontology - The science or philosophy of being
  • Essence and Existence - Transcendental aspects of being
  • Actus et Potentia - Scholastic concepts of acts and potentiality
  • Actus Primus - The first actuality in Scholastic philosophy
  • Category - the most widely generic predicates applicable to an individual subject
  • Substance - a category signifying being as existing in and by itself
  • Accident - any contingent or non-essential attribute
  • Necessity - denotes a strict connection between different beings or elements
  • Contingent - One of the supreme divisions of being, as distinguished from necessary being
  • Cause - that which in any way gives existence to, or contributes towards the existence of, any thing
  • Condition - That which is needed for a cause, but not possessing causality
F. Theodicy

"The science which treats of God through the exercise of reason alone"

1. Existence and Attributes of God
2. Our knowledge of God: its origin and value

3. God and the World

See also Curricula: Apologetics and Curricula: Christology

G. Ethics

"Ethics is the science of the moral rectitude of human acts in accordance with the first principles of natural reason"

Here we examine the science of moral philosophy as opposed to Christian ethics (moral theology). It can also be distinguished from other systems that deal with morality such as jurisprudence and pedagogy, which are subordinate to it.

1. General Survey
  • Ethics - in this article various definitions are examined, sources and methods are explored, as are the various philosophical systems in history which have been elaborated with reference to ethics
  • Morality - note distinctions between morality and ethics; its relationship to religion is examined
2. Man's Ethical Endowment

... and its modification by Various Influences

3. Ethical Norms and Values
4. Virtues and Vices
5. Individual Duties and Rights

a. In relation to God

b. In relation to Self

c. In relation to the Fellowman

6. Ethics of Property and Business Relations
7. Social Ethics

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