How would you explain what philosophy is to someone who did not know much about it?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Philosophy is term which was first used by the followers of Pythagoras in ancient Greece and subsequently adopted by the Socratics and other thinkers such as Isocrates. It originally covered the pursuit of "wisdom" ("sophia") about matters that were theoretical. It was divided into three parts, physics, ethics, and logic (including poetics). It addressed questions that were theoretical and general as opposed to applied or practical. Astronomy and theology would have originally been part of philosophy, but architecture and medicine, because of their limited and applied nature, were not part of philosophy. As it has evolved in the west, philosophy has become specialized as a discipline that examines fundamental questions of being, language, and value, in their general nature.