The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court...
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Philosophy consists of the contemplative investigation of the most fundamental aspects of existence, life, knowledge, and value. Philosophy concerns itself with how to live one's life (ethics), what one knows, can know, and how one knows it (epistemology), and what can be said to exist (metaphysics).
The word philosophy comes from the Greek word philos, meaning love/affinity/friendship, and the Greek word sophia, meaning wisdom. So a philosopher is literally a lover of wisdom.
Defining philosophy is controversial in part because it is also its own subject, called meta-philosophy. Accordingly, there is a range of ways to define philosophy. For instance, one definition depicts philosophy as a form of intellectual inquiry using critical analysis and reasoning, in addition to dialogue or introspection, to find solutions for seemingly intractable problems. Another definition says that philosophy studies the process of examination itself. A third definition claims that philosophy includes the best practices in every intellectual field.
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"Only the descent into the hell of self-knowledge can pave the way to godliness." -Immanuel Kant
"Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter." -Friedrich Nietzsche
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