Why There Are Two Sections for Philosophy on HubPages.
You may have noticed that HubPages offers two sections for philosophy. One section is found in Religion and Philosophy, and the other is under Education and Science. These are two very distinct fields, and I hope to explain why in this hub. I also would like to give fellow hubbers pointers on how to classify their hubs to better segregate information.
This part will deal less with what philosophy is and more with how to classify things as philosophical. What philosophy is, is actually a philosophical question itself, and one whose question is a matter of contention. I'll briefly give a description of the most acknowledged areas and sample questions.
- Epistemology: the study of knowledge. "What is knowledge? When and how do we know something?"
- Metaphysics: the study of the nature of reality and the universe. "What are numbers? What is an object?"
- Ethics: the study of how to live and what is right wrong. "Is it always wrong to kill? How should I live? What should I do?"
- Aesthetics: the study of value, art, and artistic perceptions. "What is art? What is the value of this? What is an aesthetic reaction?"
As you can see in the philosophy section, there are quite a few areas and subsections. A majority of those sections fall under the above four, but don't get too caught up in what goes where. The main idea is that philosophy here is more so an rigorous and academic discipline, which is why it is under education and science. It deals more with questions and how to approach them than with unarguable assertions. This is contrasted with the following section, "religion and philosophy".
For now, a fun way to see if your hub is adequate for the academic philosophy section is to ask if you can relate this to the Matrix movies, which are pretty much ideas taken from an introduction to philosophy class. Also consider if you want your ideas to be criticized. Most philosophy writings are expressly put forth for this purpose, to make sure one's reasoning is correct.
An Excellent Video on What Philosophy is.
Religion and Philosophy
Much to the chagrin of philosophers, philosophy is often lumped together with religion in bookstores as well. To be honest, when I first saw the state of the religion and philosophy section, I almost didn't sign up. (Astrology and metaphysics within five words of each other? Somewhere, Bertrand Russel is turning in his grave). This is a common misconception stemming from the more colloquial understanding of philosophy, which is a particular set of views or theories. We hear this often when people say things like, "my philosophy of life is...," "my philosophy of teaching is...," and "our philosophy here at blank is...". This isn't altogether different from its use in philosophy as well, such as the philosophy of Aristotle, the philosophy of Plato, etc.
The key idea is that these are more so answers to the questions stated in philosophy. It's an individual's or groups' perspective on how things are or ought to be. More precisely, a great deal of confusion could be eliminated if the section was just called Religion and Philosophies. There is more than one philosophy in this sense, or more than one philosophical doctrine. Philosophies here might include many of the same topics that religions cover, including how best to live one's life. Examples include Buddhism, non-denominational beliefs and practices, and atheism/agnosticism.
Academic philosophy does cover many of the points touched upon above (it might be more difficult to say what philosophy is not involved in), but the approach of philosophies is often quite different. Academic philosophy typically stays clear of revelation, resists dogmatism, and tries to research empirically when it can. Philosophies on the other hand, seem to be more concerned with subjective, unarguable view points in a "take it or leave it" sense. This is not true of all philosophies but is generalization for practical organizational purposes.
You may wish to post your hub in the religion and philosophy section if: you don't want your views thoroughly evaluated for argument, you are stating your opinion on a subject, and/or your hub doesn't seem to easily fit into the academic philosophy section subheadings or the areas listed above in the "Philosophy" section.
I hope this hub has provided you with a better understanding of this seemingly odd dichotomy. For a further look into philosophy, see below.