Sociology is the discipline that defines and describes members of a community or collective groups of people. In addition to following the rules of law, most people follow societal rules because we observe and follow the herd. Psychology, on the other hand, focuses more on individuals and why they make choices. It is the study of human behavior and the mental processes that drive how we think, act, and feel.
Unlike those topics, Philosophy is a more abstract way of understanding things about our existence, the nature of knowledge itself, and our connection to the universe and each other. These are not easily quantifiable subjects. The term philosophy means love of wisdom. Instead of offering up concrete answers about reasoning, existence, values, and knowledge, philosophy poses general questions to be discussed and studied. It’s an important field because it encourages free discourse, opinions, and theories, but the world of academia sometimes has trouble accepting it as legitimate science.
Socrates is known as the Father of Western Philosophy because it was founded on his Greek teachings. Today, our education system primarily focuses on four schools of thought – realism, idealism, pragmatism, and existentialism.
Realism teaches us that reality exists independent of the human mind. Physical objects are not seen in a certain way by one individual and in another way by another. There is no concept of rose-colored glasses or the eye of the beholder. The world of physical objects is the actual reality because truth is objective, not subjective. Truth is what can be observed, such as a physical object. Aristotle believed in the metaphysical as seen with unsparing scrutiny of all observable data. Aristotle also was the first to teach logic as a formal discipline to be able to reason about physical events and aspects. This evolved into the way we now teach science and mathematics. Idealism also caters to the metaphysical but states that the concept of reality is indistinguishable from human perception or understanding. In some sense, it is an actual construct of our minds and ideas that generates an object.
Pragmatism believes that goodness is found by trying things out and finding out what works because reality is a process that requires experiences. Existentialism believes in the uniqueness of each human being able to freely make their own self-defining choices.