What Is Philosophy in Simple Words?
Philosophy is a field of study that attempts to answer questions that cannot be answered by providing some fact, but that require a deeper understanding of the question. (more...)
Who is the Father (or Mother) of Philosophy?
Diotima, Socrates, Plato, Aspasia of Miletus, Aristotle, Confucius and Lao Zi are the most influential figures within their respective traditions. (more...)
What Does ‘Stoic’ Mean?
A short history of Stoicism
A ‘Stoic’ attitude to life aims to achieve lasting happiness by staying calm, rational and emotionally detached, while cultivating one’s virtues. (more...)
Is Lying Ethical?
Lying, deception and when they are justified
Lying is generally perceived as unethical behaviour. Depending on the moral theory used, lying in special circumstances (for example, “white” lies or lies that benefit others or avert harm) might be morally justifiable. (more...)
Kant’s Praiseworthy Motivation
Ethical behaviour can be demanding
A core feature of Kant’s ethics is his insistence on the value of one’s motivation for the morality of an action. As opposed to utilitarianism, Kant does not look at the consequences when judging actions, but only at what he calls the “good will.” (more...)
Epicureanism: The Basic Idea
Is it so hard to satisfy our senses?
Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BC) believes that the way to ensure happiness throughout life is to reduce one’s desires so that they can be easily fulfilled. (more...)
Hedonism, Pleasure and Happiness
Is pleasure the same as happiness?
Hedonism is the thesis that happiness and pleasure are the same. But is that true? Does the enjoyment of pleasures like good food, chocolate, sex and a myriad other things that we consume everyday — do these things really make us happier? (more...)
Martha Nussbaum and the Capabilities Approach
What makes a human life worth living?
In the capabilities approach, philosopher Martha Nussbaum argues that a human life, in order to reach its highest potential, must include a number of “capabilities” – that is, of actual possibilities that one can realise in one’s life. (more...)
The Paradoxes of Zeno of Elea
Does an arrow really fly?
Zeno of Elea (490-430 BC) is famous for his paradoxes that seem to prove, among other points, that no movement is possible. If an arrow in flight is standing still whenever we take a photograph of it, when is it actually moving? (more...)
Is Stealing Always Immoral?
Utilitarianism, Kant and Aristotle
In utilitarianism, stealing would only be immoral if it leads to bad consequences for the stakeholders. For Kant, it would always be immoral. (more...)
What is ethics?
Of means and ends
Ethics is the study of how we ought to behave, and why. There are many different theories of ethics, which we briefly discuss in this article. (more...)
What Is Deontological Ethics?
Immanuel Kant and not looking at outcomes
Deontological ethics is about actions that must be performed (or must not be performed) because the actions themselves are intrinsically good or bad. (more...)
The Ethics of Eating Meat
Four moral theories and their views
Eating small quantities of meat that was grown in a sustainable way might be morally justifiable, while large-scale animal farming is probably morally wrong. (more...)
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love
What is love made of?
Robert Sternberg thinks that we can best describe love as composed of three “primary” components that combine to produce all the kinds of love that we observe around us: intimacy, passion and decision or commitment. (more...)
Confucius on Loyalty and Betrayal
Would you send your father to prison?
For Confucius, one’s personal loyalties to family, friends, co-workers and superiors are more important than the rules of some abstract ethical theory. (more...)
Thales of Miletus
A stroll through the history of philosophy
Thales of Miletus is generally cited as one of the first philosophers, although his contributions extended to many sciences and even to business endeavors. (more...)