The philosophy as a science has no common structure and presents itself as a set of different philosophical systems, teachings, doctrines. They all are used as models for one another, intertwining with each other, and so the philosophy as a science as well as a study subject in the high school appears before us. But if we donít concern the structure of the philosophy on the whole but only the structures of particular systems, we may single out the following constituents of the philosophical knowledge.
n Ontology or the teaching of being, i.e. of something that is outside of a cognizing (philosophizing) subject (a human): the world, its laws, nature, existence and so forth.
n Epistemology or the theory of cognition. Epistemology is a turning (reflection) of thinking and cognition process onto themselves. Thus, when we discuss the outer world, nature and its development problems, itís an ontology. But as soon as we start reasoning how our discussing with some positive results or cognizing new still unknown fact is possible in general, itís already epistemology. If ontology is engaged in such problems as if the outer world exists in real, what the primary within it is, whether the strict causality laws or spontaneity are primary etc., so epistemology regards problems of truth (what truth is), its criteria, peculiarities of cognition process, how cognition is possible etc. Ontology and epistemology compound the base of any developed philosophical system. Sometimes metaphysics is also added to them.
n Metaphysics is usually understood as a science of what is Ďbeyond physicsí boundaryí (the literal translation of the word), that is the science of what is beyond visible, observable reality. The latter is usually interpreted as some most general foundations of being. Thatís why metaphysics intercrosses with ontology very much, so that happens they coincide with each other completely. The difference is that metaphysics may be grounded on itself exclusively (and not on facts) but ontology may be based on facts and statements of some particular science. For example, the ontology of the modern scientific world outlook is based on physics. Metaphysics concerns only the thing beyond the physics.
n Logic is the science of formal norms and rules of reasoning. Itís referred simultaneously to philosophy (itís considered as a part of it) and to formal sciences (logic, mathematics). For it doesnít matter what itís applied to. For example, itís often spoken of the principal difference between the Western and the Eastern (Indian) logic, that they are quite incompatible with each other. Thatís because of it a Westerner and an Easterner can never understand one another. However Itís not so. In spite of the difference in some mainly formal moments, the chief difference complicating understanding consists in where itís directed to (the Western thinking and its logic onto the outer and the Indian mainly onto the inner reality).
n Philosophical anthropology is the philosophical teaching of human. (Besides the philosophical anthropology the sociological, ethnographical etc. ones exist). The peculiarity of the philosophical anthropology consists in that it studies human from the point of philosophy, that is what human is and what characteristic features differing it from animals are, what the sense of human life and what the human predestination consist in and so on.
n Ethics is a science of good and evil, regarding all events and phenomena through their prism. Ethics studies problems of good and evil, just and unjust, of happiness and the sense of life, values and so forth. Usually, ethics is grounded on the base of philosophical anthropology; the latter in its own turn on that of ontology or metaphysics.
n Aesthetics is determined either 1) as a science of beautiful and ugly or
2) a science of the perceptible. The primary of these determinations is that concerning the perceptible. Namely so aesthetics was determined by Baumgarten the German philosopher the first who introduced the using of the term. However, further in the process of perception an experience of the beautiful appears and gradually occupies the main place there. So the science of the perceptible becomes that of the beautiful. The latter is narrowed meaning of the term in comparison with its primary sense. Nevertheless namely it is much more spread in science and popular opinion. Thus, the aesthetics has as its subject matter the problems of beauty, ugliness, highness, genius, greatness, talent, means of percepting art, different sorts of art etc.
Further structuring of philosophy is perpetuated in compliance with the purely topical principle. So in the frame of philosophy are pointed out such branches as philosophy of science (subdivided in its own turn into philosophies of particular sciences: mathematics, physics etc.), philosophy of history (is pointed out separately from the philosophy of science), philosophy of culture and philosophy of art (intercross with each other), philosophy of language, philosophy of life, religious philosophy and philosophy of religion, philosophical hermeneutics (the philosophic art of interpretation), philosophy of business etc.
As regards the directions existing in the modern and classical philosophy, there may be singled out the following.
n Materialism is the trend giving a priority to the concept of material before those of consciousness and mind. Materialism regards the material as being primary before consciousness, mind, thought etc. The latter are considered only the functions of material. The whole Universe consists of nothing else as material which is eternal and takes a lot of various forms.
n Idealism is the trend opposite to materialism and regards mind and consciousness being primary to anything else. Idealism may also be divided into objective and subjective. The objective materialism is as a matter of fact the idealism of the ontological type. It affirms that in the Universe there is some kind of the universal consciousness or mind manifestations of which are material things. In the same way as the materialism asserts that the consciousness is a function of material, the objective idealism tells the material is an outer representation of the consciousness which is primary. The subjective idealism deals mainly with the sphere of epistemology and proceeds from the point of the cognizing subjectís priority before the reality which is cognized. That is it affirms the priority of the cognizing consciousness factors in the process of cognition.
n Dualism is an approach intermediate between materialism and idealism. It affirms the equality of material and ideal in the question of priority.
n Realism proceeds from the acknowledgement of the subjects we study, laws and principles as really existing.
n Solipsism is the opposite approach asserting that nothing but only the self with its perceptions, fantasies and imaginations exists. The outer world is nothing else as a fantasy or a dream about of the self and doesnít exist by itself. Itís interesting to note that the consequently held solipsism coincides with the absolute realism. Why is it so? For the next cause. There should be distinguished two kinds of solipsism: 1) the consistent and 2) the usual solipsism. The usual one asserts that the only self exists in reality, all other things exist as its fantasies. The main problem here is the ground of the self existence. Where do we conclude of its existence from? We do it from our memory. Thanks to the memory we deduce that we (the self) existed once in past as well as we are existing now. I.e. we perceive ourselves (the self) as a continuity of perception. But the memory data are also data of perception as well as those of the outer world, the existence of which solipsism negates. But it means they are also a fantasy and we therewith lose any ground of the existence of the self itself. That means the self ought to be rejected in the same way as the outer world. That means nothing but only perceptions and fantasies exist. But the same is affirmed by the absolute realism (that all things, including fantasies, are real). That means the consistent solipsism and absolute realism coincide completely.
n Agnosticism is the trend negating the knowability of reality. The unknowability is of principle. We can know nothing of the outer world around us.
n Skepticism is similar to agnosticism; the difference consists in that it simply states an uncertainty of any cognition .