Form 5 General Studies (GS) Study Notes General Studies (GS) Study Notes Msomi Maktaba All Notes

Form 5 General Studies (GS) – PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION

I. Concept of philosophy

Philosophy is the Greek word having the two words. Philo means the love of or pursuit of and Sophia means wisdom (knowledge). The simple meaning two combine word with the love of wisdom or knowledge. Loving wisdom involve seeking to know and understand about what things are in their nature reason of existence and outcome of their existence.

Wisdom is the state of using intelligence in doing anything by acting planning or thinking.

Philosophy can be defined as the rational speculation about the reality of anything existing in this world. This study involves critical thinking which is systematic on the nature of the world by giving justifications under the basis of belief correct conduct of the life.

Philosophy is the study of nature causes a principle of reality, knowledge and values basing on logical reasoning rather than empirical method. It deals with attempt to discover the meaning and purpose of existence through reflection of all dimension of thought.

(i)   Being the concept of philosophy in its meaning involves three technical explanation:-

  1. Philosophy is an activity.
  2. Philosophy is a set of mind attitude.
  3. Philosophy is a study of content body of knowledge.


In this part philosophy is said to involve questions, asking question and think about them all in the nature of all existing things in the world. The people who are concerned in this work (asking question and thinking about them) are termed as philosophers e.g. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Karl mark, Fredrick angels, T. Kennedy Kwame Nkrumah , J.k Nyerere, sidhatta Gautama ,Jesus Christ, Mohammad.

The activities of asking questions and think about them are categorically put in the following area:

(a)  Synthesizing: It is providing a comprehensive view of the work, reality from questionings and critically thinking on the question. Example saying biology is study of living things or geography is a study of environment.

(b)  Speculation: It is thinking beyond what can be demonstrated physically e.g. talking of shape and sex of god and Gods.

(c)  Prescription: It is establishing a norms, standard, conducts and ethics when performing or approaching a given philosophical idea. it also involves thinking.

(d)  Analysis : It is critical examination of the words to use in communication when operating given philosophical idea.

(ii) Philosophy is a set of mind attitude speculation of what is reality and the nature of the world, start first with the idea develop in active mind. Therefore the first need of a person to have an active mind that will bring to development of new philosophical   idea is commitment ,self awareness ,desire of completeness in work and desire of speculator examination of phenomena (wishing to go deep in understanding of reality). Allowing that to happen our mind needs flexibility and openness so as to allow the new ideas that might be philosophical when examines.

(iii) Philosophy is a study of content, philosophy is found so since, and it deals with the areas of asking question and forming the answer on what in conjunction with giving justification on the nature of reality. It is a body of knowledge. Philosophy is the study of the following content.

–   What is reality? (metaphysics).

–   What is nature of the truth of knowledge?(epistemology)(theology).

–   What is value? (Axiology).

–   Rational critical thesis reasoning (wisdom) logic.


 Philosophy can be traced back to the period when man started to speculate the physical as well as the mans’ physical phenomenon in the universe. philosophy started  with wondering or curiosity. that is why it is called search of wisdom.
philosophy started  with rising questions. For example “what next after a person has died? Is there another life part from the Universe life? if there is, where?

By its origin the classical period of philosophy is traced from philosophers in Anthens which is divided into four large eras.


 This is the time when philosophical ideas were said to originate and initiated by philosophers like Socrates – (469 – 399 BC Plato (427-347 BC) and Aristotle

The history of western medieval philosophy is generally divided into two periods; early medieval philosophy which began with St. Augustine in mid 4th century to 13th century. The Second period was high medieval philosophy which listed up to 14th with philosopher like St. Thomas Aquinas

This is sometimes known as modern philosophy and is influenced by technological innovations. During this period new ideas about human experiences had started to gain momentam especially in the 16th century in Europe, later Asia and other parts of the world like Africa. The prominent philosophers of this period include Karl Max, Fredrick Angles, George W.F, Hegel, Lenin Kwame Nkrumah and J.K. Nyerere. 

The Eastern philosophy: Broadly the various philosophers of the East Asia, included China, India, Japan and Persia. Ancient eastern philosophy developed mainly in India and China

There is no evidence about time when philosophy started in Africa. However, much like the same historical development in the field of philosophy in other part of the world, philosophy that emerged in Africa was also based on discussing the reality of things in the world.  

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