While this definition provides a general understanding of philosophy, it is necessary to consider philosophy’s evolution in terms of schools of thought to properly encapsulate its essence.In these regards, it is perhaps most appropriate to start with ancient Greek philosophy, as it is here that the term Philos (knowledge) first emerged. Within Greek philosophy there emerged three major schools – pre-Socratic, the middle period, and finally the Hellenistic era. Among these, the most significant era was the middle period where texts by Plato and Aristotle functioned to investigate many of the concerns that would become fundamental areas of investigation for later philosophers. Among the primary elements that emerged during this period were investigations into the nature of proper government, considerations of what constituted the main purpose of existence, and in Aristotle investigations into art, beauty, and various scientific factors. As the academic disciplines of the sciences had yet to emerge, it’s clear that during this period of history philosophy in-large part constituted all investigations into the nature of reality. After the Renaissance era, the nature of philosophy would be divided into a number of schools of thought. During the era known as the Modern period, philosophy would come to be understood in terms of rationalist and empiricist schools of thought, as embodied in the works of prominent philosophers as Descartes and Spinoza. Philosophy was still understood
as examining the nature of political thought, with a branch of ‘political philosophy’ emerging in the work of thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes(Fullerton). In later Modern philosophy schools of thought known as metaphysics and idealism emerged, as well as prominent thinkers such as Kant and Nietzsche. The Modern period established the importance of philosophy as rooted in logic and reasoned thought processes. While both investigations into politics and the nature of existence continued to be understood as ‘philosophy,’ an increased emphasis on the nature of the self and internal motivation emerged.