It is hard – perhaps surprisingly so – to give a good answer to the question, ‘What is philosophy?’
Still, there is an easy enough way in which one can get a sense of what philosophy is. All one has to do is to consider a range of philosophical questions. I have a list of philosophical questions here. (That list is a list of philosophical questions that are raised by Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker books.) Seeing the sort of questions that philosophy asks should give one a sense of what philosophy is; philosophy is the discipline that asks that type of question (even if it proves hard to spell out just what being a question of that type involves . .).
For more on the nature of philosophy, one might see:
- this short piece by philosopher Nigel Warburton;
- section 2 of the Introduction to my Philosophy and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012);
- my article on ‘the philosophy of philosophy’ (!), namely, ‘Contemporary Metaphilosophy’ (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 17/11/2010) – or at least the beginning of that article.
Also, there is a short definition of moral philosophy on this page on the present website.
[Revised February 2014.]