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[ INSTA Ethics ] : Human values- lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators- Part 3



What is philosophy?

The study of philosophy is a manner of thinking about issues like morality, consciousness, existence, time, meaning, and value. Four Rs are included in that “style of thinking”: responsiveness, reflection, reason, and reevaluation. The idea behind philosophy is that by practising it, we can increase our ability to think critically and make wiser decisions in our daily lives.

The main branches of philosophy are:

  1. Axiology: Study of the nature of value and valuation
  2. Metaphysics: Study of the fundamental nature of reality
  3. Epistemology: Study of the nature, origin, and limits of human knowledge
  4. Ethics Philosophy: Study of what is right and wrong in human behaviour
  5. Aesthetics: Study of beauty and taste
  6. Logic Philosophy: Study of the nature and types of logic
  7. Political Philosophy: Study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions.

Indian philosophies

It refers to several traditions of philosophical thought that originated in the Indian subcontinent, including Hindu philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and Jain philosophy. These philosophies can be divided into two:

  1. Astika, in Indian philosophy, is any orthodox school of thought, defined as one that accepts the authority of the Vedas. Ex: Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva-Mimamsa (or Mimamsa).
  2. Nastika: These are philosophies which do not use the Vedas to establish their authority. Ex: Buddhism, Jainism, Carvaka, and Ajivika.

Some of the famous Indian philosophers are Buddha, Mahavira, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar etc.

One needs to orient some of the philosophies of these philosophers to solve some of the pertinent issues in the world as of now.


  1. Mahatma Gandhi Ji: Dignity of labour would build respect for all jobs and reduce job-based discrimination inherent in Indian society; the doctrine of trusteeship will help in addressing the growing inequality and poverty in the world.
  2. Buddhism: the doctrine of Sunyavada would help in reducing the pain and anxiety caused due to excessive materialism and competition in the world.
  3. Basavanna’s philosophy of treating ‘Work as worship’ would result in the reduction of corruption inherent in tthehe society.
  4. All religions subscribe to universal philosophy of love for everyone without any discrimination, such philosophies if adopted could lead to successfully dealing with issues like fundamentalism, refugee crisis etc.

Note: More such connections need to be established between the philosophies of the various leaders and how these philosophies offer us lessons to deal with present problems.