Philosophy was once hailed as the “queen of the sciences,” a form of inquiry so basic and fundamental that it was thought to be the foundation of every major field and discipline. Yet, for all its magnanimity and dramatic history, philosophy as an idea is curiously difficult to define and more difficult still to make sense of. This has everything to do with the many different ways of approaching ... [Show full abstract] the multifaceted thing we call “philosophy.” This entry attempts to make sense of philosophy, both as an idea and as a tradition, by reviewing the major historical periods and traditions of philosophical thought. It covers the prehistory of philosophy, as well as the ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary periods. It then covers the major domains of philosophical inquiry: metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics.