Philosophy is a set of fields encompassing humanity's effort to understand itself (at an individual level and upwards) and its environment. Philosophy may be divided into two broad areas - the first concerns itself with what is, building frameworks to categorise and understand observations. This area of philosophy includes in itself the sciences, history, and other academic fields. In some of these fields, by some schools of thought there is a single (or at least convergent set of) underlying reality which is being grasped for. The other broad area of philosophy concerns itself with ideals and what should be. This type of philosophy is, honestly conducted, divergent - there are many different possible ways to construct systems in this field, based in root on various axioms, themes, or intuitions that are (at least formally) indefensible. Some systems of the latter type may resemble the former type if they are of the style where axioms are used rigourously, although when one traces them back to their roots, their justification-basis is essentially aesthetic or arbitrary.

The second group of fields has (at least) two principal means of focus on values. In the first, individualist philosophers (such as Nietzsche) approach the field by asking the question, "What is a good way for a person to be?", seeking to advise individuals on ways to seek a better life or self (while providing some notion of better). In the second, societal philosophers (such as Marx, Smith, or Bakunin) approach the field by asking, "What is a good way for society to be arranged?". This question is markedly different than the first - it by necessity must provide a path for structured change from the current state of being to its chosen destination, a path often more difficult to direct including those who are initially uninterested in its ends than with individual philosophy, where the reader actively may choose to partake of any elements that they come to accept. Some philosophies may choose to bridge the gap, and some concepts are potentially shared by both frameworks (such as justice).

Pat Gunn (aka Improv) <>