I’ve been recently mulling over semantic and linguistic issues and I realized that my understanding of these fields may not correspond to the commonly accepted wisdom, so to speak.
Although the dictionary and encyclopedic entries for Philosophy and Philology do vary somewhat in terms of implications, is that actually the case in practice?
From OED a couple of possible variants on meaning:
The love, study, or pursuit of wisdom, truth, or knowledge.
A particular system of ideas or beliefs relating to the general scheme of existence and the universe; a philosophical system or theory.
The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, and the basis and limits of human understanding; this considered as an academic discipline.
The study of the general principles of a particular subject, phenomenon, or field of inquiry.
- Love of learning and literature; the branch of knowledge that deals with the historical, linguistic, interpretative, and critical aspects of literature; literary or classical scholarship.
- The branch of knowledge that deals with the structure, historical development, and relationships of languages or language families; the historical study of the phonology and morphology of languages; historical linguistics.
All are in common acceptance to varying degrees in varying parts of the world. (I’ve excluded the obsolete or uncommon)
Clearly, philosophy(1) is quite similar to philology(1) and we can not reasonably expect a clear cut distinction. Also, philosophy(4) and philology(2) are in close alignment when considering the field of language.
But philosophy(2) and philosophy(3) are quite distinct.