Modern philosophy is a discipline that focuses on the study and application of a certain method of thought that is notably different from earlier types of philosophy. This branch of philosophy was first developed during the 17th century and continued to be popular until the early 20th when postmodernism began to overtake it. The most prominent theme of modern philosophy is how people can gather and confirm knowledge through their own direct experiences and logic instead of automatically accepting established doctrines. Several well-known scholars have published extensive writings on the tenets of this philosophy as they apply to different areas of life.
Some newcomers to the study of modern philosophy sometimes believe it is the same as modernism, although the two realms of thought are actually separate from one another. Reason and inner thought processes form much of the purpose behind this kind of contemporary philosophy. Modernism, on the other hand, is typically viewed as a cultural opposite to the more conservative ideas of realism and is often more closely associated with certain art styles and other aesthetic principles.
Due to its emphasis on the individual and his or her development of the capacity to reason, early modern philosophy often appears to be a distinctly western philosophy. Only later tenets bring in ideas of how the individual fits into a larger society and how human nature influences that society's structure. To better understand the evolution of this kind of moral philosophy, students studying its history in earnest often split it into different major idea movements such as rationalism, empiricism, Marxism, and analytic philosophy.
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Rationalism is a specific section of early modern philosophy that emphasizes the importance of linear and mathematical thinking; its scholars attempt to pick up where certain principles of modern science leave off. The established practices of deductive reasoning also have their roots in rationalism. Empiricism was mostly developed as a rationalist counter-argument that outlines the need for experimentation and observation in order to arrive at established truths.
Later branches of modern philosophy, such as Marxism, typically work to draw connections between innate human tendencies and the need for groups of people to work in order to build a stable society. Analytic philosophy adds analysis of language to the ideas of logic that began with rationalism and empiricism; its underlying principle states that the linguistic elements of reasoning are just as important as the conclusions that result from the reasoning process.