The Three-Pronged Approach

“The best and the greatest number of authors have asserted that philosophy consists of three parts: the moral, the natural, and the rational. The first puts the soul in order. The second thoroughly examines the natural order of things. The third inquires into the proper meaning of words, and their arrangements and proofs which keep falsehoods from creeping in to displace truth.”


In his quote from The Daily Stoic today, Seneca says there is a general consensus among respected minds that philosophy is composed of three parts. Let’s examine these three facets.

The moral part governs our soul, and what is right and good. It helps us understand what we should do, and what is right to do in any given situation. This is how we’re able to be driven in our careers, but still ethical as we do it.

The natural part helps us understand the outside world, and how the universe unfolds, and what our place is in it. Despite philosophy seeming to be mostly related to the mind, the natural world actually plays a big part in how we understand ourselves. Truth is natural and universal, after all.

The rational part helps us organize our thoughts and put them into words that make sense, and also helps us discuss and defend our positions when having a philosophical debate. It also teaches us how to develop habits and behaviors to build an impenetrable fortress around us — a rational fortress of the mind.

A three-pronged approach of philosophy, but all with one aim — to help us understand how to live!

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