Branches of Knowledge

This is a list of terms and the definitions I’m using for them in homeschool.  I expect to teach my daughters this list over the next few months.  The purpose of this is to give them an idea of the wide scope of human intellectual endeavors.  Most of the definitions are simplified for ease of learning.  More nuanced definitions can be learned later.

Knowledge in General:

Science – the methodical search for knowledge; also, the knowledge thereby gained

Logic – the study of reasoning

Rhetoric – the study and practice of persuasion

Epistemology – the study of how we know what we know

Taxonomy – the study of classification; also, a specific system of classification


Arithmetic – the study of numbers

Algebra – the study of equations having one or more variables

Geometry – the study of points, lines, shapes, and objects

Trigonometry – the study of triangles

Probability – the study of the likelihood of events occurring

Statistics – the study and practice of analyzing numerical data

Calculus – the study of rates of change

Physical Sciences:

Physics – the study of matter and energy

Chemistry – the study of the properties of matter

Astronomy – the study of celestial objects

Cosmology – the study of the universe

Meteorology – the study of weather

Geology – the study of the Earth’s physical properties

Geography – the study of the location of things on the surface of the Earth

Oceanography – the study of the oceans

Cartography – the study of mapmaking and maps

Speleology – the study of caves

Life Sciences:

Biology – the study of living things

Anatomy – the study of the physical structure of living things

Cytology – the study of cells

Zoology – the study of animals

Botany – the study of plants

Bacteriology – the study of bacteria

Mammalogy – the study of mammals

Ornithology – the study of birds

Ichthyology – the study of fish

Herpetology – the study of reptiles and amphibians

Entomology – the study of insects

Ecology – the study of the environment

Paleontology – the study of fossils

Evolution – the study of change across multiple generations

Medically Related Studies

Medicine – the study and practice of diagnosing and treating diseases

Neurology – the study of nerves

Embryology – the study of embryos

Radiology – the study of x-rays and their uses

Oncology – the study of tumors

Gynecology – the study of organs specific to females

Pathology – the study of diseases

Psychology – the study of the mind

Psychiatry – the study of mental illnesses and the use of drugs to treat them

Dentistry – the study of teeth, and the practice of treating them

Orthodontics – the study of the alignment of teeth, and the practice of aligning them

Optometry – the study of eyes and how to treat them

Podiatry – the study of the feet and how to treat them

Pediatrics – the study of children and how to treat their illnesses

Geriatrics – the study of older people and how to treat their illnesses

Chiropractic – the study of the treatment of disorders by making manual adjustments to the body, usually to the spine

Acupuncture – the study of the treatment of disorders by inserting needles into the skin or muscles

 Other Human-Centered Studies

Anthropology – the study of humans

Sociology – the study of human societies

Linguistics – the study of language

Economics – the study of the production and distribution of resources

History – the record of events since the beginning of writing; also, the study of those events

Archaeology – the study of the past through physical remains

Criminology – the study of crime and criminals

Theology – the study of religions

Cosmetology – the study and practice of enhancing beauty

Philosophy – the study of life and how best to live it; also, a system used for guiding one’s decisions

Martial Arts – the study and practice of hand-to-hand combat

Cryptography – the study of codes

Occult Studies (this is not an endorsement of occult studies, but I want my daughters to know these terms)

Alchemy – the study or practice of trying to convert one form of matter to another

Astral Projection – the voyage of the spirit to locations outside of the body while the person is still living

Divination – the study and practice of gaining knowledge through supernatural means

Astrology – the study of the relationship of the positions of celestial objects to personalities and to human events

Numerology – the study of the relationship of numbers to personalities and human events

Palmistry – the study of the relationship of lines on the palm to personalities and human events

Tarot – the study or practice of using cards to understand personalities or events

Sorcery – the study or use of magic


About Mark James Wooding

I was born. I was scared. I tried to get back to the warm place, but they wouldn't let me. I cried. Since that quite unexpected and traumatic event, I've been trying to make the best of things. I've written a book called Seek Wisdom, Practice Kindness, which contains a philosophy of life as well as an attempt to describe why people do the things they do. I edited a book called The Magical World of Poetry, a collection of public domain poetry that includes many of the traditional favorites and a few others I was fortunate enough to come across. Both books can be read on their respective websites, which are listed in my Links section. I also wrote a novel called Sasha and Samantha Save the World, which is available on
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