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Glossary of Philosophy
List of definitions of terms and concepts commonly used in philosophy
The philosophy stating that the efforts of man to find meaning in the Universe will ultimately fail because no such meaning exists (at least in relation to man). Absurdism is related to existentialism, though should not be confused with it, nor with nihilism.
Any system of thought that denies the causal nexus and maintains that events succeed one another haphazardly or by chance (not in the mathematical but in the popular sense). In metaphysics, accidentalism denies the doctrine that everything occurs or results from a definite cause. In this connection it is synonymous with tychism (ruxi, chance), a term used by Charles Sanders Peirce for the theories that make chance an objective factor in the process of the Universe.
The philosophy that denies the reality of the Universe, seeing it as ultimately illusory, and only the infinite Unmanifest Absolute as real. In contrast to pantheism, acosmism begins with the recognition that there is only one Reality, which is infinite, non-dual, blissful, etc. Yet the phenomenal reality of which humans are normally aware is none of these things; it is in fact just the opposite--i.e., dualistic, finite, full of suffering and pain, and so on. And since the Absolute is the only reality, that means that everything that is not Absolute cannot be real. Thus, according to this viewpoint, the phenomenal dualistic world is ultimately an illusion ("Maya" to use the technical Indian term), irrespective of the apparent reality it possesses at the mundane or empirical level.
A loosely defined movement in art and literature popular in later 19th-century Britain which held that art does not have any didactic purpose (it need only be beautiful), and that life should imitate art. The main characteristics of the movement were suggestion rather than statement, sensuality, massive use of symbols, and synaesthetic effects - that is, correspondence between words, colors, and music.
The philosophical view that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Due to definitional variance, an agnostic atheist does not believe in God or gods and by extension holds true that "the existence and nonexistence of deities is currently unknown and may be absolutely unknowable", or that "knowledge of the existence and nonexistence of deities is irrelevant or unimportant", or that "abstention from claims of knowledge of the existence and nonexistence of deities is optimal". Contrast agnostic theism.
The philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist is one who views that the truth value of claims regarding the existence of God or gods is unknown or inherently unknowable, but still chooses to believe in God or gods in spite of this. Contrast agnostic atheism.
The philosophical view that the truth values of certain claims -- particularly theological claims regarding the existence of God, gods, or deities -- are unknown, inherently unknowable, or incoherent, and therefore irrelevant to life. Agnosticism itself, in both its strong (explicit) and weak (implicit) forms, is necessarily neither an atheist nor a theist position, though an agnostic person may also be either an atheist, a theist, or one who endorses neither position.
A Latin phrase that may be translated as "love of fate" or "love of one's fate". It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one's life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary, in that they are among the facts of one's life and existence, so they are always necessarily there whether one likes them or not. Moreover, amor fati is characterized by a passive acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one's life.
The political position of any of a number of views and movements which advocate the absence or elimination of rulership or government. Other than being opposed to the state, there is no single defining position that all anarchists hold. Compare and contrast libertarianism.
A form of anarchism that allies itself with syndicalism, that is, with labor unions, as a force for revolutionary social change. Anarcho-syndicalists seek to replace capitalism and the state with a democratically worker-managed means of production. They seek to abolish the wage system and most forms of private property.
"Animism" has been applied to many different philosophical systems. This includes Aristotle's view of the relation of soul and body held also by the stoics and scholastics. On the other hand, monadology (Leibniz) has also been described as animistic. The name is most commonly applied to vitalism, which makes life, or life and mind, the directive principle in evolution and growth, holding that life is not merely mechanical but that there is a directive force that guides energy without altering its amount. An entirely different class of ideas, also termed animistic, is the belief in the world soul, held by Plato, Schelling and others. Lastly, in discussions of religion, "animism" refers to the belief in indwelling souls or spirits, particularly so-called "primitive" religions that consider everything inhabited by spirits.
The practice, conscious or otherwise, of regarding the existence and/or concerns of human beings as the central fact of the Universe. This is similar, but not identical, to the practice of relating all that happens in the universe to the human experience. To clarify, the first position concludes that the fact of human existence is the point of universal existence; the latter merely compares all activity to that of humanity, without making any teleological conclusions.
A form of personification involving the attribution of human characteristics and qualities to non-human beings, objects, or natural phenomena. Animals, forces of nature, and unseen or unknown authors of chance are frequent subjects of anthropomorphosis. Two examples are the attribution of a human body or of human qualities generally to God (or the gods), and creating imaginary persons who are the embodiment of an abstraction such as Death, Lust, War, or the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Anthropomorphism is similar to prosopopoeia (adopting the persona of another person).
In theology, the idea that members of a particular religious group are under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality as presented by religious authorities. Antinomianism is the polar opposite of legalism, the notion that obedience to a code of religious law is necessary for salvation. The term has become a point of contention among opposed religious authorities. Few groups or sects explicitly call themselves "antinomian", but the charge is often levelled by some sects against competing sects.
Any position involving either the denial of the objective reality of entities of a certain type or the insistence that humans should be agnostic about their real existence. Thus, people may speak of anti-realism with respect to other minds, the past, the future, universals, mathematical entities (such as natural numbers), moral categories, the material world, or even thought.
The philosophical tradition that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle and the Peripatetic school. Sometimes contrasted by critics with the rationalism and idealism of Plato, Aristotelianism is understood by its proponents as critically developing Plato's theories. Most particularly, Aristotelianism brings Plato's ideals down to Earth as goals and goods internal to natural species that are realized in activity. This is the characteristically Aristotelian idea of teleology.
A way of life characterised by an austere existence that refrains from worldly pleasures. Those who practice ascetic lifestyles often perceive their practices as virtuous and pursue them to achieve greater spirituality. In a more cynical context, asceticism may connote some form of self-mortification, ritual punishment of the body, or harsh renunciation of pleasure, though the word itself does not necessarily imply a negative connotation.
A political project where "human welfare and liberty are both best served when as many of the affairs of a society as possible are managed by voluntary and democratically self-governing associations". Associationalism "gives priority to freedom in its scale of values, but it contends that such freedom can only be pursued effectively if individuals join with their fellows"
The absence of belief in the existence of God or gods, thus contrasting with theism; a condition of being without theistic beliefs. This definition includes both those who assert that there are no gods and those who maintain no beliefs at all regarding the existence of gods. However, narrower definitions often only qualify the former as atheism, with the latter falling under the more general (but rarely used) term nontheism.
The theory that all objects in the Universe are composed of very small, indestructible elements called atoms. (This is the case for the Western [i.e., Greek] theories of atomism. Buddhists also have well-developed theories of atomism, which involve momentary, or non-eternal, atoms, that flash in and out of existence).
An organization or a state that enforces strong, and sometimes oppressive measures against those in its sphere of influence, generally without attempts at gaining their consent and often not allowing feedback on its policies. In an authoritarian state, citizens are subject to state authority in many aspects of their lives, including many that other political philosophies would see as matters of personal choice. There are various degrees of authoritarianism; even very democratic and liberal states will show authoritarianism to some extent, for example in areas of national security.
An approach in political science that seeks to provide an objective, quantified approach to explaining and predicting political behavior. It is associated with the rise of the behavioral sciences, modeled after the natural sciences. It should not be confused with the behaviorism of psychology.
An approach to psychology based on the proposition that behavior can be researched scientifically without recourse to inner mental states. It is a form of materialism, denying any independent significance for the mind. Its significance for psychological treatment has been profound, making it one of the pillars of pharmacological therapy. It should not be confused with the behavioralism of political science.
Another name for Christianity, the monotheistic religion recognizing Jesus Christ as its founder and central figure. With more than two billion adherents, or about one-third of the total world population, it is the largest world religion. Its origins are intertwined with Judaism, with which it shares much sacred lore, including the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible). Christianity is sometimes termed an Abrahamic religion, along with Judaism and Islam.
Traditional ideas of the monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Classical theism holds that God is an absolute, eternal, all-knowing (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent), and perfect being. God is related to the world as its cause, but is unaffected by the world (immutable). He is transcendent over the world, which exists relative to him as a temporal effect.
1. In ethics, cognitivism is the philosophical view that ethical sentences express propositions, and hence are capable of being true or false. More generally, cognitivism with respect to any area of discourse is the position that sentences used in that discourse are cognitive, that is, are meaningful and capable of being true or false.
2. In psychology, cognitivism is the approach to understanding the mind that argues that mental function can be understood as the 'internal' rule bound manipulation of symbols. See Cognitivism (psychology).
There are two distinct types of coherentism. One refers to the coherence theory of truth, which restricts true sentences to those that cohere with some specified set of sentences. Someone's belief is true if and only if it is coherent with all or most of their other beliefs. Usually, coherence is taken to imply something stronger than mere consistency. Statements that are comprehensive and meet the requirements of Occam's razor are usually to be preferred. The second type of coherentism is the belief in the coherence theory of justification, an epistemological theory opposing foundationalism and offering a solution to the regress argument. In this epistemological capacity, it is a theory about how belief can be justified.
A theoretical or practical emphasis on the group, as opposed to (and seen by many of its opponents to be at the expense of) the individual. Some psychologists define collectivism as a syndrome of attitudes and behaviors based on the belief that the basic unit of survival lies within a group, not the individual. Collectivists typically hold that the "greater good" of the group, is more important than the good of any particular individual who is one part of that larger organization. Some collectivists argue that the individual incidentally serves his own interests by working for the benefit of the group.
Outside of South Asia, communalism involves a broad range of social movements and social theories in some way centered upon the community. Communalism can take the form of communal living or communal property, among others. It is sometimes said to put the interests of the community above the interests of the individual, but this is usually only done on the principle that the community exists for the benefit of the individuals who participate in it, so the best way to serve the interests of the individual is through the interests of the community.
A theoretical system of social organization and a political movement based on common ownership of the means of production. As a political movement, communism seeks to establish a classless society. A major force in world politics since the early 20th century, modern communism is generally associated with The Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, according to which the capitalist profit-based system of private ownership is replaced by a communist society in which the means of production are communally owned, such as through a gift economy. Often this process is said initiated by the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie (see Marxism), passes through a transitional period marked by the preparatory stage of socialism (see Leninism). Pure communism has never been implemented, it remains theoretical: communism is, in Marxist theory, the end-state, or the result of state-socialism. The word is now mainly understood to refer to the political, economic, and social theory of Marxist thinkers, or life under conditions of Communist party rule.
A group of related but distinct philosophies that began in the late 20th century, opposing aspects of liberalism and capitalism while advocating phenomena such as civil society. Not necessarily hostile to liberalism in the contemporary American sense of the word, communitarianism rather has a different emphasis, shifting the focus of interest toward communities and societies and away from the individual. The question of priority (individual or community) often has the largest impact in the most pressing ethical questions: health care, abortion, multiculturalism, hate speech, and so on.
Also known as "soft determinism" and championed by David Hume, is a theory that holds that free will and determinism are compatible. According to Hume, free will should not be understood as an absolute ability to have chosen differently under exactly the same inner and outer circumstances. Rather, it is a hypothetical ability to have chosen differently if one had been differently psychologically disposed by some different beliefs or desires. Hume also maintains that free acts are not uncaused (or mysteriously self-caused as Immanuel Kant would have it) but caused by people's choices as determined by their beliefs, desires, and by their characters. While a decision making process exists in Hume's determinism, this process is governed by a causal chain of events.
An East Asian ethical and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of the early Chinese sage Confucius. It is a complex system of moral, social, political, and religious thought that has had tremendous influence on the history of Chinese civilization down to the 21st century. Some have considered it to have been the "state religion" of imperial China.
A collection of views that emphasize the context in which an action, utterance or expression occurs, and argues that, in some important respect, the action, utterance or expression can only be understood within that context. Contextualist views hold that philosophically controversial concepts, such as "meaning P", "knowing that P", "having a reason to A", and possibly even "being true" or "being right" only have meaning relative to a specified context. Some philosophers hold that context-dependence may lead to relativism; nevertheless, contextualist views are increasingly popular within philosophy.
The philosophical attitude which holds that fundamental principles of a certain kind are grounded on (explicit or implicit) agreements in society, rather than on external reality. Although this attitude is commonly held with respect to the rules of grammar and the principles of etiquette, its application to the propositions of law, ethics, science, mathematics, and logic is more controversial.
The belief that humans, life, the Earth, and the Universe were created by the supernatural intervention of a supreme being or deity. This intervention may be seen either as an act of creation from nothing (ex nihilo) or the emergence of order from pre-existing chaos.
Originally the philosophy of a group of ancient Greeks called the Cynics, founded by Antisthenes. Nowadays the word generally refers to the opinions of those inclined to disbelieve in human sincerity, in virtue, or in altruism: individuals who maintain that only self-interest motivates human behavior. A modern cynic typically has a highly contemptuous attitude towards social norms, especially those that serve more of a ritualistic purpose than a practical one, and will tend to dismiss a substantial proportion of popular beliefs, conventional morality, and accepted wisdom as obsolete or irrelevant nonsense.
The theory of biological evolution developed by English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. See also History of evolutionary thought.
A type of Old Earth creationism, it is an effort to reconcile Creation as presented in Genesis with modern scientific theories on the age of the Universe. It holds that the six days referred to in Genesis are not ordinary 24-hour days, but are much longer periods, thus interpreting Genesis as cosmic evolution.
A school and a set of methods of textual criticism aimed at understanding the assumptions and ideas that form the basis for thought and belief. Also called "deconstruction", its central concern is a radical critique of the metaphysics of the Western philosophical tradition, in which it identifies a logicentrism or "metaphysics of presence" which holds that speech-thought (the logos) is a privileged, ideal, and self-present entity, through which all discourse and meaning derive. This logocentrism is the primary target of deconstruction.
The acceptance of and contentedness with defeat without struggle. In everyday use, defeatism has negative connotation, and is often linked to treason and pessimism. The term is commonly used in the context of war: a soldier can be a defeatist if he or she refuses to fight because he or she thinks that the fight will be lost for sure or that it is not worth fighting for some other reason. The term can also be used in other fields, like politics, sports, psychology and philosophy.
The view that reason, rather than revelation or tradition, should be the basis of belief in God. Deists reject both organized and revealed religion and maintain that reason is the essential element in all knowledge. For a "rational basis for religion" they refer to the cosmological argument (first cause argument), the teleological argument (argument from design), and other aspects of what was called natural religion. Deism has become identified with the classical belief that God created but does not intervene in the world, though this is not a necessary component of deism. A form of monotheism in which it is believed that one god exists. However, a deist rejects the idea that this god intervenes in the world. Hence any notion of special revelation is impossible, and the nature of god can only be known through reason and observation from nature. A deist thus rejects the miraculous, and the claim to knowledge made for religious groups and texts.
An ethical theory considered solely on duty and rights, where one has an unchanging moral obligation to abide by a set of defined principles. Thus, the ends of any action never justify the means in this ethical system. If someone were to do their moral duty, then it would not matter if that duty had negative consequences. Because of this reasoning, consequentialism is sometimes considered the philosophical antithesis of deontologism.
A view of the nature of the meaning and reference of proper names, generally attributed to Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell. The theory consists essentially of the idea that the meanings of names are identical to the descriptions associated with them by speakers, while their referents are determined to be the objects that satisfy these descriptions.
A conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.
An absolute version of materialism and physicalism with respect to mental entities and mental vocabulary, according to which humans' common-sense understanding of the mind (what eliminativists call folk psychology) is not a viable theory on which to base scientific investigation: behaviour and experience can only be adequately explained on the biological level. Therefore, no coherent neural basis will be found for everyday folk psychological concepts (such as belief, desire and intention, for they are illusory and therefore do not have any consistent neurological substrate. Eliminative materialists therefore believe that consciousness does not exist except as an epiphenomenon of brain function and some believe that the concept will eventually be eliminated as neuroscience progresses.
The philosophy that asserts that the mind is an irreducible existent in some sense, albeit not in the sense of being an ontological simple, and that the study of mental phenomena is independent of other sciences.
A concern for the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment, such as the conservation of natural resources, prevention of pollution, and certain land use actions. It often supports the struggles of indigenous peoples against the spread of globalization to their way of life, which is seen as less harmful to the environment.
While often considered to be the philosophy of pleasure seeking, in fact refers to a middle-path philosophy defining happiness as success in avoiding pain, in the form of both mental worry and physical discomfort, in order to produce a state of tranquility.
A term first used by the Scottish philosopher James Frederick Ferrier to describe the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge; it is also referred to as "theory of knowledge". Put concisely, it is the study of knowledge and justified belief. It questions what knowledge is and how it can be acquired, and the extent to which knowledge pertinent to any given subject or entity can be acquired. Much of the debate in this field has focused on the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification. The term was probably first introduced in Ferrier's Institutes of Metaphysic: The Theory of Knowing and Being (1854), p. 46.
The view in philosophy of mind according to which physical events have mental effects, but mental events have no effects of any kind. In other words, the causal relations go only one way, from physical to mental. In recent times it is usually considered a type of dualism, because it postulates physical events but also non-physical mental events; but historically it has sometimes been thought a kind of monism, because of its sharp divergence from substance dualism.
The belief and practice centered on a philosophical claim that for any specific kind of entity it is at least theoretically possible to specify a finite list of characteristics, all of which any entity must have to belong to the group defined.
A philosophical approach to the ontological nature of time. It builds on the standard method of modeling time as a dimension in physics, to give time a similar ontology to that of space. This would mean that time is just another dimension, that future events are "already there", and that there is no objective flow of time.
The normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their own self-interest. It is distinguished from psychological egoism and rational egoism. It contrasts with ethical altruism, which holds that moral agents have an ethical obligation to help or serve others. Ethical egoism does not, however, require moral agents to disregard the well-being of others, nor does it require that a moral agent refrains from considering the well-being of others in moral deliberation. What is in an agent's self-interest may be incidentally detrimental to, beneficial to, or neutral in its effect on others. It allows for the possibility of either as long as what is chosen is efficacious in satisfying self-interest of the agent. Ethical egoism is sometimes used to support libertarianism or anarchism, political positions based partly on a belief that individuals should not coercively prevent others from exercising freedom of action.
The tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own culture. It is defined as the viewpoint that "one's own group is the center of everything (better than all other cultures)," against which all other groups are judged. Ethnocentrism often entails the belief that one's own race or ethnic group is the most important and/or that some or all aspects of its culture are superior to those of other groups.
A lesser used term for theistic evolution, the general opinion that some or all classical religious teachings about God and creation are compatible with some or all of the modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. Theistic evolution is not a theory in the scientific sense, but a particular view about how the science of evolution relates to some religious interpretations.
The philosophical movement that views human existence as having a set of underlying themes and characteristics, such as anxiety, dread, freedom, awareness of death, and consciousness of existing, that are primary. That is, they cannot be reduced to or explained by a natural-scientific approach or any approach that attempts to detach itself from or rise above these themes.
An aesthetic and artistic movement that distorted reality for enhanced or exaggerated emotional effect. It can also apply to some literature; the works of Franz Kafka and Georg Kaiser are often said to be expressionistic, for example.
A theory about the meaning of moral language. According to expressivism, sentences that employ moral terms-for example, "It is wrong to torture an innocent human being"-are not descriptive or fact-stating; moral terms such as "wrong," "good," or "just" do not refer to real, in-the-world properties. The primary function of moral sentences, according to expressivism, is not to assert any matter of fact, but rather to express an evaluative attitude toward an object of evaluation. Because the function of moral language is non-descriptive, moral sentences do not have any truth conditions. Hence, expressivists either do not allow that moral sentences have truth value, or rely on a notion of truth value that does not appeal to any descriptive truth conditions being met for moral sentences.
An evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition, originated by Max More. Extropianism describes a pragmatic consilience of transhuman thought guided by a conscious, pro-active, self-directed approach to human evolution and progress. See posthuman. Extropians were once concisely described as libertariantranshumanists, and some still hold to this standard.
The doctrine that absolute certainty about knowledge is impossible, or at least that all claims to knowledge could, in principle, be mistaken. As a formal doctrine, it is most strongly associated with Charles Sanders Peirce, who used it in his attack on foundationalism. Unlike skepticism, fallibilism does not imply the need for humans to abandon their knowledge: humans need not have logically conclusive justifications for what they know. Rather, it is an admission that because empirical knowledge can be revised by further observation, all knowledge, excepting that which is axiomatically true (such as mathematical and logical knowledge) exists in a constant state of flux.
The idea that a proposition or theory cannot be scientific if it does not admit the possibility of being shown to be false. For example, the proposition "All crows are black" is a scientific proposition because it can be falsified by the observation of one white crow.
A diverse collection of social theories, political movements, and moral philosophies, largely motivated by or concerning the experiences of women, especially in terms of their social, political, and economic situation. As a social movement, feminism largely focuses on limiting or eradicating gender inequality and promoting women's rights, interests, and issues in society.
The view that human deliberation and actions are pointless and ineffectual in determining events, because whatever will be will be. One ancient argument, called the idle argument, went like this: "If it is fated for you to recover from your illness, then you will recover whether you call a doctor or not. Likewise, if you are fated not to recover, you will not do so even if you call a doctor. So, calling a doctor makes no difference." Arguments like this are usually rejected even by causal determinists, who may say that it may be determined that only a doctor can cure you.
In Christiantheology, the position that reason is more-or-less irrelevant to religious belief, that rational or scientific arguments for the existence of God are fallacious and irrelevant, and have nothing to do with the truth of Christian theology. Its argument in essence goes: "Christian theology teaches that people are saved by faith. But, if God's existence can be proven, either empirically or logically, faith becomes irrelevant. Therefore, if Christian theology is true, no proof of God's existence is possible." The term is occasionally used to refer to a belief that Christians are saved by faith alone: for which see sola fide. This position is sometimes called solifidianism.
5. A set of notations and rules for manipulating them that yield results in agreement with experiment or other techniques of calculation. These rules and notations may or may not have a corresponding mathematical semantics. In the case no mathematical semantics exists, the calculations are often said to be purely formal. See for example scientific formalism.
6. A style of literary and artistic criticism that focuses on artistic or literary techniques in themselves, in separation from the work's social and historical context. See formalism (art), formalism (literature).
7. A style of film criticism that focuses on the technical aspects of filmmaking (e.g., lighting, sets, costumes, etc.). The term may also refer to an avant-gardeexperimental film movement, often seen as odd or extremist, that was concerned with the beauty of the actual physical form of film (i.e., the celluloid itself).
Any justification or knowledge theory in epistemology that holds that beliefs are justified (known) when they are based on basic beliefs (also called foundational beliefs). Basic beliefs are beliefs that are self-justifying or self-evident, and don't need to be justified by other beliefs. Basic beliefs provide justificatory support to other beliefs, which can in turn support further derivative beliefs. Foundationalists hold that basic beliefs are justified by mental events or states (such as experiences) that do not constitute beliefs (these are called nondoxastic mental states), or that they simply are not the type of thing that can (or needs to be) justified.
The dominant theory of mental states in modern philosophy. Functionalism was developed as an answer to the mind-body problem because of objections to both identity theory and logical behaviorism. Its core idea is that the mental states can be accounted for without taking into account the underlying physical medium (the neurons), instead attending to higher-level functions such as beliefs, desires, and emotions.
A particular set of Christian beliefs about the creation of the Universe and the origin of man. The concept of the Gap Theory is widely thought to have been promulgated by William Buckland and Thomas Chalmers in the early 19th century, though some adherents maintain that it can be traced back to biblical times. Certainly it became quite popular when it was promoted by the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909.
The term, coined by Kimberly L. Hammersmith in 2015, which embodies the cumulative experiences, and physical and metaphysical wealth and resources of the collective being - meant to define its relevant function in scope and depth.
Any of various mystical initiatory religions, sects and knowledge schools which were most prominent in the first few centuries CE. It is also applied to modern revivals of these groups and, sometimes, by analogy to all religious movements based on secret knowledge gnosis.
The ethical view that pleasure is the greatest good, and that pleasure should be the standard in deciding which course of action to pursue. Hedonism is usually associated with a more physical, egoistic, or unrefined definition of "pleasure" than that found in the related doctrine of utilitarianism. The term may also refer to the descriptive view that people are primarily motivated by seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
A philosophy developed by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. It is sometimes summarized by one of Hegel's sayings: "The rational alone is real," meaning that all reality is capable of being expressed in rational categories. Hegel's goal was to reduce to a more synthetic unity the system of transcendental idealism.
Devotion to a single god while accepting the existence of other gods. Coined by Max Müller, according to whom it is "monotheism in principle and a polytheism in fact". Variations on the term have been inclusive monotheism and monarchial polytheism, designed to differentiate differing forms of the phenomenon.
The philosophy developed by Francis Galton and expressed in his book Hereditary Genius in 1869 that people inherit mental characteristics from their parents such as personality and intelligence, a component of "nature" in the phrase "nature and nurture." Galton's view was opposed by Lamarckism but the development of human behavior genetics helped confirm hereditarianism as a partial explanation of human individual differences.
The methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history first articulated by Karl Marx. His fundamental proposition of historical materialism can be summed up in the following: It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. -- Karl Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human societies in the way humans collectively make the means to live, thus giving an emphasis, through economic analysis, to everything that co-exists with the economic base of society (e.g. social classes, political structures, and ideologies).
The theory that claims that: 1) that there is an organic succession of developments (also known as historism or the Germanhistorismus), and 2) that local conditions and peculiarities influence the results in a decisive way. It can be contrasted with reductionist theories that suppose that all developments can be explained by fundamental principles (such as in economic determinism).
The idea that all the properties of a given system cannot be determined or explained by the sum of its constituent parts alone. Instead, the system as a whole determines in an important way how the parts behave. The general principle of holism is concisely summarized by the phrase "The whole is more than the sum of its parts." Holism is often seen as the opposite of reductionism.
The belief that human beings, as well as plants and animals, are divine and intricate extensions of nature. Followers share a mutual respect for things created directly by nature, even though life must feed upon life for continuance. While most believers are able to adapt to modern change, naturalists prefer the fair exchange of resources, as was in the case of former agricultural and hunter-gatherer societies. Industry and technology are in exact opposition to naturalism.
The concept of existing for a potentially infinite, or indeterminate length, of time. Throughout history, humans have had the desire to live forever. What form an unending or indefinitely long human life would take, or whether it is even possible, has been the subject of much speculation, fantasy, and debate.
In political philosophy, the view that the rights or well-being of individuals are to be protected rather than the rights or well-being of groups such as nations or states, ideologies (such as communism or democracy), or religious communities (such as Christendom). Individualism is often associated with classical liberalism and opposed to the various sorts of communalism and nationalism.
The scientific philosophy by which scientific laws can be "induced" from sets of data. As an example, one might measure the strength of electrical forces at varying distances from charges and induce the inverse square law of electrostatics. See also inductive reasoning.
The philosophy that holds that scientific research is guided by the various observations and data produced by previous science experiments; In other words, that science progresses in a direction that has prior experimental data. It exists both in a classical naive version, which has been highly influential, and in various more sophisticated versions. The naive version, which trace back to thinkers such as Ab? Rayh?n al-B?r?n? and David Hume, says that general statements (theories) have to be based on empirical observations, which are subsequently generalized into statements that can be regarded as true or probably true.
The doctrine that holds that the mind is born with ideas or knowledge, and is not merely a "blank slate" at birth as early empiricists such as John Locke claimed. It asserts that not all knowledge is obtained from experience and the senses.
The doctrine about the possibility of deriving knowledge from reason alone, intellectualism can stand for a general approach emphasising the importance of learning and logical thinking. Criticism of this attitude, sometimes summed up as Left Bank, caricatures intellectualism's faith in the mind and puts it in opposition to emotion, instinct, and primitivist values in general.
Founded by Jacob Robert Kantor before Skinner's writings and currently worked by L. Hayes; E. Ribes; and S. Bijou. centered in the inter behavior of organisms, field theory of behavior; emphasis on human behavior.
A school of thought in the philosophy of law, in which law is not considered to be a set of data or physical facts, but what lawyers aim to construct. It holds that there is no separation between law and morality although there are differences (this is the opposite of the main claim of legal positivism). According to legal interpretivism, law is not immanent in nature nor do legal values and principles exist independently and outside of the legal practice itself (this is the opposite of the main claim of natural law theory).
In the philosophy of mathematics, intuitionism, or neointuitionism (opposed to preintuitionism), is an approach to mathematics as the constructive mental activity of humans. That is, mathematics does not consist of analytic activities wherein deep properties of existence are revealed and applied. Instead, logic and mathematics are the application of internally consistent methods to realize more complex mental constructs.
A set of political ideologies derived from various religious views of Muslim fundamentalists, which hold that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system that governs the legal, economic, and social imperatives of the state. Islamist movements seek to re-shape the state by implementing a conservative formulation of Sharia law. Islamists regard themselves as Muslims rather than Islamists, while moderate Muslims reject this notion.
A set of philosophical, theological, and psychological positions based on the work of the 19th-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard's work focuses on the existing individual and the struggle to become an authentic individual. Kierkegaard's work was among the most important intellectual foundations for the 20th-century philosophical movement known as existentialism.
In the Western sense, an approach to the analysis of legal questions characterized by abstract "logical" reasoning focused on the applicable legal text, such as a constitution, legislation, or case law, rather than on the social, economic, or political context. Legalism has occurred both in civil and common law traditions. Legalism may endorse the notion that the pre-existing body of authoritative legal materials already contains a uniquely pre-determined "right answer" to any legal problem that may arise. In legalism, the task of the judge is to ascertain the answer to a legal question mechanically.
A school of thought in the philosophy of law that claims that laws are made (deliberately or unintentionally) by human beings, and that there is no inherent or necessary connection between the validity of law and what is ethical or moral.
In politics, a position that favors liberty as a political value. Liberalism has taken many meanings throughout history, but commonalities include a focus on individual liberty, democratic republicanism (liberal democracy), and equality under the law.
A philosophy of science originating in the Vienna Circle in the 1920s which holds that philosophy should aspire to the same sort of rigor as science. Logical positivism asserts that philosophy should provide strict criteria for judging sentences true, false, and meaningless. Although the logical positivists held a wide range of beliefs on many matters, they all shared an interest in science and deep skepticism of the theological and metaphysical. Following Ludwig Wittgenstein, many subscribed to the correspondence theory of truth, although some, like Neurath, believed in coherentism. They believed that all knowledge should be based on logical inference from simple "protocol sentences" grounded in observable facts. Hence many supported forms of realism, materialism, philosophical naturalism, and empiricism.
One of the major ancient religions. Though its organized form is mostly extinct today, a revival has been attempted under the name of Neo-Manichaeism. However, most of the writings of the founding prophetMani have been lost. Some scholars and anti-Catholic polemicists argue that its influence subtly continues in Western Christian thought via Saint Augustine of Hippo, who converted to Christianity from Manichaeism and whose writing continues to be enormously influential among Catholic and Protestant theologians.
The philosophical view that the only thing that can truly be said to 'exist' is matter; that fundamentally, all things are composed of 'material' and all phenomena are the result of material interactions.
The theory that all natural phenomena can be explained by physical causes. It can be contrasted with vitalism, the philosophical theory that vital forces are active in living organisms, so that life cannot be explained solely by mechanism.
The idea in metaphysics that humans can, through their interference with natural processes, produce an improvement over the natural outcome. It is at the foundation of contemporary liberal democracy and human rights, and is contrasted by the concept of apologism.
The view, in philosophy of mind, that the mind and mental states exist as causally efficacious inner states of persons. The view should be distinguished from substance dualism, which is the view that the mind and the body (or brain) are two distinct kinds of things, which nevertheless interact (somehow) with one another. Although this dualistic view of the mind-body connection entails mentalism, mentalism does not entail dualism. Jerry Fodor and Noam Chomsky have been two of mentalism's most ardent recent defenders.
The belief that nature is in fact all that exists. The term applies to any worldview in which nature is all there is and all things supernatural do not exist (including spirits and souls, non-natural values, and universals as they are commonly conceived).
A traditional branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms: Ultimately, what is there? and what is it like? A person who studies metaphysics is called a metaphysician. The metaphysician attempts to clarify the fundamental notions by which people understand the world, e.g., existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility. A central branch of metaphysics is ontology, the investigation into the basic categories of being and how they relate to each other. Another central branch of metaphysics is cosmology, the study of the origin, fundamental structure, nature, and dynamics of the universe. Some include epistemology as another central focus of metaphysics, but other philosophers question this.
The objective study of third-person behavior; the data of psychology must be inter-subjectively verifiable; no theoretical prescriptions. It has been absorbed into general experimental and cognitive psychology.
The idea that explanations of things, such as scientific explanations, ought to be continually reduced to the very simplest entities possible (but no simpler). Occam's Razor forms the basis of this type of reductionism.
The series of reforming cultural movements in art and architecture, music, literature, and the applied arts which emerged roughly in the period between 1884 and 1914. Modernism affirms the power of human beings to create, improve, and reshape their environments, with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology, and practical experimentation. The term covers many political, cultural, and artistic movements rooted in the changes in Western society at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
The type of monotheism found in Hinduism. This type of theism is different from the Semitic religions as it encompasses panentheism, monism, and at the same time includes the concept of a personal God as a universal, omnipotent supreme being. The other types of monotheism are qualified monism, the school of Ramanuja or Vishishtadvaita, which admits that the universe is part of God, or Narayana, a type of panentheism, but there is a plurality of souls within this supreme Being and Dvaita, which differs in that it is dualistic, as God is separate and not panentheistic.
The position that there are absolute standards against which moral questions can be judged, and that certain actions are right or wrong, regardless of the context of the action; the belief in a single set of 'rights' and 'wrongs', with no variation. These are known by all people and to not respect them is a choice.
The conjunction of the following three claims: 1) moral judgments express beliefs, 2) these beliefs are either true or false, and 3) therefore objectivemoral values exist. It contrasts with expressivist or non-cognitivist theories of moral judgment, error theories of moral judgments, fictionalist theories of moral judgment, and constructivist or relativist theories of the nature of moral facts.
The belief that there are no moral facts independent of an individual's or culture's beliefs or desires. Depending on the version of relativism, a given moral statement is true only if an individual (in the case of ethical subjectivism) believes it to be, or if a culture (in the case of cultural relativism) believes it to be true.
The pursuit of achieving communion, identity with, or conscious awareness of ultimate reality, the divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight. Traditions may include a belief in the literal existence of dimensional realities beyond empiricalperception, or a belief that a true human perception of the world goes beyond current logical reasoning or intellectual comprehension.
Any of several philosophical stances, typically those descended from materialism and pragmatism, that do not distinguish the supernatural (including strange entities like non-natural values, and universals as they are commonly conceived) from nature. Naturalism does not necessarily claim that phenomena or hypotheses commonly labeled as supernatural do not exist or are wrong, but insists that all phenomena and hypotheses can be studied by the same methods and therefore anything considered supernatural is either nonexistent, unknowable, or not inherently different from natural phenomena or hypotheses.
A view of literature and criticism propagated by the Chicago School - Ronald S. Crane, Elder Olson, Richard McKeon, Wayne Booth, and others - that means "A view of literature and criticism that takes a pluralistic attitude toward the history of literature and seeks to view literary works and critical theories intrinsically."
A form of Confucianism primarily developed during the Song dynasty, as a response to the dominance of Taoism and Buddhism at the time. Neo-Confucians such as Zhu Xi recognized that the Confucianism lacked a thorough metaphysical system, and so synthesized one based on previous Confucian concepts. There were many competing views within the Neo-Confucian community, but overall, a system emerged that resembled both the Buddhist and Taoist thought of the time.
The philosophical view that the world, and especially human existence, is without meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. It is more often a charge leveled against a particular idea than a position to which someone is overtly subscribed. Movements such as Dada, Deconstructionism, and punk have been described by various observers as "nihilist".
The philosophical theory about causation stating that created substances cannot be efficient causes of events. Instead, all events are taken to be caused directly by God Himself. (A related theory, which has been called 'occasional causation', also denies a link of efficient causation between mundane events, but may differ as to the identity of the true cause that replaces them).
Named after the title of an 1857 book, Omphalos by Philip Henry Gosse, in which Gosse argued that in order for the world to be "functional", God must have created the Earth with mountains and canyons, trees with growth rings, Adam and Eve with hair, fingernails, and navels (omphalos is Greek for "navel"), and that therefore no evidence that people can see of the presumed age of the Earth and Universe can be taken as reliable. The idea has seen some revival in the 20th century by some modern creationists, who have extended the argument to light that appears to originate in far-off stars and galaxies, although many other creationists reject this explanation (and also believe that Adam and Eve had no navels).
The ideological system that maintains that God and divine ideas are the first object of humans' intelligence and that the intuition of God is the first act of their intellectual knowledge. Note that Martin Heidegger used the term Onto-theology to refer to answering questions of being with direct reference to belief in God.
Historically, the philosophical position that this is the best of all possible worlds, usually associated with Gottfried Leibniz. Colloquially, the term is often used to refer to a cheerful or positive worldview.
A philosophical orientation that asserts that reality is best understood as an organic whole. By definition it is close to holism. Benedict Spinoza and Constantin Brunner are two philosophers whose thought is best understood as organicist.
A philosophical logical scheme that asserts minimal deviation of practice from theory during management of material and immaterial wealth under strict adherence to ethical principles of human communities. By definition it is close to orthodoxy. Aristoteles and Socrates are two philosophers whose thoughts could point to orthocracy.
A sub-concept of critical rationalism, it argues that every tenant of science or commonly held truth should be questioned regardless of an authority figure's justification or assurance that it is true.
A type of deism that combines the deistic belief in a rationally determined, non-intervening God with the idea of pantheism of God being identical to the Universe with the idea from deism that God is revealed by rational examination and does not intervene in the Universe. Combines deism with pantheism to propose a deistic God that becomes a pantheistic Universe; coined by Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal in Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft (1859).
Either the view that all parts of matter involve mind, or the more holistic view that the whole universe is an organism that possesses a mind. It is thus a stronger and more ambitious view than hylozoism, which holds only that all things are alive. This is not to say that panpsychism believes that all matter is alive or even conscious but rather that the constituent parts of matter are composed of some form of mind and are sentient.
The view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. More detailed definitions tend to emphasize the idea that natural law, existence and/or the universe (the sum total of all that was, is, or shall be) is represented or personified in the theological principle of 'God'. The existence of a transcendent supreme extraneous to nature is denied. Depending on how this is understood, such a view may be presented as tantamount to atheism, deism or theism.
In epistemology, the approach wherein one asks the question "What do we know?" before asking "How do we know?" The term appears in Roderick Chisholm's "The Problem of the Criterion" and in the work of his student, Ernest Sosa ("The Raft and the Pyramid: Coherence versus Foundations in the Theory of Knowledge"). Particularism is contrasted with methodism, which answers the latter question before the former. Since the question "What do we know?" implies that humans retain knowledge, particularism is fundamentally anti-skeptical.
A school of thought that consists of three main principles: 1) only people are real (in the ontological sense), 2) only people have value, and 3) only people have free will. Personalism flourished in the early 20th century at Boston University in a movement known as Boston Personalism and led by theologian Borden Parker Bowne.
The belief that the experienced world is the worst possible. It involves a general belief that things are bad, and tend to become worse; or that looks to the eventual triumph of evil over good; it contrasts with optimism, the contrary belief in the goodness and betterment of things generally. A common conundrum illustrates optimism versus pessimism with the question - does one regard a given glass of water as: "Is the glass half empty or half full?" Conventional wisdom expects optimists to reply with half full and pessimists to respond with half empty, but this is not always the case.
In epistemology and the philosophy of perception, the view that physical objects do not exist as things in themselves but only as perceptual phenomena or sensory stimuli (e.g. redness, hardness, softness, sweetness, etc.) situated in time and in space. In particular, phenomenalism reduces discussion about physical objects in the external world to discussion about "bundles of sense-data".
The belief that God exists (or must exist), independent of the teaching or revelation of any particular religion. Some philosophical theists are persuaded of God's existence by philosophical arguments, while others consider themselves to have a religious faith that need not be, or could not be, supported by rational argument.
A broad field of inquiry concerning knowledge, in which the definition of knowledge itself is one of the subjects investigated. Philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom, spanning the nature of the Universe and human nature (of the mind and the body) as well as the relationships between these and between people. It explores what and how people come to know, including existence itself, and how that knowledge is reliably and usefully represented and communicated between and among humans, whether in thought, by language, or with mathematics. Philosophy is the predecessor and complement of science. It develops notions about the issues that underlie science and ponders the nature of thought itself. The scientific method, which involves repeated observations of the results of controlled experiments, is an available and highly successful philosophical methodology. Within fields of study that are concerned directly with humans (economics, psychology, sociology, and so forth), in which experimental methodologies are generally not available, sub-disciplines of philosophy have been developed to provide a rational basis for study in the respective fields.
The metaphysical position asserting that everything that exists has one or more physical properties; that is, that there are no kinds of things other than physical things. In contemporary philosophy, physicalism is most frequently associated with the philosophy of mind, in particular the mind-body problem, in which it holds that the mind is a physical thing in some sense. Physicalism is also called "materialism", but the term "physicalism" is preferable because it has evolved with the physical sciences to incorporate far more sophisticated notions of physicality than matter; for example, wave/particle relationships and unseen, non-material forces.
The school of philosophy founded by Plato. Often used to refer to Platonic idealism, the belief that the entities of the phenomenal world are imperfect reflections of an ideal truth. In metaphysics sometimes used to mean the claim that universals exist independent of particulars. Predecessor and precursor of Aristotelianism.
In the area of philosophy of the mind, distinguishes a position where one believes there to be ultimately many kinds of substances in the world, as opposed to monism and dualism. (See also cosmotheism).
The belief in or worship of multiple gods or divinities. Most ancient religions were polytheistic, holding to pantheons of traditional deities, often accumulated over centuries of cultural interchange and experience. The belief in many gods does not contradict or preclude also believing in an all-powerful all-knowing supreme being.
A philosophy that originated in the United States in the late 19th century. Pragmatism is characterized by the insistence on consequences, utility and practicality as vital components of meaning and truth. Pragmatism objects to the view that human concepts and intellect represent reality, and therefore stands in opposition to both formalist and rationalist schools of philosophy. Rather, pragmatism holds that it is only in the struggle of intelligent organisms with the surrounding environment that theories acquire significance, and only with a theory's success in this struggle that it becomes true.
A meta-ethical theory about the semantical content of moral statements, introduced by the philosopher R. M. Hare in his book The Language of Morals. It holds that moral statements functions similarly to imperatives. For example, according to prescriptivism, the statement "Killing is wrong" means something like "You shouldn't kill". What it expresses is an imperative.
A practical doctrine that gives assistance in ordinary matters to one who is skeptical in respect of the possibility of real knowledge: it supposes that though knowledge is impossible, a man may rely on strong beliefs in practical affairs. This view was held by the skeptics of the New Academy (see skepticism and Carneades.). Opposed to "probabilism" is "probabiliorism" (Latin probabilior, "more likely"), which holds that when there is a preponderance of evidence on one side of a controversy that side is presumably right. Academic skeptics accept probabilism, while Pyrrhonian skeptics do not.
A Hellenistic philosophy that was the earliest Western school of philosophical skepticism. Like the other Hellenistic philosophies, its objective was eudaimonia, which in Pyrrhonism is achieved by attaining ataraxia (i.e., a state of being unperturbed). Ataraxia is achieved through coming to see that all assertions with regard to non-evident propositions (i.e., dogmas) are ultimately unprovable, thus the attitude one should have of them is to suspend judgment (i.e., epoche).
A non-cognitivist, expressivist meta-ethical and epistemological theory developed by professor Simon Blackburn. It holds that although propositions supervene on states of mind, they have many realist characteristics, such as only being able to change slowly or in response to changes in natural properties.
Skinner's behaviorism is considered radical since it expands behavioral principles to processes within the organism; in contrast to methodological behaviorism; not mechanistic or reductionist; hypothetical (mentalistic) internal states are not considered causes of behavior, phenomena must be observable at least to the individual experiencing them. Willard Van Orman Quine made use of many of radical behaviorism ideas in his study of knowing and language.
A theory or method based on the thesis that human reason can in principle be the source of all knowledge. In the modern period, rationalism was initially championed by René Descartes and spread during the 17th and 18th centuries, primarily in continental Europe. It is opposed with empiricism.
A number of related, contentious theories that hold, very roughly, that the nature of complex things can always be reduced to (be explained by) simpler or more fundamental things. This is said of objects, phenomena, explanations, theories, and meanings. In short, it is philosophical materialism taken to its logical consequences.
The view that the meaning and value of human beliefs and behaviors have no absolute reference. Relativists claim that humans understand and evaluate beliefs and behaviors only in terms of, for example, their historical and cultural context. Philosophers identify many different kinds of relativism depending upon what allegedly depends on something and what something depends on.
In epistemology, the claim that the status of a belief as knowledge should be judged by whether it was arrived upon through a reliable method. For instance, scientific experiment may be considered a more reliable method than intuition or guesswork.
A philosophical concept that states that humans do not (and can not) perceive the external world directly; instead they know only their ideas or interpretations of objects in the world. Thus, a barrier or a veil of perception prevents first-hand knowledge of anything beyond it. The "veil" exists between the mind and the existing world.
A philosophy that expresses art as an emotional experience based on the appreciation of the aesthetic. Romanticism is a philosophy where art is celebrated due to the emotional reaction on the part of the receiver.
A school of philosophy taught by the academics (or schoolmen) of medieval universities circa 1100-1500. Scholasticism attempted to reconcile the philosophy of the ancient classical philosophers with medieval Christian theology. The primary purpose of scholasticism was to find the answer to a question or resolve a contradiction. It is most well known in its application in medieval theology but was applied to classical philosophy and other fields of study. It is not a philosophy or theology on its own, but a tool and method for learning that emphasizes dialectical reasoning.
The belief that science has primacy over other ways of obtaining knowledge. This term is often used in a derogatory manner, to refer to a level of trust or reliance upon scientific progress that the speaker deems excessive.
A system of belief that upholds ethics and reason as the sole means of gaining knowledge. Secular humanists reject blind faith and dogma in favor of scientific inquiry, and most agree that science and rationality can be supplemented with help from the arts.
In politics, the notion of the independence of the state from religion; the advocacy of a state that is neutral on matters of religious belief. Secularism, or religious freedom, is usually considered to go both ways: the state should not compel the people to follow (or not follow) a religion, and likewise religious doctrines should not influence the actions of the state.
A Christiantheological understanding about salvation, derived from the earlier Pelagian teachings about salvation. It teaches that it is necessary for humans to make the first step toward God and then God will complete salvation.
A philosophical theory in which sensations and perception are the basic and most important form of true cognition. This opposes realism. The base principle of sensualism is "there is not anything in mind, which hasn't been in feelings". Philosophers of sensualism include John Locke and Étienne Bonnot de Condillac.
A moral philosophy based upon the belief that a technological singularity - the technological creation of smarter-than-human intelligence - is possible, advocating deliberate action to effect and ensure its safety. While some futurologists and transhumanists speculate on the possibility and nature of this supposed singularity (often referred to as the Singularity, a term coined by Vernor Vinge), a Singularitarian believes it is not only possible, but that it can also be guided, and acts in ways that he/she believes will contribute to its safety and early arrival.
Another name for Situation Ethics, which is a Christian ethical theory that was principally developed in the 1960s by the Episcopal priest Joseph Fletcher. It basically states that sometimes other moral principles can be cast aside in certain situations if love is best served; as Paul Tillich once put it: 'Love is the ultimate law'. The moral principles Fletcher is specifically referring to are the moral codes of Christianity and the type of love he is specifically referring to is 'Agape' love.
The point-of-view that individuals rather than social institutions and values are the proper subject of analysis since all properties of institutions and values merely accumulate from the strivings of individuals.
A 19th-century political philosophy that attempted to explain differences in social status (particularly class and racial differences) on the basis of evolutionary fitness. Social Darwinism is generally considered unscientific by modern philosophers of science.
The belief that rights and moral standing and/or moral personhood ought to be assigned on the basis of membership within a biological species. Usually involves the belief that humans have greater value or worth than non-human animal species.
A religious movement, prominent from the 1840s to the 1920s, found primarily in English-speaking countries. The movement's distinguishing feature is the belief that the spirits of the dead can be contacted by adepts. These spirits are believed to lie on a higher spiritual plane than humans, and are therefore capable of providing guidance in both worldly and spiritual matters.
A Hellenistic school with the principle that self-control, both emotional and physical, leads to an inner strength and character that enables one to harmoniously interact with the natural world. It is often contrasted with Epicureanism.
The philosophical position that deities do not exist. It is a form of explicit atheism, meaning that it consciously rejects theism. Some strong atheists also claim that the existence of any and all gods is logically impossible. Also called positive atheism, hard atheism and gnostic atheism. A strong atheist also fits the definition of a weak atheist, but that the reverse is not necessarily true: a strong atheist believes there is a lack or absence of evidence for justifying a belief in God or gods, but a weak atheist does not necessarily deny the possibility of God or god(s) existence.
Found e.g. in some indigenous African religions, holds that the many gods are different forms of a single underlying substance, and that this underlying substance is God. This view has some similarities to the Christian trinitarian view of three persons sharing one nature.
A type of ontological dualism defended by Descartes in which it is claimed that there are two fundamental kinds of substance: mental and material. The mental does not extend in space, and the material cannot think. Substance dualism holds that immortal souls occupy an independent realm of existence, while apparently bodies die; this view contradicts physicalism.
A cultural movement that began in the early-1920s, best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members. The works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur, however many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost with the works being an artifact, and leader André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement.
The applied use of any iconic representations that carry particular conventional meanings. "Symbolism" may refer to a way of choosing representative symbols abstractly rather than literally, allowing broader interpretation of their meaning than more literal concept-representations allow.
The attempt to reconcile disparate, even opposing, beliefs and to meld practices of various schools of thought. It is especially associated with the attempt to merge or analogize several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, and thus to assert an underlying unity.
A group of Chinese religious and philosophical traditions. Philosophical Taoism emphasizes various themes found in the Daodejing and Zhuangzi such as "nonaction" (wu wei), emptiness, detachment, receptiveness, spontaneity, the strength of softness, the relativism of human values, and the search for a long life. Religious Taoism is not clearly separated from philosophy, but incorporates a number of supernatural beliefs in gods, ghosts, ancestral spirits, and practices such as Taoist alchemy and qigong.
The supposition that there is design, purpose, directive principle, or finality in the works and processes of nature, and the philosophical study of that purpose. Teleology stands in contrast to philosophical naturalism, and both ask questions separate from the questions of science. While science investigates natural laws and phenomena, philosophical naturalism and teleology investigate the existence or non-existence of an organizing principle behind those natural laws and phenomena. Philosophical naturalism asserts that there are no such principles, while teleology asserts that there are.
The view that there is one or more gods or goddesses. More specifically, it may also mean the belief in God, a god, or gods, who is/are actively involved in maintaining the Universe. A theist can also take the position that he does not have sufficient evidence to "know" whether God or gods exist, although he believes it through faith.
Assumes the existence of God as an absent deity and the ultimate concept of God's existence is transcendent and external to all other forms of existence, which implies an impersonal, non-anthropomorphic, non-universemorphic or even non-cosmosmorphic being and view of God. In transtheism, God has one primary attribute, transcendence.
The argument that religious language, and specifically words like "God" (capitalized), are not cognitively meaningful. It is cited as proof of the nonexistence of anything named "God", and therefore is a basis for atheism. There are two main arguments: Kai Nielsen used verifiability theory of meaning to conclude that religious language is meaningless because it is not verifiable, proving weak atheism. George H. Smith used an attribute-based approach to argue that the concept of "god" has no meaningful attributes, only negatively defined or relational attributes, making it meaningless -- leading to the conclusion that "god does not exist", thus proving strong atheism.
The philosophical school that followed in the legacy of Thomas Aquinas. The word comes from the name of its originator, whose summary work Summa Theologiae has arguably been second to only the Bible in importance to the Catholic Church.
An emergent philosophy analysing or favouring the use of science and technology, especially neurotechnology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, to overcome human limitations and improve the human condition. Dr. Robin Hanson describes it as "the idea that new technologies are likely to change the world so much in the next century or two that our descendants will in many ways no longer be 'human'."
The philosophy of Immanuel Kant and later Kantian and German idealist philosophers, according to which human experience is not of things as they are in themselves, but of those things as they appear to human beings. It differs from standard (empirical) idealism in that it does not claim that the objects of human experience would be in any sense within the mind. The idea is that whenever humans experience something, they experience it as it is for themselves: the object is real as well as mind-independent, but is, in a sense, altered by people's cognition (by the categories and the forms of sensibility, space and time). Transcendental idealism denies that people could have knowledge of the thing in itself; the opposite view is sometimes called transcendental realism.
A group of new ideas in literature, religion, culture, and philosophy that advocates that there is an ideal spiritual state that 'transcends' the physical and empirical and is only realized through a knowledgeable intuitive awareness that is conditional upon the individual. The concept emerged in New England in the early-to mid-19th century. It is sometimes called "AmericanTranscendentalism" to distinguish it from other uses of the word transcendental. It began as a protest against the general state of culture and society at the time, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard and the doctrine of the Unitarian church that was taught at Harvard Divinity School. The term transcendentalism sometimes serves as shorthand for "transcendental idealism". Another alternative meaning for transcendentalism is the classical philosophy that God transcends the manifest world. As John Scotus Erigena put it to Frankish king Charles the Bald in the year 840 A.D., "We do not know what God is. God himself doesn't know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being."
The international, intellectual, and cultural movement supporting the use of new sciences and technologies to enhance human mental and physical abilities and aptitudes, and to ameliorate what it regards as undesirable and unnecessary aspects of the human condition, such as suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death. The term is often used as a synonym for human enhancement.
The idea that two or more moral values may be equally ultimate (true), yet in conflict. In addition, it postulates that in many cases, such incompatible values may be rationally incommensurable. As such, value pluralism is a theory in metaethics, rather than an ethical theory or a set of values in itself. Isaiah Berlin is accredited with having done the first substantial work on value pluralism, bringing it to the attention of general academia.
An epistemic theory of truth based on the idea that the mind engages in a certain kind of activity: "verifying" a proposition. The distinctive claim of verificationism is that the result of such verifications is, by definition, truth. That is, truth is reducible to this process of verification.
The doctrine that so-called "vital forces" are active in living organisms, so that life cannot be explained solely by mechanism. That element is often referred to as the vital spark or energy, which some equate with the soul.
A theory advocated by Auberon Herbert, stressing "voluntary taxation" and the boycott of electoral politics. The original sources for voluntaryism can be found in Herbert's book The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State. Some, such as Benjamin Tucker, view Herbert's philosophy as anarchism, however he never called himself an anarchist as he considered anarchism to be a philosophy that does not provide for defense of person and property.
The position that the evidence is such that the existence or nonexistence of deities is currently unknown, but is not necessarily unknowable. Also called implicit agnosticism, empirical agnosticism, and negative agnosticism.
Disbelief in the existence of God or gods, without a commitment to the necessary non-existence of God or gods. Also referred to as negative atheism or implicit atheism. The weak atheist generally gives a broad definition of atheism as a lack or absence of evidence justifying a belief in God or gods, which defines atheism as a range of positions that entail non-belief, unjustified belief, doubt, or denial of theism.
A fusion of MahayanaBuddhism and Taoism, practiced chiefly in China and Japan. It places great importance on moment-by-moment awareness and 'seeing deeply into the nature of things' by direct experience. The name derives from the Sanskrit word dhyana referring to a particular meditative state.
^"Darwinism". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Metaphysics Research Lab, Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), Stanford University. May 26, 2015. Retrieved 2017.
^G & C. Merriam Co. (1913). Noah Porter (ed.). Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913 ed.). G & C. Merriam Co. p. 501. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 2014. E*pis`te*mol"o*gy (?), n. [Gr. knowledge + -logy.] The theory or science of the method or group. Epistemology is the study of how people know what they know.ds of knowledge.
^Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Volume 3, 1967, Macmillan, Inc.
^What is it (that is, whatever it is that there is) like? Hall, Ned (2012). "David Lewis's Metaphysics". In Edward N. Zalta (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2012 ed.). Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University. Retrieved 2012.
^"In the twentieth century, the social processes that bring this maelstrom into being, and keep it in a state of perpetual becoming, have come to be called 'modernization'. These world-historical processes have nourished an amazing variety of visions and ideas that aim to make men and women the subjects as well as the objects of modernization, to give them the power to change the world that is changing them, to make their way through the maelstrom and make it their own. Over the past century, these visions and values have come to be loosely grouped together under the name of 'modernism'" (Berman 1988, 16).
^John Scott & Gordon Marshall (eds) A Dictionary of Sociology (Article: neo-Marxism), Oxford University Press, 1998
^In 1917, Guillaume Apollinaire coined the term "Surrealism" in the program notes describing the ballet Parade which was a collaborative work by Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie, Pablo Picasso and Léonide Massine: "From this new alliance, for until now stage sets and costumes on one side and choreography on the other had only a sham bond between them, there has come about, in Parade, a kind of super-realism ('sur-réalisme'), in which I see the starting point of a series of manifestations of this new spirit ('esprit nouveau')."