Posted by: Elmer Brabante | May 4, 2014

GLOSSARY OF PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTS


  1. GLOSSARY OF PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTS

 

AESTHETICS – The branch of Philosophy that is concerned with the analysis of concepts such as beauty or beautiful as standards for judging works of art.

AGNOSTICISM – A claim of ignorance; the claim that God’s existence can neither be proved nor disproved.

ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY – The philosophical school of thought associated with Russel, Moore, Ryle, Carnap, Ayer, and Wittgenstein that emphasizes the analysis of language and meaning. Specifically, it is the conviction that philosophical problems, puzzles, and errors are rooted in language and can be solved or avoided by a sound understanding of language.

ANARCHISM – That theory that all forms of government are incompatible with individual and social liberty and should be abolished.

ANIMISM – The belief that many spirits inhabit the nature.

ANTHROMORPHISM – The attribution of human qualities to human entities, especially to God.

ANTIREALISM – The doctrine that the objects of our senses do not exist independently of our perceptions, beliefs, concepts, and languages.

ATHEISM – The belief that a personal God does not exist. In the last two centuries, some of the most influential atheistic philosophers have been Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, and Jean-Paul Sartre.

AUTHORITY – A source of our theological knowledge, specifically for philosophers and theologians who hold that the mysteries of faith surpass the reach of human person.

AVIDYA – In Buddhism, pertains to the cause of all sufferings and frustrations; it means ignorance or unawareness that leads to clinging.

AXIOLOGY – The study of the general theory of values, including their origin, nature, and classification.

BECOMING – In Hegelian thought, refers to the world in which everything in our daily experience—persons and things—comes into being and passes away.

BEHAVIORISM – In Psychological Philosophy, it is the school of psychology that restricts the study of human nature to what can be observed rather than to states of consciousness.

BEING – A general term in metaphysics referring to ultimate reality or existence. True being, for Plato, is the realm of the eternal Forms.

BRAHMAN – The Hindu concept of a personal Supreme Being; the source and goal of everything.

BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY – Founded by Siddharta Gautama (Buddha), believes that the ultimate goal of human being is the attainment of nirvana, the state that is free from the causes of pain and suffering.

CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE – Immanuel Kant’s ethical formula: act as if the maxim (the general rule) by which a person acts could be willed to become a universal law; it is the belief that what is right for one person is also right for everyone in similar circumstances. This is compared with hypothetical imperatives, which permit exceptions.

CHINESE ROOM ARGUMENT – A thought experiment offered by by Searle to refute the claims of strong artificial intelligence advocates that suitably programmed machines are capable of cognitive mental states.

COGITO – Literally, in Latin, “I think.” Used by Descartes to describe the self as a thinking thing.

COMMON SENSE REALISM – The epistemological position that does not distinguish between an object and an experience of it.

COMPATIBILISM – The belief that both determinism and freedom of the will are true; religion and reason are compatible with each other and do not conflict.

CONCEPTUAL RELATIVIST VIEW IN EPISTEMOLOGY – The view that the true scientific theory is nothing more than a theory that coheres with the conceptual framework accepted by a community of scientists.

CONDITIONED GENESIS – The Buddha formula consisting of twelve factors that summarize the principles of conditionality, relativity, and independence.

CONFUCIANISM – An ethical theory which asserts that human beings are part of nature, who must live in accordance with the natural law that governs and guides the movements of all things.

CONSEQUENTIALIST THEORY IN ETHICS – The position that the morality of an action is determined by its nonmoral consequences.

CORRESPONDENCE THEORY – A theory concluding that truth is an agreement between a proposition and a fact.

COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT – An argument for the existence of God which claims that there must be an ultimate causal explanation for why the universe as a totality exists.

COSMOLOGY – The study of the universal world processes—the process by which the world unfolds and evolves. It studies the origin and nature of the world.

CRITICAL PHILOSOPHY – The analysis and definition of basic concepts and the precise expression and criticism of basic beliefs.

DECONSTRUCTION – A post-structuralist theory associated with Derrida that attempts to sho that all pairs of opposite concepts in philosophical systems are in fact self-refuting.

DEISM – A belief in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in a God who, having created the universe, remains apart from it and administers it through natural laws.

DEONTOLOGY – Any position in ethics that claims that the rightness or wrongness of actions depends on whether they correspond to our duty or not. The word derives from the Greek word for duty, deon.

DESIGN ARGUMENT – An argument for the existence of God that claims that the order and purpose manifest in the working of things in the universe require a God.

DETERMINISM – The theory that everything that occurs happens in accordance with some regular pattern or law. Accordingly, human beings do not possess freedom of the will or the power to originate independent or genuine choices.

DIALECTIC – In general, the critical analysis of ideas to determine their meanings, implications, and assumptions; as used by Hegel, a method of reasoning used to synthesize contradictions.

DIVINE COMMAND THEORY – A single-rule, non-consequential normative theory which says that we should always to the will of God. It asserts that the rightness or wrongness of actions depends on whether or not these actions correspond to God’s commands.

DOGMATISM – The act of making a positive assertion without demonstration by either rational argument or experience.

DOLORS – Utilitarian unit of pain or displeasure. Its opposite is hedon, a unit of pleasure.

DUALISM – The theory that reality is composed of two different, independent, irreducible substances so that neither one can be related to the other—thus, spirit/matter, mind/body, good/evil. This is the contrast of monism and pluralism.

DUTY THEORY – In ethics, the position that a moral action is the one that conforms with obligations accrued in the past, such as the obligations or gratitude, fidelity, or justice.

ECLECTICISM – A consequentialist ethical theory which contends that we act morally when we act in a way that promotes our own best long-term interest.

ECUMENICAL TRADITION – In various religions, this tradition is characterized by an openness to other religious traditions and a willingness to explore overlapping areas of faith; this tradition is often contrasted with fundamentalist and absolutist traditions in religion.

EMERGENCE/EMERGENT EVOLUTION – The view that in the development of the universe, new life forms appear which cannot be explained solely by analysis of previous forms.

EMOTIVISM – The metaethical position that ethical statements primarily express surprise, shock, or some other emotion. It holds that moral judgments are simply expressions of positive or negative feelings.

EMPERICISM – The position that knowledge has its origins in and derives all of its content from experience, which denies that human beings possess inborn knowledge or that they can derive knowledge through the exercise of reason alone.

ENLIGHTENMENT – (1)An intellectual movement in modern Europe from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries that believed in the power of human reason to understand the world and to guide human conduct. (2) For Buddhists, the state of Enlightenment or nirvana is the goal of human existence.

ENTITLEMENT THEORY – A theory of social justice contending that individuals are entitled to their properties and other holdings without harming anyone in the process. This is expressed in the Latin maxim, sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas.

EPICUREANISM – The belief in pleasure as the highest good.

EPIPHENOMENALISM – The view that matter is primary and the mind is a secondary phenomenon accompanying some bodily process.

EPISTEMOLOGY – The branch of Philosophy which investigates the nature, sources, limitations, and validity of knowledge.

ESSENCE – The chief characteristic, quality, or necessary function that makes a thing what it uniquely is.

ETHICAL ABSOLUTION/ABSOLUTISM – In Ethics, the view that affirms the existence of a single correct and universally applicable moral standard.

ETHICAL EGOISM – A moral theory that in its most common version (universal ethical egoism) states that each person ought to act in his or her own self-interest.

ETHICAL RELATIVISM – Any view that denies the existence of a single universally applicable moral standard. There are two types: (1) DESCRIPTIVE ETHICAL RELATIVISM, which claims as a matter of fact that different people have different moral beliefs, but it takes no stand on whether those beliefs are valid or not; and (2) NORMATIVE ETHICAL RELATIVISM, which claims that each culture’s beliefs are right within that culture and that it is impossible to judge validly another culture’s values from the outside.

ETHICS – That branch of Philosophy which is the explicit reflection on moral beliefs and practices. (1) A set of rules for human behavior; (2) a study of judgments of value—of good and evil, right and wrong, or desirable and undesirable; (3) theories of obligation or duty or why we “ought” to behave in certain way.

EUDAEMONISM – From Greek eudaimonia (“flourishing; happiness”), it is the view that the goal of life is happiness—that is, complete, long-lived kind of well-being.

EXCUSABILITY – The concept that under certain circumstances, people are nor morally responsible for their decisions and conduct.

EXISTENTIALISM – A twentieth century philosophy by Sartre and Merleau-Ponty which denies any essential human nature; each of us creates our own essence through free action.

FATALISM – The view that events are fixed, that humans can do nothing to alter them.

FORMALISM – In Ethics, it is the view that moral acts from fixed moral principles and do not change because of circumstances.

FREE WILL – The theory that in some cases the will makes decisions or choices independent of prior physiological or psychological causes.

FUNCTIONALISM – A contemporary theory of mind-body problem that mental events depend on networks, pathways, and the interconnection of mental processes, but not on any specific material stuff that the brain is composed of, such as neurons. It holds open the possibility that mental events can occur in nonbiological systems, such as silicon chips.

FUNDAMENTALISM – In various religious traditions, this is the belief that correct religious belief and practice are determined by how close they correspond to the basic texts and dogmas. In fundamentalistic traditions, basic texts and rules are often interpreted very literally.

GESTALT THEORY – The twentieth century psychological theory which states that our perceptual experience consists of a full range of characteristics—form, structure, sense, meaning, and value—all simultaneously.

HEDONISM – The doctrine that pleasure is the actual, and also the proper, motive of every choice.

HERD MENTALITY – A view in Nietzsche’s philosophy which states that people are often reduced to a common level of mediocrity.

HINDUISM – is a belief that the soul is the ultimate, eternal reality but is bound by the law of karma (action) to the world of matter, which it can escape only after spiritual progress through an endless series of births; thus, the ultimate humanity’s goal is the liberation (moksha) of the spirit (jiva).

IDEALISM – The view that mind is the ultimate reality in the world, as opposed to materialism, the view that all reality is composed of material things.

 

IDEAL UTILITARIANISM – First advanced by G.E. Moore in the nineteenth century, is a form of utilitarianism which maintains that we ought to act to maximize the realization of certain ideals, such as truth or beauty.

IDENTITY THEORY – A contemporary theory of mind-body problem associated with Armstrong and Smart that reduces mental events to brain activity.

ILLUSION – For Freud, it means a false belief growing out of a deep wish; it is an erroneous impression, such as optical illusion.

IMPRESSION – Hume’s term for experience consisting of sensations and mental reflections.

INDETERMINISM – The theory which states that in some cases the will makes decisions or choices independent of prior physiological or psychological causes.

INTEGRATIONISM – A theory that attempts to reconcile apparently conflicting tendencies or values into a single framework. Integrationist positions are contrasted with separatist positions, which advocate keeping groups (usually defined by race, ethnicity, or gender) separate from each other.

INSTRUMENTALISM – Dewey’s theory which states that thought is instrumental insofar as it produces practical consequences.

INTUITION – Direct and immediate knowledge of the self, the external world, values, or other metaphysical truths, without the need to define the notions, to justify a conclusion, or to build up inferences.

INTUITIONISM – In metaphysics, the doctrine that intuition rather than reason reveals the reality of things; in ethics, the doctrine that man has an innate sense of right and wrong.

LOGICAL POSITIVISM – The twentieth century movement in the analytical tradition that rests on the verification principle.

MARXISM – The materialist philosophy founded by Karl Marx, which advanced the theory that (1) the existence of social and economic classes is only bound up with historic phases in the development of production; (2) the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat (working class); and (3) the dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society with equal distribution of wealth.

MATERIALISM – The view that matter constitutes the basis of all that exists in the universe. Hence, combinations of matter and material forces account for every aspect of reality, including the nature of thought, the process of historical and economic events, and the standard of values based on sensuous bodily pleasures and the abundance of things; this view rejects the notion of the primacy of spirit or  mind and rational purpose in nature.

METAPHYSICS – The branch of philosophy concerned with the question of the ultimate nature of reality. Unlike the sciences, which focus on various aspects of nature, metaphysics goes beyond particular things to inquire about more general questions, such as what lies beyond nature, how things come into being, what it means for something to be, and whether there is a realm of being that is not subject to change and that is, therefore, the basis of certainty in knowledge.

MONISM – The view that there is only one substance in the universe. Idealism and Materialism are monistic theories. Monism is the contrast of Dualism and Pluralism.

MORAL ISOLATIONISM – The belief that we ought not to be morally concerned with, or involved with, people outside our own immediate group. Moral isolationism is often a consequence of some versions of moral relativism.

MORAL REALISM – The belief that moral disagreements can, at least in part, be resolved by appeals to facts about the natural order of things.

MORALITY – The first-order beliefs and practices about good and evil by means of which we guide our behavior. In contrast, ethics, the second-order, is reflective consideration of our moral beliefs and practices.

NARCISSISM – An excessive preoccupation with oneself. In mythology, Narcissus was a beautiful young man who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.

NATURAL LAW – In ethics, believers in natural law hold that (1) there is a natural order to the human world, (2) this natural order is good, and (3) people therefore ought not to violate tbat order.

NIHILISM – The view that there are no value or truth. According to Nietzsche, “death of God” will be followed by the rejection of absolute values and the rejection of the idea of an objective and universal moral law.

NIRVANA – In Hindu theory, a condition of happiness arising out of the absolute cessation of desire.

NOUMENAL WORLD – The real world as opposed to the world of appearance. According to Kant, the noumenal world cannot be known.

NOUMENON – In Kant, the ultimate reality, or Thing-in-itself, which can be conceived by thought, but cannot be perceived in experience.

ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT – A proof of God’s existence devised by Anselm, such that God is defined as the greatest possible being, which necessarily entails existence.

ONTOLOGY – The study of existence and being, from the Greek ontos, “being,” and logos, “science”; related to the field of metaphysics.

PANTHEISM – The doctrine that God is immanent in all things.

PHENOMENAL WORLD – In Kant’s theory, the world of appearance versus the noumenal world beyond our knowledge.

PHENOMENOLOGY – A twentieth century philosophical movement by Husserl, which states that in accounting for knowledge, we should not go beyond the data available to consciousness derived from appearances.

PLURALISM – The view that there are more than one or two separate substances making up the world. It believes that there are multiple perspectives to an issue, each of which contains part of the truth but none of which contains the whole truth. This stands in contrast to both monism and dualism. In ethics, ethical pluralism is the belief that different moral theories each capture part of the truth of the moral life, but none of those theories has the entire answer.

POSITIVISM – A nineteenth century philosophical movement by Comte, which asserts that we should reject any investigation that does not rest on direct observation.

POSTMODERNISM – The theory in contemporary Continental philosophy which rejects the Renaissance and Enlightenment assumption that the world can be explained in a unified system.

POST-STRUCTURALISM – The radical extension of the structuralist position contending that novels and philosophical texts are completely closed systems whose meanings derive from what individual readers bring to the texts.

POSTULATE – In Kant’s theory, it pertains to a practical or moral principle that cannot be proved, such as the existence of God, the freedom of the will, or immortality, which must be believed to make possible our moral duty.

PRAGMATISM – A twentieth century movement associated with Pierce, James, and Dewey, contending that there is little value in philosophical theories that do not somehow make a difference in daily life.

PREFERENCE UTILITARIANISM – A moral theory that says we ought to act in such a way as to maximize the satisfaction of everyone’s preferences.

RATIONALISM – The philosophical view that emphasizes the ability of human reason to grasp fundamental truths about the world without the aid of sense impressions.

REDUCTIONISM – The philosophical position that complex systems can be understood by reducing them into their simplest components. The type of reductionism espoused by some Pre-Socratic philosophers is called Ontological Reductionism – the idea that all matter consists of one or a very few basic substances in various combinations (hot/cold, light/dark)..

RELATIVISM – The view that there is no absolute knowledge, that truth is different for each individual, social group, or historical period and is, therefore, relative to the circumstances of the knowing subject.

RIGHTS – These are entitlements to do something without interference from other people (negative rights) or entitlements that obligate others to do something positive to assist you (positive rights). Some rights (natural rights, human rights) belong to everyone by nature or simply by virtue of being human; some rights (legal rights) belong to people by virtue of their membership in a particular political state; other rights (moral rights) are based on acceptance of a particular moral theory.

SCHOLASTICISM – The theological and philosophical method of learning in medieval schools that emphasized deductive logic and the authority of key figures such as Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine.

SKEPTICISM – (1) the tendency to doubt some fundamental component of knowledge; (2) the Ancient Greek school of thought associated with Plato’s Academy, Pyrrho, and Sextus Empiricus. In Ancient Greek, skeptics were inquirers dedicated to the investigation of concrete experience and wary of theories that might cloud or confuse that experience. In modern times, skeptics are wary of the trustworthiness of sense experience. Thus, classical skepticism primarily distrusted theories; whereas, modern skepticism primarily distrusts experience.

SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY – In social philosophy, the doctrine that individuals give up certain liberties and rights to the state, which in turn guarantees such rights as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

SOLIPSISM – From the Latin solus, “alone” and ipse, “self”; it is the view that the self alone is the source of all knowledge of existence, which sometimes leads to the conclusion that the self is the only reality.

SOPHISTS – Wandering teachers in fifth-century Athens who especially prepared young men for political careers, who hence emphasized rhetoric and the ability to persuade audiences and win debates, and who were less concerned with pursuing truths.

SOVEREIGN – A person or state independent of any other authority or jurisdiction.

STRUCTURALISM – The theory in contemporary Continental philosophy associated with Saussaure and Levi-Strauss that the meaning of a thing is defined by its surrounding cultural structures, which in turn rely on pairs of opposite concepts, such as light and dark.

SUBJECTIVISM – An extreme version of relativism, which maintains that each person’s beliefs are relative to that person alone and cannot be judged from the outside by any other person.

TAOISM – Introduced by Lao Tzu, this philosophy of passivity and transcendentalism, believes in supernatural explanations for anything, to disregard the ephemeral things and concentrate on the eternal through meditation, special diet, and sexual hygiene.

TELEOLOGY – From the Greek telos, “purpose”; the study of purpose is human nature and in the events of history.

TELEOLOGICAL SUSPENSION OF THE ETHICAL – This is a term introduced by Soren Kierkegaard to refer to those instances in which normal ethical duties are overridden by a command from God. Kierkegaard’s principal example of this is God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.

TRANSCENDENTAL – beyond the realm and reach of the senses.

UNIVERSALIZABILITY – A Kantian term applied to the maxims, or subjective rules, that guide our actions. A maxim is universalizable if it can be consistently willed as a law that everyone ought to obey. The only morally good maxims are those that can be universalized. The test of universalizability ensures that everyone has the same moral obligations in morally similar situations.

UTILITARIANISM – An ethical and political economic theory associated with Bentham and Mill that an action is morally good if it produces as much good as or more good than any alternative behavior. This theory states that whatever produces the overall greatest amount of pleasure (hedonistic utilitarianism) of happiness (eudaimonistic utilitarianism) is morally right. Act utilitarians claim that we should weigh the consequences of each individual action, whereas Rule utilitarianism maintains that we should look at the consequences of adopting particular rules of conduct.

VERIFICATION PRINCIPLE – A principle in logical positivism contending that a statement is meaningful if (1) it asserts something that is true simply because the words used necessarily and always require the statement to be true (as in mathematics) or (2) it asserts something that can be judged as true or false by verifying it in experience.

VICE – A weakness of character that prevents individuals from flourishing (eudaimonia). According to Aristotle, vices typically consist of having either too much or too little of a proper virtue. Thus courage is the mean of foolhardiness (too much) and cowardice (too little).

VIRTUE – A stretch of character, usually acquired through habit, that promotes human flourishing. According to Aristotle, virtues represent a middle ground between the two extremes of too much or too little.

VIRTUE EPISTEMOLOGY – An epistemological theory that focuses on the character traits of a person, rather than on the properties of a person’s belief.

VIRTUE THEORY – A moral theory that focuses on the development of good character traits, or virtues, rather than on rules for solving moral dilemmas.

WAGER, PASCAL’S – A contention by Pascal that, when reason is neutral on the issue of God’s existence, we should be psychologically compelled to believe based on the benefits of such belief.

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Responses

  1. Sir elmer, good morning. I sthank you so much for all the materials you are sharing    to us..specially sa  katulad ko na  very eager mag take ng bar exam pero natatalo ng takot…maybe because of  my  knowledge is not yet enough..

     I am  one of  your many FB -likers..God bless you and keep  up your  sincere deed.

    Thank you so much.

    Yours sincerely, 

      Ms. Angie

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