Appendix:Glossary of philosophical isms

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

This is a glossary of terms of philosophy that end in -ism.


Table of Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A[edit]

  • absolutism – the position that in a particular domain of thought, all statements in that domain are either absolutely true or absolutely false: none is true for some cultures or eras while false for other cultures or eras. These statements are called absolute truths. A common reaction by those who newly criticize absolutism is the absolute truth statement: Absolute truths do not exist.
    • enlightened absolutism – a term used to describe the actions of absolute rulers who were influenced by the Enlightenment (eighteenth and early nineteenth century Europe).
    • moral absolutism – 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 act.
    • political absolutism – a political theory which argues that one person should hold all power.
  • absurdismphilosophy 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, and is in part a hyponym of nihilism.
  • accidentalism – any system of thought which 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 which make chance an objective factor in the process of the Universe.
  • acosmism – in contrast to pantheism, denies the reality of the universe, seeing it as ultimately illusory, (the preffix "a-" in Greek meaning negation; like "un-" in English), and only the infinite Unmanifest Absolute as real. This philosophy begins with the recognition that there is only one Reality, which is infinite, non-dual, blissful, etc. Yet the phenomenal reality of which we 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.
  • aestheticism – another name for the Aesthetic movement, a loosely defined movement in art and literature in later nineteenth century Britain. Proponents of the movement held that art does not have any didactic purpose, it need only be beautiful. Life should copy 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.
  • agnosticism – 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, (some agnostics may go as far to say) irrelevant to life. Agnosticism, in both its strong (explicit) and weak (implicit) forms, is necessarily a non-atheist and non-theist position, though an agnostic person may also be either an atheist, a theist, or one who endorses neither position.
    • agnostic atheism – 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: 'the existence and nonexistence of deities is currently unknown and may be absolutely unknowable', or 'knowledge of the existence and nonexistence of deities is irrelevant or unimportant', or 'abstention from claims of knowledge of the existence and nonexistence of deities is optimal'.
    • 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(s) is unknown or inherently unknowable but chooses to believe in god(s) in spite of this.
    • strong agnosticism – also referred to as explicit agnosticism and positive agnosticism, it is the view that the evidence in the universe is such that it is impossible for humans to know whether or not any deities exist.
    • weak agnosticism – 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.
  • altruism – the belief that people have a moral obligation to serve others or the "greater good"; term coined by Auguste Comte. Generally opposed to self-interest or egoism.
  • anarchism – in politics, any of a number of views and movements that advocate the 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.
  • anarcho-syndicalism – a form of anarchism which allies itself with syndicalism, that is, with labor unions, as a force for revolutionary social change. Anarcho-syndicalists seek to replace capitalism and the sttae with a democratically worker-managed means of production. They seek to abolish the wage system and most forms of private property.
  • animism – "animism" has been applied to many different philosophical systems. It is used to describe 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 termed 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 which 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 which consider everything to be inhabited by spirits.
  • anthropocentrism – also called Homocentrism, is 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.
  • anthropomorphism – a form of personification (applying human or animal qualities to inanimate objects) and similar to prosopopoeia (adopting the persona of another person), is 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.
  • antinomianism – in theology is 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.
  • anti-realism – any position involving either the denial of the objective reality of entities of a certain type or the insistence that we should be agnostic about their real existence. Thus, we 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.
  • Aristotelianism – tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. Sometimes contrasted by critics with the rationalism and idealism (because itself empiricist and scientific) 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.
  • Arminianism – a school of soteriological thought in Protestant Christian theology founded by the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius. Arminianism is closely related to Calvinism (or Reformed theology), and the two systems share both history and many doctrines in common.
  • asceticism – denotes a life which is characterised by refraining from worldly pleasures (austerity). Those who practice ascetic lifestyles often perceive their practices as virtuous and pursue them to achieve greater spirituality. In a more cynical context, ascetic may connote some form of self-mortification, ritual punishment of the body or harsh renunciation of pleasure. However the word certainly does not necessarily imply a negative connotation.
  • ascriptivism
  • associationalism
  • atheism – a condition of being without theistic beliefs; an absence of belief in the existence of gods, thus contrasting with theism. This definition includes both those who assert that there are no gods and those who have no beliefs at all regarding the existence of gods. However, narrower definitions often only qualify the former as atheism, the latter falling under the more general (but rarely used) term nontheism.
    • agnostic atheism – the philosophy that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. An agnostic atheist thinks they do not know whether or not deities exist, but does not have a belief in them. This can encompass a wide range of positions, including strong agnostic positions that the existence or nonexistence of deities is unknowable, strong atheist positions that we can reject the proposition as unlikely without knowing for sure, and weak agnostic, weak atheist positions of not accepting a belief since they don't know one way or another.
    • explicit atheism – a condition of having consciously rejected the idea that any deities exist. Some explicit atheists take the position that belief in deities is unjustified without extraordinarily compelling evidence, which they do not have.
    • implicit atheism – a condition of being without theistic beliefs simply because one has not considered the matter, not because one has rejected the proposition.
    • gnostic atheism – the philosophy that encompasses both atheism and gnosticism. A gnostic atheist not only believes that no deities exist, but thinks they know this is the case. Some gnostic atheists claim that the existence of any and all gods is logically impossible. Since gnostic atheism includes a knowledge claim, it is stronger than strong atheism. All gnostic atheists are strong atheists.
    • strong atheism – the philosophical position that deities do not exist. It is a form of explicit atheism, meaning that it consciously rejects theism. Also called hard atheism, positive atheism, or theoretical atheism. Some strong atheists argue that the consistency of natural laws is reason to believe in the nonexistence of beings that can defy them.
    • weak atheism – nonbelief in the existence of any deities, without a commitment to the necessary non-existence of deities. Also referred to as soft atheism, negative atheism, or pragmatic atheism. Some weak atheists argue that no argument is necessary for disbelief, because disbelief should be a default position for claims that have not met their burden of proof.
  • atomism – the theory that all the objects in the universe are composed of very small, indestructible elements. (This is the case for the Western [i.e., Greek] theories of atomism. Buddhists also have well-developed theories of atomism, and which involve momentary, or non-eternal, atoms, that flash in and out of existence).
    • social atomism – 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.
    • logical atomismBertrand Russell developed logical atomism in an attempt to identify the atoms of thought, the pieces of thought that cannot be divided into smaller pieces of thought.
  • authoritarianism – The term authoritarian is used to describe an organization or a state which 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.
  • automatism – * or Surrealist automatism, to be more specific, is an artistic technique of spontaneous writing, drawing, or the like practiced without conscious aesthetic or moral self-censorship.

B[edit]

C[edit]

  • capitalism – an economic system in which all or most of the means of production are privately owned and operated (usually through employing wage labour, and for profit), and in which the investment of capital and the production, distribution and prices of commodities and services are determined mainly in a free market. Capitalism has also been called laissez-faire economy, free market economy, free enterprise system, economic liberalism, and economic individualism.
  • careerism – the desire to advance one's own career as a sole aim in life, often at the expense of personal and social growth or development.
  • Cartesianism – a philosophy based on the ideas and works of René Descartes.
  • Christianism – 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.
  • classicism – in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity, as setting standards for taste which the classicist seeks to emulate. Classicism is usually contrasted with romanticism; the art of classicism typically seeks to be formal, restrained, and Apollonian (nothing in excess) rather than Dionysiac (excess), in Friedrich Nietzsche's opposition. It can also refer to the other periods of classicism. In theater, Classicism was developed by 17th century French playwrights from what they judged to be the rules of Greek classical theater, including the Classical unities of time, place and action.
  • cognitivism – In ethics, cognitivism is the philosophical view that ethical sentences express propositions, and hence are capable of being true or false. See Cognitivism (ethics). 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. In psychology, cognitivism is the approach to understanding the mind which argues that mental function can be understood as the 'internal' rule bound manipulation of symbols. See Cognitivism (psychology).
  • coherentism – 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 just in the case that 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 coherentism is 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.
  • collectivism – 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 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.
  • communalism – Outside of South Asia, communalism, describes a broad range of social movements and social theories which are in some way centered upon the community. Communalism can take the form of communal living or communal property, among others. Communalism 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. Many of the communalist ideas today come from Marcus Acquinas, an early communalist philoshopher.
  • communism – 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.
  • communitarianism – 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.
  • compatibilism – also known as "soft determinism" and championed by Hume, is a theory which 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 Kant would have it) but caused by our choices as determined by our beliefs, desires, and by our characters. While a decision making process exists in Hume's determinism, this process is governed by a causal chain of events.
  • ComtismAuguste Comte's positivistic philosophy that metaphysics and theology should be replaced by a hierarchy of sciences from mathematics at the base to sociology at the top.
  • conceptualism – a doctrine in philosophy intermediate between nominalism and realism, that universals exist only within the mind and have no external or substantial reality.
  • Confucianism – 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 which 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.
  • consequentialism – the belief that what ultimately matters in evaluating actions or policies of action are the consequences that result from choosing one action or policy rather than the alternative.
  • constructivism – the view that reality, or at least our knowledge of it, is a value-laden subjective construction rather than a passive acquisition of objective features.
  • consumerism – attachment to materialistic values or possessions
  • contextualism – a collection of views which 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.
  • conventionalism – philosophical attitude 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.
  • cosmotheism – synonym for pantheism (see theism, below).
  • creationism – also referred to as creation theology is the belief that humans, life, the Earth, and the universe were created by a supreme being or deity's supernatural intervention. The intervention may be seen either as an act of creation from nothing (ex nihilo) or the emergence of order from pre-existing chaos.
  • cynicism – was originally the philosophy of a group of ancient Greeks called the Cynics (main article), founded by Antisthenes. Nowadays the word generally describes 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 which 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 irrelevant or obsolete nonsense.

D[edit]

  • Darwinism – a scientific doctrine first presented by Charles Darwin in his 1859 book The Origin of Species. It states that the variety of life found on Earth is due to the process of Evolution driven by the mechanism of Natural Selection. It is to be contrasted with Creationism and Intelligent Design. There is a lively debate as to whether or not Darwinism is compatible with any, all or some religions.
  • deconstructionism – school and a set of methods of textual criticism which aim 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 are derived. This logocentrism is the primary target of deconstruction.
  • defeatism – Defeatism is acceptance and content 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.
  • deism – 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.
  • deontologism – 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 it had negative consequences. Therefore, consequentialism is the philosophical antithesis of this theory.
  • descriptivism
  • determinism
  • Dialetheism – a metaphysical doctrine according to which there are true contradictions.
  • dogmatism
  • dualism – a set of beliefs which begins with the claim that the mental and the physical have a fundamentally different nature. It is contrasted with varying kinds of monism, including materialism and phenomenalism. Dualism is one answer to the mind-body problem. Pluralism holds that there are even more kinds of events or things in the world.
    • substance dualism – is 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 material cannot think. It holds that immortal souls occupy an independent realm of existence, while apparently bodies die. This view contradicts physicalism.
  • dynamism

E[edit]

  • eclecticism
  • egalitarianism
  • egoism
  • emanationism
  • emotionalism
  • emotivism – The meta-ethical stance that ethical judgments, such as those containing the words "should" and "ought to", are primarily expressions of one's own attitude and imperatives meant to change the attitudes and actions of another.
  • empiricism – the philosophical doctrine that all human knowledge ultimately comes from the senses and from experience. Empiricism denies that humans have innate ideas or that anything is knowable a priori, i.e., without reference to experience. Empiricism is contrasted with rationalism, epitomized by René Descartes. According to the rationalist, philosophy should be performed via introspection and a priori deductive reasoning.
  • environmentalism
  • Epicureanism – 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.
  • epiphenomenalism – 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 is has sometimes been thought a kind of monism, because of its sharp divergence from substance dualism.
  • equalitarianism
  • essentialism – 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.
  • eternalism
  • ethical egoism
  • ethnocentrism
  • eudaimonism – A system of ethics that evaluates actions in terms of their capacity to produce happiness.
  • existentialism – 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.
    • Christian existentialism – the philosophical movement shares similar views to existentialism with the added idea that the Judeo-Christian God plays an important part in coping with the underlying themes of human existence.
  • experientialism
  • experimentalism
  • expressionism – an aesthetic and artistic movement that distorted reality for enhanced or overexaggerated 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.
  • externalism – in epistemology, the theory that justification can hold elements which are not known to the subject of the belief.
  • externism – pseudo-philosophical theory, developed by fictitious genius Jára Cimrman. It deals with our knowledge and learning process.
  • extropianism – also referred to as extropy, and originated by Dr. Max More, extropianism is an evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition. 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 libertarian transhumanists, and some still hold to this standard.

F[edit]

  • fallibilism – 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 scepticism, fallibilism does not imply the need to abandon our knowledge- we needn't have logically conclusive justifications for what we 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.
  • falsificationism – the idea that a proposition or theory cannot be scientific if it does not admit the possibility of being shown false. Falsifiable does not mean false. For a proposition to be falsifiable, it must be at least in principle possible to make an observation that would show the proposition to be false, even if that observation had not been made. For example, the proposition "All crows are black" would be falsified by observing one white crow.
  • fascism
  • feminism – 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.
  • fatalism – 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.
  • fideism – In Christian theology, 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.
  • finalism
  • formalism – means a number of different things:
    • A certain school in the philosophy of mathematics, stressing axiomatic proofs through theorems specifically associated with David Hilbert.
    • A school of thought in law and jurisprudence which emphasises the fairness of process over substantive outcomes. See Legal formalism.
    • In economic anthropology, formalism is the theoretical perspective that the principles of neoclassical economics can be applied to our understanding of all human societies.
    • A certain rigorous mathematical method: see formal system.
    • A set of notations and rules for manipulating them which 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.
    • In the study of the arts and literature, formalism refers to the style of 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).
    • In the study of film and film theory, formalism is used to refer to a style of criticism that focuses on the technical aspects of filmmaking (e.g., lighting, sets, costumes, etc.). It was also used to describe an avant-garde experimental film movement, often seen as odd or extremist, which was concerned with the beauty of the actual physical form of film (i.e., the celluloid itself). Main article: Formalist film theory. See also auteur theory.
  • formulism – meaning adherence to or reliance on formulas, is also a school of philosophy that states that good, evil and chosing the correct actions can all be determined from a simple formula.
  • foundationalism – 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.
  • Freudianism – the beliefs and practice of psychoanalysis as devised by Sigmund Freud; particularly, the mechanism of psychological repression; the situation of sexual desire as central to the development of the persona; and the efficacy of the "talking cure" or psychoanalytic technique.
  • functionalism – 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 behaviourism. 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.

G[edit]

  • gnosticism – 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, thus can lead to confusion.

H[edit]

  • hedonism –an ethical or aesthetic view which holds pleasure as the highest good or most valuable thing. Hedonism is usually associated with a more physical, egoistic, unrefined, or sexual definition of "pleasure" than than that found in the related utilitarianism.
  • Hegelianism – a philosophy developed by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel which can be summed up by a favorite motto by Hegel "The rational alone is real". Which means that all reality is capable of being expressed in rational categories. His goal was to reduce to a more synthetic unity the system of transcendental idealism.
  • henotheismsee its entry under theism, below.
  • Hinduism –arguably the oldest religion in the world.
  • historicism
  • holism
  • humanism – a range of ethical views which consider common human nature to be the source of values.
    • posthumanism – a development of humanism which rejects a special position in nature for humanity.
    • secular humanism – 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. Also known as scientific humanism.
    • transhumanism – (sometimes abbreviated >H or H+) is 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'."
    • religious humanism
  • humanistic naturalismsee its entry under naturalism, below.
  • hylozoism

I[edit]

  • idealism – an approach to philosophical enquiry. The ideal, in these systems, relates to direct knowledge of subjective mental ideas, or images. It is usually juxtaposed with realism in which the real is said to have absolute existence prior to and independent of our knowledge.
    • objective idealism
    • German idealism – a movement in philosophy, started with Immanuel Kant's transcendental idealism, centered in Germany. Many prominent exponents include Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling.
    • subjective idealism
    • transcendental idealism – the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and later Kantian and German Idealist philosophers; a view according to which our experience is not about the things as they are in themselves, but about the things as they appear to us. It differs from standard (empirical) idealism in that it does not claim that the objects of our experiences would be in any sense within our mind. The idea is that whenever we experience something, we experience it as it is for ourselves: the object is real as well as mind-independent, but is in a sense corrupted by our cognition (by the categories and the forms of sensibility, space and time). Transcendental idealism denies that we could have knowledge of the thing in itself. A view that holds the opposite is called transcendental realism.
  • ignosticism
  • illusionism
  • immaterialism
  • immoralism
  • immortalism – another name for immortality (or eternal life), is 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.
  • imperativism
  • incompatibilism
  • indeterminism
  • individualism – in political philosophy, the view that the rights or well-being of individuals are to be protected, rather than the 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.
  • inductionism
  • innatism
  • inductivism
  • instrumentalism – the idea that knowledge should be judged by its usefulness and that the truth-value of knowledge is irrelevant. Generally invoked in philosophy of science
  • intellectualism – 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.
  • internalism – in epistemology, the view that all evidence involved in justification must be knowable to the subject.
  • intentionalism
  • interactionism
  • interpretivism – in epistemology, the view that all knowledge is a matter of interpretation.
    • legal interpretivism – 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).
  • intrinsicism
  • intuitionism
  • irrationalism
  • irrealism
  • Islamism – 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. Islamists regard themselves as Muslims rather than Islamists, while moderate Muslims reject this notion.

J[edit]

K[edit]

L[edit]

M[edit]

N[edit]

  • nativism
  • naturalism – 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.
    • humanistic naturalism – 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 a 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.
    • legal naturalism – term coined by Olufemi Taiwo to describe a current in the social philosophy of Karl Marx which can be interpreted as one of Natural Law. Taiwo considered it the manifestation of Natural Law in a dialectical materialist context.
    • metaphysical naturalism – 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).
  • necessitarianism
  • nihilism – 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".
  • nominalism – the belief that universals or mental concepts have no objective reaity but exist only as words or "names" (Latin nomina).
  • non-cognitivism
  • nontheism – the absence of belief in both the existence and non-existence of a deity (or deities, or other numinous phenomena). The word is often employed as a blanket term for all belief systems that are not theistic, including atheism (both strong and weak) and agnosticism, as well as certain Eastern religions like Confucianism, Taoism, and Zen Buddhism.

O[edit]

  • objectivism – in ethics, the belief that certain acts are objectively right or wrong. Also an individualist movement founded by Ayn Rand, usually spelled Objectivism.
  • occasionalism – 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).
  • ontologism – ideological system which maintains that God and Divine ideas are the first object of our intelligence and that the intuition of God the first act of our intellectual knowledge. Note that Martin Heidegger used the term Onto-theology, that is answering questions of being with direct reference of belief in God.
  • operationalism
  • optimism – historically, the philosophical position that this is the best of all possible worlds, usually associated with Gottfried Leibniz. More often used to describe a cheerful or positive worldview.
  • organicism

P[edit]

  • pacifism – in ethics or politics, an opposition to war or violence. Can range from advocacy of peaceful solutions to problems, to a stance where all violence or force is considered morally wrong.
  • pandeism – see deism, above and pantheism (under theism) below.
  • panendeism – is deism combined with the belief that the universe is part of God, but not all of God. Some panendeists have established numerous additional beliefs, and use more specialized terminology to describe them. However, any deist who believes that the universe is a part (but not the whole) of God, can be considered a panendeist.
  • panentheismsee its entry under theism, below.
  • panpsychism – 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.
  • pantheismsee its entry under theism, below.
  • particularism – in the study of knowledge, particularism refers to the approach where 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 we know, it is fundamentally anti-skeptical.
  • Pelagianism – the belief that original sin did not taint human nature (which, being created from God, was divine), and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without Divine aid.
  • perfectionism
  • personalism – 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.
  • perspectivism – philosophical view developed by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche that all perception and ideation takes place from a particular perspective in terms of inner drives as elucidated by the “will to power
  • pessimism – a belief that the experienced world is the worst possible. It describes 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.
  • Phenomenal conservatism
  • phenomenalism – in epistemology and the philosophy of perception, phenomenalism is 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 talk about physical objects in the external world to talk about bundles of sense-data.
  • physicalism – the metaphysical position asserting that everything which exists has a physical property; that is, that there are no kinds of things other than physical things. In contemporary philosophy physicalism is most frequently associated with 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.
  • Platonism – 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.
    • neo-Platonism – was a school of philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century A.D. Though based on the teachings of Plato and Platonists, it interpreted Plato in many new ways, so that Neoplatonism was quite different from what Plato had written, though many Neoplatonists would prefer to say that what they advocated had been previously taught by Plato.
  • Pluralism – 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).
  • polylogism
  • polytheismsee its entry under theism, below.
  • positivism – philosophical position that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge. It is an approach to the philosophy of science, deriving from Enlightenment thinkers like Pierre-Simon Laplace (and many others). See also logical positivism.
    • legal positivism – school of thought in the philosophy of law which 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.
  • postmodernism – philosophical movement characterized by the postmodern criticism and analysis of Western philosophy. Beginning as a critique of Continental philosophy, it was heavily influenced by phenomenology, structuralism and existentialism, and by the philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. It was also influenced to some degree by Ludwig Wittgenstein's later criticisms of analytic philosophy. Within postmodern philosophy, there are numerous interrelated fields, including deconstruction and several fields beginning with the prefix "post-", such as post-structuralism, post-Marxism, and post-feminism. In particular postmodern philosophy has spawned a huge literature of critical theory.
  • pragmatismphilosophy which originated in the United States in the late 1800s. 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.
  • prescriptivism
  • probabilism – practical doctrine which 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.
  • psychological egoism
  • psychologism
  • Pyrrhonism
  • Pythagoreanism – the esoteric and metaphysical beliefs held by Pythagoras and his followers the Pythagoreans, much influenced by mathematics and probably a main inspiration source to Plato and platonism. Pythagoreanism includes musica universalis, the music of the spheres.

R[edit]

  • Randianism – the individualist movement founded by Ayn Rand, known by its adherents as Objectivism.
  • rationalism – an approach to philosophy 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. In contrast, the modern approach known as British Empiricism held that all ideas come to us through experience, and thus that knowledge (with the possible exception of mathematics) is essentially empirical. At issue is the fundamental source of human knowledge, and the proper techniques for verifying what we think we know (see Epistemology).
  • rationalist movement – a contemporary philosophical doctrine that asserts that the truth can best be discovered by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma or religious teaching. Rationalism has some similarities in ideology and intent to humanism and atheism, in that it aims to provide a framework for social and philosophical discourse outside of religious or supernatural beliefs.
  • realism – the belief that properties, usually called universals, exist independently of the things that manifest them. Thus a realist would hold that even if one were to destroy all of the manifestations of the color red the universal red would still exist.
  • reconstructivism
  • reductionism – 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.
  • relativism – 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.
  • reliabilism – 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.
  • representationalism
  • romanticism

S[edit]

  • scholasticism – 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 which puts emphasis on dialectical reasoning.
  • scientism – 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 which the speaker deems excessive.
  • Scotism – the philosophical school and theological system named after John Duns Scotus. It heavily criticized the Old Franciscan School and Thomism.
  • secularism – in politics, the notion of the independence of the state from religion; the advocacy of a state which 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 control the actions of the state.
  • Sikhism – a monotheistic dharmic religion based on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev.
  • sensualism – 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.
  • singularitarianism – 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 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.
  • situationalism
  • skepticism
  • Social Darwinism – a 19th century political philosophy which 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.
  • socialismideology with the core belief that a society should exist in which popular collectives control the means of power, and therefore the means of production. Though the de facto meaning of socialism has changed over time, it remains strongly-related to the establishment of an organized working class; created through either revolution or by social evolution, with the purpose of building a classless society. Socialism had its origins in the ideals of The Enlightenment, during the Industrial Age/Age of Industrialization, amid yearnings for a more egalitarian society. It has also increasingly become concentrated on social reforms within modern democracies.
  • Solipsism
  • Sophism
  • spiritualism – 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.
  • statism
  • Stoicism
  • structuralism
  • subjectivism
  • substance monotheismsee its entry under theism, below.
  • substantialism
  • surrealism
  • symbolism – applied use of any iconic representations which 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.
  • syncretism – 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 and analogize several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, and thus assert an underlying unity.

T[edit]

  • Taoism – 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.
  • teleologism – 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 phenonema. Philosophical naturalism asserts that there are no such principles. Teleology asserts that there are.
  • theism – the belief in 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.
    • monotheism – the belief in a single, universal, all-encompassing deity. Zoroastrianism and the Abrahamic religions are considered Monotheist.
      • classical theism – refers to 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.
      • 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.
      • cosmotheism – synonym for pantheism (see below).
      • monistic theism – 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 an 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.
      • pantheism – 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 is was and 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.
      • panentheism the theological position that God is immanent within the Universe, but also transcends it. It is distinguished from pantheism, which holds that God is synonymous with the material universe. In panentheism, God is viewed as creator and/or animating force behind the universe, and the source of universal morality. The term is closely associated with the Logos of Greek philosophy in the works of Herakleitos, which pervades the cosmos and whereby all things were made.
      • substance monotheism – 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.
      • transtheism – 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.
    • nontheism – the absence of belief in both the existence and non-existence of a deity (or deities, or other numinous phenomena). The word is often employed as a blanket term for all belief systems that are not theistic, including atheism (both strong and weak) and agnosticism, as well as certain Eastern religions like Confucianism, Taoism, and Zen Buddhism.
    • polytheism – 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.
      • henotheism – 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.
    • open theism
    • philosophical theism
  • theological noncognitivism – 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 "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.
  • Thomism – 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.
  • totalitarianism – a typology employed by political scientists to describe modern regimes in which the state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior. Totalitarian regimes mobilize entire populations in support of the state and a political ideology, and do not tolerate activities by individuals or groups such as labor unions, churches and political parties that are not directed toward the state's goals. They maintain themselves in power by means of secret police, propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism, and widespread use of terror tactics.
  • transcendental idealism – the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and later Kantian and German Idealist philosophers; a view according to which our experience is not about the things as they are in themselves, but about the things as they appear to us. It differs from standard (empirical) idealism in that it does not claim that the objects of our experiences would be in any sense within our mind. The idea is that whenever we experience something, we experience it as it is for ourselves: the object is real as well as mind-independent, but is in a sense corrupted by our cognition (by the categories and the forms of sensibility, space and time). Transcendental idealism denies that we could have knowledge of the thing in itself. A view that holds the opposite is called transcendental realism.
  • transcendentalism – 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-nineteenth century. It is sometimes called "American Transcendentalism" 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 which 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."
  • transtheismsee its entry under theism, above.

U[edit]

  • universalismsynonym for moral universalism, as a compromise between moral relativism and moral absolutism.
  • utilitarianism – theory of ethics based on quantitative maximization of total welfare for a population (usually all humans, though other formulations have been proposed, including all sentient life). It is a form of consequentialism. Welfare is generally described hedonistically. Utilitarianism is sometimes incorrectly summarized as "The greatest happiness for the greatest number." As the distribution of happiness is irrelevant to utilitarian calculations, the greatest number component of this common phrase is misleading. An accurate summary would be, "One ought act so that the consequences of one's act will produce the greatest possible total welfare across all members of the population."
  • utopianism – the many various social and political movements, and a significant body of religious and secular literature, based upon the idea of paradise on earth. See Utopia.

V[edit]

  • value pluralism – 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. The Oxford historian of ideas, Isaiah Berlin, is accredited with having done the first substantial work on value-pluralism, bringing it to the attention of general academia.
  • verificationism – 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.
  • vitalism – the doctrine that "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".
  • voluntarism – school of thought which regards the will as superior to the intellect and to emotion. Introduced into philosophical literature by Ferdinand Tönnies and developed further in the writings of Wilhelm Wundt and Friedrich Paulsen.
  • voluntaryism – 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.

Z[edit]

  • Zen Buddhism – A fusion of Mahayana Buddhism 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.
  • Zoroastrianism – the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht).

External links[edit]