Philosphy Glossary A - G

    Table Of Contents

    Glossary H - Z

    A Fortiori:

    For a still stronger reason; all the more. For similar but more convincing reasons.

    - An argument proceeding from sense experience. A concept is a posteriori if it is derived from experience; a proposition is a posteriori if knowledge of its truth derives from or depends upon experience. Standard examples of a posteriori knowledge are perceptual propositions ('the cat is on the mat'). Opposed to a priori.

    A posteriori statement:

    A factual statement; an empirical statement.


    a contingent judgment that is reliant upon the matters of fact of our experience to be verified as being either true or false. (The cat is on the mat)


    An argument based on evidence obtained prior to and independent of sense experience. A concept is a priori if it is not derived from experience; a proposition is a priori if it can be known to be true independently from experience. Standard examples of a priori knowledge are mathematical (arithmetical and geometrical) propositions. Opposed to a posteriori, empirical.


    Abbreviation of Latin phrase, anno Domini, translated as "the year of the Lord." Traditional calendar abbreviation for reckoning the years after the birth of Christ. The years before the birth of Christ are reckoned as B.C., translated as "before Christ." Modern scholarship, seeking to be more objective and less centered on the heritage of Christianity, generally utilizes the abbreviations B.C.E., for "before the common era," and C.E. for "the common era." Generally viewed as a practice sensitive to Jewish and other non-Christian historical research, though many claim the system continues to discriminate against non-Christian and non-Jewish calendar reckonings. To avoid confusion, American newspapers generally follow the traditional A.D. and B.C. abbreviations.


    To cancel or revoke, formally.


    The unconditioned, totally independent, perfect, and all-inclusive. God, as entirely unconditioned.


    That which is unconditioned, uncaused, not limited by anything outside itself.

    Absolute Idealism:

    The doctrine that reality is entirely spiritual or mental and that every aspect of reality has its being and its character only as an aspect of the whole.
    [Absolute has generally been conceived as "mind" in Anglo-American Idealism. W Kaufman in N.]


    In ethics, especially, this term is used in apposition to relativism. In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, the great philosopher writes, "Fire burns both in Greece and in Persia, but men's ideas of right and wrong vary from place to place." This is an expression of moral relativism which asserts that there are many valid views with regard to a particular ethical issues. In contrast, absolutism would imply that there are universal ethical standards which are inflexible and absolute. see relativism.

    Enlightened absolutism

    a form of governing by rulers who were influenced by the Enlightenment (18th-century and early 19th-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 that argues that one person should hold all power. Wiki-G. of p.


    The process of forming an idea of a characteristic common to, or possibly common to, a number of objects. Also, the idea which is formed.


    philosophy stating that the efforts of man to find meaning in the universe will ultimately fail because no such meaning exists (at least in relation to man). Absurdism is related to existentialism, though should not be confused with it, nor nihilism. Wiki-G.of p.


    The philosophical school founded by Plato in 385 BC. Some scholars contend that this was, in fact, the first university.


    A property or attribute that a (type of) thing or substance can either have or lack while still remaining the same (type of) thing or substance. For instance, I can either be sitting or standing, shod or unshod, and still be me (i.e., one and the same human being). Contrast: essence.


    A characteristic which is not one of the defining characteristics of the object to which it belongs.


    any system of thought that denies the causal nexus and maintains that events succeed one another haphazardly or by chance (not in the mathematical but in the popular sense). In metaphysics, accidentalism denies the doctrine that everything occurs or results from a definite cause. In this connection, it is synonymous with tychism (ruxi, chance), a term used by Charles Sanders Peirce for the theories that make chance an objective factor in the process of the Universe. Wiki-G.of p.


    in contrast to pantheism, denies the reality of the universe, seeing it as ultimately illusory, (the prefix "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 humans are normally aware is none of these things; it is in fact just the opposite—i.e., dualistic, finite, full of suffering and pain, and so on. And since the Absolute is the only reality, that means that everything that is not-Absolute cannot be real. Thus, according to this viewpoint, the phenomenal dualistic world is ultimately an illusion ("Maya" to use the technical Indian term), irrespective of the apparent reality it possesses at the mundane or empirical level. Wiki-G.of p.

    Acquaintance,  knowledge by:

    see knowledge by acquaintance.


    What really is the case, as opposed to what's possible (could be the case) and to what's necessary (must be the case); all of which are opposed to what's impossible (can't be the case). Concerning the latter "opposition": the categories possible and impossible are jointly exhaustive (everything is either one or the other). Concerning the former "opposition": necessity, actuality, and possibility are not mutually exclusive: everything necessary is also actual (what must be the case is the case) and everything actual is possible (whatever is is possible). In other words, necessity entails actuality, and actuality entails possibility. (Also see contingent.)


    the domain of actual facts; what is the case.

    AD HOC:

    You call something ad hoc when it's introduced for a particular purpose, instead of for some general, antecedently motivated reason. So, for instance, an ad hoc decision is a decision you make when there's no general rule or precedent telling you what to do. Philosophers sometimes accuse their opponents of making AD HOC HYPOTHESES (or ad hoc stipulations, or ad hoc amendments to their analyses, etc.). These are hypotheses (or stipulations or amendments) adopted purely for the purpose of saving a theory from difficulty or refutation, without any independent motivation or rationale. They will usually strike the reader as artificial or "cheating." For instance, suppose you analyze "bird" as "any creature that can fly." I then cite mosquitos as a counter-example. They can fly, but they aren't birds. Now, you might fix up your analysis as follows: A bird is any creature that can fly, and which is not a mosquito. This would be an ad hoc response to my counter-example. Alternatively, you might fix up your analysis as follows: A bird is any creature that can fly, and which has a backbone. This would be an independently motivated, and more appropriate, response to my counter-example. (Of course, someone may discover counter-examples even to this revised analysis.)


    An AD HOMINEM ARGUMENT is an argument that attacks a claim on the basis of features of the person who holds it. Two different sorts of argument are called " ad hominem arguments." One of these is a fallacious sort of argument; the other is perfectly respectable. The fallacious version is where you criticize someone's views because of logically irrelevant personal defects. For instance: His views about relationships must be false because he's a philanderer. or: His views about politics must be false because he doesn't know what he's talking about. You should remember that authorities no matter how eminent can be wrong, and that scoundrels and fools-even if they are unjustified in their beliefs-might nonetheless turn out to be right. The source of a belief is one thing, and whether there are any good reasons to hold the view is something else. The respectable argument called an " ad hominem argument" consists in objecting to someone's claim on the grounds that it's incompatible with other views he holds-regardless of whether you regard those other views as correct. For instance, suppose Max says: The U.S. Postal Service is very unreliable. I think we should allow private, for-profit companies like FedEx and UPS to compete on an equal footing with the Postal Service. Then Sally objects: But Max, you are a communist! Sally is not just calling Max a name. Sally's point is that Max's previous commitments force him to support state control and oppose private enterprise, and these commitments conflict with the view he's advocating now. This is a perfectly legitimate criticism of Max. Philosophers generally use the phrase " ad hominem argument" in the second sense.

    [Adiaphorous means indifferent or neutral. like a placebo. incapable of doing good or harm]


    A Christian doctrine emphasizing the imminence of the return of Jesus Christ to earth to reign as Lord and savior of humankind. See also Apocalypse below).


    Pertaining to art and to beauty or artistic value.


    The philosophy of art, beauty, and criticism.


    The philosophical category concerned with values other than moral; e.g., art, beauty, creativity, etc. The philosophical study of beauty and art. One debate which is ongoing within the field of aesthetics can be summarized by the question, "Is beauty objective or subjective?" The study or contemplation or appreciation of the (nature of) artistic value or beauty.


    another name for the Aesthetic movement, a loosely defined movement in art and literature in later 19th 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. Wiki-G.of p.

    Aesthetic Attitude:

    The contemplation of an object for the sake of the experience of contemplating it.


    to have an influence upon; or effect a change.

    Affect in philosophy:

    "Affect" (latin affectus or adfectus) is a concept used in philosophy by Spinoza, Deleuze, and Guattari. According to Spinoza's Ethics III, 3, Definition 3, an affect is an empowerment, and not a simple change or modification. Affects, according to Deleuze, are not simple affections, as they are independent from their subject. Artists create affects and percepts, "blocks of space-time", whereas science works with functions, according to Deleuze, and philosophy creates concepts.


    Term used in Shinto to emphasize its core beliefs. The affirmations of Shinto are: 1) the family unit and family traditions, especially events marking changes in life stages, i.e., birth, maturity, marriage, death; 2) nature, a respect for all parts of the physical world; 3) cleanliness of body, utensils and living space, which is especially important for entertaining the presence of the spirits; 4) matsuri or festivals that provide a communal and social opportunity to honor the kami, or spirits.


    A policy seeking to compensate victims of previous racial and sexual discrimination, to remedy lingering effects of such discrimination, or to combat ongoing institutionalized and unintentional discriminatory practices by providing reverse preferences favoring members of classes previously disadvantaged.


    see Enlightenment.


    In ethics, the person who acts.


    One who maintains that God or some primary force cannot be demonstrated or proven or disproven. Taken from the Greek, a= without + gnosis= knowing, knowledge. An attitude of skepticism concerning matters of faith and belief. Do not confuse agnosticism with unbelief. Most religions differentiate between agnostics, who may be considered seekers, and atheists who vigorously assert their unbelief.


    One who believes agnosticism. Or, one who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of God.


    The theory that it is not possible to know whether God exists.


    Literally, "without knowledge." Usually used to refer to someone who does not know if God exists. A "hard" agnostic says that he does not know if God exists, no one else knows if God exists, and it is impossible to know if God exists. A "soft" agnostic says that he does not know if God exists, someone may know if God exists, and it might be possible to know if God exists.

    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. Wiki-G.of p.


    A Hindu principle pointing at the reverence for all of life, and thus a key principle in the daily behavior of Hindus, especially in relation to animals. Ahimsa is closely related to the growth of vegetarianism among Hindus and derivative religions such as Hare Krishna.


    A Medieval and ancient practice which combined occult mysticism and chemistry. Essentially, alchemists tried to discover a formula where they could blend certain metals into gold , or where they could blend certain potions into an elixir of immortality .

    Alethic: [To uncover the truth. A Greek way] Aletheia. Unveiling, uncovering. The Greek notion of truth. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger maintains that we ought to return to this concept of truth rather than the modern "correspondence" or "coherence" theories of truth. ….from Greek words of part sign to philos.



    This was a term used by Karl Marx (1818-83) to denote the division and separation between the upper class ( bourgeoisie ) and the lower class ( proletariat ). In recent years, the term has been used to suggest estrangement, powerlessness, and the depersonalization of the individual.


    A Christian celebration on November 1 to commemorate historical persons--the saints--who have made significant contributions to the Christian church but are not remembered on any special day of the Christian calendar. All Saints Day is preceded by ALL SOULS DAY or All Hallows Day (October 31), a solemn day that traditionally claimed witches and evil spirits roamed, but has become Americanized in the celebration of the fright and pranks of Halloween (literally, All Hallows Eve, based on the Middle English pronunciation; in old English the word hallow means saint).


    Arabic word for God. The Muslim name for God. See Shahadah.


    Latin term for "praise to the Lord." Greek term is similar, Used in Christian church as an expression of praise throughout the church year, except during Lent , when Alleluia is omitted from the liturgy as a sign of penitence. Capitalized as an expression of praise; lower-case when used as a collective noun, as in, The congregation shouted their alleluias to the heavens.


    The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, used by Christians as a symbol of God's eternal existence as the beginning and the end of all things. Some Christians also utilize the Greek letters alpha mu omega -- the first Greek letter, the middle Greek letter, and the last Greek letter -- to symbolize the eternal nature of the Son, Jesus Christ, as he who is "the same yesterday, today and forever."


    (1) the promotion of the good of others. (2) A selfless and benevolent love for human kind and dedication toward achieving the well-being of people and society.


    The theory that one ought to act for the good of all concerned.


    Greek "incontinence" or literally, lack of mastery, as in Aristotle's ethics. Weak willed. Lack of self control.


    In a philosophical discussion, you should call a term "ambiguous" when and only when the expression has more than one acceptable meaning. For instance, "bank" is ambiguous (river bank, Bank of Boston). Also, sentences can be ambiguous, as in "Flying planes can be dangerous." Is it the activity of flying which is dangerous, or is it the planes which are dangerous? Or: "Every child loves a clown." Does this mean there is one lucky clown that all the children love? Or does it mean that for each child, there is a particular clown which he or she loves (but not necessarily the same clown for each child)? Or does it mean that every child is favorably disposed to clowns in general? You should not call an expression "ambiguous" just because different people have different views or theories about it. Different people have different views about what it means to be good, but that doesn't yet show that the expression "good" is ambiguous. It just shows that there's some controversy over what "good" means. Nor should you call an expression "ambiguous" just because it's vague, or imprecise, or difficult to know what the correct philosophical theory of it is. When an argument illegitimately trades on an ambiguity, we say that the argument equivocates.


    An expression having more than one meaning.

    Amor fati:

    Latin phrase coined by Nietzsche loosely translating to "love of fate" or "love of one's fate". It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one's life, including suffering and loss, as good.


    Neither moral nor immoral.


    Any argument depending for its force on a grammatical ambiguity.


    Protestant sectarian movement arising in the 16th century that advocated baptism and church membership of adult believers only, nonresistance, and the separation of church and state. See baptism, Baptist, believer's baptism .


    When capitalized, this refers to the collected sayings and conversations of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. These form the bedrock of the developed religion of Confucianism. When written in lower case, analects refers to any generally gathered collection of writings.

    Analogy- argument from:

    An argument based on similarities.


    The process of examing an object to discover its parts or aspects.


    a universal and necessary judgment; such judgments cannot be contradicted. Analytical judgments have their predicate concepts contained within their subject concepts. (Cats are mammals)


    A sentence, proposition, thought, or judgment is analytic if “it is true in virtue of our determination to use (consistently) a particular symbolism or language.” True, it is sometimes said, because we assign the words of language the meanings that we assign them. Example: All bachelors are unmarried males. Some philosophers have maintained that all the truths of mathematics are analytic and that all necessary and a priori truths are analytic,true by definition, or the denial of which would lead to a contradiction. Statements such as "All triangles have three angles" and "No bachelors are married," are examples of sentences commonly deemed analytic. Contrast term: synthetic. Kant coined this terminology and stressed this distinction. Many contemporary analytic philosophers, following Quine, deny its cogency.

    [Analytic philosophy:

    a tradition that has flourished in GB and America. It is especially concerned with the meaning of statements and the way in which their truth can be verified, and with using philosophy as an analytic tool to examine and show the presuppositions of our language and thought. Russell,Ryle, Ayer, Quine, Putnam, Searle, Rawls, Hampshire, and Strawson. davidson?] see continental philosophy, also. ]*

    Analytic Statement:

    A statement which is true because of the meanings of its terms; a statement whose contradictory is an inconsistency; a statement which must be true and cannot be false. Opposite of synthetic statements.


    Political theory which denies the moral legitimacy of all forms of government and advocates the complete abolition of it.


    an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization. Primitivists argue that the shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural subsistence gave rise to social stratification, coercion, and alienation. They advocate a return to non-"civilized" ways of life through deindustrialisation, abolition of division of labour or specialization, and abandonment of technology.


    a form of anarchism that allies itself with syndicalism, that is, with labor unions, as a force for revolutionary social change. Anarcho-syndicalists seek to replace capitalism and the state with a democratically worker-managed means of production. They seek to abolish the wage system and most forms of private property. Wiki-G. of P.


    A German word which means "anxiety" or "anguish." Technically, this is a term used in Existentialism which expresses the dread reality that the future is an unknown chasm; therefore, the choices that a person ( the existent ) makes are the determining factor in the outcome of one's future - thus, the cause for "angst."


    The world view that says all things, animate or inanimate, possess souls or spirits. This is a religious/spiritual view which asserts that everything in the universe, whether animate or inanimate, is embued with some psychological/spiritual consciousness. Although animism is usually attributed to tribal cultures, some philosophers have held to similar views as well - e.g., Plotinus, Leibniz, Schopenhauer, et al.


    The belief that nature is full of spirits.


    That which is before. In logic, the conditional (if) clause in a conditional (if...then...) statement.


    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. Wiki. G. of p.


    The attribution of human characteristics to God or to inanimate objects.


    A belief among many Christians, based on the Bible's Book of Revelation, that some individual will arise near the closing of recorded time to challenge the authority and power of Christ. Some Christians teach that this person is already alive; others teach that he or she will appear shortly. In the Bible, the Antichrist is associated with the symbolic number 666. See Apocalypse.


    Kant believed that when reason goes beyond possible experience it often falls into various antinomies or equally rational but contradictory views. Reason cannot here play the role of establishing rational truths because it goes beyond possible experience and becomes transcendent. E.g. Kant thought that one could reason from the assumption that the world had a beginning in time to the conclusion that it did not, and vice versa. This was part of Kant’s critical program of determining limits to science and philosophical inquiry.


    A contradiction between two conclusions drawn from equally credible premises.


    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 leveled by some sects against competing sects. Wiki. G. of p.

    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.” Wikipedia Gloss of Philos oct 2014


    A prejudice, often expressed in physical abuse, against persons of Jewish faith and nationality. Historically, anti-Semitism has been justified by blaming Jews for the death of Jesus or by accusing Jews of being sly and cheating merchants or financiers. The low-point of anti-Semitism was expressed in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust (1933-1945), and it remains a philosophical position of many modern paramilitary and social hate groups and secret societies. The term is rooted in the Biblical character of Shem, a son of Noah who became an outcast. Editors must be particularly sensitive to Anti-Semitic language or implications in their publications.


    indefinite, or boundless (infinite). [Anaximander]


    When capitalized, the word usually refers specifically to the Apocalypse of The Holy Bible, especially that of Christians. In the Christian New Testament, the last book is known as Revelation (or Revelations to Roman Catholics), which in Greek is Apocalypse. The word apocalypse has a Greek root meaning to uncover or to reveal. The word also refers to any one of several Jewish and Christian writings dating from 200 B.C.E. to 150 C.E. marked by an unknown or mysterious author, symbolic imagery, and the anticipation of a cosmic cataclysm during which God destroys the powers of evil and raises the faithful to life in a messianic kingdom. In literature, the word has been applied to a genre that focuses on end-of-the-world events. Apocalyptic Christian theology is also subsumed under the label of Adventism or, more formally, under the label of eschatology.

    Apodictic or apodeictic:

    (Ancient Greek: capable of demonstration) is an adjectival expression from Aristotelean logic that refers to propositions that are demonstrable, that are necessarily or self-evidently the case or that, conversely, are impossible. wiki. or, Incontestable because of having been demonstrated or proved to be demonstrable . Asserting that a property holds necessarily.


    The defense of a position, usually of a world view, as to its truthfulness, its correspondence to reality, its factualness. Christian apologetics (see 1 Peter 3:15) argues for the truthfulness of Christianity through argumentation, evidence, and appeal to a priori knowledge.


    A defense by the use of intellectual argument. So now you know what an Apologia is.


    Aporia. No way out, nothingness, or the impenetrable. It is something which is not porous which cannot leak. The interlocutors in the early Platonic dialogues cannot get out of the dead-ends into which Socrates leads them. They are in aporia; hence, the locution "aporetic" dialogues, the early dialogues where there seems to be no positive result. [Porus, to leak. A, without]


    A doctrine or dogma within Christianity that certain branches of the church trace their line of leadership to the original apostles. Doctrine is based on Jesus' commissioning of the apostles, especially the Apostle Peter, considered by many Christians to be the first bishop of the church in an unbroken line of bishops to the present.


    In philosophy, there are no real authorities. It is never acceptable to support a position simply by pointing out that someone you've read holds it. You can explain why you think Philosopher X's arguments for that position are persuasive, but a mere statement that the renowned Professor X holds a certain position carries no argumentive weight.


    the belief that there is a distinction between the world of appearances (change, time, etc.) and reality (which is unchanging and timeless).


    According to Leibniz and Kant: the mind's self-reflective awareness of its own thoughts. Self awareness.


    The highest administrative clergy person or official in a church. In the Roman Catholic Church, the archbishop officially is the Pope. In the Anglican Communion, the archbishop of Canterbury is afforded informally a special place of honor as leader of the church. Many large churches of a particular organization are administered by archbishops. Such an administrative unit is known as an ARCHDIOCESE .


    The largest administrative unit of a Christian church with an episcopal government, generally overseen by an ARCHBISHOP.


    stuff (material cause or basic stuff).


    Archimedean Point:

    a hypothetical vantage point from which an observer can objectively perceive the subject of inquiry, with a view of totality. The ideal of "removing oneself" from the object of study so that one can see it in relation to all other things, but remain independent of them, is described by a view from an Archimedean point.] [need Archimedean lever here> ]

    ( Aretaic turn) The aretaic turn is a movement in contemporary moral philosophy and ethics to emphasize character and human excellence or virtue, as opposed to moral rules or consequences. This movement has been extended to other philosophical disciplines, including epistemology, political philosophy, and jurisprudence. The word "aretaic" is derived from the ancient Greek word arete, meaning excellence or virtue. "Aretaic" thus means "of or pertaining to virtue or excellence."


    Argument from the existence of evil to the nonexistence of an omnipotent and omniscient and perfectly benevolent being such as God is supposed to be. Since evil exists, it's argued, either God can't prevent it (and so, is not omnipotent) or doesn't know about it (and so, is not omniscient) or doesn't wish to remove it (and so, is not perfectly benevolent). Contrast: teleological argument.


    a group of statements containing at least one premise and one conclusion, a set of statements (the premises) offered in support of another statement (the conclusion). Arguments are either inductive or deductive. See also syllogism.


    This is a Latin phrase which means "appealing to respect." In essence, this is an appeal to an authority for support, even though that particular authority might not have adequate knowledge in the particular field under discussion.


    A Buddhist term for one who attains enlightenment through solitude and asceticism. Associated with Theravada school of Buddhism, in which the arhat is considered a saint of solitude.


    Political theory that advocates the rule of "the best" whom it identifies, generally, with a hereditary upper class. Contrast: autocracy, democracy, oligarchy.


    tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. Sometimes contrasted by critics with the rationalism and idealism of Plato, Aristotelianism is understood by its proponents as critically developing Plato's theories. Most particularly, Aristotelianism brings Plato's ideals down to Earth as goals and goods internal to natural species that are realized in activity. This is the characteristically Aristotelian idea of teleology.


    A view of literature and criticism propagated by the Chicago School -- Ronald S. Crane, Elder Olson, Richard McKeon, Wayne Booth, and others that means "A view of literature and criticism that takes a pluralistic attitude toward the history of literature and seeks to view literary works and critical theories intrinsically." Wiki- G. of p.


    The box or vessel in which Israel transported the tablets containing the Law and in which dwelt the spirit of God during the Israelites wandering in the wilderness after their Exodus from Egypt. Some ancient manuscripts attribute powers to the ark. (Note: A version of this ancient vessel was characterized in the movie, "Raiders of the Lost Ark.")


    A Reformation doctrine named after the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius, who challenged some of the teachings of Calvinism, especially Calvin's doctrine of predestination and foreordination. While still essentially Reformed and almost totally Calvinistic, Arminianism argues that God did not predestine who would be saved prior to the Creation, as Calvin taught. Arminiamism should not be confused or infused with the doctrine of Pelagianism, which teaches a system diametrically opposed to Calvinism at almost every point. Popular Arminianism places heavy stress on personal repentance and reformation of life through human choice.


    A practice in many religions of seeking to achieve holiness or liberation or enlightenment through denial of one's own needs and the suppression of one's desires. Typically involves vows and/or exercises of fasting, celibacy, and poverty. Some ascetics also practice flagellation.

    Ascriptivism "The view that human beings are to be held responsible for their actions even if determinism is true." Wiki- G.of p.


    The principles by which the mind connects ideas. Hume held the basic laws to be resemblance, closeness in time or place, and causality. [Spinoza used associations in a similar manner.]

    Associationalism- a political project where "human welfare and liberty are both best served when as many of the affairs of a society as possible are managed by voluntary and democratically self-governing associations".[ Associationalism "gives priority to freedom in its scale of values, but it contends that such freedom can only be pursued effectively if individuals join with their fellows". Wiki- G. of p. [Similar to Communitarianism?]


    The world view that says that God does not exist, or that embraces a world view without God, or that says that God is irrelevant to human life.

    Agnostic atheism

    the philosophy 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'.

    Strong atheism

    the philosophical position that deities do not exist. It is a form of explicit atheism, meaning that it consciously rejects theism. Some strong atheists also claim that the existence of any and all gods is logically impossible. Also called positive atheism, hard atheism, and gnostic atheism. It should be noted that a strong atheist also fits the definition of a weak atheist, but that the reverse is not necessarily true: a strong atheist believes there is a lack or absence of evidence for justifying a belief in God or gods, but a weak atheist does not necessarily deny the possibility of God or god(s) existence.

    Weak atheism

    disbelief in the existence of God or gods, without a commitment to the necessary non-existence of God or gods. Also referred to as negative atheism or implicit atheism. The weak atheist generally gives a broad definition of atheism as a lack or absence of evidence justifying a belief in God or gods, which defines atheism as a range of positions that entail non-belief, unjustified belief, doubt, or denial of theism. Wiki- G. of p.


    Derived from the Greek a= without + theos= God, translated as one who denies any reality of God or a primary force in the universe, or more specifically, one who denies a theology; i.e., a systematic belief about God as expressed in the world's religions. Sometimes mistakenly applied to one who denies a specific religion. See pagan.


    Arguments against the existence of God, or one who does not believe in the existence of God.


    Hindu term for the soul, which Hindus see as having no beginning or ending. The essential self.


    Generally, the view that the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts. Physically, the view that the universe is composed of independent, self-sufficient atoms (nothing more), and that a complete description of the universe might be given by specifying the location and movements of all the atoms composing it. This view may also be put in phenomenalist terms (David Hume) or in logical terms (see extensional). The theory that reality is composed of simple and indivisible units (atoms) that are completely separate from and independent of one another. Leucippus and Democritus were the most notable ancient atomists (but first in Jainism 800bc. According to Leibniz monads are "the true atoms." Locke's corpuscular hypothesis is also a version of Atomism.

    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 atomism

    Bertrand 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. Wiki- G. of p.



    Classical Greek for indivisible.


    A feature or characteristic or property of something – as opposed to the thing or substance having the attribute, in which the attribute inheres.


    (Sartre) living authentically can have many meanings, but for Sartre, it means realizing that existence precedes essence, and one is responsible for one’s actions and choices in the world. One must make one’s self.


    an organization or a state that enforces strong, and sometimes oppressive measures against those in its sphere of influence, generally without attempts at gaining their consent and often not allowing feedback on its policies. In an authoritarian state, citizens are subject to state authority in many aspects of their lives, including many that other political philosophies would see as matters of personal choice. There are various degrees of authoritarianism; even very democratic and liberal states will show authoritarianism to some extent, for example in areas of national security. Wiki-G. of p.


    One person rule. Where the rulership is hereditary, the government in question is a "monarchy"; where nonhereditary, a "dictatorship." Contrast: democracy.

    Automatism or Surrealist automatism-an artistic technique of spontaneous writing, drawing, or the like practiced without conscious aesthetic or moral self-censorship. Wiki-G. of p.


    Axiology is the broad study of ethics and aesthetics . That branch of philosophical inquiry regarding values , usually divided into the two categories of aesthetics and ethics. The study of value. What is to be valued? ( axios = value; logos = the study of)


    A basic principle that cannot be deduced from other principles but is the starting point from which other statements are derived or deduced. A statement or assertion for which no proof or demonstration is required. Simply put, an axiom is a self-evident truth.


    Literally, before Christ or the Christian era. A Western calendar means of dating ancient and prehistoric time. See A.D., B.C.E.


    Scholarly adaptation of Western calendar to avoid reference to Christianity. Refers to time "before the common era." See A.D.


    A Christian sacrament, ordinance or ceremony marked by ritual use of water and admitting the recipient to the Christian community symbolizing the believer's burial with Christ and resurrection. Christians practice three forms of baptism: immersion, where the believer is totally submerged in a body or tank of water by a clergy person; sprinkling, where the believer is sprayed with water by the clergy person; and affusion, where the believer has water poured upon his head at a font by the clergy person. Many Protestant denominations are separated by the form of this ritual. Many Christian denominations, particularly Baptists, object to calling baptism a sacrament, preferring instead a term such as ceremony or ordinance, and insisting that there is no saving grace in the act itself apart from belief. Thus, many insist that candidates for baptism be accountable adults before making this public expression of an inner grace. (See Believer's Baptism.) The term is also used by non-Christians to describe ritual purification using water. Christian Science uses the term to denote purification by or submergence in Spirit.


    One who baptizes. When capitalized, the term generally refers to a member or adherent of an evangelical Protestant denomination marked by congregational polity and baptism by immersion of adult believers only, e.g., Southern Baptist or Conservative Baptist. Some Baptists eschew inclusion in the larger category of "Protestant," but at least since the 16th century, the term "Protestant" has come to refer to any Christian group apart from Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.


    The Jewish initiatory ceremony recognizing a boy who reaches his 13th birthday as a bar mitzvah "son of the divine Law" who takes on the duties and responsibilities of religious life.


    A Tibetan religious text popularly known as "The Tibetan Book of the Dead," which many Buddhists consider a misleading translation, claiming a better English translation would be: "Liberation by Hearing During One's Existence in the Bardo." The Bardo Thodol (pronounced Thötröl) that is read to a person for forty-nine days after their death. It describes the series of visions that pass through the awareness of the deceased during that period. It helps them realize where they are, and keeps them focused during the transformation between bodies. According to tradition, the text is based on oral teachings by Padmasambhava and was recorded circa 760.


    Tibetan Buddhist concept for the realm of the dead or the place of passage from life.


    Jewish initiatory ceremony similar to a BAR MITZVAH for a young woman who reaches the religious responsibility age of 13. Literally, "a daughter of the divine Law." Some Jewish congregations do not recognize a bat mitzvah.


    the phenomenal world (the world of appearances) composed of things in a state of flux attempting to (but unsuccessfully) emulate (imitate, participate in, partake of) the Ideal Forms. The phenomenal world is the world of our sensuous, ordinary, everyday experiences which are changing and illusory.

    Behavioralism-(not to be confused with behaviorism of psychology) is an approach in political science that seeks to provide an objective, quantified approach to explaining and predicting political behavior. It is associated with the rise of the behavioral sciences, modeled after the natural sciences. Wiki- G. of p.


    Behaviorism is a psychological theory first put forth by John Watson (1925), and then expounded upon by B.F. Skinner. Attempting to answer the question of human behavior, proponents of this theory essentially hold that all human behavior is learned from one's surrounding context and environment. The view that psychology should, or must, confine itself to describing observable physical behavior. Analytic behaviorism expresses this view as a view about the meaning of psychological words (i.e. that all such words can, and are implicitly, definable in terms of observable human behavior). B. F. Skinner, the Harvard psychologist (Verbal Behavior, Walden Two, etc.) is a psychological behaviorist. Gilbert Ryle might be considered an analytic behaviorist. [in the Wikipedia glossary of philosophy are several types of behavorism.]


    A rather complex term in philosophy, as it has been used over the centuries, being is usually equated to existence, a field with which ontology is concerned. Many philosophers have perceived being as the most fundamental property of ultimate reality. This is not to be understood in the sense of "a" being, but simply being - i.e., that quality of "is"ness, or perhaps, that which "is." Any existing thing or object, material or immaterial. Often used to refer to that which is not subject to change.


    Sacred scripture of Hinduism originally written in Sanskrit. A devotional work in poetic form. Literally translated, it means the song of the Krishna(the blessed one). The most widely revered writing of the Hindu religion.

    Biologism-(biological determination) the interpretation of humans and human life from a strictly biological point of view, and it is closely related to genetic determinism. Wiki-G. of p.


    The essence of enlightenment in BUDDHISM. From the Sanskrit words for enlightenment (bodhi) and essential being (sattva). In Mahayana Buddhism, the one who compassionately foregoes entry into Nirvana in order to lead others into the way of enlightenment. Often worshipped as a deity by Mahayanan Buddhists.


    The name given to the tree at BODH GAYA under which the BUDDHA sat on the night he attained enlightenment. The tree itself was a type of fig with the botanical name Ficus religiosa. In the centuries after the Buddha, the Bodhi tree became a symbol of the Buddha's presence. Many Bodhi trees at Buddhist temples are believed to be offshoots of the original. In popular Buddhist piety, these trees have become objects of worship.


    Official book of prayers and liturgical services for the Anglican-Episcopal Church. Several variations exist depending on location; i.e., Australian Book of Common Prayer, Welsh Book of Common Prayer, American Book of Common Prayer. Original was compiled by Anglican cleric and bishop Thomas Cranmer of England in the mid-1500's. The book has gone through several revisions. Among American Episcopalians there is mild division between the modernized edition of 1979 and the traditional edition of 1928; some parishes have disregarded the 1979 edition and continue to conduct services according to rituals in the 1928 edition.


    A Christian concept of regeneration through belief and trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ. The phrase is taken from the third chapter of the Gospel of St. John where Jesus tells Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (verse 3). Many Evangelical Christians and Fundamentalist Christians have co-opted the Biblical phrase as the sine qua non of Christian experience and refer to these exclusively defined believers as "born-again Christians."


    In its original designation the term referred to the medieval "middle class" of shopkeepers and artisans. In Communist theory, it refers to the capitalist class of owners of the means and forces of production which, as Marx recounts, is historically descended from this medieval middle class.


    The creator god of Hinduism, one of three foremost gods. See also Shiva, Vishnu. The concept of the ultimate ground of all being in Hinduism.


    Hinduism has gone through many changes in its 3,200 year history. Although in the first stage (1,500 to 600 BC) Hinduism was primarily a polytheistic cultic religion, with priests and sacrifices to many gods, the post-600 BC period brought on what is called the Vedantic era, which was based on the monistic teachings of the Upanishads which came into being during the same period. The Upanishads assert that the ultimate being or world- Soul (it would be improper to call him a god since he is everything in the universe and beyond) is the very essence of the universe, and that he pervades all of ultimate reality. "All is Brahman; Brahman is all" is the saying that indicates to us a radical pantheistic monism.


    A Hindu of the highest caste. A caste usually reserved for the Hindu priesthood. Note the spelling variant. While not rigidly applied, Brahman usually is distinguished in English from Brahmin.


    Especially in English, a person of refined, cultural taste with high intellectual and cultural standards. Often associated with the so-called Boston Brahmins of 19th century literary fame. Note the spelling differentiated from Brahman.


    Christian symbols for the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Part of the ceremony or sacrament of communion or Eucharist in a Christian church patterned after the so-called Last Supper at which Jesus initiated the sharing of the bread and wine as symbols of sharing in his death and resurrection. In some Christian congregations, wafers are substituted for bread, and in others, grape juice is substituted for wine.


    April 8 is the most important of Buddhist holidays. It commemorates the birthday of the founder of Buddhism in the 6th century B.C.E. The Buddha had the given name of Siddhartha, the family name Gautama, and the clan name Shaka. He is commonly called "the BUDDHA."


    In Buddhism, the enlightened one; i.e., Gautama Buddha or Siddhartha Gautama. A person who has attained Buddhahood by attaining enlightenment. Compare BODDHISATTVA. Commonly called "the Buddha," which means "the enlightened one" in Sanskrit. The Buddha was probably born in Kapilavastu, India, just inside present-day Nepal.


    Buddhism is one of the four largest religions of the world with 307 million followers. Founded in southern Nepal in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C.E. by Siddharta Gautama, who became known as the BUDDHA (Enlightened One), Buddhism teaches that meditation and the practice of good religious and moral behavior can lead to Nirvana, the state of enlightenment, although before achieving Nirvana one is subject to repeated lifetimes that are good or bad depending on one's karma. Existence, for Buddhists, is a realm of suffering. Achievement of Nirvana brings an end to suffering, desire, and self-importance. Nirvana is attained only by meditation and by a path of righteousness in action, attitude and thought.

    Buddhism-a dharmic religion and philosophy based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama. The basic teachings of Buddhism have to do with the nature of suffering or dissatisfaction (dukkha) and its avoidance through ethical principles (the Eightfold Path). Buddhism originated in India, and is today largely followed in East Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, and Thailand. Buddhism is divided into different sects and movements, of which the largest are the Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana. Wiki- G. of p.

    C.E. (SEE A.D.):

    "Common Era." Scholarly adaptation of Western calendar reckoning to avoid Christian reference. Identical in reckoning dates to A.D. [Modern journalists generally retain the traditional abbreviations of B.C. and A.D.]


    Literally, a "deputy of the messenger of Allah." In Islam, a caliph represented God in the theocratic Islamic community. God is the source of the state's power and law, and the caliph is God's representative. The people and the lands under the control of the caliph were said to be a part of the Caliphate. Abu Bakr was named first Caliph at the death of Muhammed in 632 C.E. Several others succeeded him. Today, the Caliphate of the Sunni Muslims remains vacant. Shi'ite Muslim sects have a complex doctrine concerning the caliphate.


    Influential systematic Christian doctrines worked out by John Calvin. Often summarized in five points and memorized through the pneumonic device of T-U-L-I-P, the major doctrines of Calvinism are: 1) Total depravity of humankind, which asserts that humans are sinful and can do nothing on their own behalf to earn God's favor or salvation; 2) Unconditional election, which asserts that before the world was formed God predetermined and foreordained who among humans would be drawn to him for salvation; 3) Limited atonement, which avows that Jesus Christ in his life, death and resurrection bore all the sin and punishment deserved by humankind, all of whom God knew and foreordained to salvation; 4) Irresistible grace (sometimes categorized as effective calling) that affirms those who are foreordained will be drawn to God through the saving activity of Jesus Christ; and 5) Perseverance of the saints, which affirms that those who are called and saved by Jesus Christ will remain so despite all subsequent sin and evil that surrounds them. Calvinism stresses God's sovereignty and grace and generally decries any doctrine or ritual that can be interpreted as a human effort to earn or win God's favor. Compare Arminianism. See also Pelagianism.


    Form of economic organization based on the private ownership of the means and forces of production in an industrial economy. The historical successor of feudalism (a system of private ownership of the means and forces of agricultural production) and, according to Karl Marx, destined to be succeeded by communism (a system of public ownership of the forces and means of industrial production).

    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.

    Anarcho-capitalism-a philosophy based on the idea of individual sovereignty, and a prohibition against initiatory coercion and fraud. It sees the only just basis for law as arising from private property norms and an unlimited right of contract between sovereign individuals. From this basis, anarcho-capitalism rejects the state as an unjustified monopolist and aggressor against sovereign individuals, and embraces anti-statist laissez-faire capitalism. Anarcho-capitalists would aim to protect individual liberty and property by replacing a government monopoly, which is involuntarily funded through taxation, with private, competing businesses. Wiki- G. of p.


    In Roman Catholic Christianity, an archbishop appointed by the Pope, and generally seen as an assistant subordinate only to the Pope. Cardinals become members of the College of Cardinals who select a succeeding Pope, usually from among their own numbers. Cardinals are distinguished by their crimson religious garb.


    From Roman Catholic Christianity, this refers to a hermit of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel founded in Palestine in the 12th century, and later developed into a Western order for Christian friars by St. Simon Stock. A later movement embraced an order of nuns. Carmelites are known for their disavowal of ownership of personal or communal property.


    Anything which relates to the thought of Rene Descartes (1596-1650).


    In his Meditations, Descartes (1596-1650) proposed discarding any kind of belief that could be doubted, that might be false. Initially, he was inclined to doubt all the evidences of his senses (pointing out that it seemed impossible to tell for sure whether he was at any point aswake or asleep). The doubt that Descartes introduced into philosophy has been a characteristic feature as many philosophers since have supposed that we have no secure rational basis for believing in the existence of a world external to our sense experience, etc. See the Private Language Argument.


    In ethics, casuistry is a term which is concerned with the unfair practice of allowing moral laxity among certain individuals while holding others to more stringent biblical or ecclesiastical norms. This has often been the case in some churches where certain people have influence or reputation; thus, their sins are often overlooked while those of the commoner are not discounted so easily.


    An important term introduced into the realm of ethics and moral philosophy by the German thinker Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). As he himself put it, "Act only according to a maxim by which you can at the same time will that it shall become a general law." In other words, "act only in such a way that you would want all men to act." Kant's categorical imperative is not far from Jesus' Golden Rule or some of the teachings of Confucius which demand that one's actions are guarded and selfless. The necessary and absolute moral law believed to be the ultimate rational foundation for all moral conduct. "So act that you can will the maxim (principle) of your action to be a universal law binding upon the will of every other rational person." Categorical imperatives are absolutely binding.


    That which must be assumed for the existence of any realm of being or discourse; i.e., space is a necessary assumption for the existence of material substance. A fundamental principle that is implied or presupposed for all experience; also used informally to refer to a specific set or group. According to Aristotle a few fundamental Categories structure both thought and reality. In conception, they are archetypes of thought; in concretion, they are the archetypes of existence. Aristotle (Categories), names ten: Substance, Quality, Quantity, Relation, Where, When, Position, Having, Action
    Passion. Kant's Categories structure or express the types of judgment by which minds unite their thoughts and experience into a single awareness or conception: things are only thinkable and experiencable phenomena insofar as they answer to these Categories. Kant specifies 12 Categories under four headings: Quantity (Unity, Plurality, & Totality); Quality (Reality, Negation, & Limitation); Relation (Inherence-Subsistence, Cause-Effect, & Community (reciprocity between the agent and patient)); and Modality (Possibility-Impossibility, Existence-Nonexistence, Necessity-Contingence).


    Purging of the emotions (of pity and fear in particular) which, according to Aristotle, is a beneficial psychological effect had by art (of tragic drama in particular).


    When capitalized, the word refers specifically to that branch of Christianity whose head is the archbishop of Rome, the Pope, generally known as the Roman Catholic church. In lower case, the word is a synonym for universal or worldwide, as in "the catholic church." The word is most familiar to non-Roman Catholic Christians because of its inclusion in the Apostle's Creed, where believers affirm, "I believe in the holy, catholic church, . . ., etc."


    How can know that (sensory event) A is the cause of some (sensory event) B? Since A and B are distinguishable, we do not think of one being the cause of the other until, through experience, we find constant conjunction between A and B (coupled with “contiguity” (closeness) of A and B, and the priority of A to B). This constant conjunction gives rise to a superstition that there is a necessary connection between A and B but this notion is just superstition, in that we might have had a long run of coincidences. Since A and B are separable, and we can conceive them existing apart, there is no purely rational basis for deriving B from A; and appeal to some general principle derived from experience (i.e., the future will be like the past) is not helpful because any such principle suffers from the same problem as “A causes B” - because this too can be coincidental.

    Causa Sui:

    necessary being. ens causa sui: existing because of oneself. Or 'being one's own cause'. Traditionally, a being that owes its existence to no other being, hence God or a Supreme Being (cf. Primum Mobile).


    That which is responsible for any change, motion, or action; the necessary antecedent of any effect, or, in science, the invariable antecedent of a given event. In philosophy, the ultimate power that produces the being of anything. Whatever is responsible for changes (including the creation and destruction) of things. According to Aristotle causes fall into four types: material cause, the substance a thing is made of; formal cause, the structure or design of the thing; efficient cause, the maker or instigator of the change; and final cause, the purpose or function of it (see teleology). Hume argued that all knowledge of causation comes from our actual experience of observed regularities and includes no real knowledge of any objectively necessary connection.. See determinism, scientific law.


    Legal or social practices aiming to bar the creation or dissemination (e.g., the publication or public display) of disapproved forms of artistic expression.


    This is a phrase alluding to the order, unity, and completeness of all things in the universe, beginning from the smallest particle all the way up to God. The idea, which finds its origins in Plato's Timaeus , is essentially a way of categorizing all of reality. As many thinkers have expounded upon it throughout history, it essentially has come to denote a hierarchical order in the universe.


    A form of Christianity noted for its emphasis on the so-called gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are expressed in believers in the form of healing, prophetic utterances and speaking in tongues along with other enthusiastic, emotion-filled expressions of worship, for example, dancing and swooning. These expressions are particularly important in Pentecostal and Holiness sects and denominations of the Protestant church, but they are not limited as such. Branches of mainline Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches have absorbed charismatic teachings. Some modern denominations such as the Assemblies of God are noted for emphasis on the charismatic gifts. Some Christian denominations decry such modern expressions, claiming charismatic gifts ended with the apostolic age. The experiences are believed to be derived from passages in the New Testament such as Acts 2. [Journalists should be alert to the popular Christian music culture that includes a group known as "The Second Chapter of Acts."]


    means separation in classical Greek.


    A modern denomination derived in 1866 from special interpretations of the Holy Bible put forth in the writing of Mary Baker Eddy, collected under the title, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures. The official title of the church is the CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, with its headquarters called "the mother church" in Boston, Mass. Christian Science teaches a practice of spiritual healing claiming that cause and effect are mental and that sin, sickness, and death will be destroyed by understanding completely the divine principles of Jesus' teaching and healing. Christian Scientists sometimes refuse medical treatment, and generally deny death, claiming it is a "passing over" into the realm of spirit. Christian Science has no clergy as normally defined, but its leaders are called readers, practitioners, and lecturers who lead congregations in readings from the Bible and from Science and Health, conduct a public ministry, and give public lectures on Christian Science. Its nationwide network of "Reading Rooms" provide opportunities for believers and non-believers to relax and sample the literature of Christian Science, although users of these rooms are generally expected to make a small purchase of literature. The church also subsidizes the prestigious international newspaper, published every Monday through Friday, The Christian Science Monitor.


    Christianity is the largest of the four great religions of humankind. Christianity began as a sect of Judaism that saw in Jesus OF Nazareth the fulfillment of Hebrew prophesies that God would send a Messiah. Christians worship Jesus as God, claiming that through his sacrificial death he carried the burden of sin for all humans and through his triumph over death in his resurrection, an event celebrated at Easter, he demonstrated his divine power and love and assured that believers also will be resurrected from death. One who believes in Jesus Christ as Messiah, savior and Son of God is called a Christian.

    Christianism-another name for Christianity… Wiki G. of p.


    The Confucian concept of being faithful to oneself without being self-absorbed.


    A concept in CONFUCIANISM. The outward manifestation of the Confucian notion of Jen. Someone who makes others feel at ease by accommodating their will rather than asserting one's own. Persons with Chun-tzu are considered genuine ladies and gentlemen in the Western sense.

    Classicism-in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity, as setting standards for taste that 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. Wiki-G. of P.


    The state of being cognent. Cogent: convincing or believable by virtue of forcible, clear, or incisive presentation; Telling. or 2, to the point, relevant pertinent. Having power to compel or constrain. appealing forcibly to the mind or reason. as in convincing (cogent evidence) pertinent, relevant (cogent analysis.


    This argument of Descartes gets its name from the concluding phrase of his first formulation of it (in his Discourse on Method) - cogito ergo sum, "I think therefore I am." In his Meditations on First Philosophy Descartes concludes from the impossibility of doubting his own existence as thinking "that this proposition: I am, I exist, is necessarily true each time I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it" (2nd Meditation); my existence as a thinker is thereby assured. This assurance, Descartes thinks, can provide a secure foundation for all scientific knowledge. See also: method of doubt.


    Latin for the famous phrase by Rene Descartes, "I think, therefore I am." After the Copernican Revolution and the condemnation of Galileo by the Inquisition in 1634, Descartes sought to develop an epistemology that was logically scientific and mathematically precise. Descartes' new quest for a scientific epistemology essentially ushered in a new age of modern philosophy where knowledge would be arrived at through systematic reasoning, rather than through accepting certain presuppositions of the Church, the fount of truth.


    roughly synonymous with knowledge, but emphasizing the subjective process of coming-to-know rather than the proposition (claim, belief) that results.

    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 that argues that mental function can be understood as the 'internal' rule bound manipulation of symbols. See Cognitivism (psychology). Wiki-G.of P.


    A theory of truth or knowledge; the idea that that which is symmetrically consistent, internally consistent, and eternally adequate to the facts is true.


    Among the many theories of truth, a statement (or proposition, assertion, judgment) is regarded as true only if it coheres with the other statements of a particular system. In other words, the statement must be consistent or interrelated with all the other parts of the whole system. Simply, it must fit in with the whole. For rationalist thinkers (e.g. Hegel especially), coherent assertions are a part of the ultimate reality - the ultimate reality being the whole, or the totality. And for logical positivists the same is true - however, the coherent assertions are part of an empirical scientific nature of the world, indeed a scientifically comprehensive view of the universe. So, essentially, the coherence theory of truth relies on internal consistencies within any particular thought system or set of assertions.

    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 if and only if it is coherent with all or most of their other beliefs. Usually, coherence is taken to imply something stronger than mere consistency. Statements that are comprehensive and meet the requirements of Occam's razor are usually to be preferred. The second type of coherentism is the belief in the coherence theory of justification, an epistemological theory opposing foundationalism and offering a solution to the regress argument. In this epistemological capacity, it is a theory about how belief can be justified. Wiki-G.of P.

    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 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. Wiki- G.of P.

    (commensurable: having a common measure.)


    This was a Scottish school of thought which thrived in the eighteenth century due to the writings of Thomas Reid (1710-96). Reid was a contemporary of David Hume (1711-76) - Hume being one of the leading skeptics of the era. Although Reid fully appreciated the force of Hume's skepticism , he nevertheless disagreed with Hume's assumptions and conclusions. Essentially, Reid believed that the common sense instilled in the minds of ordinary people was sufficient for deducing certain truths about the world. Thus, in Reid's view, the hyper-skepticism of Hume was nothing more than the philosopher's abstraction, and the common man could arrive at certain truths through ordinary common sense.


    The Christian celebration or remembrance of the Last Supper, during which Jesus shared bread and wine with his followers as signs of his sacrifice for the sins of humanity. Also called Eucharist or The Great Feast in more liturgical churches, it is a periodic ritual involving communal sharing of bread and wine (or reasonable substitutes). In Eastern Orthodox traditions, communion is called The Divine Liturgy. Differences in theology determine the interpretation of the communion event. See Transsubstantiation.


    Outside of South Asia, communalism involves a broad range of social movements and social theories in some way centered upon the community. Communalism can take the form of communal living or communal property, among others. It is sometimes said to put the interests of the community above the interests of the individual, but this is usually only done on the principle that the community exists for the benefit of the individuals who participate in it, so the best way to serve the interests of the individual is through the interests of the community. Wiki-G. of P.


    Theory of political and economic development proposed by Karl Marx and developed and implemented by V. I. Lenin. In Marxist theory, "communism" denotes the final stage of human historical development in which the people rule both politically (compare: democracy) and economically (contrast: capitalism). Since the government, according to Marxist theory, is essentially an instrument of class oppression, and the society which emerges in this final stage is classless, as this final state is approaching government will gradually wither away (compare: anarchism). See: proletarian, bourgeois.


    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. Wiki-G.of P.


    Also known as "soft determinism" and most famously championed by Hume, this theory holds that free will and determinism are compatible. Properly understood, according to Hume, freedom is not 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. Alternately, Hume maintains that free acts are not uncaused (or mysteriously self-caused as Kant would have it) but caused in the right way, i.e., by our choices as determined by our beliefs and desires, by our characters. See determinism. Contrast: hard determinism, libertarianism.


    -Auguste 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. Wiki-G. of P.


    A (logical) language is said to be complete if and only if all the formulas in the language that must be true (in any world in which the axioms of the language are true) can be proved from the axioms. Godel’s incompleteness theorem shows that any language in which the truths of basic arithmetic can be formulated cannot be complete (unless the number of axions is infinite).


    are compounded out of simple ideas, and the mind is quite capable of imagining complex arrangements of simple ideas that do not, in fact, correspond to anything in the world, for example, an unicorn.


    An object of the mind or universal; a universal object or category of the mind independent of sensation.


    The mental correlate or idea associated with a general word (or predicate) or with a general attribute or universal, e.g., the concept dog is associated with the word "dog" in the minds of English speakers, with the word "chien" in the minds of French speakers, and with the attribute doghood.


    The theory that universals are general ideas, such as the idea of man or of redness, which exist in minds and only in minds. This view is typically contrasted with - and held as a kind of compromise between - nominalism and realism.


    -a doctrine in philosophy intermediate between nominalism and realism, that universals exist only within the mind and have no external or substantial reality. Wiki G. of P.


    a statement that is supported by a premise; that which is being argued for.


    Inductive support by observed evidence.


    A set of values based on the teachings of CONFUCIUS, a Chinese philosopher in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C.E., whose sayings and dialogues, known collectively as the Analects, were written down by his followers. Confucianism stresses individual, family and societal relations be based on li (proper behavior) and Jen (sympathetic attitude). Its philosophy was challenged by Taoism and Buddhism, which were partially incorporated to create neo-Confucianism during the Sung dynasty of China (CE 960-1279). The overthrow of the Chinese monarchy and the Communist revolution during the twentieth century severely weakened the influence of Confucianism on modern Chinese culture, but its influence has increased in other East Asian nations.


    A Protestant denomination that follows a locally administered church structure, generally eschewing any hierarchy of bishops, archbishops and other administrative clergy and placing authority in the hands of the local congregation. Congregationalism grew out of the English Independent Church and Anabaptist influences on churches of Colonial America. The Congregational Church is now a formal denomination and should not be confused with other congregationalist forms of church governance such as the several forms of Baptist or so-called "Free" churches. The United Church of Christ is one of the latest and largest of the congregationalist churches.


    A term difficult to define, but, in general, said to be all the processes of thought which go to make up the experience of a rational being or self, feelings (immediate) prior to ideas about those feelings


    An objection to materialism that maintains that, since mentality is fundamentally conscious and consciousness cannot be materialistically explained or reduced, mentality is something (a property or substance) that is fundamentally immaterial. Also, an objection to artificial intelligence that maintains that, since consciousness cannot be mechanically (or computationally) generated, that machines (or computers) cannot think.


    A division of Judaism that usually takes a more centrist position on worship and religious behavior than do the more liberal advocates of Reform Judaism and the more tradition-bound advocates of Orthodox Judaism. See Judaism.


    Any normative theory holding that human actions derive their moral worth solely from the outcomes or results that they produce. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory that typically identifies happiness or pleasure as the favored consequence. One of the difficulties inherent in the practical application of any such theory is our notoriously feeble ability (or willingness) to predict accurately what consequences our own actions will produce.


    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. Wiki-G. of P.

    Constructivism-the view that reality, or at least humans' knowledge of it, is a value-laden subjective construction rather than a passive acquisition of objective features. Wiki G. of P.

    Contextualism-a collection of views that emphasize the context in which an action, utterance or expression occurs, and argues that, in some important respect, the action, utterance or expression can only be understood within that context. Contextualist views hold that philosophically controversial concepts, such as "meaning P", "knowing that P", "having a reason to A", and possibly even "being true" or "being right" only have meaning relative to a specified context. Some philosophers hold that context-dependence may lead to relativism; nevertheless, contextualist views are increasingly popular within philosophy. Wiki G. of P.


    Human beings are contingent because they are dependent on another for their existence. They are not self-caused, neither are they self-sustaining - rather, they are contingent.


    A sentence proposition, thought or judgment is contingent if it is true of this actual world, though it is not true in all possible worlds. Some philosophers claim that contingent, a posterori, and synthetic are equivalent, holding that the notion of synthetic explains the other two. See necessary.


    a range of philosophers from mainland Europe whose work tends to be considered separately. Husserl, Heidegger, Sarte, Lacan, Derrrida, and others. In this school, we meet the terms structuralism, postmoderism, and hermeneutics (the study of interpretation.) C.P.,in general, is an intellectual approach to the creative arts rather than being limited to more narrow concerns of the analytic school.]*


    A fundamental logical principle, first formulated by Aristotle, which maintains that one and the same proposition (or thought or statement) cannot be both true and false or that a statement and its denial or contradictory cannot both be true. Contrast: Excluded Middle.



    Belief that judgments of a specific sort are grounded only on (explicit or implicit) agreements in human society, rather than by reference to external reality. Although this view 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.


    Being assimilated. Especially, for Herbert Marcuse, the sociopolicticoeconomic assimilation of works of art - and simultaneous perversion of their liberative tendencies - for commercial and control purposes.


    An ancient Egyptian language whose alphabet is derived from the Greek alphabet. One of the most famous of Coptic writings is the so-called Gospel of Thomas.


    Another among the many theories of truth, this idea simply asserts that truth corresponds to reality. Essentially, truth is the "sum of all facts" - thus, "the sum of all facts" corresponds to that which is true about ultimate reality.

    Correspondence theory of truth:

    The theory that a statement or proposition is true if it corresponds to a matter of fact; to correspond to a fact, a statement must somehow designate the fact.


    A scientific or mythological account about the origin of the universe. All cultures throughout the world have some kind of origin myth (or cosmogony), thus answering the human existential question regarding the origin of the universe and man. Essentially, cosmogony is a Greek word which literally means "the birth of the cosmos."


    A theory concerning the creation (ORIGIN )of the universe. ? see above?


    An argument for the existence of God that is based on observation of nature. It attempts to derive the existence of God from such observation. The cosmological argument essentially is an argument which attempts to prove the existence of God. Although the argument has been set forth in diverse ways ever since the time of Plato (427-347 BC), it is usually associated with Thomas Aquinas (1224-74) and his " Five Ways to Prove the Existence of God." In Thomist thought, the argument is essentially an argument from causality, and can be summarized according to the following syllogism:


    Arguments purporting to prove the existence of God a posteriori from the fact of the existence of the universe or of certain properties of the universe. Aquinas' "five ways" include arguments from the existence of, the efficient causal order of, and the motion of the universe, to the existence of a first cause thereof, which he identifies with God.

    Cosmological argument:

    An argument which purports to prove the existence of God by maintaining that there must have been a first cause which initiated the causal sequence of contingent beings.


    Different from cosmogony, which is concerned with origins, cosmology is essentially a branch of philosophy that is concerned with the universe as a totality, integrating both physics and metaphysics. In modern science, however, cosmology is primarily concerned with the universe according to contemporary notions of physics. In the Greek, cosmology literally means "the study of the cosmos." Is the study of the cause of the universe. ( cosmos = world, universe; logos = the study of)


    synonym for pantheism (see theism) Wiki G. of P.


    term coined by Isiah Berlin to refer to the collection of late C18 thinkers, amounting very loosely to a movement, who offered fundamental criticism of Enlightenment ideas and ideals. Narrowly, it refers to the German thinkers Hamann, Jacobi, and Herder, but often also included are other figures, including the earlier thinkers Vico and Rousseau.


    A generally intellectual renaissance movement within The Roman Catholic Church in the 14th century, spearheaded by thinkers such as Erasmus and the Jesuits founded by St. Ignatius Loyola, that arose to counter the criticisms of the church made by the Protestant Reformers, most notably Luther and Calvin.

    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. Wiki G. of P. see also for types of.

    Critical Realism:

    The theory that most existing things do not depend for their existence upon being perceived or conceived in mind; the theory that knowledge of independently existing things is possible even when the ideas by which things are known differ in character from the things known.



    Moral theory that holds that what's good or bad or right or wrong varies from society to society depending on what each society says to be, or believes to be, good or bad or right or wrong. See ethical relativism. Compare subjectivism.


    Literally, in the Greek, "dog-like," the Cynics "barked" at society, snapping at its heels, attempting to awaken society from its conventional slumber. Although tradition traces the origin of Cynicism to one Antisthenes, a pupil of Socrates (469-399 BC), it was the legendary Diogenes (ca. 400-325 BC) who made Cynicism so famous, its continuity being established for over a millennium.

    Cynicism-was originally the philosophy of a group of ancient Greeks called the Cynics (main article), founded by Antisthenes. Nowadays the word generally refers to the opinions of those inclined to disbelieve in human sincerity, in virtue, or in altruism: individuals who maintain that only self-interest motivates human behavior. A modern cynic typically has a highly contemptuous attitude towards social norms, especially those that serve more of a ritualistic purpose than a practical one, and will tend to dismiss a substantial proportion of popular beliefs, conventional morality and accepted wisdom as irrelevant or obsolete nonsense. Wiki G. of P. [It is an ethical and rhetorical view. Virtue is first in importance.. No honest men is secondary. It does NOT have to do with what we can know.]


    The Cyrenaics are one of the minor Socratic schools. The school was founded by Aristippus, a follower of Socrates. The Cyrenaics are notable mainly for their empiricist and skeptical epistemology and their sensualist hedonism. They believe that we can have certain knowledge of our immediate states of perceptual awareness, e.g., that I am seeing white now. However, we cannot go beyond these experiences to gain any knowledge about the objects themselves that cause these experiences or about the external world in general. Some of their arguments prefigure the positions of later Greek skeptics, and their distinction between the incorrigibility of immediate perceptual states versus the uncertainty of belief about the external world became key to the epistemological problems confronting philosophers of the 'modern' period, such as Descartes and Hume. In ethics, they advocate pleasure as the highest good.- Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy.


    The theory attributed to Charles Darwin (1809-82) which posits that all biological organisms evolve through natural selection, a scientific term which essentially means that certain species will survive over others because they are better suited to a particular environment. For instance, as different species are struggling to survive in a particular ecosystem, Nature herself, in a sense, selects those species which are the fittest to survive. Although the mechanism for evolutive change has not dogmatically been detected, the original theories of Charles Darwin have been changed into what is called neo-Darwinism. Note the following to see the differences between the theory of Charles Darwin, and the new hypothesis set forth by his successors:


    Literally, a German word meaning " being there." The term Dasein was a technical term used by the twentieth-century philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976).


    German for being there (Heidegger) of being in the world and it relatedness; features: (1) factuality; (2) existentiality; (3) fallenness (not being authentic- nonunique).


    The given elements. Or, whatever is presented as the content for consciousness.


    from L datus from dare- to give, so, given. In Naive Realism, the view that the world is immediately given to our awareness. In New Realism and Critical Realism our awareness is from sense-data from which the world is constructed.


    A phrase made famous by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) in his works " The Joyful Science" and "Thus Spake Zarathustra." In the former work, the death of God is considered to be the greatest deed ever wrought by mankind. Note the words of Nietzsche, in this respect: "Where has God gone? I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. We are all his murderers . . . GOD IS DEAD. That which was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. There has never been a greater deed" (The Joyful Science). Nietzsche's philosophy takes its departure from this idea of the death of God. For Nietzsche, Christianity is nothing more than a dungeon that glorifies weakness and inhibits the stronger virtues which his philosophy extols. Essentially, humanity is a transitional phase between animality to that of the superman ( Ubermensch) of the future. Thus, man must propel himself into the future by abolishing the idea of God (or divine rule), and instead create a new value structure upon which he can build a new world.


    A movement which flourished in the United States between the 1960s and 1970s, essentially promoting the idea that the "God hypothesis" is antiquated and defunct. It was asserted that intelligent individuals did not invoke God anymore, and that scientific principles have become the explanatory mechanism of the universe.


    A (logical) language is said to be decidable if and only if all of its theorems (or logical truths) can be shown to be true through a finite mechanical procedure. Propositional logic is decidable; predicate logic is not.


    school and a set of methods of textual criticism aimed at understanding the assumptions and ideas that form the basis for thought and belief. Also called "deconstruction", its central concern is a radical critique of the metaphysics of the Western philosophical tradition, in which it identifies a logicentrism or "metaphysics of presence" which holds that speech-thought (the logos) is a privileged, ideal, and self-present entity, through which all discourse and meaning derive. This logocentrism is the primary target of deconstruction. Wiki G. of P.


    The type of argument or inference whereby the conclusion is claimed necessarily to follow from the premise. A presumably valid argument in which the argument proceeds from premises to conclusion in such a way that if the premisses are true, the conclusion absolutely must be true. An inductive argument is one that does not meet this standard, its premisses giving at best some assurance, but not complete assurance, to its conclusion. Reasoning in which the premises, if true, guarantee the truth of the conclusion. Example, "All cats are mortal; Bill is a cat; therefore, Bill is mortal." Not all deduction is "from general to particular," as is sometimes said. Nevertheless, the deduction of predictions of particular observable events from general hypotheses in order to test the hypotheses is scientifically quite central. Contrast: induction. See also: logic, hypothetical deductive method.


    The mode of reasoning which involves passing from one or more propositions to other propositions logically implied by the former.


    uses arguments which have conclusions that necessarily follow from the premise (s).
    In example: (1) All men are mortal.
    (2) Socrates is a man.
    Therefore, Socrates is mortal.


    That which distinguishes something (object, substance, concept, idea, etc.) from everything else.


    A belief or doctrine which asserts that God exists as transcendent creator, yet He plays no immanent role in the creation, especially in any supernatural or providential sense. Many Enlightenment thinkers, as well as American founding fathers (e.g., Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, et al.) were deists.


    The world view that God is only transcendent (beyond) the world but not immanent (acting) in the world.


    A Greek term, meaning "craftsman." The Demiurge is a concept which originates in the thought of Plato (427-347 BC). In his work, Timaeus, the Demiurge is essentially the maker of the physical universe. The notion was acknowledged by Gnosticism as well, as they emphasized the idea of cosmological dualism, or the idea that there is a spiritual realm which is good and pure, and there is a material realm which is evil. In Gnosticism, the material universe was not created by the Supreme God (i.e., the God of the New Testament), but rather, by the Demiurge, an inferior deity (in some systems, an evil being) who is identified with the Old Testament YHWH.


    Form of government in which the people rule, either by directly voting on issues (direct democracy), or indirectly through electing representatives to decide issues (representative democracy).

    [Deontic as Moral, or Ought, or Obliged or Duty. ]


    In contrast to utilitarianism, deontological ethics focuses on the concept of moral obligation and duty, regardless of the outcome. Duty-based or rule based ethical systems, such as the Golden Rule (do to others as you would have them to do you). An action's worth is determined by whether or not the rule is followed. The rules are intended to be universal laws, applicable to everyone at all times. It is everyone's duty to follow the rules. ( deon means duty) The Greek word deon means duty or obligation. The main proponent of this ethical framework was the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804).


    [De=obligation + logical] A deontological ethics is one that claims that it is something in the nature or structure of actions that make them obligatory or impermissible (essentially ignoring consequences). Kant’s categorical imperative (“act so that the maxim of your action could be a law for all rational beings”) is often thought to be a deontological rule. Kant once remarked that if a killer asks where your friend is, you have to tell him the truth. See teleological.

    De Re:

    adj Relating to the properties of things mentioned in an assertion or expression, rather than to the assertion or expression itself. In other words "about reality"


    see teleological argument.


    In contrast to freewill, The Doctrine of Determinism asserts that all human actions are predetermined. The debate between determinism and freewill has been ongoing for centuries, and the fields of psychology, philosophy, and theology have all been involved in the debate. The theory that the universe is so constructed that everything occurs as the inevitable consequence of antecedent causes.


    the claim that human agents are wholly subject to the laws of nature. Determinists may hold either (1) that human agents are without freedom of will or action, or (2) that human freedom consists in being determined in a certain way (e.g., by one's own desires). The theory that every event has a cause.


    A collection of the sayings of Buddha, 423 verses written in Pali, the ancient language of Theravada Buddhism. Translated into English in 1898 by Max Muller, a German scholar at Britain's Oxford University generally acknowledged as the father of the scientific study of comparative religions.


    A Buddhist term for sublime religious truth or any experience associated with that truth. Hinduism also uses the term to describe individual virtue or the obligations to the divine and to others that are part of that virtue. Term was co-opted by so-called "Beat" writers of the 20th century who often called themselves, after a title from the writer Jack Kerouac, "The Dharma Bums."


    The Sanskrit word meaning "meditation," from which is derived the word Zen.


    According to Hegel (1770-1831), dialectic is simply the logical pattern of thought, the overall pattern being thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Thus, thought proceeds by contradiction ( thesis/antithesis), and is then reconciled by a fusion of the contradictory ideas ( synthesis). In Hegelian dialectic, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity perfectly exemplifies this process of logic:
    Thesis >>> God is one.
    Antithesis >>> God is three.
    Synthesis >>> God is triune.
    The process, particularly employed in Plato’s dialogues, of discovering first principles, or underlying realities, through digging out, possibly through Socratic questioning of another, what is presupposed by our common sense beliefs about, and experience of, the world. The Socratic, or negative, dialectic would be one practiced in the early dialogues where the demolition of wrong opinions is all that is desired; the Platonic dialectic proper would aim at also unearthing supersensory realities (Platonic universals). The Hegelian dialectic is a process through which mind (or reason) moves through history, acting and reacting, toward some final resolution; the Marxist dialectic sees this historical process as fundamentally economic, and material, in character.


    According to W Kaufman, is of two types. [forward]"Hegel's dialectic" (erroneously he says) thought to be 3 step thesis, anti-thesis, and synthesis and the [backwards]"dialectical approach" such as "Plato...contrasts mathematical deduction, which takes for granted its assumptions, with philosophic "dialectic" which questions these assumptions, inquiring what they may presuppose and thus moves backwards, "reductively" to a first principle. " -republic


    Book published in 1950 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard that forms the primary text of the Church of Scientology. See Church of Scientology.


    The scattering of a nation's people among several other nations, often after conquest. More specifically this refers to the scattering of the Jews following the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem both in 597 B.C. and in 70 A.D.


    An administrative unit of the Christian church that is under the authority of a bishop and usually defined by geographical boundaries. This term is used by more formal Christian denominations such as the Episcopal Church. Less liturgical and episcopal churches might use a term such as district to refer to a similar administrative unit.


    A follower; a convinced believer to the point of commitment of one's life to the object of worship. Every great religious leader attracted to him- or herself disciples who helped to spread the message of the leader. In Christianity, the word is reserved for followers of Jesus, especially the 12 original followers whom Jesus called to work with him and the one who replaced the betraying disciple. These 12 are exclusively referred to from among the disciples as the sent ones, or the apostles. Commissioned by Jesus to spread his Word, the original disciples became known as the 12 Apostles..

    [Dithyrambs: In classical poetry, a type of melic (from Greek: of or pertaining to song; lyric; tuneful) verse associated with drunken revelry and performed to honor Dionysus (Bacchus), the Greek god of wine. In modern usage, the term has come to mean a poem of impassioned frenzy and irregular character. ...]


    any teaching that says Jesus' body was either absent or illusory. This idea is assoc. w. Gnosticism. ]


    A systematized principle or body of principles related to a branch of belief. Any teaching or instruction regarding a particular religious faith. A statement of a widely held policy or belief. In religion, all believers are defined by their adherence to particular doctrines about God, nature, the world and human activity. Ultimately, it is doctrine that separates one faith from another or one branch from another within a particular religion. Compare dogma.


    A theory of scholars of the Bible that several different writers contributed to the first five books of the Bible (the Torah or the Pentateuch), and that a redactor or editor gathered the documents into their final form. The theory was proposed by 18th century German theology professor Julius Wellhausen, and is sometimes called the Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis (K.H. Graf was an Old Testament scholar upon whose research Wellhausen built his theory). Four sources are identified in the documentary hypothesis: The J-source (or Y-source), or Jehovahic source (or Yahwist source); the E-source, or the Elohist source; the P-source, or the Priestly source; and the D-source, or the Deuteronomic redactor source. These are abbreviated by biblical scholars as J,E,P and D or sometimes as Y,E,P and D (The English translation of Jahwist, Wellhausen's German term, is Yahwist). This hypothesis challenges the traditional view that Moses was the author of the first five books of the Bible, a view that continues among many conservative Jews and Christians.


    A principle or doctrine that is authoritatively pronounced by a church or a leader, generally without widespread debate, investigation or discussion. Often dogma is differentiated from doctrine by its being based upon authority without investigative evidence. Compare DOCTRINE. In modern parlance, dogma is frequently seen as a denigrating or pejorative term, though within certain religious traditions it is perceived as authoritative to the faithful.


    An order of Roman Catholic priests and preachers founded by the Spanish Saint Dominic in the

    [Doxastic as Opinions, or Beliefs or Tenents]


    the collection and compiling of extracts from ancient Greek philosophers, to which editorial comments are added. — doxographer, n. — doxographic, adj. Tenets, opinions, (doxai=Gr) (dogmata=L) for opinions.


    The distinction of two essential and co-existing components in one system, i.e., in religious world views, the belief that God is composed of two opposing parts that exist eternally and together are the constituents of God. ("God contains both positive and negative forces, good and evil, male and female, spirit and matter, etc.") The idea that there is a distinction between spirit and matter. Opposed to monism.


    In Hindu and Buddhist philosophy a state of non-dual awareness is sought though meditation and similar practices, this is a state where beingness or consciousness extends to include all existence. Dualism in this context is considered to be the barriers between self and the rest of existence.


    one who believes that there is a duality of substances, or that there are two substances in the universe (i.e. material and immaterial substance).


    What an individual is obliged to, or ought to do. If an individual has a duty to do X it is not permissible for them not to do X; and if they have a duty not to do X then it is not permissible for them to do it. Kant believed the commands of morality, being categorical, create perfect duties allowing no exceptions. Nonmoral imperatives, on the other hand, being hypothetical, create imperfect duties which allow of exceptions. See categorical imperative, hypothetical imperative.


    A modern theological and social term referring to an effort to unite diverse viewpoints into a single Christian vision. The name is taken from the Greek word for "all the inhabited world." The adjectival form, ECUMENICAL, is often linked to a 20th-century religious movement to bring a variety of denominations under a single Christian umbrella such as represented by the World Council of Churches.


    According to the account in the first book of the Hebrew Scriptures (known as Genesis), Eden is the name given to the idyllic garden wherein the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, were placed after being created by the Lord God. Often the term is used as a synonym or symbolic representation of paradise. When Adam and Eve were driven from the garden after sinning against the Lord, Eden also took on the tragic overtones of banishment and lostness for humankind.


    the doctrine that the pursuit of one's own pleasure is the highest good and the criterion of right action. Bentham revived hedonism with his act utilitarianism in the late 18th century. But that is for the chapter on Utilitarianism.


    In Buddhism, the steps that enable one to overcome craving and attachment. See Four Noble Truths.


    A term generally used to describe leaders of a religious denomination. Usually elders are older, experienced and more learned members of a congregation. Several Christian denominations, most notably the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists, give this title to the group of lay people who run the everyday operation of the church and assist the clergy in worship. Prior to the mid-twentieth century, the role of elder in most congregations was exclusively a male role.


    Refute by argument. Elenctic

    [Eleatic: Those following Parmenides interpretation of reality being all one thing and that nothing can come from nothing. ]


    In connection with Neoplatonism (ca. AD 250-500), all of reality is an emanation (i.e., a continual flowing out) from the One (i.e., God). There is a process of denigration in this continual flowing out. First, nous (mind), then soul, then matter, matter being the furthest emanation from the One. Since man is a material emanation, his purpose is to reject the material world and instead embrace the spiritual. In this way, he "turns back" to the One and contemplates his divine origin.


    The process of complex pattern formation from more basic constituent parts. emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Certain metals give off magnetic fields when at ultralow temps. Weather phenomena. Birds flocking. For some, consciousness. etc]


    degree, or pre-eminent manner ( a priori knowledge of causality).


    concerned with what is given in sense experience or, by extension, with what belongs to the subject matter or the methodology of (modern) natural science.


    Based on experience, or observation - describing knowledge derived from or warranted by sense perception. Compare: a posteriori. Contrast: a priori.


    Empiricism is essentially a theory of knowledge which asserts that all knowledge is derived from sense experience. It rejects the notion that the mind is furnished with a range of concepts or ideas prior to experience. In the thought of John Locke (1632-1704), the human mind is a tabula rasa (i.e., a blank tablet) at birth; thus, knowledge is acquired as the mind experiences external reality through the senses. Three principal British philosophers who are associated with empiricism are John Locke (1632-1704), George Berkeley (1685-1753), and David Hume (1711-76).


    The theory that our only source of knowledge about reality is experience, specifically, sense experience. The philosophical tradition beginning in the C17 and extending to the present day, predominantly British, which regards knowledge in general as derived from and dependent on sense experience. Central figures are Locke, Berkeley and Hume. Francis Bacon, an earlier philosophical figure, may also be included, and important proponents of empiricism are found also in C18 French philosophy. The view that all human knowledge is acquired from sense experience (via the 5 senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight) or a posteriori which is Latin for "that which follows after." All knowledge is acquired after sensible experience or post-experientially.


    Specifically, a British philosopher of the 17th and 18th century such as Hobbes, tended to believe that knowledge derives from our sensory experience and its ramifications. Berkely and Hume, in particular, maintained (as nominalists) that the mind has no essentially abstract, rational ideas of the sort that were supposed to form the basis of science for the rationalist (which see along with neo-empiricist and neo-rationalist).


    That which is sought, or the object of pursuit. Aristotle maintains that all our pursuits aim ultimately at ends that are sought or desired intrinsically, i.e. for their own sakes, and that the greatest of these intrinsic goods is happiness. Things sought not for their own sake but for the sake of something else are desired extrinsically or instrumentally, as means.


    The Socratic method, or method of elenchus, or Socratic debate. A from of enquiry and debate. By refutation, primarily, to reach a better understanding.]


    The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement which took place in the eighteenth century, representing a culmination of the humanistic spirit of the Renaissance (ca. 1350-1600) and the results of the scientific revolution which had begun with the work of Copernicus, Galileo, Bacon, and Newton. Essentially, for many thinkers, the Enlightenment represented a radical break from the medieval period (i.e. the Dark Ages) and ushered in a new age of reason. From the perspective of religion (especially Christianity), the Enlightenment accelerated the secularization of Western culture, liberating society from the firm authority of the Church and biblical concepts. Thus, reason became ascendant over the authority of revelation, and mankind was now moving away from Christian theism toward a new era of humanism. Historically, the term refers to the social, cultural and political movement which took place in the major centres of cosmopolitan life in European cities in C18, which promulgated ideas of political freedom, religious tolerance, opposition to the authority of the Church, the importance of increasing scientific knowledge, and historical progress. More abstractly, it refers to the philosophical ideal which the thinkers of that period articulated, namely of life and activity in accordance with universal human reason, as opposed to tradition, dogma or superstition.

    [Enlightenment (personal level) To become aware of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things, to transend the notion of an isolated self, and to identify "self" with the ultimate reality.]


    A thing's potential realized. The end toward which one strives to achieve or actualize, which is in all things in nature. It is also the combination of the life force ( anima) with the body; which strives to actualize its full potential.


    In Acts 17:18 we find the Apostle Paul encountering a group of Epicurean (and Stoic) philosophers in Athens. In essence, Epicureanism was the philosophy of Epicurus (341-270 BC), and it posited the notion that the goal of man is to live a life of pleasure and happiness. It rejected outright hedonism (self-gratification in any form) for a more tempered ethical hedonism . In sum, ethical hedonism simply consisted of living a life of peace and tranquility, valuing friendships , avoiding excess, avoiding pain, and avoiding any fear of death. According to Epicureanism, ethical hedonism this was the key to happiness. It is probable that Paul was referring to Epicureanism in 1 Cor 15:32, where he wrote, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die."


    A Greek term meaning "manifestation." In the Christian tradition, it refers to the manifestation of Christ as a human and is celebrated on the sixth of January, which marks the beginning of the season of Epiphany. The holiday is more important in Eastern Orthodoxy, where it marks the Baptism of Jesus as well as the visit of the Magi to the side of the infant Jesus. The evening prior to the Feast of the Epiphany is known as the "Twelfth Night," marking the twelve days of Christmas that began with the day of Jesus' birth. Technically, in the Christian church calendar, Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season. In a broader sense, an epiphany refers to any sign or manifestation of the divine to humankind.


    the view that all reality is a product of material causation. All substance is material in nature. The mind is the only exception. Although it is not composed of material, or, its intellect is not material substance, it is a consequent effect of material causation. Mind is not reduced to matter in this view of materialism.

    Epiphenomenalism- Gr side and appearance. The doctrine that consciousness is an incidental effect of neural processes, and not a cause.


    The branch of philosophy which is concerned with the theory of knowledge, or more specifically, the question, "How can we know?" The theory of knowledge; how we know we know; the study and acquisition of knowledge. The branch of philosophy which deals with our knowledge of things: with the conditions, if there are any, under which things can be known, and with the different forms which knowledge takes (see a priori / a posteriori: this is an epistemological distinction). Epistemology is concerned with the problem of justifying claims to knowledge in general or in some particular domain, such as science or morality (philosophers talk of 'moral epistemology', meaning the study of the conditions under which moral facts, if there are any, can be known). Thus the primary task for epistemology is to refute skepticism, the position that nothing can be known. Epistemology is therefore distinguished from psychology, which merely tries to ascertain the facts about the mental processes which take place when something is known: epistemology is concerned with questions of justification. Contrasts with metaphysics and ontology.


    is the study of knowledge. How do we know? ( episteme = knowledge; logos = the study of). The theory of knowledge or branch of philosophy that studies how knowledge is gained, how much we can know, and what justification there is for what is known.


    Using the same term with two different meanings in the same argument or presentation; a word that admits of more than one meaning before its meaning become univocal by a specific context or use. "Philosopher Smith is equivocal here" means that he gives some argument which equivocates. It does not mean that he's neutral or agnostic about the matter. Nor does it mean he can't make up his mind. (These might be explanations of why he equivocates, but you shouldn't use the phrase "He equivocates" to describe his neutrality or agnosticism or indecision.) TRUTH AND VALIDITYIn philosophical discussions, only arguments can be valid. Not points, objections, beliefs, or claims. Claims, beliefs, and statements are true or false. Don't call a claim "valid." Don't call an inference or an argument "true."

    [Eristic- Strife, wrangling, arguing- for the sake of argument rather than truth]


    The theological study of last things or end times. The theology of the end of time as we know it, the end of humankind as we know it, or the end of the world as we know it. Often takes the form of cultic doomsday predictions of direness, though Christian eschatology is related to the themes of eternity, paradise, resurrection, and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Several books of scripture, among them the prophecy of Daniel and the New Testament book of Revelation, are categorized as eschatological books. In literature, this form is more familiarly known as apocalyptic, although apocalypse almost always refers to some final destructive force interpreted as divine judgment upon humankind.

    [Eschaton Noun1.eschaton:

    Judgment Day: (New Testament) day at the end of time following Armageddon when God will decree the fates of all individual humans according to the good and evil of their earthly lives.]

    Esse- in existence. or in esse, in existence.


    Refers to insight or understanding of "inner" (Greek: eso-) or spiritual or metaphysical realities, or a specific teaching or spiritual practice or path or "wisdom tradition" that is based on a mystical interpretation of spirituality, rather than a religious or slavish following of the outer words of scriptures, or pertains to transpersonal or transcendent states of existence. In contrast


    knowledge, is knowledge that is well-known or public, and does not require any such transformation of consciousness.


    That which makes an object or being what it is in itself; the nature rather than the existence of anything. The attribute or attributes that make a specific thing or substance what it is and not something else; its nature; that without which it would not be one and the same (type of) individual it is. For instance, I can cease sitting or being shod and still be one and the same human being; but I can't cease being alive be the same human being. Contrast: accident.


    (GK: ego = I) The view that (a) each person aims to promote his or her own well-being and interests, and ought to;


    The view that what is morally permissible, obligatory, and forbidden differs among individuals or between cultures. According to ethical relativism nothing is absolutely good or bad or right or wrong: rather, relativists hold, what is right or wrong is so for a given individual or within a given culture or society: the underlying idea is that the individual or society's judging things right or wrong or good or evil makes them so for that individual or society. See cultural relativism, subjectivism.

    ETHICS :

    The branch of axiology concerned with moral values; the good, the right, the noble. What one "should" or "ought" to do. The study of morality ( ethos means customs, manners, morals). The practices and principles constituting morally right conduct, and the philosophical study of these.


    Gr. for character. The disposition, character, or fundamental values peculiar to a specific person, people, culture, or movement: "They cultivated a subversive alternative ethos" (Anthony Burgess). Ethos is the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution.



    The formal Christian sacrament or service of celebrating through remembrance and symbolic recreation the sacrifice of Jesus CHRIST for the sins of humankind. In less liturgical churches, this is referred to as communion. In Eastern Orthodox churches it is known as The Divine Liturgy. The Eucharist focusses on the communal sharing of believers of bread and wine, symbols not only of The Last Supper, but also of Christ's sacrificial dying for and redeeming humankind from sin.


    Gr. from: eu-well being, or good and daimon, spirit or minor diety.

    Human flourishing is the best definition. ***5


    A term from the New Testament referring to one who bears the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. The traditionally held writers of the Gospels -- Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- are called the four evangelists. Modern Christianity uses the term to refer to a category of clergy person or preacher whose vocational mission is to win converts. More loosely, the term refers to anyone who zealously promotes a program or a policy. By virtue of the appearance on television of many Christian evangelists making appeals for conversion to Christ, the term televangelist has come into being, referring to an evangelist who limits his methods and approach to broadcasts via television.


    (1) the privation of goodness; (2) is non-being, or not a being, or nothing (the absence of something, namely good).


    In Latin, the term refers to "out of the chair." This term is used to proclaim the infallibility of papal statements that are pronounced while the archbishop is "ex cathedra" or exercising his official papal role. Technically speaking, it is only when the Pope speaks from such a lofty place on lofty matters that Roman Catholics believe him to be speaking infallibly.


    Fundamental logical principle that maintains that every proposition (or thought or statement) is either true or false, or that for every statement, either it or its contradictory is true. Compare: Contradiction.


    The state of being actual or real (but not necessarily material) as opposed to possible or imaginary; that which has a definable place in reality. making choices (being) [existentialism].


    A philosophical movement or approach which originated in the nineteenth century with such thinkers as Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). Twentieth-century existentialist thinkers include Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Because existentialism is so subjective in its approach, with each thinker differing markedly in his philosophy, it is very difficult to arrive at an objective definition of existentialism. Nevertheless, according to most existentialists, ultimate reality cannot be defined objectively; rather, the individual (i.e. the existent) comes to a personal inference of ultimate reality according to his own unique experience in time and space. For the individual, there is a self-awareness that he is an existent in a complex, ever-changing world; thus, a condition of anxiety ( angst) arises as the individual struggles with his beliefs, hopes, fears, and desires - ultimately, he senses an innate need to find a purpose for his existence. There is also agreement among existentialist thinkers that free will is one of the most important characteristics that an individual possesses. Thus, each human being is presented with an innumerable amount of choices - and some choose to conform to patterns imposed by some external authority rather than to carve out their own destiny according to their own yearnings. Accordingly, then, the latter individual is the one who becomes an authentic human being, while the individual who compromises his deepest yearnings is the one who lives an inauthentic life. Opposed to both rationalistic (a priori) and empirical (a posteriori) doctrines, and concludes that the problem of being, not that of epistemology, must take precedence in philosophical investigations. Being cannot be made a subjective or objective inquiry, since being is revealed to the individual by reflection on his own unique concrete existence in time and space. Existence is basic. It is the fact of an individual’s presence and participation in a changing and potentially dangerous world. The self of which he is aware is a thinking being, and he understands himself in terms of his experience of himself and his situations.


    The Greek term for the second book of the Bible, which contains the stories of the Exodus and the giving of the Ten Commandments. The Hebrew term, translated as "names," is sh'mot.


    In philosophy, usually equated with consciousness; it is used both of perception and organized and interpreted data according to the categories of thought.


    A test or trial of a hypothesis - especially a test or trial involving manipulations of variables in order to observe the results of these manipulations. See confirmation, hypothetical deductive method. A trial or test of a scientific hypothesis or generalization by manipulation of environmental factors to observe whether what results agrees, or disagrees, with what the hypothesis predicts. See: hypothesis.

    [Expressivism: Term used for those theories of ethical discourse that contrast ethical sentences with expressions of belief. Such theories locate the primary function of ethical sentences in the expression of attitudes, emotions, or other practical states, or in the issuing of commands, or the putting of pressure on action (see prescriptivism). The older term covering much of the ground was ‘emotivism’, but this doctrine became linked with naïve views about the state of mind expressed, and naïve views about the consequences of the theory for notions such as truth and objectivity. See also projectivism, quasi-realism.]

    --------my addition--------below--------


    In metaphysics>Extension is roughly speaking, the property of taking up space."It is the primary characteristic of substance- from Descartes.

    Aristotle>Prime matter is extension.

    Extension is interpreted in sl diff ways by philosophers so it is a problematic term. So a second use is


    the actual things the word or phrase does describe. And Intension: the possible things a word or phrase could describe.



    Having, or presupposing, a use of terms that is wholly determined by what falls under them (in this actual world). The meaning of a term in the extensional sense is given just by listing, or somehow indicating what things are referred to by the term. The extensional meaning of “evening Star,” “morning Star,” and “Venus” is the same because they all refer to one and the same planet, though the sense, or intension, might be different. Some philosophers (see nominalist) have hoped that we could describe the world in wholly extensional terms. See intension.

    ----------my addition above---------


    An error in reasoning that makes it impossible to establish the conclusion in question on the given premise; a logical mistake that makes deductive arguments invalid. "Informal fallacies" generally describe a stated inference that frequently (but not always) is not true. Example: Guilt by association - "He hangs out with bad kids, therefore he must be a bad kid." Maybe so, but he might hang out with them because he's an undercover vice cop, or a Christian youth worker, etc.


    A fallacy is an error in one's inferences or argument. A falsehood is an error in the claims one makes. Claims, beliefs, and statements are true or false. Only inferences and arguments can be fallacious.


    The idea that what will happen is determined to happen, and nothing that we do will make any difference. Thus, everything is determined by fate.


    A rich agricultural region in the Middle East bounded by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that is the seat of many ancient civilizations.


    Do not confuse with usage in clinical psychiatry and psychoanalysis. In a religious context, this is the reverence and awe shown to an inanimate object, either natural or manufactured, that is believed to have magical or spiritual powers. See totem.


    This is a religious view which has existed throughout history, essentially articulating the premise that certain doctrines cannot be arrived at through rational thought processes. In sum, all metaphysical truth must be approached through " faith. " An extreme fideistic position would be represented by Kierkegaard ( "leap of faith"), while a more moderate position tempered by reason ( moderate fieism) would be represented by Pascal.


    (primary) is completely independent in its causality, it is not dependent upon another for its existence.


    Basic doctrinal books of Confucianism. These books were studied by the ancient Chinese and provided the official philosophy that led to statesmanship and leadership. They are known by their Chinese names: Yi jing (I ching), Shu jing, Shi jing, Chunqiu (Spring and Autumn Annals), Li ji, the I Ching being the most widely known in the Western world. See The FOUR BOOKS and Mencius.


    The core practices or doctrines of Islam. They include: shahadah, salah, sawm, zakah and hajj(roughly translated respectively as: affirmation, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, pilgrimage). See individual entries.


    A sect of the Philippines that mixes Christian and primitive doctrine and expresses itself in human self-crucifixion as an act of devotion especially during the period of Lent and the celebration of Good Friday and Easter.


    A practice of self-beating or punishment aimed at subduing the desires of the physical body. Often practiced by radical ascetics as an act of devotion.


    human is consciousness, fluid, lack of determinate structure, potent. Alternatives to choice or things are distinguished by their not being something else. [Sartre]


    A scholarly method of analyzing and categorizing ancient manuscripts, especially those of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures; thus, a fundamental method of so-called textual criticism of the Scriptures. The basic thesis of form criticism is that certain writers prefer certain forms in telling their stories and recording history. The scholar's task is to uncover and recognize these forms. See pericope.


    occurs only when there is an error in judgment.


    a direct correspondence with what is found in the effect (based on a priori knowledge of causality).


    A doctrine central to the philosophy of Plato (427-347 BC). In the Greek, the term is rendered ideai or eidoV (= ideas). This is perhaps one of the most complex theories in philosophy, partly because, although Plato continued to maintain this doctrine throughout his philosophical career, the doctrine of Ideas or Ideal types ( Forms, Ideas, and Ideal types are all interchangeable terms) was always in the process of philosophical development in the mind of Plato, as evidenced by his writings. Many historians of philosophy have regretted the fact that we have no adequate record of the lectures of Plato when he taught in his Academy (i.e. the philosophical school which he founded in Athens). With the additional insight provided by his lectures, we would have certainly grasped his doctrine more definitively. Now in ordinary language, the English word Idea is essentially a subjective concept which we assign to an individual's subjective mind. However, in Plato's Doctrine of Ideas (or Ideal types), we are referring to objective universal concepts which exist outside of the individual's mind. For instance, in Plato's Timaeus he theorizes that the Demiurge (i.e., the creator of the material or sensible world) made the individual things in the world according to an Ideal type or pattern which exists in some transcendental plane. Socrates, for instance, would be an imperfect copy of the demiurgic concept of the Ideal Man which exists in the transcendental plane. A dog, for instance, is simply an imperfect copy of the demiurgic concept of the Ideal dog which exists in the transcendental plane. The same goes for birds, trees, lions, stones, etc., as well as such aesthetic and ethical ideas as beauty, goodness, truth, love, etc. It is important to note that Plato's theory of knowledge regarding Ideas is connected to his entire philosophical construct - for instance, his doctrine of immortality, i.e. the preexistence of souls and metempsychosis (or reincarnation, transmigration). According to Plato, then, in his Crito and Phaedo, where he records the final dialogue of Socrates in an Athenian prison, the Socratic teaching can be summarized as such:
    Prior to one's existence on earth, he lives in the transcendental world where the Ideas ( Ideal types) also reside (if I can use that word). When a human being is born into his earthly existence, he not only becomes an imperfect type of the Ideal man, but he subconsciously brings with him a knowledge of the Ideas which exist within the transcendental world. Thus, when he experiences material reality (e.g., birds, trees, lions, dogs, stones, etc.), he doesn't " learn" what they are as if they exist "outside" his mind; rather, he "remembers" what they are from his preexistence in the transcendental realm as they are recalled from his subconscious. Thus, according to Plato, knowledge of the sensible, material, ethical/aesthetic world already exists within the person's mind. A person doesn't learn anything " new ;" he simply recalls what he already knows from his preexistent life in the transcendental realm.
    Thus, if we were to summarize Plato's Doctrine of Ideas, we would note two key points: (1) The sensible, material, ethical/aesthetic world in which we live is an imperfect copy of a perfect realm of Ideal types which exists in some transcendental realm; and (2) Our knowledge of the sensible, material, ethical/aesthetic world already exists within our subconscious or conscious (depending on the degree of our philosophic knowledge). Thus, our knowledge of the world is innate; it's not something we discover empirically or in any other way. (From the latter statement, you can sense that Plato's Theory of Ideas would come under great scrutiny and criticism, first from Aristotle (Plato's student), and then from a long line of philosophers over a period of 2,000 years).
    Finally, allow me to point out that Plato's best depiction of his Theory of Ideas can be found in his Republic: Book VII. The depiction is called "The Allegory of the Cave." Although it is highly advised to read the primary text of "The Allegory of the Cave," I will here quote the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1870-1972) as he summarizes Plato's "Allegory of the Cave." "Those who are destitute of philosophy may be compared to prisoners in a cave, who are only able to look in one direction because they are bound, and who have a fire behind them and a wall in front. Between them and the wall, there is nothing; all that they see are shadows of themselves, and of objects behind them, cast on the wall by the light of the fire. Inevitably they regard these shadows as real, and have no notion of the objects to which they are due." (Russell, A History of Philosophy, NY:Simon and Schuster, 1945 ). Thus, in Plato's " Allegory of the Cave ," the men who are chained in the cave are analagous to us - i.e. we who are chained to our present existence here on earth. When we look around and perceive the sensible, material objects around us, we are simply looking at "shadows" on the wall - i.e. imperfect representations of the Ideal types which are "behind us" (i.e. beyond our view).


    For Plato, the ideal Archetypes or patterns according to which all things are constructed. These are grasped by rational insight - which Plato held to be a kind of recollection - and not by sensory perception. The Forms, according to Plato, are intelligible realities which transcend the material world of sensible objects which somehow resemble or participate in them: they are ideals which material or sensible thing imitate or aspire to. For Aristotle forms or essences are immanent - they are the inner aspiration of or principle of development in the thing itself.


    According to many of the Greek philosophers, beginning with Empedocles (494-435 BC), the four essential elements that comprised the universe were earth, air, fire, and water.


    The doctrines or principles laid out by The Buddha. The fundamental beliefs of Buddhism. They are: 1) Life is suffering; 2) Craving and attachment are the cause of suffering; 3) Such selfish drives can be overcome; 4) Overcoming craving and attachment is achieved through the eightfold path, which comprises right understanding, right purpose, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right alertness, and right concentration.


    in contrast with determinism, the doctrine of free will asserts that man is able to make choices according to his own will. Although the debate between free will and determinism has been ongoing for centuries, the fields of psychology, philosophy, and theology have all introduced their respective theories into this important debate. initiating uncaused action. Free choice, will, or volition. God gives us the will to choose the good, but we have the ability to do otherwise. Thus, if we choose evil, instead of good, we are responsible. Liberty of choice or self-determination. On the absolute or libertarian conception, free will is opposed absolutely to causal determination: given a situation, a person could simply have chosen and done otherwise than they did, unconditionally. Choices, on this conception, are uncaused or self-caused causings. On the compatibilist or hypothetical conception, free will is opposed to constraint; a person is free if they could have done otherwise if they'd so chosen; though our choices, like everything else, are effects of antecedent causes. On this conception free acts are not uncaused, they're just caused in the right way, by our own preferences and desires. Acting freely on this "soft determinist" view is doing what you want (because you want to). See also: determinism.


    In its most objective form, fundamentalism refers to the doctrines and creeds put forth in a series of 20th-century Christian writings called The Fundamentals that sought to counter the predominant liberal trend of Enlightenment theology flourishing in nineteenth-century European and American culture. With a heavy emphasis on the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible, fundamentalism came to stand for a reactionary rejection of liberal scholarship and an anti-intellectual approach to matters of faith, though in fact several of its proponents were among the intelligensia of their day. Thus, in the mid- and late twentieth century, the term became somewhat pejorative. More recently, the term has become associated with any religious reactionary or conservative expression, as in Islamic fundamentalism. In the United States, fundamentalism has often been associated with Anglo-Saxon, Protestant values.

    gnostic, gnostical adj gnostically adv of, relating to, or possessing knowledge, esp esoteric spiritual knowledge


    Gnosticism was a pseudo-Christian religious movement which flourished in the first and second centuries AD. Since the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts (ancient Gnostic texts) in Egypt in 1947 (paralleling the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls), there has been a renewed interest in Gnosticism. Although a concise definition of Gnosticism is elusive, it is probably safe to say the Gnosticism was one of the most syncretistic (pluralistic) and ambitious speculative theological movements in the ancient world, blending everything from Oriental mysticism, Greek philosophy, Christian ideology, mystical Judaism, and everything else in between. Derived from the Greek word "gnosis ," meaning "knowledge, " the Gnostic religions(s) flourished at the same time that the orthodox/canonical Church was attempting to expand throughout the Roman empire. Thus, Gnosticism posed a serious threat to early Christianity. Despite the plurality of influences which defined Gnosticism, it is possible to identify the three key pillars of Gnosticism upon which the individual Gnostic sects constructed their individual sectarian systems:


    i.e. the spirit/matter distinction, or the idea that there is an antagonism between God (the spiritual realm) and matter (or the sensible, material plane of phenomenal reality). According to this principle (influenced by Plato to a degree, although Plato's conception was different), a sharp dualism exists between two worlds - the "spiritual" world of divine light and the "material" sensible world of darkness. In sum, the Gnostics equated "spirit" with "good" (or light), and "matter" with evil" (or darkness). Thus, as the abode of the principle of evil, the "material," sensible world could not possibly be the handiwork of the Supreme God. From this conclusion, then, the Gnostic thinkers derived the whole concept of a Demiurge, similar to the Platonic notion.


    i.e. the YHWH/Demiurge distinction, is the idea that the material universe was "not" created by the Supreme God (i.e. not YHWH, but the God of the New Testament - The Father), but rather by the "Demiurge" (Greek for "craftsman" ); an inferior deity (in some systems, an evil being because he created the evil, material, sensible world - he is identified with the Old Testament God YHWH, and most Gnostics despised Him). Although the philosophical idea of a Demiurge is rooted in the thought of Plato ( cf. Timaeus), the Gnostic notion is fundamentally different. Whereas in the Platonic system the Demiurge creates the world as a reflection of the heavenly Forms ( (Ideas, Ideal Types ) - thus, implying some inherent good in the material creation - the Gnostic system beholds the rabid evil of our decaying world and therefore concludes that such an "evil universe cannot be assigned to a good god." Thus, YHWH is perceived as a finite, imperfect god, and is futhermore accused of being an angry and terrible deity.


    i.e. the view that Christ was not a "material" entity, but rather, a sort of "phantom" who merely bore the similitude of a man for purposes of accommodation. Christologically, Docetism was the logical extension of "cosmological dualism and the "the demiurgic notion." Because the gnostics considered matter inherently evil, the idea of a genuine "material" incarnation was simply unthinkable. Interestingly, part of the docetic Christology asserts that in the fifteenth year of Tiberius (29 AD), Jesus Christ manifested himself suddenly in the synagogue at Capernaum.


    An early and pre-Christian cultic philosophy that believed matter to be evil and that salvation comes through esoteric or secret knowledge, i.e., gnosis. It is highly debated among Biblical scholars how much influence gnosticism had on the New Testament church.


    If a fact of nature, let's say, cannot be explained by science, theists will assert that it is of divine origin. In the past, a "god of the gaps" accusation could have been leveled against the Norwegians who worshiped Thor as the "God of thunder." Just because they could not explain what "thunder" was, they attributed that mystery to a divine origin. Now, of course, we know that "thunder" is simply a meteorological phenomenon. In our day, the mystery of life's origin has resulted in futile attempts by the scientific establishment to solve the problem of how life came into existence; hence, theists will view this as "a gap" and attempt to explain such a mystery by claiming that the answer must be of a divine nature. Scientists, however, will insist that theists are using this "god of the gaps" method of logic - i.e. appealing to a god, rather than attempting to solve the problem. One atheistic response to the god of the gaps is usually, "Just because we can't solve the problem now, doesn't mean that we won't be able to solve it in a hundred years!"

    GOD OF THE GAPS is sometimes known as DEUS EX MACHINA ("god out of the machine") , which is a term from classical drama and theater. In a particular play, for instance, when the plot reached a pivotal juncture where there was no natural resolution, a mechanistic apparatus would lower a god down onto the stage and the god would resolve the crisis.


    1) THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: literally, from the “logic” of God’s “being” (onto). the claim is that God is a necessary being. Just as a round square is necessarily non-existent, so if we consider the definition of God we realize that he must exist. God is defined as the perfect being, but existence is a perfection; therefore God exists. The argument is scored in the slogan that existence is not a predicate; mathematical logic makes it impossible to use existence in the predicate position.
    2) THE ARGUMENT FROM FIRST CAUSE, OR THE UNMOVED MOVER: Everything we are familiar with was created by and set in motion by something else. But if we are to avoid an infinite regress, there must be some first cause which is not itself set in motion by anything else; this first cause, or prime mover, is God.
    3) THE WATCHMAKER ARGUMENT: The world is an orderly and beautiful structure; we can tell that it must have been made by someone, just as if you found a watch on an empty beach, you would know, even if you had never seen a watch before, that it must have been made by someone.


    Omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), and perfectly benevolent creator of the universe. Conceived of as transcending the created universe (as in the Christian tradition) God is thought to exist prior to and beyond the universe which he created from nothing or ex nihilo. Conceived of as immanent (as on pantheistic and Stoic conceptions) God is in the universe (as its guiding spirit or logos) and coextensive with it, not beyond it or prior to it.


    See completeness.


    A word used to describe the supreme being, God. If the complexity of the nature of God is divided into aspects, persons, functions, etc., the unity or the overarching oneness is called the godhead.


    The doctrine of the golden mean originates in the thought of Aristotle and his ethics. He believed that "moderation" was the proper ethical path, between the two extremes of, let's say, asceticism and riotous living.


    A transliteration of the Old English word, Godspell, meaning literally, "Good News." Christianity defines the gospel as the news that Jesus Christ came as the Messiah, was crucified for the sins of humanity, died and was buried and on the third day arose from the grave in triumph over death, offering similar victory over death to all who believe. For Christians, the "gospel in a nutshell" is recorded in the Gospel of St. John at chapter 3, verse 16, which says, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." (KJV). This text, or its reference, John 3:16, has become a popular evangelistic symbol for Christians in contemporary North America.


    The calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 to be more in line with the reckoning of days according to solar calculations. Gregory's calendar has become the most widely used in the world. It was adopted as the yearly calendar by Great Britain and the American colonies in 1752. Each year has 365 days, and every year divisible by 4 becomes a so-called "leap year" when an extra day is celebrated as February 29. Centennial years are leap years only if they are divisible by 400; thus, the year 1900 was not a leap year, while the year 2000 is.


    An existential-philosophical term posited by the modern Protestant theologian Paul Tillich as a reference to the supreme power of the universe. Generally synonymous with God though not necessarily with the YAHWEH of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.


    A Hindu spiritual guide or religious teacher, especially in a personal mentoring relationship.The word has been expanded in English to refer to anyone with expertise or special knowledge or skill in a given field who takes a leadership role in the teaching or directing of others.


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