See also argumentation; cosmology; criticism; ethics; ideas; knowledge; logic; theology; thinking; truth and error; understanding; values; wisdom.
the philosophic doctrine that claims that events can or do occur without cause. —accidentalist, n.
the doctrine that all reality is animate, in motion, or in process. —actualist, n.
a branch of philosophy dealing with beauty and the beautiful. —aesthete, aesthetic, n., adj.
reasoning deductively, from a generalization to particular events.
the science of the systemization of knowledge. See also architecture
the study of virtue.
the philosophy of Aristotle, especially an emphasis upon formal deductive logic, upon the concept that reality is a combination of form and matter, and upon investigation of the concrete and particular. —Aristotelian, n., adj.
the theory that minute, discrete, finite, and indivisible elements are the ultimate constituents of all matter. Also called atomic theory
. —atomist, n.
—atomistic, atomistical, adj.
the philosophy of Averroës, chiefly Aristotelianism tinged with Neoplatonism, asserting the unity of an active and divine intellect common to all while denying personal immortality. —Averroist, Averrhoist, n.
—Averroistic, Averrhoistic, adj.
the philosophical theory of Jeremy Bentham that the morality of actions is estimated and determined by their utility and that pleasure and pain are both the ultimate Standard of right and wrong and the fundamental motives influencing human actions and wishes. —Benthamite, n.
the philosophy of Henri Bergson, emphasizing time or duration as the central f act of experience and asserting the existence of the élan vital
as an original life force governing all organic processes in a way that can be explained only by intuition, not by scientific analysis. —Bergsonian, n., adj.
the philosophy and beliefs of George Berkeley denying the existence of the real world. —Berkeleian, n., adj.
the philosophy of René Descartes and his followers, especially its emphasis on logical analysis, its mechanistic interpretation of physical nature, and its dualistic distinction between thought (mind) and extension (matter). —Cartesian, n., adj.
the principles and practices of universal causation.
positivism, def. 1.
the doctrine that universals exist only in the mind. Cf. idealism.
the personal philosophy of Kwame Nkrumah (1909-72), president of Ghana (1960-66), devised and named by him.
the branch of philosophy that studies the origin, evolution, and structure of the universe, especially such characteristics as space, time, causality, and freedom. —cosmologist, n.
—cosmologic, cosmological, adj.
a Greek philosophy of the 4th century B.C. advocating the doctrines that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control and individual freedom, and that surrender to any external influence is beneath the dignity of man. —Cynic, n.
the principles of the school of the philosopher Aristippus of Cyrene. —Cyrenaic, n.
—Cyrenean, Cyrenian, adj.
the doctrines of a school of philosophy emphasizing empiricism and positivism. Cf. transcendentalism.
—descendental, descendentalistic, adj.
the doctrine that all f acts and events result from the operation of natural laws.
the doctrine that all events, including human choices and decisions, are necessarily determined by motives, which are regarded as external forces acting on the will. Also called predeterminism
. Cf. fatalism.
the compiling of extracts from ancient Greek philosophers, with editorial commentary. —doxographer, n.
any theory in any field of philosophical investigation that reduces the variety of its subject matter to two irreducible principles, as good/evil or natural/supernatural.
any system that reduces the whole universe to two principles, as the Platonic Ideas and Matter. Cf. monism, pluralism.
any of various theories or philosophical systems that seek to explain natural phenomena by the action and interaction of forces, as mechanism or Leibnizianism. Cf. vitalism.
a doctrine denying the existence of a final cause or purpose in life or nature. Cf. teleology.
the use or advocacy of a method involving the selection of doctrines from various systems and their combination into a unified system of ideas.
such a system. —eclectic, n., adj.
a school of philosophy founded by Parmenides and its doctrines, especially those contributed by Zeno (of Elea), asserting the unreality of motion or change. —Eleatic, adj.
a theory of the origin of the world by a series of emanations from the Godhead. Also called emanatism
. —emanationist, n.
the doctrine that all ideas and categories are derived from sense experience and that knowledge cannot extend beyond experience, including observation, experiment, and induction.
an empirical method or practice. —empiricist, n.
a vital agent or force directing growth and life. Cf. teleology.
the philosophical system of Epicurus, holding that the natural world is a series of fortuitous combinations of atoms, and that the highest good is f reedom from disturbance and pain. Also Epicurism.
—Epicurean, n., adj.
the doctrine that consciousness is a mere accessory and accompaniment of physiological processes and is powerless to affect these processes. —epiphenomenalist, n.
the branch of philosophy that studies the origin, nature, methods, validity, and limits of human knowledge. —epistemologist, n.
—epistemic, epistemological, adj.
a philosophical theory asserting that metaphysical essences are real and intuitively accessible.
a philosophical theory giving priority to the inward nature, true substance, or constitution of something over its existence. Cf. existentialism.
the belief that there are no bases for establishing a moral or ethical philosophy. Cf. nihilism
the belief that morality is relative to the society where it exists and that its criticism and evaluation are irrelevant. Cf. relativism
the branch of philosophy that considers the good, moral principles, and right action. —ethicist, n.
the science of causation. —etiologic, aetiologic, etiological, aetiological, adj.
the doctrine that man forms his essence in the course of the life resulting from his personal choices.
an emphasis upon man’s creating his own nature as well as the importance of personal freedom, decision, and commitment. Also called philosophical existentialism
. Cf. essentialism.
—existentialist, n., adj.
the philosophical theory that states that experience is the source of all knowledge. —experientialist, n.
the doctrine that all things are subject to fate or inevitable predestination and that man is ultimately unable to prevent inevitabilities. Cf. determinism.
theories and beliefs of J. G. Fichte, German philosopher and social thinker, a precursor of socialism. —Fichtean, n., adj.
the doctrines of any of various dualistic sects among the Jews and the early Christians who claimed possession of superior spiritual knowledge, explained the creation of the world in an emanational manner, and condemned matter as evil. —Gnostic, n., adj.
a theory maintaining that two seemingly conflicting notions are not radically opposed, but are part of a gradually altering continuity. —gradualist, n., adj.
theories and doctrines of Ernst Haeckel, German biologist and philosopher, especially the notion “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” —Haeckelian, adj.
an interpretive method, originally used to relate specific entities or events to the absolute idea, in which an assertable proposition (thesis)
is necessarily opposed by its apparent contradiction (antithesis),
and both reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (synthesis)
. Also called Hegelian triad
the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and his followers, characterized by the use of a special dialectic as an analytical and interpretive method. See also Hegelian dialectic.
—Hegelian, n., adj.
the ideas or beliefs set forth in the writings of Hermes Trismegistus.
adherence to these ideas and beliefs.
the philosophical beliefs of Thomas Hobbes, who maintained that an individual has the right to self-preservation and the pursuit of happiness. —Hobbist, n.
the theory that whole entities, as fundamental components of reality, have an existence other than as the mere sum of their parts. Cf. organicism.
the doctrine that man’s obligations are concerned wholly with the welfare of the human race.
the doctrine that man may achieve perfection without divine assistanee. —humanitarian, n., adj.
the materialist theories of the early Ionic philosophers. —hylicist, n.
the doctrines concerning the lowest of three Gnostic orders of mankind, the material or fleshly, unsavable as sons of the devil. Cf. pneumatism, psychism.
the theory that regards matter as the principle of evil, as in dualistic theology or philosophy. —hylic, adj.
the theory derived from Aristotle that every physical object is composed of two principles, an unchanging prime matter and a form deprived of actuality with every substantial change of the object. —hylomorphist, n.
the essential substance or underlying nature or principle of a thing. —hypostatic, hypostatical, adj.
a principle or proposition that is assumed for the sake of argument or that is taken for granted to proceed to the proof of the point in question.
a system or theory created to account for something that is not understood. —hypothesist, hypothetist, n.
—hypothetic, hypothetical, adj.
any system or theory that maintains that the real is of the nature of thought or that the object of external perception consists of ideas. Cf. realism.
a theory or doctrine that the material world is wholly or nearly wholly an illusion. —illusionist, n.
the belief that material things have no objective existence but exist only as mental perceptions. —immaterialist, n.
a view that admits no real difference between true and f alse in religion or philosophy; a form of agnosticism. See also attitudes
. —indifferentist, n.
a pragmatic philosophy holding that it is the function of thought to be a means to the control of environment, and that the value and truthfulness of ideas is determined by their usefulness in human experience or progress. —instrumentalist, n., adj.
a theory that nonrational forces govern the universe.
any attitude or set of beliefs having a nonrational basis, as nihilism. —irrationalist, n., adj.
the philosophy of Emmanuel Kant, asserting that the nature of the mind renders it unable to know reality immediately, that the mind interprets data presented to it as phenomena in space and time, and that the reason, in order to find a meaningful basis for experience or in order for ethical conduct to exist, may postulate things unknowable to it, as the existence of a soul. —Kantist, n.
the view of a school of Roman Catholic casuists who maintained that any chance of liberty, however slight, should be foliowed. —laxist, n.
the philosophy of Gottfied Wilhelm von Leibniz and his followers, especially monadism and the theory of preestablished harmony, the theory that this is the best of all possible worlds because God has chosen it (satirized by Voltaire in Candide
), and proposals for a scientific language and a method of symbolic computation. —Leib-nizian, Leibnitzian, n., adj.
one who advocates liberty, especially with regard to thought or conduct.
the philosophical doctrine of free will. Cf. necessitarianism, determinism, fatalism.
—libertarian, n., adj.
positivism, def. 2.
a philosophical system that places strong emphasis on logic.
the theory that regards matter and its various guises as constituting the universe, and all phenomena, including those of the mind, as caused by material agencies. —materialist, n., adj.
the theory that everything in the universe is produced by matter in process, capable of explanation by the laws of chemistry and physics.
the theory that a natural process is machinelike or is explainable in terms of Newtonian mechanics. —mechanist, n.
the doctrine that the world tends to become better of itself, or that it may improve more rapidly by proper human assistance. Cf. optimism, pessimism.
the doctrine that objects of knowledge have no existence except in the mind of the perceiver, as in Berkeleianism. —mentalist, n.
the study of ways of attaining happiness.
a branch of philosophy concerned with the foundations of ethics and especially with the definition of ethical terms and the nature of moral discourse.
the doctrine that knowledge of the Absolute is within human reach, but through a higher religious consciousness rather than by logical processes. —metagnostic, adj.
a branch of philosophy concerned with being, first principles, and often including aspects of cosmology and epistemology. —metaphysician, n.
a concept believed to be beyond but related to empirically gained data. Also metempirics.
the philosophy of pessimism.
the doctrines of Mo-Tze, Chinese sage of the 5th century B.C., who advocated government by an absolute monarch and universal love. —Mohist, n., adj.
the Leibnizian doctrine of monads as unextended, indivisible, and indestructible entities that are the ultimate constituent of the universe and a microcosm of it. Also called monadology
the doctrine of Giordano Bruno concerning monads as basic and irreducible metaphysical units that are psychically and spatially individuated. —monadistic, adj.
a theory that only one basic substance or principle exists as the ground of reality. Cf. dualism, pluralism.
a theory that reality consists of a single element. Cf. pluralism.
a theory that the object and the sense datum of cognition are identical. —monist, n.
—monistic, monistical, adj.
the philosophic doctrine that claims that the soul is mortal. —mortalist, n.
the theory that the world is perceived exactly as it is. Also called natural realism, commonsense realism
. Cf. idealism, realism.
the belief that the human brain is capable of spontaneous or innate ideas. See also foreigners
. —nativist, n.
the doctrine of the determinism of the will by antecedent causes, as opposed to that of the f reedom of the will. Also called necessarianism
. Cf. determinism, fatalism, libertarianism.
—necessitarian, n., adj.
any system of thought opposed to positivism; doctrines based upon doubt and skepticism. —negativist, n., adj.
a philosophical system originated in Alexandria in the 3rd century A.D., founded on Platonic doctrine, Aristotelianism, and Oriental mysticism, with later influences from Christianity. —Neoplatonist, n.
the neo-scholastic philosophy closely related to the teachings of Thomas Aquinas. —neo-Thomist, n.
the philosophy of Nietzsche, especially its emphasis on the will to power as the chief motivating force of both the individual and society. Also called Nietzscheanism
. —Nietzschean, n., adj.
the belief that existence is not real and that there can be no objective basis of truth, a form of extreme skepticism. Cf. ethical nihilism. —nihilist, n., adj.
the doctrine that abstract words or universals do not represent objectively existing entities, and that universals are only names applied to individual physical particulars that alone exist objectively. —nominalist, n., adj.
any of several philosophical concepts regarding the noumenon. —noumenalist, n., adj.
that which can be the object only of a purely intellectual, nonsensuous intuition, the thing-in-itself (Ding an Sich
an unknowable object (as God), the existence of which is not capable of proof. —noumenal, adj.
any of various philosophical theories stressing the external or objective elements of cognition.
any theory asserting that the moral good is objective and not influenced by human feelings. —objectivist, n., adj.
the Cartesian philosophic doctrine that holds that mind and matter are incapable of affecting each other and that their reciprocal action must be owing to the intervention of God. —occasionalist, n.
adherence to oligarchy as a principle. —oligarchist, n.
philosophical inquiry into the nature of being itself, a branch of metaphysics. —ontologist, n.
—ontologie, ontological, ontologistic, adj.
the idea that the concepts used in nonanalytical scientific statements must be deflnable in relation to identiflable operations. —operationist, n.
the belief that good is ultimately triumphant over the evil in the world.
the Leibnizian doctrine that this is the best of all possible worlds.
the belief that goodness pervades reality. Cf. meliorism, pessimism.
the theory that vital activities stem not from any single part of an organism but from its autonomous composition. Cf. holism, mechanism, vitalism.
a method or means for communicating knowledge or for philosophical inquiry.
the doctrines developed or ascribed to the 3rd-century Christian theologian Origen, especially an attempt to develop a Christian philosophy combining Platonism and the Scriptures. —Origenist, n.
the doctrine that material nature is the source of all phenomena. —pamphysicism, adj.
the theory that all matter has some consciousness.
the doctrine that the universe is a realization or act of the Logos.
the Hegelian doctrine that logos or reason informs the absolute or absolute reality. —panlogist, n.
—panlogical, panlogistic, panlogistical, adj.
the doctrine that each object in the universe has a mind or an unconscious psyche and that all physical occurrences involve the mental. —panpsychist, n.
the philosophical theory of Arthur Schopenhauer, who maintained that the ultimate reality of the universe is will.
the theory that mind and matter accompany each other but are not causally related.
the doctrine of the effects on the mind of pleasure and pain.
the philosophy of Aristotle, who taught while walking.
the followers of Aristotle and his school of philosophy. —Peripatetic, n., adj.
the doctrine that all things naturally tend to evil.
the doctrine that this is the worst of all possible worlds. Cf. Leibnizianism.
the doctrine that the evil and pain in the world outweigh goodness and happiness, and that the world is basically evil. Cf. meliorism, optimism.
the mental image or representation of a real person or thing. See also ghosts
the doctrine that phenomena are the only objects of knowledge or the only form of reality. —phenomenalist, n.
the study of phenomena.
the philosophical system of Edmund Husserl and his followers, especially the careful description of phenomena in all areas of experience. —phenomenologist, n.
—phenomenologic, phenomenological, adj.
a spurious philosophic argument. —philosophist, n., adj.
a doctrine, related to logical positivism, that all meaningful statements, with the exception of necessary statements of logic and mathematics, must relate either directly or indirectly to observable properties of the temporal. —physicalist, n., adj.
the philosophy of Plato and his followers, especially the doctrine that physical objects are imperfect and impermanent representations of unchanging ideas, and that knowledge is the mental apprehension of these ideas or universals. —Platonist, n., adj.
a theory positing more than one principle or basic substance as the ground of reality. Cf. dualism, monism
a theory that reality consists, not of an organic whole, but of two or more independent material or spiritual entities. —pluralist, n.
the doctrines concerning the highest of three Gnostic orders of mankind, those who have received spiritual gifts and are therefore by nature capable of salvation. Cf. hylicism, psychism.
a philosophical system developed by Auguste Comte, concerned with positive facts and phenomena, the flrst verifled by the methods of the empirical sciences, the second explainable by scientific laws. Also called Comtism
a contemporary philosophical movement stressing the task of philosophy as criticizing and analyzing science, and rejecting all transcendental metaphysics. Also called logical positivism
. —positivist, n.
a philosophical system stressing practical consequences and values as standards by which the validity of concepts are to be determined. —pragmatist, n., adj.
the pragmatist philosophy of C. S. Peirce, especially his work in logic and problems in language. —pragmaticist, n.
the doctrine, introduced by the Skeptics and influential in the seiences and social sciences in modified form, that certainty is impossible and that probability suffices to govern belief and action. —probabilist, n.
a doctrine of philosophy that is prudential.
a false, sham, or foolish philosopher.
the doctrines concerning the second of three Gnostic orders of mankind, those endowed with souls and free wills, savable through the right use of the latter. Cf. hylicism, pneumatism
any of various theories of nature or of animal and human behavior based upon teleological doctrines. —purposivist, n.
the Skeptic doctrines of Pyrrho and his followers, especially the assertion that, since all perceptions tend to be faulty, the wise man will consider the external circumstances of life to be unimportant and thus preserve tranquility.
extreme or absolute skepticism. Cf. Skepticism.
—Pyrrhonian, Pyrrhonic, n., adj.
the essential nature or quality of something that makes it different and distinct from other things and establishes its identity. —quidditative, adj.
Ancient and Medieval Philosophy.
the fifth essence, of which the heavenly bodies were thought to be made, distinguished from the four elements of ure, air, water, and earth; hence, the most pure essence or most perfect embodiment of a thing or being. —quintessential, adj.
a nice or fine point, as in argument; a subtlety. —quodlibetal, adj.
a person who likes to talk about or dispute fine points or quodlibets.
the doctrines of Pierre de la Ramée (Ramus), who opposed scholasticism and the dialectics of Aristotle. —Ramist, n., adj.
the doctrine that knowledge is gained only through the reason, a faculty independent of experience.
the doctrine that all knowledge is expressible in self-evident propositions or their consequences. —rationalist, n.
the doctrine that universals have a real objective existence. Cf. idealism.
the doctrine that objects of sense perception have an existence independent of the act of perception. —realist, n.
a doctrine asserting the existence of relations as entities.
a theory maintaining the conditioning of any ideological perspective or system by its sociocultural context. —relationist, n.
any theory maintaining that criteria of judgment vary with individuals and their environments; relationism. Cf. ethical relativism.
the philosophy that advocates restriction and restraint, as in trade dealings. —restrictionist, n., adj.
the philosophy of Antonio Rosmini-Serbati, 19th-century Italian philosopher and ecclesiastic, who taught that the idea of true being is inborn and that through it true knowledge is made potential. —Rosminian, n., adj.
the philosophy of idealism, as set forth by F. W. J. von Schelling.
the representation in outline of a particular systematic arrangement or of a particular concept. —schematist, n.
a head of a school, especially the head of one of the ancient Athenian schools of philosophy.
the doctrines of the schoolmen; the system of theological and philosophical instruction of the Middle Ages, based chiefly upon the authority of the church fathers and on Aristotle and his commentators. —Scholastic, n., adj.
the philosophy of John Duns Scotus, medieval Scholastic, especially his proposal that philosophy and theology be made separate disciplines. —Scotist, n.
—Scotistic, Scotistical, adj.
the doctrine that all ideas are derived from and essentially reducible to sense perceptions. Also called sensuism
the doctrine that the good is to be judged only by or through the gratification of the senses. Also called sensualism
. See also ethics
; literary style
. —sensationalist, n.
sensationalism, def. 2.
sensationalism, def. 1.
any philosophy that derives the universe from one principle.
the doctrines or opinions of philosophical Skeptics, especially the doctrine that a true knowledge of things is impossible or that all knowledge is uncertain. Cf. Pyrrhonism.
—Skeptic, Sceptic, n.
some aspect of Socrates’ philosophy.
the theory that only the self exists or can be proved to exist. Also called panegoism
. —solipsist, n.
the teachings and ways of teaching of the ancient Greek sophists.
subtle, superficially plausible, but actually specious or fallacious reasoning, as was sometimes used by the sophists.
the state or quality of appearing to be greater or more than is to be found on a close examination, as an argument that has the appearance of merit but does not stand up to a close look. —speeious, adj.
the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza, who maintained that only thought and extension are capable of being apprehended by the human mind. —Spinozist, n.
the school of philosophy founded by Zeno (of Citium), who asserted that men should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity. —Stoic, n., adj.
the doctrine that all knowledge is limited to experiences by the self and that all transcendent knowledge is impossible.
the theory that certain states of feeling or thought are the highest good.
the doctrine that the good and the right can be distinguished only by individual feeling. —subjectivist, n.
the attempted reconciliation of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion. —syncretic, syncretical, syncretistic, syncretistical, adj.
the process of deductive reasoning, as from cause to effect, from the simple elements to the complex whole, etc. See also joining
. —synthesist, n.
—synthetic, synthetical adj.
the principles or practice of synthesis or synthetic methods or techniques.
a person who practices or believes in synthetic methods or principles.
the doctrine that final causes (purposes) exist.
the study of the evidences of design or purpose in nature.
such a design or purpose.
the belief that purpose and design are a part of or apparent in nature.
the doctrine that phenomena are guided by both mechanical forces and goals of self-realization. Cf. entelechy.
—teleologie, teleological, adj.
the philosophical doctrine that emphasizes the ultimate reality of time instead of the reduction of time to a manifestation of the eternal. —temporalist, n.
the belief that God has set a term for the probation of individuals during which time they are offered grace. —terminist, n.
the theological and philosophical doctrines of St. Thomas Aquinas and his followers. —Thomist, n.
any philosophy based upon the doctrine that the principles of reality are to be discovered only through the analysis of the processes of thought, as Kantianism.
a philosophy emphasizing the intuitive and spiritual above the empirical, as the philosophy of Emerson. Cf. descendentalism.
a position in the probabilistic controversy of the 16th and 17th centuries maintaining that, in the absence of moral certitude, only the most rigorous of any probable courses of ethical action should be taken. Also called rigorism
. —tutiorist, n.
the philosophical tenets set forth by John Stuart Mill based on the principle of “the greatest good for the greatest number” and holding that the criterion of virtue lies in its utility. —utilitarian, n., adj.
the doctrine that phenomena are only partly controlled by mechanical forces and are in some measure self-determining. Cf. mechanism, organicism.
the doctrine that ascribes the functions of a living organism to a vital principle (as élan vital)
distinct from physical or chemical forces. Cf. dynamism.
—vitalist, n., adj.
any theory that regards the will rather than the intellect as the fundamental agency or principle in human activities and experience, as Nietzscheism. —voluntarist, n.