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100 Words Encountered in

Philosophy

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theology
She studied theology at Yale Divinity School.
theology = the study of religion
DefinitionGenerally theology means:
the study of religion; or a particular system or school of religious beliefs
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abstract
as in:
abstract thought
We all agree that we want what's "best for the country", but that is an abstract concept and we cannot agree on which specific laws should be passed.
abstract = of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abstract means:
of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance

or more rarely:

describing someone as distracted — thinking about something outside of the immediate conversation or circumstances
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doctrine
She challenges accepted doctrine.
doctrine = generally accepted beliefs
DefinitionGenerally doctrine means:
a belief (or system of beliefs or principles) accepted as authoritative by some group
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metaphysics
Ontology is a central branch of metaphysics.†
metaphysics = the philosophical study of being and knowing
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epistemology
Her faith and reason led her to study epistemology.†
epistemology = the study of how we know what we know
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socialism
She believes that more socialism would be more fair.
socialism = an economic system based on government ownership and control of all companies — with the ideal of equal benefits to all people
DefinitionGenerally socialism means:
an economic system based on government ownership or control of all important companies — with the ideal of equal benefits to all people
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phenomenon
It is a growing social phenomenon on high school campuses.
phenomenon = something that can be seen and is of special interest
DefinitionGenerally phenomenon means:
something that exists or happened — especially something of special interest — sometimes someone or something that is extraordinary
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dialectic
Plato's Socratic dialogues popularized the concept of dialectics.†
dialectics = a search for truth through logical discussion — especially in reconciling two conflicting influences or ideas
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cosmology
She believes in the Big Bang theory of cosmology.†
cosmology = the study of the origin of the universe
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rationalism
Immanuel Kant attempted to integrate rationalism and empiricism.†
rationalism = the doctrine that knowledge is acquired primarily by reason rather than by experience
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inseparable
They are inseparable companions.†
inseparable = not separable; i.e., not capable of being separated
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empirical
Is her theory supported by empirical data?
empirical = based on experience or observation rather than theory
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predicated
solving the problem is predicated on understanding it well†
predicated = to indicate that something is a necessary condition for another thing to be true or to happen
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aesthetic
It was not aesthetically pleasing.
aesthetically = in a manner that is beautiful or tasteful
DefinitionGenerally aesthetic means:
related to beauty or good taste — often referring to one's appreciation of beauty or one's sense of what is beautiful

or:

beautiful or tasteful
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temporal
as in:
temporal world
She focuses more on the spiritual while his main concern is with temporal existence.
temporal = concerned with the material (in contrast to the spiritual) world
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inconsistent
Her play is inconsistent. Sometimes she's unbeatable and other times she beats herself.
inconsistent = not the same at different times
DefinitionGenerally inconsistent means:
not the same in different parts or at different times

or:

not in agreement [with something else]
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essence
To make things better, to enjoy each other's company, and to empathize are essence of humanity.
essence = the defining or most important aspect of something
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convention
as in:
conventional behavior
It was once conventional wisdom that the earth was flat.
conventional = normal or typical
DefinitionGenerally this sense of convention means:
something regarded as normal or typical
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materialistic
She thinks Americans are too materialistic.†
materialistic = concerned with wealth and possessions at the expense of other interests
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hypothesis
2 meanings
as in:
a study to test her hypothesis
The study will test the hypothesis that a good marriage is more important than a higher income when measuring happiness.
hypothesis = a seemingly reasonable, but unproven, idea or explanation
DefinitionGenerally this sense of hypothesis means:
seemingly reasonable, but unproven idea or explanation based upon known facts
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as in:
assume as a working hypothesis
For the purpose of discussion, let's accept that the hypothesis that she is guilty is true. What would we have expected her to do after the incident?
hypothesis = something that may or may not be true, but is temporarily treated as true to advance a discussion or to further investigation
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humanism
She describes herself as a secular humanist.†
humanist = the doctrine emphasizing a person's capacity for self-realization through reason; rejects religion and the supernatural
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analogy
Her analogy is flawed.†
analogy = drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect
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utilitarianism
Utilitarianism gained popularity as public argument became more pluralistic and secular.†
utilitarianism = doctrine that the useful is the good; or the greatest happiness for the greatest number
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utilitarian
She likes plain utilitarian kitchenware.
utilitarian = designed for usefulness rather than beauty or style
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subjective
a subjective judgment†
subjective = influenced by personal belief, feelings, or preferences (rather than being based purely upon fact)
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objective
By any objective analysis, you would have to agree that...
objective = fact-based (not influenced by personal feelings or preferences)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of objective means:
fact-based without the influence of personal feelings or preferences
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insight
The book is full of insight on human nature.
insight = clear understanding of some aspects of a complex situation
DefinitionGenerally insight means:
a clear understanding of some aspect of a complex situation; or a tendency to have such understandings
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profound
as in:
profound sadness
Her apology was heartfelt—expressing profound sorrow and regret.
profound = of greatest intensity or emotional depth
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infer
Which of the following facts can you infer from the first paragraph?
infer = figure out or guess by reasoning
DefinitionGenerally infer means:
to figure out or guess by reasoning
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Immanuel Kant
Kant's most important work is the Critique of Pure Reason.†
Kant = German philosopher generally considered the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment; emphasized the categorical imperative; criticized proofs of God, but believed God's existence must be assumed by rational, moral individuals (1724-1804)
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rhetoric
She uses convincing rhetoric, but makes bad decisions.
rhetoric = the use of words to make a point
DefinitionGenerally rhetoric means:
the use of words to make a point

or more rarely:

study of the technique and rules for using language effectively (especially to persuade)
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Nietzsche
Nietzsche famously said, "What does not destroy me, makes me stronger."
Nietzsche = influential German philosopher remembered for his concept of the superman and for his rejection of Christian values; considered, along with Kierkegaard, to be a founder of existentialism (1844-1900)
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sage
as in:
sage advice
Can you offer some sage advice?
sage = wise
DefinitionGenerally this sense of sage means:
profound wisdom; or one known for being wise
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postmodernism

with regard to philosophy
My grandmother complains that the postmodern worldview too often leaves us without a shared sense of what is right and wrong.
postmodern = a worldview that denies the possibility of empirical or valid universal explanations and emphasizes the existence of different worldviews and concepts of reality
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sophistry
Where facts failed her, she used sophistry.
sophistry = the use of seemingly believable, but invalid arguments that display ingenuity in reasoning
DefinitionGenerally sophistry means:
seemingly believable, but invalid arguments that display ingenuity in reasoning
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empiricism
John Locke is credited with explicitly formulating empiricism.†
empiricism = the doctrine that all knowledge is derived from experience
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synthesis
His operas are the synthesis of music and drama in perfect harmony.†
synthesis = the combination of components into a complex whole
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premise
as in:
the premise of the argument
Her logic is fine except that it assumes a false premise.
premise = something assumed to be true and upon which other things are based
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dilemma
It is an ethical dilemma.
dilemma = a situation in which a difficult choice must be made between imperfect alternatives
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Marx
Marx underestimated the affluence of the working class.†
Marx = founder of modern communism; wrote the Communist Manifesto with Engels in 1848; wrote Das Kapital in 1867 (1818-1883)
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Marxism
As a child, he adopted a Castro-inspired Marxism.
Marxism = belief in the economic and political theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that hold that human actions and institutions are economically determined and that class struggle is needed to create historical change and that capitalism will ultimately be superseded by communism
DefinitionGenerally Marxism means:
belief in the economic and political theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that hold that human actions and institutions are economically determined and that class struggle is needed to create historical change and that capitalism will ultimately be replaced by communism
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a priori
unfounded a priori claims†
a priori = knowledge that is assumed to be true without proof (independent of experience)
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a posteriori
Most research dollars are spent on a posteriori treatment rather than on prevention.†
a posteriori = knowledge dependent upon experience
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yin
In Chinese philosophy, everything has both yin and yang aspects.†
yin = in the Chinese dualistic cosmology of yin and yang:  the dark, calm, feminine aspect
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yang
In Taoist philosophy, yin and yang are always opposite, and interrelated in equal qualities.†
yang = in the Chinese dualistic cosmology of yin and yang:  the bright, energetic, masculine aspect
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utopia
We thought we could create a utopia, but we failed because we overestimated human nature.
utopia = an imaginary place considered to be perfect or ideal
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tautology

a linguistic tautology
It is an intentional tautology as when Gertrude Stein said "A rose is a rose is a rose."
tautology = useless repetition in different words (such as "unmarried bachelor")
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pantheism
Hinduism is a pantheistic religion.†
pantheistic = the doctrine or belief that God is the universe and its phenomena (taken or conceived of as a whole) or the doctrine that regards the universe as a manifestation of God
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Hume
Hume attempted to develop a systematic naturalistic philosophy.†
Hume = Scottish philosopher whose skeptical philosophy restricted human knowledge to that which can be perceived by the senses (1711-1776)
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Francis Bacon
Many consider Francis Bacon to be a catalyst of the scientific revolution.†
Francis Bacon = English statesman and philosopher who stressed the importance of experiment, observation, and inductive reasoning (1561-1626)
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extrinsic
a conflict between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation†
extrinsic = not forming an essential part of a thing; or arising or originating from the outside
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intension
Your argument depends upon an intension of the concept well beyond what the real world will ever see.†
intension = any property or quality connoted by a word or symbol — often implied by its definition
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Thomas Hobbes
The tiger in the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip is named after Thomas Hobbes.†
Thomas Hobbes = English materialist and political philosopher who advocated absolute sovereignty as the only kind of government that could resolve problems caused by the selfishness of human beings; famous for his book, Leviathan (1588-1679)
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Avicenna
Avicenna is probably the most influential philosopher of the Islamic tradition.†
Avicenna = most famous and influential of the philosopher-scientists of Islam; his interpretation of Aristotle influenced St. Thomas Aquinas; writings on medicine were important for almost 500 years (980-1037)
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John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham had different conceptions of utilitarianism.†
John Stuart Mill = English philosopher and economist remembered for his interpretations of empiricism and utilitarianism (1806-1873)
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begging the question
She is begging the question rather than responding to my objection.†
begging the question = a logical fallacy or error in reasoning when the conclusion of an argument is assumed in one of the premises

or:  a second meaning of the form begs the question is often used in a way many consider incorrect to say that something raises the question
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ad hominem
She could see she was losing the debate, so she switched to an ad hominem argument.†
ad hominem argument = an argument that attacks the person rather than dealing with the real issue in dispute
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straw man
She's effective at tearing down straw men, but let me ask about a real case.†
straw men = an argument attributed to one's opponent that is weaker than their actual argument
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non sequitur
The story may sound like a non sequitur, but bear with me and you'll see how it shines light on the issue.†
non sequitur = something said that does not logically follow from what preceded it
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red herring
I think she raised the issue as a red herring.†
red herring = any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue
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circular reasoning
She's guilty of circular reasoning.†
circular reasoning = a logical fallacy or error in reasoning when the conclusion of an argument is assumed in one of the premises
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Desiderius Erasmus
As Erasmus said, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."†
Erasmus = Dutch humanist and theologian who was the leading Renaissance scholar of northern Europe; although his criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church were instrumental to the Reformation, he opposed violence and condemned Martin Luther (1466-1536)
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Friedrich Engels
Engels was influenced by the philosophy of Hegel.†
Engels = socialist who with his better known partner, Karl Marx, developed the theory of communism; co-authored the Communist Manifesto 1848 (1820-1895)
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reductio ad absurdum
Extend her premise to its logical outcome and it becomes a reductio ad absurdum since...†
reductio ad absurdum = a type of logical argument in which one assumes a claim for the sake of argument, derives an absurd outcome, and therefore concludes that the original assumption must have been wrong
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Aristotelian logic
Your simple Aristotelian logic is not going to provide a clear answer because they are in both classes to a degree.†
Aristotelian logic = the syllogistic logic of Aristotle as developed in the Middle Ages as traditional or term logic

(made up of statements in one of four forms: "All A's are B's", "No A's are B's", "Some A's are B's", or "Some A's are not B's" such that conclusions can be proven based on premises; though proof of premises is beyond the logical system)
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Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas was posthumously excommunicated, but later pronounced a saint.†
Thomas Aquinas = exceedingly influential philosopher who greatly furthered Catholic reconciliation of faith and reason (1225-1274)
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existential
as in:
existential philosophy
It was a moment of existential angst when nothing made sense any more.
existential = not knowing what is important

(relating to existentialism; a philosophical movement that assumes each person is free to determine what is essential in his/her existence rather than that being determined by a god and/or authority figures)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of existential means:
relating to existentialism; a philosophical movement that assumes each person is free to determine what is essential in his/her existence rather than that being determined by a god and/or authority figures
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Occam's razor
In answer to Occam's razor, Chatton argued: "If three things are not enough to verify an affirmative proposition about things, a fourth must be added, and so on."†
Occam's razor = Typically interpreted by layman as:  "All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one."
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Nash equilibrium
The Nash equilibrium defines stability only in terms of unilateral deviations.†
Nash equilibrium = game theory:  a situation where no player can unilaterally improve their situation
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Pareto optimal
a Pareto-optimal way of distributing limited resources†
Pareto-optimal = a situation that cannot be improved for any person without making another person worse off
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deduce
She trusts only what she can measure or can deduce from measurement.
deduce = conclude by reasoning
DefinitionGenerally deduce means:
conclude by reasoning — especially reasoning from the general to the particular
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Montesquieu
Leaders must overcome Montesquieu's observation that a "rational army would run away."†
Montesquieu = French political philosopher who provided the theoretical basis for the separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers (1689-1755)
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Ph.D
She is a research scientist who earned her Ph.D in physics.
Ph.D = a research doctorate usually based on at least 3 years graduate study and a dissertation; the highest degree awarded in universities in many fields of study
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† 
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