(with some religious terms)

A-C | D-F | G-L | J-M | N-Q | R-T | U-Z

DARWINISM - 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:

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

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

DEATH OF GOD - 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.

DEATH OF GOD THEOLOGY - 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.

DECIDIBILITY: 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.

DEDUCTION 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.

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

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

DEISM - 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.

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

DEMIURGE - 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.

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

DEONTOLOGICAL ETHICS - 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)

DEONTOLOGICAL: [De=obligation + logical] A deontological ethics is one that claims that it is something in the natue or structure of actions that makes them obligatory or impermissable (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 though 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.

DESIGN ARGUMENT - see teleological argument.

DETERMINISM - 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.

DETERMINISM the claim that human agents are wholly subect 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.

DHAMMAPADA: 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.

DHARMA: 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."

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

DIALECTIC - 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.

DIANETICS: 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.

DIASPORA: 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.

DIOCESE, DIOCESAN: 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.

DISCIPLE: 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..

DOCTRINE: 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.

DOCUMENTARY HYPOTHESIS: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.

DOGMA: 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.

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

DUALISM - 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.

DUALISM: 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 exisstance.

DUALIST:  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).

DUTY: 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.

ECUMENISM: A modern theological and social term refering 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.

EDEN: 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.

EGOISTIC HEDONISM: 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.

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

ELDER: 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.

EMANATION - 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.

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

EMPIRICAL 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.

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

EMPIRICISM - 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).

EMPIRICISM - 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.

EMPIRICIST: Specifically, a British philosopher of the 17th and 18th centruy 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).

END: 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.

ENLIGHTENMENT ( or AGE OF REASON) - 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.

ENTELECHY:  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.

EPICUREANISM - 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. Accordng 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."

EPIPHANY (EPIPHANY): 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.

EPIPHENOMENALISM: 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.

EPISTEMOLOGY - 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.

EPISTEMOLOGY: 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.

EQUIVOCAL - 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."

ESCHATOLOGY: 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 apocalypic, although apocalypse almost always refers to some final destructive force interpreted as divine judgment upon humankind.

ESSENCE - 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.

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

ETHICAL RELATIVISM: 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.

EUCHARIST: 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.

EVANGELIST: 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, refering to an evangelist who limits his methods and approach to broadcasts via television.

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

EX CATHEDRA: In Latin, the term refers to "out of the chair." This term is used to proclaim the infallability of papal statements that are prounounced 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.

EXCLUDED MIDDLE, LAW OF: 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.

EXISTENCE - 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].

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 enquiry, 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.

EXODUS: 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.

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

EXPERIMENT: 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.

EXTENSIONAL: 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 philosphers (see nominalist) have hoped that we could describe the world in wholly extensional terms. See intension.

FALLACY - 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.

FALSEHOOD AND FALLACY 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.

FATALISM - 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.

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

FETISHISM: 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.

FIDEISM - 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.

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

FIVE CLASSICS: 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.

FIVE PILLARS: 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.

FLAGGELANTES: 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.

FLAGGELATION: 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.

FOR ITSELF (POUR-SOI):  human is consciousness, fluid, lack of determinate structure, potent. Alternatives to choice or things are distinguished by their not being something else.  [Sartre]

FORM CRITICISM: 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.

FORMAL FALSITY:  occurs only when there is an error in judgment.

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

FORMS (IDEAS, IDEAL TYPES) - 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 prexistent 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).

FORMS (OR IDEAS): 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 or or principle of development in the thing itself.

FOUR ELEMENTS - 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.

FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS: 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.

FREE WILL - 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.

FUNDAMENTALISM, FUNDAMENTALIST: 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 infallibilty 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.