RAMADAN (SOMETIMES RAMADHAN): Muslim holy month during which all believers fast between dawn and darkness. Ramadan signifies the time during which it is believed Allah sent the angel Gabriel to Muhammad in MECCA and gave him the teachings of the Koran (Quran). Because Islam follows a lunar calendar, the month of Ramadan shifts each year when reckoned by Western calendars.
RATIONAL: respecting logical principles of validity and consistency and answering to the evidence of experience.
RATIONALISM - In essence, rationalism was a philosophical theory of knowledge that thrived especially as a movement in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, its greatest proponents being Renes Descartes (1596-1650), Benedict Spinoza (1632-77), and Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716). As a movement, rationalism was characterized by its confidence in reason, and intuition in particular, to know reality independently from sense experience. Thus, rationalism was the polar opposite of empiricism which asserted that knowledge could only be derived through sense experience. see Empiricism. In the nineteenth and twentieth century, the term rationalism has somewhat become synonymous with reason (i.e. scientific reason), over and against all systems of faith. The theory that reason is the source of all knowledge independent of empirical (sense) perceptions. The continental European philosophical tradition beginning in the C17 and concluding in the late C18, which regards knowledge in general as derived from and dependent on the employment of reason independently of sense experience. Opposed to empiricism.
RATIONALIST: Specifically, continental philosopher of the 17th-18th century such as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz. These philosophers tended to believe that science abounds in pure, a priori, necessary, rational truths that may be discovered through introspective, rational analysis of concepts or ideas that derive more from innate principles of human though than from our actual sensory experience. See empiricist, neorationalist, neo-empiricist.
RATIONALITY in philosophical usage this term refers to ; it is therefore an umbrella-term, species of which are . It has come to replace the term reason, which is historically earlier and which means much the same, except for the connotation of a distinct faculty of mind, as in the notion of a psychological opposition of Reason and Passion.
REALISM - (1) That which refers empistemologically to the fact that the object known is independent of the knowing mind. (2) Ontologically it denotes that universals exist external to our minds; (3) Any belief that reality is extra-mental.
REALISM (PLATONIC): View that affirms the existence of universals. Extreme or Platonic realism holds that universals ("forms" or "ideas") exist independently of both particular things and human minds. Moderate or Aristotelian realism holds that universals only exist as inhering in, or being instantiated by, particulars. Also see conceptualism. Contrast: nominalism.
REALISM(REALIST ADJ.) a philosophical position is realist if it maintains that we know things as they really are, or in other words, if it maintains that what we know exists in the way that we know it independently of ourselves. Realism therefore draws a distinction between the object of our knowledge, and the subject who knows that object: the subject, according to realism, neither creates nor conditions the object of their knowledge. Thus it is hard not to be a realist about material objects considered with respect to their shape; but hard to be a realist about the colours of material objects. Opposed to idealism.
REALISM: the theory that universals such as Forms, must exist only within the objects in the external world, as opposed to the realm of Ideas or Forms. [Aristotle]
REALIST: Generally, someone who claims that various sorts of things that are not realized completely in our (sensory) experience are real. The things in question might be, e.g.: numbers, infinite constructions, material objects, theoretical entities (atoms, the unconscious mind, etc.) and so on. During the middle ages “realist” specifically meant someone who maintained that there are universals who maintained that there are universals (e.g. “horsiness” “humanity”) corresponding to words such as “horse” and “human” and not just individual things. See nominalist.
REALITY - Everything that exists; "the whole show"; God and everything created by God, including relationships, concepts, ideas, persons, material and immaterial substances. The whole of actual being.
REASON - (1) The final or ultimate cause as opposed to prior or subsequent causes; (2) the ability to know things without reliance on empirical evidence; (3) the ability to make inferences, develop and judge arguments, and discover explanations. Reason is the use of logical faculties to arrive at truth.
REASON: The power of grasping concepts and drawing inferences.
REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM - Latin for "reduction to absurdity." In a philosophical debate, for instance, one can "reduce his opponent's argument to the absurd" by allowing the conclusions of his opponent to reach the extent of their implications.
REFLECTION: According to Locke: the inner perception by which minds are aware of their own thoughts. See apperception.
REFORMATION: A 16th-century revolution in the Christian church sparked by Martin Luther's posting of his 95 Theses on the cathedral door at Wittenburg, Germany, issuing a challenge to debate issues such as the selling of indulgences by the church in Rome. Luther's action sparked a movement that came to be Protestantism in Europe and led to the establishment of several denominational churches subscribing to doctrines at odds with the Roman church. Sometimes refered to as the Protestant Reformation.
REFUTING AND PROVING Refuting a claim is showing it to be false-typically by producing reasons that make it clear that it's false. Until you produce reasons, you may deny or reject the claim, but you won't have refuted it. In addition, don't say: Berkeley refutes Locke's claim that there are material objects. unless you think that Berkeley has succeeded in demonstrating that Locke's claim is false. If Berkeley has refuted Locke, then Locke must be wrong. You can't write: " Berkeley refuted Locke's claim, but in fact Locke was right." If you doubt whether Berkeley's criticisms of Locke are successful, you should say instead: Berkeley denies Locke's claim that... or: Berkeley argues against Locke's claim that...or: Berkeley rejects Locke's claim that...or: Berkeley tries to refute Locke's claim that...Similarly, you should not say that Locke has proven some claim, or shown that something is the case, unless you think that Locke's arguments for his claim are successful. If Locke has proven a claim, then the claim must be true. If you doubt whether Locke's arguments for a claim are successful, then you should say instead: Locke argues that...or: Locke defends the claim that...or: Locke tries to prove that...or something of that sort.
RELATIVISM - In ethics, relativism is the opposite of absolutism. Whereas absolutism insists that there are universal ethical standards that are inflexible and absolute, relativism asserts that ethical mores vary from era to era, culture to culture, situation to situation. For instance, an absolutist would condemn China's forced-abortion policy, while a relativist would say that in a culture of one billion human beings, such a policy is acceptable and even beneficial for the whole of Chinese society. Relativists find their moral justification in the ethical philosophy of utilitarianism which asserts that "That which promotes the greatest happiness is right." see absolutism, utilitarianism. The view that one's knowledge or understanding is always limited to one's situation; nothing can be known objectively, but only subjectively. The position that there is no rationality or truth independently of (cultural, historical, theoretical) context, this context being in some sense arbitrary or conventional. Opposed to relativism are all forms of realism and indeed any position which maintains that we are capable of achieving objectivity which .
RELATIVISM: in the Protagorean sense, relativism is a theory about the relativity of knowledge and the relativity of sense perception. Often referred to as homo mensura (man is the measure in Latin). Therefore it would be erroneous to say that one person is right (has the truth) and another person is wrong (does not have the truth) about sense perception. Truth does not exist independently of a perceiver and his assertion that something is true.
REPRESSION: Freudian mechanism by which unacceptable wishes and thoughts are banished from conscious awareness but continue to unconsciously and, thence, find expression in dreams and slips of the tongue, and sometimes in compulsive behavior, obsessive thoughts, and other forms of psychopathology. Herbert Marcuse distinguishes necessary repression (without which civilization could not exist) from surplus repression (which serves to maintain unnecessary forms of economic and political control and oppression). Compare: sublimation.
REVEALED THEOLOGY: Truths about God that can only be revealed by supernatural means and cannot be discovered by the unaided exercise of reason and perception. Compare: natural theology.
REVELATION - The idea that God has revealed Himself through nature and the human conscious (this is called natural revelation), and more specifically through the Holy Scriptures and the Incarnation (this is called special revelation).
REVELATION: A theological term describing the action of God's unveiling in word and deed; a communication of God's nature and character. Christians consider the Bible to embody the revelation of God, and more technically consider Jesus of Nazareth to be the revelation of God in human form.
RIG VEDA: The Hindu book of mantras, the first and oldest of all the Vedas (Sanskrit writings of wisdom) upon which all that follow are based. Fundamentally a book of hymns, the Rig Veda is dated by scholars to about 1500 B.C. and by Hindu holy men to about 4000 B.C. Considered the oldest writing of Indo-European language and of Sanskrit.
ROMANTICISM - A sweeping movement in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century which affected political, philosophical, and artistic thought throughout Western Europe. Romanticism served to counter the rationalism and empiricism which dominated the Enlightenment, and it attempted to place the focus on the potentialities of the individual. Romanticism especially emphasized the innate beauty of man, the power of the imagination, hence its expression through various artistic forms. Movement in European thought, literature and art, originating in Germany, France and Britain in the late C18, and extending to the mid-C19, characterised by its opposition to the Enlightenment's reverence of reason and formal rules of artistic and literary production, in favour of a more organic, individualistic and expressive conception of art and human nature.Artistic movement and philosophy of art opposed to neoclassicism and valuing subjective honesty or sincerity of emotional expression above adherence to formal constraints and objective standards of beauty or artistic correctness.
RUSSELL’S THEORY OF DESCRIPTIONS: Roughly, the view that sentences in which phrases of the form the-so-and-so appear can be reduced to more revealing logical forms in which “the” disappears and in which there is no longer any temptation to think that such phrases are like proper names (which see). E.g. “The present king of France is bald” becomes “There exists something which is presently kind of France and there is no other individual who is such and that individual is bald.” Russell’s theory has been called a paradigm of philosophy.
SCHOLASTICISM late medieval (C12-14) tradition of philosophical speculation to which St Thomas Aquinas belongs, characterised by a fusion of Christian theology with Aristotelian philosophy.
SCIENTIFIC LAW: A general scientific hypothesis that is true or (more weakly understood) well-confirmed or established. On realist conceptions the laws of science are generally regarded as expressing the causal laws according to which all occurs, or by which all is governed. See cause, determinism.
SCIENTIFIC REALISM: View that holds that reality really is as science describes it or as science ultimately would describe it at the ideal end-point of inquiry. Contrast: instrumentalism.
SCIENTIFIC THEORY: A logically closely interconnected set of scientific laws.
SCIENTISM - The elevation of science to the position of being the sole source of knowledge on any subject; the "religion" of the empiricist.
SECOND CAUSE: (secondary) is a cause which is dependent of another. The finite cause needs God to support and sustain its existence.
SECONDARY QUALITIES: are about the qualities of an object such as color, tastes, sound, odors, and the like. These secondary qualities are not in the material substance; they are in the mind or they are the way in which the object affects the mind or the knower, and they vary from person to person. Therefore, secondary qualities are subjective in nature.
SEMANTICS - The science of meaning. The characterization, for a natural or artificial, language of relations between sentences such as sameness in meaning, semantic consequences (i.e. that if one sentence is true, such and so others must be true), and relationships between sentences and the world (truth). Characterizations of meaning and menaingfulness come under this heading. See pragmatics and syntactics.
SENSATIONS: what we experience directly - such as shapes, colors, and smells – in perceptual experience. Roughly identifiable, with Locke's "simple ideas" and Hume's "impressions". For Kant these are the "matter" of perception for which time and space are the a priori forms. Among contemporary philosophers, sensations (or their distinctive "felt" properties) are commonly called "qualia." Among the presumed contents of the mind, sensations (being concrete & particular) stand in contrast to (abstract & general, or universal) concepts: compare the experience of seeing red to the idea of redness.
SENSES: Metaphorically, "the doors of perception" (Wm. Blake): the input channels by which the mind is affected by the external world. Following Aristotle, traditionally, there are said to be five: taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. See perceive.
SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH: Historically, this group was once known as Millerites. Orthodox Christian in almost every area of doctrine, Seventh Day Adventists insist that Saturday is the sabbath and therefore worship on that day rather than on Sunday. Headquarters for the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists is in Silver Spring, Maryland. Among the denomination's outstanding institutions are the Loma Linda University and Medical Center in California and Andrews University in Michigan. The group also operates a seminary at Takoma Park in Washington, DC. Traditionally premillenialistin eschatology, Seventh-Day Adventists hold to some doctrines considered heterodox; for example, the notion that all who die fall into a "soul sleep" where they remain until the second coming of Jesus Christ. According to the group's Web site (http://www.adventist.org), there are approximately nine million members of this church worldwide.
SHINTO: An ancient, indigenous religion of Japan that emphasizes nature, harmony and personal cleanliness and lacks any formal doctrine or theology. Often Shinto absorbs parts of BUDDHISM, HINDUISM, or even CHRISTIANITY. Most Japanese consider themselves both Buddhist and Shinto (and many mix in CONFUCIANISM). In Japan, Shinto is known as kami-no-michi, translated as "the road of the divine" or "the way of the gods." In 1868, Japan underwent the Meiji Restoration and the emperor regained power from the shoguns, or regional warlords. At that time, Shinto was declared the official religion of Japan, and the emperor was regarded as a divine descendant of the sun goddess AMATERASU. In 1945, following the defeat of Japan in WWII, the emperor renounced his divine status, but Shinto has continued to exert a strong influence on everyday life in Japan. Shinto's basic beliefs are summarized in its AFFIRMATIONS.
SHIVA OR SIVA: One of the three major deities of Hinduism, Shiva represents the energy of the ultimate and is usually depicted surrounded by fire and exposing many arms. Shiva is associated with both the forces of creation (often symbolized by the human phallus) and the forces of destruction. See Brahma and VISHNU.
SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMA: The given and family names of the Nepalese founder of Buddhism in the 5th or 6th century. The original Buddha, or enlightened one, according to Buddhists. A popular and famous fictionalized biography of the Buddha was written by the German novelist Hermann Hesse and given the title Siddhartha.
SIMPLE IDEAS: have no other ideas contained within them, and like atoms cannot be created nor destroyed; and are ideas such as yellow, hot, sweet.
SITUATION ETHICS - see relativism, absolutism, utilitarianism.
SKEPTICISM - The view that something is not or cannot be known; the attitude of questioning and testing one thing, some things, or all things. The position that nothing can be known; that no claim to knowledge can be justified; that everything is doubtful; that there are no facts available to us. Skepticism is sometimes spoken of as a position within epistemology, and sometimes in opposition to it, i.e. as setting the problem for epistemology to solve. Skepticism may be restricted rather than 'global': a thinker may be described as a 'moral skeptic', meaning that they deny the existence of any facts in the context of morality, while accepting the existence of facts of other kinds (e.g. in science and mathematics).
SKEPTICISM: The philosophic theory that no knowledge can be attained either in general, or (more commonly) with regard to specific categories of presumed knowledge –e.g., Hume's skepticism about our knowledge of presumed necessary connections between things we judge to be causally related. The view that all knowledge is beyond reasonable proof. Skepticism ranges from a complete doubt of everything, to a tentative doubt in a process of reaching certainty.
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVISM: View marked by its rejection of the objectivity of truth, generally, and of scientific truth in particular. Constructivists hold that scientific laws, descriptions, and even observations are social constructs - products or projections of human cultures or communities. As such, they are thoroughly theory-laden and vary between cultures. Consequently scientific truth is neither objective nor universal. Contrast: objective truth. Compare theory laden, theory neutral.
SOCIAL CONTRACT: Implied covenant between individuals by which each foregoes certain freedoms (to prey on others) in exchange for certain rights (not to be preyed on) which social contract theorists (most notably Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean Jaycees Rousseau) propose the legitimacy of government derives. Contrast: anarchism.
SOCIAL CONTRACT: The agreement of a group of people to establish social organizations and regulations for the preservation of basic freedoms and rights.
SOCRATIC OR DIALECTIC METHOD: The crux of the dialectic method is that the teacher should through patient questioning bring the pupil to some true conclusion, without the teacher's telling the pupil that the conclusion is true. Note how Socrates demonstrates to Euthyphro that he is not certain what impiety is, but this still does not deter Euthyphro from prosecuting his own father for impiety. Is it good because it is loved by the gods, or is it good because the gods love it? But Socrates demonstrates that to be truly good, a thing must be good in and of itself. It is for this reason, its goodness, that the gods love it, they do not make it good by their mere love of the thing. But hasn't Euthyphro committed an act of impiety by prosecuting his father without proper knowledge of what piety means? There is real danger to being mistaken. Socrates is so skeptical of the world, in order that he might not be mistaken in his knowledge about the world.
SOFT DETERMINISM: (or indeterminism) the theory that some events do not have a cause, or are free (undetermined).
SOLIPSISM - The belief of utter self-centeredness - that the only reality is "myself"; all objects, persons, ideas, and concepts are only my mental constructs. The position that nothing exists (or: can be known by me to exist) outside my own mind; a solipsist will therefore deny the (knowable) existence of minds other than her own.
STATE OF NATURE: The human condition of natural freedoms and rights prior to the imposition of social organization and regulation (or social contract). It is a state, therefore, that may be thought of as either an alleged historical fact, or an hypothetical claim about what would be or would have been the case, given certain conditions that may or may not have occurred.
STOIC PHILOSOPHY, STOICISM - A philosophical movement founded in Athens around 300 BC by Zeno of Citium (ca. 334-262 BC). The Stoics took their name from the Painted Colonnade (stoa = porch), from where Zeno delivered his lectures. The Apostle Paul stumbled across some Stoic philosophers (and Epicureans) while he traveled through Athens (cf. Acts 17:18) sometime around AD 50-53. Stoicism found its definitive formulation under Chrysippus (280-207 BC), and was largely derived from Heraclitus (ca. 535-474 BC) and his concept of the Logos - i.e. that "Reason" (Logos) was the governing and ordering principle behind the universe.
In a sense, the Stoics were panentheists, according to the words of Chyrsippus, "All are but parts of one stupendous whole; whose body Nature is, and God the soul." Thus, since Reason (Logos) was the underlying principle behind the universe, it was man's goal to align himself with Reason (Logos), and thus live accordingly, which would lead to a life of strict virtue.
Finally, the Stoics believed in Fate as the explanation of all things. Accordingly, when viewed from a cosmic perspective, all things happen for the best and in accord with Reason (Logos). Thus, it is the Stoic's purpose to recognize that the circumstances in life are inevitable (because they are determined by Fate); so, one must be optimistic since all things have been deemed for the best in accord with Reason (Logos). Also, it should be said that the Stoics had a strict moral system (although differing with Christian ethics at times); nevertheless, the Stoics kept lists of virtures and vices, much like the virtue/vice lists in the Pauline writings.
SUBJECTIVE - (1) The knowledge or belief that a subject holds; (2) The experience of a subject; (3) The belief that everything that exists, exists only in the subject's mind; (4) The belief that nothing can be known objectively, but only subjectively; (5) Informally, a perception, opinion, or belief that betrays a personal bias or prejudice.
SUBJECTIVE ETHICS: The theory that ethical judgments such as "good" means "I approve" of certain actions. Moral values are based on feelings, thoughts, and desires which have no objective reference in the world.
SUBJECTIVE IDEALISM: The view that reality is our experience of things. "To be is to be perceived" ( Esse est percipi) according to Bishop George Berkeley (1685- 1753), an Irish philosopher of Irish descent. Berkeley wrote several works, but the most important is Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713), which was his third work completed when he was 28. Berkeley meant by esse est percipi that nothing but minds and ideas exist. To say that an idea exists means, according to him, that it is being perceived by some mind. For ideas, Esse est percipi: to be is to be perceived. Mind themselves, however, are not similarly dependent for their existence on being perceived. Minds are perceivers. To give Berkeley's full meaning we must say: To be is to be perceived (ideas) or to be a perceiver. All that is real is a conscious mind or some perception or idea held by such a mind. How, Berkeley asks, could we speak of anything that was other than an idea or mind? The mind exists as it is thought in the mind of God. Berkeley was also known for holding the position that there is no material substance, hence Berkeley is also, and prefers to be, called an immaterialist.
SUBJECTIVE: Pertaining to thinking and experiencing or to things as thought and experienced. Contrast: objective.
SUBJECTIVISM: Moral theory that holds that what's good or bad or right or wrong varies from individual to individual depending on what each individual believes to be, good or bad or right or wrong. See ethical relativism. Compare cultural relativism.
SUBLIMATION: the redirection, according to Freud, of antisocial sexual and agressive impulses into socially constructive activity. Compare: repression.
SUBSTANCE - In most philosophy, the primary nature of what is real; that which possesses attributes, qualities, properties; the essence that makes something what it is, and nothing else (both descriptively and numerically). In J. P. Moreland, "an entity like an apple, my dog Fido, a carbon atom, a leaf, or an angel. Substances contrast with properties[ substantia in Latin: that which underlies, or upholds something] according to Descartes- Substance is that which can be conceived alone by itself without needing something else in terms of which it is known, and without depending on something else for its existence; a thing which can exist independently (i.e. a stone, me). This would effectively leave only one true substance, God substance. Technically (for Leibniz, Spinoza, Descartes, et. al.) – a self-subsistent entity or thing, not depending on anything (except, possibly God) for its existence: also, the ultimate bearer of attributes or properties. In a somewhat looser sense (closer to Aristotle's) "substance" is used to refer to the individuals which are the bearers of attributes or havers of properties as opposed to the attributes or properties – universals – that they have or which inhere in them..
SUFFICIENT CONDITION: this is a sufficient condition for that if and only if this by itself is enough to guarantee that. (i.e. five nickels are sufficient for twenty-five cents).
SUFFICIENT REASON: Principle formulated by Leibniz according to which, for whatever is the case, there is a sufficient reason why it is the case. Closely akin to this is the Law of Universal Causation, according to which every event has a cause. See also: Determinism.
SUNNI The largest branch of ISLAM that comprises about 85 percent of all Muslims. Sunni Islam began shortly after the death of MUHAMMAD, when followers fought over who should lead the faith. Islam divided into two major branches at that point, the larger Sunni and the smaller Shi'ah, or SHIITE branch.
SUSPENSION OF JUDGMENT: All assumptions or conclusions are questioned until they pass the test of critical analysis. Socrates practiced this type of skepticism by insisting that we answer our own questions.
SYLLOGISM: An argument – usually deductive – having two premises and a single conclusion.
SYNCRETISM - The blending together of different philosophical or religious views. The New Age Movement, for instance, is an example of a syncretistic worldview where many different religions are integrated in various imaginative ways.
SYNTACTICS: The characterization, for an artificial, or natural, language, of what constitutes a well-formed sentence, or, to put it another way, a grammatical sentence, or a sentence of the language. It is usually assumed that a well-formed, or grammatical, sentence need not be meaningful. See semantics.
SYNTHESIS - The combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole; most common as the form of philosophy that a thesis (statement) and a thesis contrary to the first thesis (antithesis) can be related by the mind in such a way that a new thesis (synthesis) advances the mind's knowledge or perception of reality.
SYNTHETIC JUDGMENT: a contingent judgment; such judgments can be contradicted. Synthetical judgments have predicates which contain information which goes beyond the information contained in the subject concept. (The cat is on the mat)
SYNTHETIC: A sentence, proposition, thought, or judgement is synthetic if it is neither logically (analytically) true, or false; generally, synthetic claims are said to be empirical in that they are discovered through experiment and observation, and in that “a bare conception of the subject” will not make it immediately obvious that the predicate appllies to it. Having factual or empirical content; i.e. not being true or false by definition. Contrast term: analytic.
T.M.: Popular abbreviation and shorthand for TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION.
TABULA RASA - Latin for "a blank tablet." This phrase was used by John Locke (1632-1704) as he set forth his empirical theory of knowledge to indicate the state of the human mind at birth. Essentially, he contended that human beings are not born with any prior knowledge or disposition; thus, their minds could only be influenced by sense experience. See Empiricism.
TABULA RASA: (Latin for clean tablet) Called blank slate, or white paper (by Locke), it is the condition of the mind at birth, prior to sense experience.
TACIT CONSENT: The consent and support of social organizations and regulations by virtue of an individual's continued participation in them.
TAUTOLOGY - An analytic proposition that is necessarily true or self-evident, but which gives no useful information, i.e., "It will rain tomorrow or it will not rain tomorrow." In logic, a tautology is a proposition that is already true by definition, not because of any logical deduction. Usually, it is a non-sensical statement. For instance, "All triangles have three sides" is an inherently true proposition, but it doesn't tell us anything new. A non-atomic, or molecular, proposition that is true no matter what the assignment of truth value to the atomic propositions that it contains. Example: “p or not-p”. This molecular proposition is true whether we assign “p” the value true or the value false.
TELEOLOGICAL - (1) Having to do with results, goals, ends, purposes. (2) As a view about finite reality, it is that finite reality is being guided by something (Someone) outside of that finite reality toward a purpose or goal. (3) As a view of ethics, it is that an act can be declared moral or immoral on the basis of what it accomplishes or what its goal or purpose was.
TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT, DESIGN ARGUMENT - Many thinkers since the time of ancient Greece have set forth some type of argument from design, attempting to show that the presence of order and purpose in the world naturally implies the existence of a Supreme Being. One of the most popular forms of the argument was set forth by the Anglican clergyman William Paley (1743-1805). Essentially, Paley formulated his argument according to the following syllogism. This famous argument is called "Paley's Watchmaker."
A watch shows that is was put together for an intelligent purpose - to keep time.
The world shows an even greater evidence of design than a watch
Therefore, if a watch calls for a watchmaker, then the world demands an even greater intelligent designer - i.e. God.
Although logically convincing, the teleological argument was attacked by David Hume (1711-76) in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and more specifically, Paley was attacked by later atheistic/evolutionary thinkers. After Darwin's theory of natural selection and its subsequent modifications, it was believed that evolution became the mechanism that brought about order and apparent design in the natural world. Thus, it seemed that the teleological argument was dead.
In recent years, however, the problems facing evolution, along with new discoveries regarding the extreme complexity of the universe (on the galactic as well as the microbiological plane) have revived the teleological argument. Today, perhaps the strongest form of the argument can be found in the DNA molecule and origin of life discussion. From this, many theists infer a Designer, while evolutionists charge theists with appealing to the "God of the gaps" form of logic. see God of the gaps.
TELEOLOGICAL ETHICS: End-based ethical systems or what is called consequentialism. An action's worth is determined by the consequences. ( telos means end) [teleo -goal + logical] A teleological ethics is one that claims that it is the consequences (or goals-fostered-by) of actions that determine their moral worth. Mill’s utilitarianism (“act so as to achieve the greatest possible balance of pleasure over pain for all sentient creation”) is considered a typical example. See deontological.
TELEOLOGY (TELEOLOGICAL ADJ.) order which is grounded on and which can be explained in terms of ends or purposes of things. Sometimes teleological relations are contrasted with causal relations, and sometimes they are regarded as a species of causal relation. In any case, teleological relations are distinct from bare physical causal relations: teleological relations can be expressed in the form 'A in order that B' or 'A for the sake of B'. The study of the end or purpose of the universe. Purpose or direction
TELOS: end or purpose in classical Greek.
THE LAW OF THE) EXCLUDED MIDDLE: Something either is or it is not. (The middle position is excluded, namely the impossibility of something both being and not being simultaneously.)
THE LAW OF) IDENTITY: Something is what it is.
THE LAW OF) NON-CONTRADICTION: Nothing can both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect. Remember Parmenides' phrasing of the law of non-contradiction? ("What is and cannot not be; and what is not and can not be.").
THE PRINCIPLE OF) SUFFICIENT REASON IS: that for every fact (or reason) there is a reason why it is so and not otherwise.
THEISM - The belief in a personal Creator God who is distinct from what has been created (transcendent), but who is immanent (engaged with) all creation. Theism is the belief in one god, derived from the Judeo-Christian tradition. In a broad sense, it is generally associated with Chrstianity ( Christian theism ); in a particular sense, both Judaism and Islam are forms of theism as well. The term, however, is mostly used in a philosophic or apologetic context to indicate Christian monotheism. Sometimes, though, the term is used to distinguish monotheism from atheism, pantheism, polytheism, panentheism, etc.
THEISTIC: arguments for the existence of God, or one who believes in God (through faith, or reason)
THEODICY - An argument used to show that the evidence of evil in the world is consistent with belief in a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all good. In the Greek, " justification of God," a theodicy is a theological or philosophical attempt to answer the question, "How could an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God have permitted such evil and human suffering to be part of His creation?" - essentially, the question is concerned with the "Problem of Evil." Certainly, there is no doubt that this has been one of the most difficult questions for theists to answer, and although conventional theistic defenses have been put forth for centuries, many seem to fall short of satisfying the query.
THEOLOGY - The study of God within any given religion.
THEORETICAL used to refer to the aspect of philosophy which deals with questions of knowledge and truth divorced from questions of how we should act. Contrasts with practical.
THEORY LADEN: The property of observations varying with, or depending upon, the theoretical commitments of the observer. Insofar as observations are theory laden, your beliefs - as shaped by the theory or paradigm you accept - determine what you observe, so that partisans of different theories (or paradigms) will observe differently..
THEORY NEUTRAL: The property of observations being uninfluenced by the theoretical commitments of the observer. Insofar as observations are theory neutral, your beliefs - as shaped by the theory (or paradigm) you accept - do not color what you observe, so that partisans of different theories (or paradigms) all observe alike.
THEORY OF) IDEAL FORMS: "It is the belief in a transcendent world of eternal and absolute beings, corresponding to every kind of thing that there is, and causing in particular things their essential nature."
THEORY OF) INNATE IDEAS: The theory that the "fundamental ideas or principles are built right into the mind itself and require only to be developed and brought to maturity." Because Plato held that the source of our knowledge is innate idea, Plato was a rationalist.
THEORY OF) RECOLLECTION: Plato suggests that we are already born in possession of knowledge of which we are not conscious of but will readily recollect ( recollectus in Latin) if carefully prompted.
THOUGHT AND THINGS The Charles River and my idea of the Charles River are two very different things. One of them (the river) has existed since before I was born. The other (my idea of the river) has only existed since I first heard about the Charles River. Nevertheless people often confuse thoughts with things. Don't write like this: Descartes realizes that even if all things are false, still he is thinking about those things, and if he is thinking about them he must exist. You should instead say something like this: Descartes realizes that even if all his thoughts or beliefs are false, thinking falsely is still a form of thinking, and if he is thinking at all then he must exist.
TORAH The Law in JUDAISM, specifically, the written law comprised of the five books of MOSES, which are also the first five books of the HOLY BIBLE revered by Christians. See also TALMUD, MISHNAH and GEMARA.
TRADITIONAL LIBERALISM: The traditional notion of liberalism has been challenged in this century, and new meanings have been applied to it. The result is that the term today is ambiguous, and everyone applying the label must specify exactly what they mean. Traditional liberalism gives primacy to the individual and his rights, where prior primacy was given to the state.
TRADITIONAL, SCHOLASTIC, OR ARISTOTELIAN LOGIC: Traditional logic was first developed by Aristotle and systematized (somewhat differently) by the medieval school persons. It was thought to be all there was to logic by most until the end of the nineteenth century (until G. Frege, for example, came out with a version of modern logi8c in his Concept-Writing (Begriffsschrift). The assumption of traditional logic was that all propostions (sentences) are of a subject - predicate form (strictly, SUBJECT TERM + COPULA + PREDICATE TERM: for example, fist + are + backboned mammals). This exclusive emphasis on the subject - predicate form is though misleading, and the undrlying cause of mistaken metaphysics by many modern logicians (vice versa for some recent critics of modern logic). Traditional logic is concerned with immediate and mediate inferences between (subject - predicate) propositons, Immediate inference is from one (premiss) to one (conclusion) with the two terms of the premiss both appearing in the conclusion. Mediate inference involves more premisses with the use of “mediating”, or middle, terms that do not appear in the conclusion. The sylloquism, the primary study of traditional logic, is an argument in which the premisses connect the subject and predicate of the conclusion by means of a middle term.
TRANSCENDENT - That which is "beyond" or "other than" something else; such as God is transcendent in relation to the created world; some ideas are beyond human comprehension or are transcendent; some experiences are beyond human experience, or are transcendent experiences. Going beyond any possible experience as opposed to immanent. Surpassing or apart from sensible or material reality. For Kant, what is beyond the realm of either outer (perceptive) or inner (apperceptive) experience. In some religious views (on orthodox Christian views, e.g.) God is held to be transcendent (beyond the world). On other pantheistic views (e.g., those of the Stoics or Spinoza) God is held to be an immanent guiding spirit in and of the sensible material world, not existing apart or beyond it. Similarly, Plato asserts the transcendence while Aristotle maintains the immanence of the Forms or essences of things.
TRANSCENDENTAL IDEALISM: the view that reality is idea, but the true reality (things in themselves) transcends the world of appearance
TRANSCENDENTAL: According to theists, God exists beyond and independent of the world, or is beyond experience. Pertaining to the necessary conditions of the possibility of understanding or experience (Kant). Relating to the grounds of possible experience E.g. Kant thought that most of our pure rational knowledge is synthetic or priori, or transcendental. Thus Kant believed that geometry expresses the pure form of our intuitive faculty for experienceing things visually as in space: this faculty sets the rules for what can be a possible experience of vision.
TRANSMIGRATION - Reincarnation. see metempsychosis.
TRINITY (THREE-IN-ONE) A central doctrine of Christianity, derived from the New Testament but not explicitly taught there. The formulation of God as three persons -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- united in one godhead. The exact formulation of this doctrine has been the focus of key Christian councils, and its precise definition was
TRUTH - Varying definitions usually have something to do with how a proposition, statement, or belief corresponds to reality; usu. that which is "true" is an accurate observation, belief, judgment, concept, idea about reality (material or immaterial). A property of statements, thoughts, or judgments. According to correspondence theories, a statement (e.g.) is true if it corresponds to the facts, and false if it doesn't. (See Universals, below, for further explanation.). According to coherence theories, the truth of thoughts (e.g.) consists in their coherence with other thoughts.
TRUTH OF FACT: As distinguished by Leibniz, these truths could have been otherwise since their denials are possible and noncontradictory: such truths hold only contingently (as a matter of fact), so knowledge of them requires observation or empirical evidence for its certification. Contrast: truth of reason.
TRUTH OF REASON: As distinguished by Leibniz, these are truths which cannot be false because their denials would be contradictory and impossible: such truths hold of necessity and can be known to be true by the exercise of reason alone. Contrast: truth of fact.
TRUTH, THEORY OF: This subject could also be called semantics. The correspondance theory of truth insists on the common sense view that twhat makes a sentence true its its correspondance to something external to language (usually), some state of affairs. The coherence theory emphasizes that truth involves above all a coherence between some sentence we’re considering and the rest of our beliefs (rest of the sentences that we hold).
TRUTH-FUNCTIONAL (OPERATOR): An operator in a logical language (see sentence logic) is said to be truth functional if and only if the truth value of a proposition in which it appears is wholly determined by the truth value of the subsiduary propositions on which it operates. E.g. the truth value of p&q is wholly determined once we know the truth value of p and the truth value of q; hence the operator, &, is truth functional. see non-truth-functional.
TRUTHS OF FACT: Truths of fact are contingent and truths of reason are necessary. Truths of fact are statements that are not necessarily true since they may be denied without contradiction, they just might be true of something about something in this world, or might be true of something in a particular possible world. Statements that are only true about some objects in the universe and not true of all objects in the universe.
TRUTHS OF REASON: Truths of reason are not true by definition. They are true everywhere, in every possible world, and to the externally real world they do apply descriptively. No power, not even God’s can change these truths. An example is the law of noncontradiction, etc.
TURING TEST: A test proposed by computer pioneer Alan Turing that would take conversational fluency as a sufficient test for computer intelligence. See consciousness objection, other minds.