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109 Cards in this Set

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Thinking about thinking, or the love of wisdom.


The ability to freely make rational decisions.


Believe that matter is the basis of everything that exist including human thought.

Philosophical System Builder

Someone who tries to construct a complete system of knowledge.

Socratic Method

A question-and-answer process named after Socrates. It is used to zero in on knowledge by challenging commonly held assumptions.

Thought Experiment

A tool used by philosophers to encourage people to re-examine common-sense beliefs. Often begins with or includes the question "What if?"

Areas of Philosophy

Areas of philosophical inquiry.


Deals with the study of the basic structures of reality: being and nothingness, time and eternity, freedom and determinism, mind and body, thinghood and personhood, space and time, and a supreme being and nature.


The study of theories of morals and morality.


Study of knowledge.

Aesthetics (Philosophy of Art)

Studies how people perceive and assess the meaning, importance, and purpose of art.


Studies correct reasoning and sound judgement. Sometimes called the science of the laws of thought.

Philosophy of Science

The study of science and questions about science.

Social and Political Philosophy

Studies how society should be organized to meet people's needs.


Ancient philosopher who shaped the world of philosophy. Accused of corrupting the children of Athens and was killed for it. He brought the field of Ethics into existence. Challenged people to come up with ways of good without God.

Plato (About)

Student of Socrates who wrote most of Socrates' theories down. Eventually Plato developed his own theories. Plato wrote about Metaphysics, Ethics and Epistemology. Rationalist- knowledge through reason. (Platonic Realism)


Student of Plato, and equally proficient in the field of metaphysics and ethics as Plato. Aristotle founded the discipline of logic. Empiricist - knowledge through the senses.

Rene Descartes(About)

Rationalist who focused on how people know. Descartes believed that knowledge could be achieved only through human ability to reason.

Abraham Maslow(About)

Proposed the pyramid like classification of human needs psychologist. Maintenance needs: Physical (air, food, water), Safety needs, Belonging and Love, and Esteem (approval). Self-Actualization needs: Cognitive (to know and understand), Aesthetic (appreciate beauty), Self- Actualization (Find fulfillment), and Transcendence (Help others find fulfillment).

Pre-Socratics (About)

Everyone before Socrates (Materialist)

Deals with the study of the basic structures of reality: being and nothingness, time and eternity, freedom and determinism, mind and body, thinghood and personhood, space and time, and a supreme being and nature.


A metaphysical theory that says that reality consist of ideas and minds that house them.


A metaphysical theory, developed by Plato, that says that reality consist of ideal forms,or ideas, that are timeless, unchanging, immaterial, and more perfect then things in the material world of sense perception.


A metaphysical theory, developed by the Pre-Socratic philosophers, that says that everything, including a person's thoughts, consciousness, and personality, is composed of matter.


Theory that says that reality consist of two fundamentally different kind of things: Mind& Matter


A theory that says that the Universe was created by a perfect, all-powerful supreme being who continues to be interested in its well-being and can intervene to perform miracles or make revelations. Judo Christian belief system- God is the supreme being that created the universe.


A theory that says that a supreme being created the universe but does not intervene in its workings. God created the universe, and left.


Theory that says that every event, including one's own choices and actions, is determined by a chain of causes extending back in time.

Hard Determinism
Theory that denies the existence of free will and says that all thoughts, actions, desires, and physical events are caused by previous events.

Soft Determinsim

Theory that says that free will and determinism are compatible. Though desires are determined by a chain of causes extending back in time, people can be self determined if they are free of coercion.


What it means to be a person.

Personal Identitity

The characteristics, or qualities, that make one the same person over time.

Free Will

Freedom to act, freedom to make choices.

George Berkley (Metaphysics)

He was an idealist and a Church of England (Anglican) bishop. He denied material things, saying that reality ultimately consists of ideas and the minds that house them. Berkeley maintained that what people "Common-sensicallly" view as material objects are really bundles of ideas that God placed in humans. (Idealist)


Platonic realism offers a different answer. Platonic realist say that reality consists ultimately of ideal forms, or ideas, that are timeless, unchanging,immaterial, and more perfect than the world of changeable things that people encounter every day through sense perception. (Realist)

Thomas Hobbes(Metaphysics)

He was materialist who said that even something as elusive as consciousness is simply a material phenomenon, a by-product of activity in the human brain. (Materialist)

Baruch Spinoza(Metaphysics)

He was a monist that believed that reality consists of one all-encompassing thing and that all particular things are manifestations or expressions of this one thing. Spinoza believed this one thing was divine. (Monist)

Rene Descartes(Metaphysics)

He was a dualist who said that reality consist of two fundamentally different kinds of things: mind and matter, considered capable of interacting. (Dualist)

John Locke(Metaphysics)

He believed that to be a person you must possess the following characteristics: rationality, thought, self-consciousness, consciousness, and self identity.

Daniel Dennett(Metaphysics)

He tried to improve Locke's concept of personhood by identifying six basic conditions of personhood: rationality, conscious mental states and intentionality, being the subject of a special stance or attitude of regard by other persons, reciprocating this person-regarding stance, the capacity for verbal communication, and self-consciousness.

Mary Ann Warren(Metaphysics)

She questioned when personhood begins. Her conditions of personhood were: consciousness of objects and events and the ability to feel pain, reasoning and problem-solving ability, the ability to carry out self-motivated activities, the ability to communicate messages of an indefinite variety of types, and the presence of self-concepts and self-awareness.

Study of knowledge.


Theory that says that knowledge is a priori. It comes from exercising the human ability to reason. (Deductive reasoning)


A theory that says that knowledge is a posteriori. It comes from experience, or evidence presented by the senses. (Inductive Reasoning)


An epistemological theory that says that people can never know objects in the world as they really are. The best people can do is to know objects as they appear.


Theory that says that people should believe only things that are useful to them at the time.


A philosophical tool that leads philosophers to question commonly held assumptions. Extreme skeptics deny that any knowledge is possible.

Plato (Epistemology)

He believed that what people perceive through the senses are subject to change because they disintegrate, dissolve, and wear down. Plato argued that knowledge acquired through the senses is unreliable because people can only posses opinions about objects in the sensory world. (Rationalist)


Maintained that all knowledge comes from experience. Experience meant to Aristotle: evidence acquired through the senses. Believed that reason is the characteristic that distinguishes humans. Believed reason came after experience through senses. (Empiricist)

Thomas Aquinas(Epistemology)

He insisted that both matter and essence are bound up in physical objects. He did believe that knowledge stems from what we experience with our senses, but it can evolve past that when reason is used. Thomas used inductive reasoning. He believed that the world is orderly and able be understood because it reflects the nature of God.

Immanuel Kant(Epistemology)

Kant's theory suggested that knowledge, whether it is the product of reason or the result of sense perception, is bound together-or-unified by the human mind. Kant stated that the process of uniting innate ideas and sense perception into a single consciousness, must take place before anything can be known. This statement shook the world of epistemology. (In the middle of Rationalist and Empiricist)

David Hume(Epistemology)

He agreed with Locke for the most part. David challenged the idea of causality. He believed causality is not observed by the senses, therefore he questioned its existence. He argues that it cannot be proven.

John Locke(Epistemology)

School of thought: British Empiricist movement. He believed that knowledge is gained through the senses. From sense experience to Ideas: Sense Experience, Sensation, Impression in the mind, Reflection, and then Idea.

Jacques Derrida(Epistemology)

He tried to show that the meaning expressed by language is not stable. There can be no certainty. (Deconstructionism)

Richard Rorty(Epistemology)

There is no objective world and no inner essence that can be known. He uses edifying which meant to him redefining the world over and over again in order to make it work better.

John Dewey(Epistemology)

Pragmatist. If something works for you it is your truth.

George Berkeley(Epistemology)

Ideas created by sensations are all humans can know for sure. There is no basis for concluding that external objects actually exist outside the human mind. (Subjective Idealism)

Noam Chomsky(Epistemology)

He believed that linguistics can tell us more about human knowledge. Children s ability to make sentences that they were never taught shows that they are born with the understanding of languages.


The study of theories of morals and morality.


A character trait, such as courage and wisdom, that is considered morally good.


An ethical approach that emphasizes that human or secular (non-religious) realm over the religious or spiritual realm.


A theory that says that life is meaningless and that human striving is pointless because nothing matters. In ethics, nihilist believe that there is no right or wrong because moral truths do not exist.


Focuses on the individual and their harmony with nature. An individual reaching Nirvana. School of ethical, metaphysical, and epistemological thought. Developed by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. 8 Virtues

Confucianism (Taoism)

Harmony in society, collective theory. Working together to create a harmonious society. "Do not do onto anyone else that you would not have done on to you."Attributed to Kongfuzi. 5 Virtues


What is good is what gives us pleasure, therefore the virtuous thing to do is what gives us pleasure. The pleasures of the body. Epicurus talks about hedonism of the mind.


Everyone is responsible for their own decisions. To ethically be good you must make a reasonable decision for yourself. Even if your decision goes against the law it doesn't matter you have to follow what you think is right and wrong. Philosophers: Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jean-Paul Sartre.


What is morally right is what is in your best interest. Some argue that everything that we do is because it makes us feel good. Philosopher: Ayn Rand.


Challenging the beliefs of the modern era. The don't generally believe in one answer. No such thing as always right and always wrong. Philosopher: Richard Rorty


Whatever brings the greater good to the greatest number of people, is what's good. Aesthetics are more important than physical pleasure. John Stuart didn't believe in a huge difference between the two. Philosophers: Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill

Golden Mean

Is the middle path between two extremes. Extreme--Middle Path--Extreme


Ethical Absolutism

The belief that one universally acceptable moral code determines the rightness and wrongness of all actions in all circumstances.

Ethical Universalism

The belief that one universally acceptable moral code determines the rightness and wrongness of actions, though this code is not necessarily absolute. Exceptions may be made in certain circumstances.

Ethical Relativism

The belief that no moral code is absolute or universal. Relativists believe that moral values are relative to time, place, persons, and situations.

Aristotle (Ethics)

Developed the idea of the golden mean. He said that virtue-or moral excellence- is the mean, which is the middle path between two extremes of behavior. Him and Plato came up with a list of what makes someone a good person. Included justice, courage, generosity, and modesty.

Kongfuzi (Ethics)

Developed one of the earliest humanist codes of behavior Humanism. Also said the first golden rule: "What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others".

Guatama-Buddha (Ethics)

Suggested that the goal of life is to end suffering and achieve nirvana or enlightenment, a state of harmony. He said that the way to do this is by living a simple life and following Eight-fold Path, which involves right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentrations.

Soren Kierkgaard (Ethics)

Created the roots of existentialism. People must move beyond judging their actions according to reason or the standards of society and become accountable only to the judgments of God. Authentic choices are very important.

Friedrich Nietzsche (Ethics)

Urged people to make their own choices rather than unthinkingly accept the values of the majority. Nietzsche rejected the view that people are ultimately accountable only to God. People must determine their own values.Existentialism

Jean-Paul Sartre (Ethics)

Best known existentialist because after World War 2 he became an Atheist.He believed that human beings have no divine master and life has no moral purpose. He declared existence proceeds essence. People create their own essence by defining themselves and their values.

Ayn Rand

Rationalis egoism. Believes that being an Egoist isn't so self centered. We always do what in our best interest in the long run which also benefits people around us.

Immanuel Kant

Kant said that moral choices must be judged not by their consequences, but by the good will of the moral agent. He created the categorical imperative which was that common rules must always apply, with very few exceptions.

Logic and the Philosophy of Science

Studies correct reasoning and sound judgement. Sometimes called the science of the laws of thought.The study of science and questions about science.

Three Laws of Thought

Developed by Aristotle, they are the law of non-contradiction (something cannot be said both to be and not to be at the same time), the law of the excluded middle (something must either be or not be), and the law of identity (something is what it is).


In logic, a group of statements consisting of a premise or premises designed to justify a conclusion.


In logic, a factual statement or proposition.


In logic, a statement that follows from a premise or premises.


A form of formal deductive argument, developed by Aristotle, that consists of premises that lead to a conclusion.


In logic, refers to the correctness of the reasoning in deductive arguments.


In logic, refers to arguments in which the premises are true and the form is valid.

Paradigm Shift

Phrase coined by Thomas Kuhn and used to describe the change that occurs when one way of thinking about the world is discredited and replaced by another.


A cause-and-effect relationship in which one event causes another.


A theory that suggests that science is a process of making guesses, then setting out to prove them false. Karl Popper


An approach that regards theories as useful instruments, or tools. In the philosophy of science, for example, instrumentalist say that scientific theories are merely useful instruments that enable scientist to impose a sense of order on random natural phenomena.

Logical Positivism

In science and ethics, an approach that says that something must be true by definition or through verification by evidence presented by the senses.

Logical Fallacy

Methods of argument that contain flaws in how the conclusions are drawn.

Aesthetics (Philosophy of Art)

Studies how people perceive and assess the meaning, importance, and purpose of art.


In aesthetics, an emotional purging experienced by artists as an intuitive signal that a work is complete.

Personal Aesthetic

An individual person's principles of taste and appreciation of beauty.


In aesthetics, a term that refers to the ability to recognize the aesthetic features of an object..


In aesthetics, a term that refers to an approach to defining art. A descriptive definition involves observations and experiences that explain what art is.


In aesthetics, a term that refers to an approach to defining art. A normative definition involves defining art according to specific standards, or norms.


A theory that measures the success of a work of art by its impact on the emotions.

Aesthetic Triad

In aesthetics, the relationship between the artist, the object, and the person who perceives the object as art.

Popular Art

Is produced primarily to make money.Because popular art must make a profit, it focuses on providing entertainment at the same time as it reinforces the values and beliefs of the public it serves.

Aristotle (Aesthetics)

Maintained that art can be studied and analyzed in the same way as natural phenomena. He took a scientific approach to identifying standards for Greek tragedy which is a narrowly defined, well-researched art form.

Plato (Aesthetics)

He believed that works of art should mimic reality and that nature sets the standard of truth and beauty. "The artist can do no better than to try to accurately portray the universe in its infinite variety".

David Hume (Aesthetic)

Argued that principles of taste are universal. "Through the principles of taste be universal, and nearly, if not entirely the same in all men; yet few are qualifies to give judgement on any work of art, or establish their own sentiment as the standard of beauty."

Immanuel Kant (Aesthetics)

Synthesized two important concepts: the theory of taste and the idea of aesthetic experience. Kant identified the pleasure felt when making a judgement of taste as an aesthetic experience. In Kant's view, art is autonomous, or independent. He maintained that aesthetic judgments should exclude the subject matter of the work, as well as its sense.

Georg W.F. Hagel (Aesthetics)

Theorized that everything in the world progresses through three stages- thesis, antithesis, and synthesis- that repeat constantly. A thesis might be an idea or a historical movement. An antithesis is a conflicting idea or movement that develops in reaction to the thesis. A synthesis resolves the conflict between thesis and antithesis by reconciling truth found in both.