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Philosophical Terms Vocabulary Help

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Updated on Sep 8, 2011

Philosophical Terms

      abstraction        
      (noun)
      something that is not concrete or tangible, but is more of a theoretical idea or concept, like truth or beauty
      We were discussing our relationships when Franklin reminded us that love itself could be looked at as just an _____.
      altruism        
      (noun)
      unselfish concern for the welfare of others
      The couple's _____ had an immeasurable effect on the entire community.
      antithesis        
      (noun)
      the exact opposite of something, or an extreme contrast
      I was really hoping for a promotion, but I received its _____, a demotion to another office.
      banal        
      (adj.)
      trivial, worn out by overuse, or used so commonly as to have lost all interest and novelty
      Long after people had stopped saying "far out," Tim continued to use the _____ expression.
      dichotomy        
      (noun)
      the division of a subject into two opposite classes or aspects, such as internal and external
      We were intrigued by all the interesting possibilities that the _____ of the experience presented: are ghosts real or illusions?
      dogma        
      (noun)
      the official beliefs, principles, or teachings, such as those of a religion, political party, or philosophy, used most often with the added implication that these beliefs or teachings should be strictly adhered to
      He lived faithfully by the _____ of his religion.
      empiric        
      (noun)
      someone who begins a practice such as law or medicine without the proper professional education and experience; a popular slang term for this is a quack; or one who is ignorant of the scientific principles and relies completely on practical experience
      Bethany recommended I see her friend for the pain in my back, but I had met him and was sure he was just an._____.
      erudite        
      (adj.)
      scholarly, learned, well read, having extensive knowledge
      Her _____ opinion easily impressed the instructor and persuaded us all to agree with her.
      hedonism        
      (noun)
      the belief that everything in life should be done to bring pleasure; a pleasure-seeking lifestyle
      The _____ we practiced in our youth brought us as many problems as it did pleasures.
      ideology        
      (noun)
      the doctrines, beliefs, or opinions of a person, group, or school of thought
      He explained his _____ to us, and then we better understood the way he chose to live.
      logic        
      (noun)
      the science of correct reasoning used to discover truths, or any method of reasoning, whether it reveals true and valid statements or not
      If we use some _____, I am sure we can figure out this riddle.
      paradigm        
      (noun)
      a pattern, example, or model
      After hours of fruitless discussion about the project, the director presented us with a _____ that made our goal much clearer.
      paradox        
      (noun)
      a statement that seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd but may actually be true; or something that is not fully understood because of contradictory appearances, statements, or actions
      That is an interesting _____; I guess you really were lucky to be so unlucky.
      pragmatism        
      (noun)
      a way of thinking or an attitude that stresses the value of being practical, realistic, and useful
      We were all glad he showed such _____ at the meeting and that he was not too idealistic about achieving our goal in just a few weeks.
      semantic        
      (adj.)
      concerning the meaning of something; usually used in discussing words and language and the subtle differences between the meanings of similar words
      The lawyers disputed the wording of part of the contract, but I did not have the patience to deal with _____ issues just then.
      syllogism        
      (noun)
      a form of logical reasoning that begins with two true statements and ends with a logical conclusion drawn from them, using deductive reasoning, which proceeds from general statements to the specific
      Objects that can fl oat in water are less dense than water, and I can float in water, so therefore I must be less dense than water. Is that a valid _____ ?
      tautology        
      (noun)
      needless repetition of an idea in a different word or phrase; redundancy
      Can we eliminate any of this _____ ? We certainly know that the "requirements" are "necessary," so can we just call them "requirements?"
      teleology        
      (noun)
      the study of final causes; or the belief that all natural processes and events occur for a reason, and nature is directed by some kind of purpose
      Looking at the forest fire with _____, one can see how the fire renews and rejuvenates the forest in an essential way.
      tenet        
      (noun)
      an opinion, principle, or belief that a person, religion, or school of thought believes and asserts to be true and important; a doctrine
      He did not question the _____ itself, but only asked that his teacher clarify the different implications this new doctrine had for daily life.
      utopia        
      (noun)
      a place or state of ideal perfection, usually imaginary; a paradise
      When we arrived at their camp by the river, it seemed to be an unbelievable _____.

TIP

Philosophy can be intimidating, so just take it one word at a time. You don't have to be a philosopher to understand and use these concepts.

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at: Philosophical Terms Vocabulary Practice

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