Philosophical Terms Vocabulary Practice (page 2)
Philosophical Terms Vocabulary Practice
Words in Context
The following exercise will help you figure out the meaning of some words from the vocabulary list by reading context clues. After you have read and understood the paragraph, explain the context clues that helped you with the meaning of the vocabulary word. Refer to the answer section at the end of this lesson for an explanation of the clues.
- It always inspires me to remember my old teacher. He was one of the few people who really believed we could make the world a better place, and he had this wonderful vision of a future utopia that he was absolutely convinced was inevitable. For him, altruism was not just some abstraction, some big word that you could discuss in a philosophy class and then forget about; it was a way of life. It was a basic tenet of his that each person should do all that they can to help others, and he certainly taught us well enough by his own example. But his pragmatism also kept him well grounded and focused on real solutions to local concerns, and perhaps that is why none of his critics could dismiss him. Many did not understand that the fabulous entertaining he did was all part of his mission and not just some selfish hedonism. Rather, he was motivating and rewarding his team, and you could not leave one of his parties without understanding his unique ideology a little better, resolved to commit even more fully to a life of public service.
Insert the correct word from the vocabulary list into the following sentences.
- The _____ that we based this on is outdated, so we will need a new model for the upcoming project.
- I know that she is certified as a "healer," but I don't trust her methods—I think she is just a(n)_____.
- Studying about Chinese culture did not prepare me for the _____ between the two cultures that I experienced when I lived in Shanghai for a year.
- As an inexperienced writer, her work was replete with _____ , but in time, she learned how to spot and eliminate redundancies.
- This may sound like a _____, but I think that standing in one place is more tiring than walking.
- I tried to fill him with hope, the _____ of despair, which is what he has been feeling ever since he lost his job.
- My favorite science fiction book describes a(n) _____, a place that is perfect in its social, political, and moral characteristics.
- Sandra's _____ has rubbed off on me, and now I am much more practical in my approach to life.
- My _____, or ideas about life and work, has been largely infl uenced by my parents.
- Sophie is known for her _____, as she donates a lot of time to help those in need.
- One would think that most young people don't adhere to the popular _____ "All humans are mortal, and I am human; therefore, I must be mortal," because they act as if they think they're invincible.
- One of the _____ (s) of physical science says that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time.
- I wish I could abandon all my responsibilities, follow them down there on their vacation, and join them in their carefree _____.
- It was a(n) _____ opinion, and I had to respect his thorough research, but nonetheless, I still disagreed and thought the procedure should be banned.
- If we just use a little bit of _____, we should be able to figure out a solution to our problem.
- It is not just a small _____ mistake; you just introduced me as someone you work with, when we both know that I hired you to work for me.
- In all the years I have known him, I have never known him to question the _____ of his church.
- He mocked us and told us we were foolish to spend our time discussing such a(n) _____, but we knew that few things were more important than trying to better understand just what honor really meant.
- I subscribe to a similar _____, and I also believe that birds have an important purpose that would be well worth understanding.
- It is amusing to hear some people use so many _____ expressions that they probably have just learned from television.
The following exercise lists vocabulary words from this lesson. Each word is followed by four answer choices. Three of them are synonyms of the vocabulary word in bold. Your task is to choose the one that is NOT a synonym.
- an opposite
- a statement
- the reverse
- a contrast
- concerning the meaning of
- related to the different definitions of
- using too many words
- distinguishing different contexts
- belief that nature is purposeful
- belief that natural processes occur for a reason
- belief that nature is haphazard
- belief that everything that occurs in the natural world is part of some higher plan
- figuring out
- analyzing the truth of something
- well read
Choose the word from the vocabulary list that means the opposite, or most nearly the opposite, of the following groups of words.
- unity, universality, oneness
- idealism, dreaminess, impracticality
- a professional, one who is properly trained, a qualified authority
- new, exciting, fresh
- selfishness, greediness, hostility
- concise writing, succinctness, speech that is not redundant
- a world of horrors, a "hell on Earth," future world of suffering and misery
- ignorant, uneducated, illiterate
- hard fact, physical evidence, tangible object
- answer, evidence, clue
Choosing the Right Word
Circle the word in bold that best completes the sentence.
- The two men were known for their wild (utopia, hedonism); they had a reputation for always eating at the best restaurants and cafes, and taking spontaneous vacations to exotic locales.
- His speech was very (erudite, tautology), and he received good reviews for his display of such fine research.
- Her volunteer work at the nursing home was just another example of her admirable (pragmatism, altruism).
- It is a(n) (antithesis, tenet) that followers of the faith often have difficulty with.
- I don't know what to make of it; it sure seems like a(paradox, paradigm) to me.
- Have you ever heard such a (banal, semantic) expression? I am just so tired of hearing that over and over again.
- If you really analyze the first premise of that (abstraction, syllogism), you will see that the conclusion cannot possibly be valid.
- She always closely followed the (dichotomy, dogma) of her religion, and often helped instruct others who had questions about it themselves.
- Don't panic. Let's try to use a little (logic, paradox) and see if we can figure out what must have happened to the keys.
- This place is like a little hidden (utopia, empiric) that we have been fortunate to find before anyone else ruined it.
Go to the library and look up a book on philosophy. Not only will you read some interesting ideas by some of humankind's best thinkers, but you will no doubt see the words from this chapter in the text, as well as many others that you may not recognize. Find ten new words that you do not know the definition of, and look up those words in the dictionary. Then practice using each word in a sentence.
Use an Internet search engine and look up some of the words from this chapter. Does the search engine have links for the word? Go to a few of those websites and see why they used that word. Is the word part of the name of the website, or is it used in the text of the site? See how many words you can find from this list.
It might help to talk to someone about the ideas in this list. You'd be surprised at how many of these words relate to ideas in your own life, and the more you use or think about a word on a daily basis, the easier it is to remember.
Choose the word from the vocabulary list that best fits into the crossword puzzle. You can check your answers at the end of the chapter following the answers to the questions.
Words in Context
The reader can understand that the narrator's former teacher's optimistic belief in a utopia is a belief in a better world that lies somewhere in the future. One gets the sense that this place must be almost like a paradise where, finally, no one would need the kind of help the teacher always gives. Thus, we can understand from the context of the passage that altruism must be an admirable quality that means an unselfish concern for others, which would explain the teacher's commitment to doing all he can for others and living a life of public service. We can conclude that an abstraction is a theoretical idea, but that the professor does not consider altruism to be just a word one only discusses in a philosophy class and does not practice. The narrator explains the teacher's tenet is that one must always strive to do more for others, so we can conclude that tenet means an opinion or belief of a person, religion, or school of thought. Since the teacher's pragmatism keeps him grounded and focused on practical efforts to help others, we should know that pragmatism is a way of thinking that emphasizes being realistic and useful. The teacher's choice to celebrate and throw parties is defended as not being selfish hedonism, so we can assume that hedonism means a pleasure-seeking lifestyle or philosophy. Finally, since the narrator states that he understands his teacher's unique ideology better after the celebrations, we can guess that ideology means those beliefs, opinions, or doctrines that he adheres to.
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