Worldviews and Ideas

AGNOSTICISM The belief that we can’t know whether God exists.

ALTRUISM The belief that your moral decisions should be determined by the well-being of other people.

ANARCHISM The belief that we should have no organized government.

ANIMISM The belief that everything in the universe (or the universe itself) has a soul or is a living being.

ATHEISM The belief that God does not exist.

ATOMISM The idea that everything is made of tiny, simple particles that are chaotic and without design.

CONCEPTUALISM The idea that our understanding of words depends on our experiences.

CONSEQUENTIALISM The idea that the morality of our actions depends on what they result in.

CONVENTIONALISM The belief that concepts such as good and evil are determined by consensus rather than an external reality.

DARWINISM A theory of biological evolution stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations.

DECONSTRUCTIONISM A method of interpretation that looks for things excluded by a given text.

DEISM A belief in an uninvolved God based entirely on logic with no reference to faith, revelation, or religion.

DUALISM The idea that mental and physical things are completely separate from one another and have nothing in common.

EGOISM The belief that how we behave is completely determined by our own selfish interests.

ELIMINITIVISM The belief that we should try to replace complex explanations of things with simpler or more certain concepts.

EMOTIVISM The theory that the only things moral language expresses are powerful human feelings that are subjective.

EMPIRICISM The belief that experience is the only source of knowledge and ideas.

EPICUREANISM The idea that everything that happens in the universe is outside of human control; all we can do is passively experience the world.

EPIPHENOMENALISM The belief that mental events cannot have an impact on the physical world.

EUDAEMONISM The attempt to achieve happiness in an objective sense rather than seek subjective pleasure.

EXISTENTIALISM A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile and indifferent universe.

FIDEISM The idea of circular reliance in which religious doctrines prove themselves with consequent rejection of appeals from reason.

HEDONISM The belief that pleasure is the highest value.

HISTORICISM The belief that social structures, events, and texts are best understood in their historical context.

HUMANISM The belief that human beings are the source of all value and have the ability to understand and control the natural world.

IDEALISM The belief that it is only those things in the mind that are real; physical things only exist in our mental perception of them.

INSTRUMENTALISM The belief that theories can be used for prediction even if those theories are false.

INTERACTIONISM The belief that our minds and bodies can affect each other even though they are completely separate entities.

INTUITIONISM The reliance on instinctual awareness as a test of what is true.

JANSENISM The belief that we can only obey God if God makes us do so.

LEGAL POSITIVISM The belief that the laws of society are nothing but the will of those in power at any given moment.

LOGICAL POSITIVISM A philosophical movement holding that nothing is real that can’t be observed, including metaphysics, ethics, and theology.

MATERIALISMThe belief that only physical things truly exist.

MONISM The belief that reality consists of a single element, one basic substance or principle.

MORAL RELATIVISM The belief that right and wrong are arbitrary and determined by the individual or culture.

MYSTICISM The belief that we can understand a divine reality through spiritual contemplation rather than through other types of thought processes.

NATURALISM The belief that all objects, events, and values can be completely understood through natural elements and forces without reference to the supernatural.

NEOPLATONISM The belief that the natural world is merely a series of emanations from the nature of God.

NEUTRAL MONISM The belief that physical and mental processes are parts of the same substance, which is neither completely mental nor physical in nature.

NIHILISM A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.

NOMINALISM The opposite of realism; the belief that only particular abstract things exist; there are no universals.

NONCOGNITIVISM The belief that moral assertions are neither true nor false but merely express attitudes, feelings, desires or demands.

OCCASIONALISM The belief that all causes and effects are the products of a third thing, usually divine providence.

OPERATIONALISM The belief that the meaning of scientific concepts is best seen in a description of how well they work.

PANENTHEISM The belief which claims that God is in everything and everything is in God.

PANPSYCHISM The belief that everything in the world has a mental aspect.

PANTHEISM The view that God is everything and everything is God.

PARALLELISM The belief that although the human mind and body do not affect each other, their features and actions coordinate perfectly.

PERCEPTUALISM A belief in the optical truth (what is actually there) as opposed to what something means.

PHENOMENALISM The belief that physical objects have no reality beyond our perception of them.

PHYSICALISM The belief that everything that occurs in the mind can be explained through the physical world.

PLURALISM The belief that reality includes many different kinds of things, that there are many different sources of value.

POSITIVISM The belief that natural science, based on observations, is the only kind of knowledge we can have.

POSTMODERNISM The rejection of the notion of universal objective truth.

PRAGMATISM The idea that meaning and truth are practical outcomes of actions performed under the influence of ideas and beliefs.

PRESCRIPTIVISM The idea that the use of moral language commits one to act in accordance with those morals.

RATIONALISM The belief that reason is the only reliable source of human knowledge.

REALISM The belief in universal principles that are independent of particular abstract things.

REDUCTIONISM The belief that statements of one sort can be systematically replaced by statements of a simpler kind.

RELATIVISM The belief that there are no absolutes, only perspectives that are specific to a particular time, place or society.

REPRESENTATIONALISM The belief that we are aware of objects only through the ideas that represent them.

RULE UTILITARIANISM The view that an action is right if good consequences follow for everyone who performs that action.

SCIENTIFIC NATURALISM A philosophical tenet that describes life as a mechanically unfolding natural process without a need of the supernatural.

SCIENTISM The fundamentalist philosophical position that claims that science alone is the sole authority that can render truth about the world and reality.

SKEPTICISM The belief that some or all human knowledge is impossible.

SOLIPSISM The belief that only one’s self is real and everything else is an object of one’s consciousness.

SOPHISM An argument that sounds good but that is really false, especially if delivered by someone who is being knowingly deceptive.

STOICISM A collection of human knowledge that includes formal logic, the study of the natural world, and a naturalistic explanation of human nature and conduct.

THEISM The belief in the existence of a personal God as an entity worthy of worship.

UTILITARIANISM The idea that human conduct is either right or wrong depending on how it affects other people.

VOLUNTARISM The belief that reality, morality and the structure of society are determined by a divine will.