Definition of some important philosophical terms

Atomism: The idea that the universe is made up of tiny particles. Determinism: The belief that everything that happens in the universe is fixed in advance. Dualism: The belief that the universe consists of two different things (mind and matter). Empiricism: The belief that experience is the source of all knowledge.

Schools of Philosophy: The Post-Modernists

Post-modernism is a relatively recent movement in philosophy. It was so named because it began as a reaction against the “modern” age of Philosophy since Descartes. Descartes had begun the trend in establishing systems aimed at discovering fixed and absolute truths about the universe. The post-modernists’ view is that philosophy is fooling itself. Post modernist […]

Schools of Philosophy: Feminist Philosophers

 Feminists believe that society is based on unequal division between men and women. The “first wave”feminists were concerned with equality between the sexes. “Second wave” feminists are more concerned that what is special to women be recognized and valued as important. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797): Wollstonecraft‘s most influential book, “A Vindication of the Rights of Women”, […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Existentialists

 The Existentialists believe that there is no order in the universe and no objective rights or wrongs. Individuals are free to create their own lives according to the choices they make and must take responsibility for their actions. Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855): Kierkegaard is seen by many as the father of existentialism because of his attack on […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Phenomenologists

 Phenomenology is the study of how things appear. The Phenomenologists tried to get  behind the surface of how things appear to reveal the nature of consciousness itself. Edmund Husserl: Husserl was the founder of phenomenology. He wanted to do away with theories about reality and restore certainty to philosophy. His method was to describe exactly […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Pragmatists

Pragmatism is a practical view of philosophy. Pragmatists view the truthfulness of an idea in terms of its usefulness in real life. This school was the first major movement in Philosophy to come from North America. Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914):  Peirce invented the term “pragmatism”. He meant to be a method to clarify the relationship […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Empiricists

Empiricism is the complete opposite of rationalism. Empiricists believe that true knowledge of the world is obtained through the senses, not by reason. These philosophers argue that we have ideas only because we have perceptions. All knowledge is based on experience. John Locke: Locke disagreed with Descartes’ rationalism and had no inclination to rely on […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Rationalists

Rationalists consider that truths about reality can only be revealed through reason, not by believing what the senses tell us about the world. Parmenides:  Parmenides can be considered the first Rationalist because he thought that the material world could only be properly understood by thought and reason, not what is perceived through senses. Parmenides’ idea […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Scholastics

The Scholastics were Christian thinkers who tried to understand and explain Christian doctrines in the light of ancient Greek philosophy. The Christian tinkers who lived in the first few centuries after the birth of Christ were known as “Church Fathers”. Scholasticism dominated Western philosophy for hundreds of years. St Augustine (354-430): St Augustine was born […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Materialists

The materialists hold the complete opposite view to the idealists on the nature of reality. Materialists believe that everything that exists is either matter or depends on matter for its existence. The real world is out in the street, not in the head. Aristotle: Aristotle was Plato’s first great critic. Aristotle thought that Plato had […]

Schools of philosophy: The Idealists

Idealists believe that the external, material world is produced by the mind or ideas and that it cannot exist separately. Reality therefore begins inside the head, not out in the street. Plato: Plato thought that everything in the material world owes its existence to a perfect, external, and unchanging idea from which it is modelled. […]

Schools of Philosophy: Greek Schools After Socrates

 After Socrates’ death, three new schools of thought were founded in Athens. All of them were influenced by Socrates’ search for what is Good. The Cynics: Started by Antisthenes, a disciple of Socrates, the Cynics became widely known through the antics of Diogenes, Antisthenes’ pupil. Diogenes preached that the only path to happiness was living […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Pre-Socratic Philosophers

The pre-Socratics (The Early Greeks) were the first philosophers in the West. They are classed as the school that started Western philosophy off on its 2,500-year-old-history. The ancient Greeks believed in a family of gods, who lived in palaces at the top of Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. The whole universe and its […]

The Father of Western Philosophy

Socrates was a familiar figure in Athens. Shabbily dressed and always barefoot, even in winter, he spent his days discussing everything under the sun with all and sundry. He was soon regarded as the wisest man in Athens, even though the city was full of philosophers who charged money for teaching. This flattery did not […]

Philosophy Today (20th Century)

Philosophy today began with a shift away from “I” as the Key to understanding reality. Instead, thinkers started probing into human “structures”. Language, science, and society itself all came under scrutiny. One of the most important changes in philosophy today ids the emphasis put on words and how they reflect the world.

Spinoza: The ethics of God

Introduction He goes by the name of “Benedict de Spinoza“, using the Latin equivalent of the given name (“Baruch”, meaning “Blessed”) that he discarded in his youth following his excommunication by the Amsterdam Jewish community of his birth. Little concerned with wealth, fame, or the transitory pleasures that drives others, Spinoza is motivated by the […]

Spinoza: The level of Knowledge

Spinoza distinguishes between three levels of knowledge and describes how we can move from the lowest to the highest. We begin with the things most familiar to us, and says Spinoza, “the more we understand individual things the more we understand God.” By refining our knowledge of things, we can move from (1) imagination, to […]

Religion and Spirituality

Growth of interest in spirituality: Traditionally, spirituality has always been viewed within the framework of a specific religious group. Thus, there have been multiple spiritualities associated with various saints in Roman Catholicism, as well as different spiritual paths to be found within the context of particular interpretations of Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism. In this sense, […]

Religion and Growing Feminism

Growing feminism and sensitivity to women’s issues: Feminism has become a significant issue within the religious world.This concern has been expressed in a wide variety of different forms. Theologically, it has challenged understandings of God, human persons and the world of nature that some argue were implicitly rooted in male perspectives. Politically, it has striven […]

“Greening” of Religion!

 “Greening” of Religion: This involves growing consciousness among religious groups and individuals of the importance of environment concerns. Such consciousness frequently has been a part of the mainstream in many Asian religions but even though individuals like St. Francis of Assisi in the Christian tradition held perspectives that emphasised the relations between humans and nature, […]

An odd philosopher couple whose love affair lasted 50 years!

 Sartre and de Beauvoir met as university students at the Sorbonne in Paris. Famous the world over as the odd couple, they never married or shared a common property. De Beauvior refused to live the conventional female role. They lived in hotels and ate in cafés. But they did share a common philosophy. Their particular […]

Two philosophers in one body!

Ludwig Wittgenstein‘s  burning ambition was to bring an end to philosophy, and he considered that he had done so – twice. He was brilliant, charming, arrogant, rude, witty, brave, and frequently suicidal. Equally as confusing as his philosophy. in fact he seemed to be two different philosophers, the older one disowning the work of the […]

A philosopher whose books revolutionized teaching methods in the US.

In the late 1900s the USA developed its own school of thinking known as pragmatism. The gist is that ideas only useful if they can be put into action. The Americans cleaned out the philosophy cupboard and threw out everything that had no practical value. one of the leading lights  of this new age of […]

A philosopher who wasn’t a stuffed shirt with the ladies!

Hegel was not a modest man. He claimed that he understood all of the philosophy and history. Like Spinoza, he thought that god and the universe were inseparable. it is difficult to describe Hegel’s philosophy simply, because it isn’t simple. It is a huge, all-embracing system that moves through history like a giant snowball, gathering […]

Karl Marx: Private Property and “Estranged, Alienated Labour”

Estranged, Alienated Labour: We have started out from the premises of political economy. We have accepted its language and its laws. We presupposed private property; the separation of labour, capital, and land, and likewise of wages, profit, and capital; the division of labour; competition; the conception of exchange value, etc.

Aristotle on: “Friendship, Love, Well-wishing, and Unanimity”

Friendship: Friendship is a kind of virtue, or implies virtue, and it is also most necessary for living. Nobody would choose to live without friends even if he had all the other good things. Aristotle takes up the subject of what is lovable. He returns to his three “objects of choice”: goodness, usefulness, and pleasure, […]

Stoics’ APATHEIA

Apatheia is a state of mind in Stoic philosophy in which one is free from emotional disturbance; the freedom from all passions. Apatheia is the root for the word “apathy” (i.e., indifference), but the ancient meaning of apatheia is closer to equanimity than indifference. To some extent, the Stoic term “apatheia” is misleading, even in […]

Aristotelian ethics versus Stoicism

  Agreements between the Two Views:  (1) The goal of ethical philosophy is practical: the improvement of human lives, the promotion of happiness (the blessed or supremely good life). (2) hat happiness is also the ultimate end (goal) of human life.(3) That happiness is the most complete end. (4) That happiness is self-sufficient. To say […]

Epicurus’ ATARAXIA

Epicurus is considered a major figure in the history of science as well as philosophy. In ethics he is famous for propounding the theory of hedonism, which holds that pleasure is the only intrinsic value. However, his view of pleasure is far from the stereotypical one. For Epicurus, the most pleasant life is one where we […]

Epicurus on “Death”

Epicurus claims that there are two self-imposed beliefs that do the most to make our lives unhappy or full of pain. They are first, the belief that we will be punished by the gods for our bad actions, and second, that death is something to be feared. Both of these beliefs produce fear and anxiety, […]

Epicurus: “Types of Pleasure”

For Epicurus, pleasure is tied closely to satisfying one’s desires. He distinguishes between two different types of pleasure: ‘moving’ pleasures and ‘static’ pleasures. ‘Moving’ pleasures occur when one is in the process of satisfying a desire, e.g., eating a hamburger when one is hungry. These pleasures involve an active titillation of the senses, and these […]

Epicurus on “Virtue” and “Justice”

The virtues: Epicurus’ hedonism was widely denounced in the ancient world as undermining traditional morality. Epicurus, however, insists that courage, moderation, and the other virtues are needed in order to attain happiness. However, the virtues for Epicurus are all purely instrumental goods–that is, they are valuable solely for the sake of the happiness that they […]

Epicurus: “Types of Desire”

Because of the close connection of pleasure with desire-satisfaction, Epicurus devotes a considerable part of his ethics to analysing different kinds of desires. If pleasure results from getting what you want (desire-satisfaction) and pain from not getting what you want (desire-frustration), then there are two strategies you can pursue with respect to any given desire:

“Friendship or Love” sumarrised from the book: “Nicomachean Ethics”, by: Aristotle

BOOK VIII: FRIENDSHIP OR LOVE 1.: Uses of friendship. Differences of opinions about it. Aristotle argues that  friendship is a sort of virtue, or at least implies virtue. He believes that no one would care to live without friends, even though he had all other good things, as well as power and authority,

Kingly government, Aristocracy, and Timocracy: Their perversion and corresponding forms of friendship

1) Aristotle’s idea on the three forms of constitution :  There are three kinds of constitutions, and an equal number of perverted forms, which are, so to speak, corruptions of these. Constitutions proper are kingly government,  aristocracy, and timocracy. Timocracy is a form of government based upon an assessment of property, though most people are […]

Philosophy, the handmaiden of theology?!!

In the Middle Ages, especially  in the works of the Scholastic writers, arises the problem of the relationship between theology and philosophy. An attempt was usually made to resolve this problem by resorting to the idea of subordination and recalling the old phrase “Philosophy, the Handmaiden of Theology,” from this viewpoint, philosophy is an auxiliary, […]

Quotes from the book: “The Game”, by: Neil Strauss

If you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always gotten. Our social skills determine the course of our lives-our careers, our friends, our family, our children, our happiness- that’s a big area to neglect. This game is not an easy one. You will be forced to confront […]

Quotes from the book: “Tell to Win”, by: Peter Guber

A message everybody should take to heart: “Behind every success there is a good story lurking.”You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Heroes do not quit, so the only true failure is the failure to get up, and it proves to me that compelling heroes and purposeful stories lurk in every […]