Physicalism Physicalism is closely related to materialism. Physicalism grew out of materialism with the success of the physical sciences in explaining observed phenomena. The terms are often used interchangeably, although they are sometimes distinguished, for example on the basis of physics describing more than just matter (including energy and physical law). Definition of physical The use of "physical" in physicalism is a philosophical concept and can be distinguished from alternative definitions found in the literature (e.g. From the notion of supervenience, we see that, assuming that mental, social, and biological properties supervene on physical properties, it follows that two hypothetical worlds cannot be identical in their physical properties but differ in their mental, social or biological properties. Two common approaches to defining "physicalism" are the theory-based and object-based approaches. Supervenience-based definitions of physicalism Realisation physicalism
Naturalism Naturalism is "the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world; (occas.) the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world." Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws. "Naturalism can intuitively be separated into a [metaphysical] and a methodological component. In contrast, assuming naturalism in working methods, without necessarily considering naturalism as an absolute truth with philosophical entailments, is called methodological naturalism. The subject matter here is a philosophy of acquiring knowledge. With the exception of pantheists—who believe that Nature and God are one and the same thing—theists challenge the idea that nature is all there is. The term "methodological naturalism" for this approach is much more recent.
Reductionism Descartes held that non-human animals could be reductively explained as automata — De homine, 1662. Reductionism strongly reflects a certain perspective on causality. In a reductionist framework, the phenomena that can be explained completely in terms of relations between other more fundamental phenomena, are called epiphenomena. Reductionism does not preclude the existence of what might be called emergent phenomena, but it does imply the ability to understand those phenomena completely in terms of the processes from which they are composed. Religious reductionism generally attempts to explain religion by boiling it down to certain nonreligious causes. Types Richard H. Theoretical reductionism Theoretical reduction is the process by which one theory absorbs another. Methodological reductionism Methodological reductionism is the position that the best scientific strategy is to attempt to reduce explanations to the smallest possible entities. Ontological reductionism
Holism For the suffix, see holism. Holism (from Greek ὅλος holos "all, whole, entire") is the idea that natural systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. This often includes the view that systems function as wholes and that their functioning cannot be fully understood solely in terms of their component parts. Reductionism may be viewed as the complement of holism. Social scientist and physician Nicholas A. History The term "holism" was coined in 1926 by Jan Smuts, a South African statesman, in his book Holism and Evolution. Smuts defined holism as the "tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution". The idea has ancient roots. The concept of holism played a pivotal role in Baruch Spinoza's philosophy and more recently in that of Hegel and Edmund Husserl. In science
Monism Monism is the philosophical view that a variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance. The wide definition states that all existing things go back to a source which is distinct from them (e.g. in Neoplatonism everything is derived from The One). A commonly-used, restricted definition of monism asserts the presence of a unifying substance or essence. One must distinguish "stuff monism" from "thing monism". According to stuff monism there is only one kind of stuff (e.g. matter or mind), although there may be many things made out of this stuff. The term monism originated from Western philosophy, and has often been applied to various religions. History It was later also applied to the theory of absolute identity set forth by Hegel and Schelling. According to Jonathan Schaffer, monism lost popularity due to the emergence of Analytic philosophy in the early twentieth century, which revolted against the neo-Hegelians. Definitions a. b.
Epistemology A branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge Epistemology (/ɪˌpɪstɪˈmɒlədʒi/ ( listen); from Greek, Modern ἐπιστήμη, epistēmē, meaning 'knowledge', and λόγος, logos, meaning 'logical discourse') is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge. Epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief. Much debate in epistemology centers on four areas: (1) the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to such concepts as truth, belief, and justification, (2) various problems of skepticism, (3) the sources and scope of knowledge and justified belief, and (4) the criteria for knowledge and justification. The problem of skepticism Skepticism questions whether knowledge is possible at all. Among other arguments, skeptics used Agrippa's trilemma, named after Agrippa the Skeptic, to claim certain belief could be achieved. Defining knowledge Belief Infinitism
Functionalism Functionalism is a theory of the mind in contemporary philosophy, developed largely as an alternative to both the identity theory of mind and behaviourism. Its core idea is that mental states (beliefs, desires, being in pain, etc.) are constituted solely by their functional role – that is, they are causal relations to other mental states, sensory inputs, and behavioral outputs. Functionalism is a theoretical level between the physical implementation and behavioral output. Therefore, it is different from its predecessors of Cartesian dualism (advocating independent mental and physical substances) and Skinnerian behaviourism and physicalism (declaring only physical substances) because it is only concerned with the effective functions of the brain, through its organization or its "software programs". While functionalism has its advantages, there have been several arguments against it, claiming that it is an insufficient account of the mind.
Indeterminism Indeterminism is the concept that events (certain events, or events of certain types) are not caused, or not caused deterministically (cf. causality) by prior events. It is the opposite of determinism and related to chance. It is highly relevant to the philosophical problem of free will, particularly in the form of metaphysical libertarianism. In science, most specifically quantum theory in physics, indeterminism is the belief that no event is certain and the entire outcome of anything is a probability. Causation without determinism A number of philosophers have argued that lack of determinism does not entail absence of causation. Necessary but insufficient causation Indeterminists do not have to deny that causes exist. If x is a necessary cause of y; then the presence of y necessarily implies that x preceded it. If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y. Probabilistic causation Philosophy Aristotle John D.
Uncertainty We are frequently presented with situations wherein a decision must be made when we are uncertain of exactly how to proceed. Uncertainty is a term used in subtly different ways in a number of fields, including philosophy, physics, statistics, economics, finance, insurance, psychology, sociology, engineering, and information science. It applies to predictions of future events, to physical measurements that are already made, or to the unknown. Concepts Although the terms are used in various ways among the general public, many specialists in decision theory, statistics and other quantitative fields have defined uncertainty, risk, and their measurement as: Uncertainty: The lack of certainty. Knightian uncertainty. There are other taxonomies of uncertainties and decisions that include a broader sense of uncertainty and how it should be approached from an ethics perspective: A taxonomy of uncertainty Uncertainty may be purely a consequence of a lack of knowledge of obtainable facts. .