'Axiology' History Between the 5th and 6th century B.C., it was important in Greece to be knowledgeable if you were to be successful. Philosophers began to recognize that differences existed between the laws and morality of society. Socrates held the belief that knowledge had a vital connection to virtue, making morality and democracy closely intertwined. Socrates' student, Plato furthered the belief by establishing virtues which should be followed by all. With the fall of the government, values became individual, causing skeptic schools of thought to flourish, ultimately shaping a pagan philosophy that is thought to have influenced and shaped Christianity. Axiological Issues in Communication Studies Communication theorists seek to contribute to mutual intelligence about the anatomy and operation of human communication. Those who take a conventional scientific approach believe that research must be free of values in order to be valid. See also References Further reading
Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is influential in political philosophy. Bentham and Mill believed that a utilitarian government was achievable through democracy. Mill thought that despotism was also justifiable through utilitarianism as a transitional phase towards more democratic forms of governance. As an advocate of liberalism, Mill stressed the relationship between utilitarianism and individualism. Historical background The importance of happiness as an end for humans has long been recognized. Although utilitarianism is usually thought to start with Jeremy Bentham, there were earlier writers who presented theories that were strikingly similar. Hume says that all determinations of morality, this circumstance of public utility principally important. In the first three editions of the book, Hutcheson included various mathematical algorithms "...to compute the Morality of any Actions." This pursuit of happiness is given a theological basis: …actions are to be estimated by their tendency.
Scientism Scientism is a term used to refer to belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints. It has been defined as "the view that the characteristic inductive methods of the natural sciences are the only source of genuine factual knowledge and, in particular, that they alone can yield true knowledge about man and society. Scientism may refer to science applied "in excess". The term scientism can apply in either of two senses: To indicate the improper usage of science or scientific claims. This usage applies equally in contexts where science might not apply, such as when the topic is perceived to be beyond the scope of scientific inquiry, and in contexts where there is insufficient empirical evidence to justify a scientific conclusion. Overview E. Relevance to science/religion debates
Ethical egoism Ethical egoism is the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their own self-interest. It differs from psychological egoism, which claims that people can only act in their self-interest. Ethical egoism also differs from rational egoism, which holds that it is rational to act in one's self-interest. Ethical egoism holds, therefore, that actions whose consequences will benefit the doer can be considered ethical in this sense. Ethical egoism is often used as the philosophical basis for support of right-libertarianism and individualist anarchism. These are political positions based partly on a belief that individuals should not coercively prevent others from exercising freedom of action. Forms Ethical egoism can be broadly divided into three categories: individual, personal, and universal. History Ethical egoism was introduced by the philosopher Henry Sidgwick in his book The Methods of Ethics, written in 1874. Justifications Criticism
'Aesthetics' "Aesthetician" redirects here. For a cosmetologist who specializes in the study of skin care, see Esthetician. More specific aesthetic theory, often with practical implications, relating to a particular branch of the arts is divided into areas of aesthetics such as art theory, literary theory, film theory and music theory. An example from art theory is aesthetic theory as a set of principles underlying the work of a particular artist or artistic movement: such as the Cubist aesthetic. Etymology The word aesthetic is derived from the Greek αἰσθητικός (aisthetikos, meaning "esthetic, sensitive, sentient"), which in turn was derived from αἰσθάνομαι (aisthanomai, meaning "I perceive, feel, sense"). The term "aesthetics" was appropriated and coined with new meaning in the German form Æsthetik (modern spelling Ästhetik) by Alexander Baumgarten in 1735. Aesthetics and the philosophy of art Aesthetics is for the artist as Ornithology is for the birds.— Barnett Newman
Moral relativism Moral relativism may be any of several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures. Descriptive moral relativism holds only that some people do in fact disagree about what is moral; meta-ethical moral relativism holds that in such disagreements, nobody is objectively right or wrong; and normative moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, we ought to tolerate the behavior of others even when we disagree about the morality of it. Not all descriptive relativists adopt meta-ethical relativism, and moreover, not all meta-ethical relativists adopt normative relativism. Richard Rorty, for example, argued that relativist philosophers believe "that the grounds for choosing between such opinions is less algorithmic than had been thought", but not that any belief is equally as valid as any other. Variations Descriptive  Normative History  Scientific views R.
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (or simply the Enlightenment or Age of Reason) was a cultural movement of intellectuals beginning in late 17th-century Europe emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition. Its purpose was to reform society using reason, to challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith, and to advance knowledge through the scientific method. It promoted scientific thought, skepticism, and intellectual interchange. The Enlightenment was a revolution in human thought. This new way of thinking was that rational thought begins with clearly stated principles, uses correct logic to arrive at conclusions, tests the conclusions against evidence, and then revises the principles in the light of the evidence. Enlightenment thinkers opposed superstition and intolerance. Use of the term If there is something you know, communicate it. Chartier (1991) argues that the Enlightenment was only invented after the fact for a political goal. Time span Greece
Economics For a topical guide to this subject, see Outline of economics. Economics is the social science that studies the behavior of individuals, households, and organizations (called economic actors, players, or agents), when they manage or use scarce resources, which have alternative uses, to achieve desired ends. Agents are assumed to act rationally, have multiple desirable ends in sight, limited resources to obtain these ends, a set of stable preferences, a definite overall guiding objective, and the capability of making a choice. The traditional concern of economics is to gain an understanding of the processes that govern the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services in an exchange economy. An agent may have purposes or ends, such as reducing or protecting individuals from crime, on which he or she wants to spend resources. Definitions There are a variety of modern definitions of economics. J. Economics is a study of man in the ordinary business of life. Microeconomics
'Theodicy' Gottfried Leibniz coined the term "theodicy" in an attempt to justify God's existence in light of the apparent imperfections of the world. Theodicy (/θiːˈɒdɪsi/), in its most common form, is the attempt to answer the question of why a good God permits the manifestation of evil. Theodicy attempts to resolve the evidential problem of evil by reconciling the traditional divine characteristics of omnibenevolence, omnipotence, and omniscience, in either their absolute or relative form, with the occurrence of evil or suffering in the world. Unlike a defence, which tries to demonstrate that God's existence is logically possible in the light of evil, a theodicy provides a framework which claims to make God's existence probable. The term was coined in 1710 by German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz in his work, Théodicée, though various responses to the problem of evil had been previously proposed. Definition and etymology Reasons for theodicy Sociologist Peter L. History
Is–ought problem The is–ought problem in meta-ethics as articulated by Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume (1711–76) is that many writers make claims about what ought to be on the basis of statements about what is. However, Hume found that there seems to be a significant difference between descriptive statements (about what is) and prescriptive or normative statements (about what ought to be), and it is not obvious how one can get from making descriptive statements to prescriptive. The is–ought problem is also known as Hume's law and Hume's Guillotine. A similar though distinct view is defended by G. E. Overview Hume discusses the problem in book III, part I, section I of his book, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739): Hume asks, given knowledge of the way the universe is, in what sense can we say it ought to be different? Hume calls for caution against such inferences in the absence of any explanation of how the ought-statements follow from the is-statements. Implications Responses
Metaphysics Metaphysics is a traditional branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms: What is ultimately there?What is it like? Prior to the modern history of science, scientific questions were addressed as a part of metaphysics known as natural philosophy. Etymology However, once the name was given, the commentators sought to find intrinsic reasons for its appropriateness. There is a widespread use of the term in current popular literature which replicates this error, i.e. that metaphysical means spiritual non-physical: thus, "metaphysical healing" means healing by means of remedies that are not physical. Origins and nature of metaphysics Central questions Being, existence and reality The nature of Being is a perennial topic in metaphysics. Mind and matter
Altruism Giving alms to the poor is often considered an altruistic action. Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures and a core aspect of various religious traditions and secular worldviews, though the concept of "others" toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism or selflessness is the opposite of selfishness. The word was coined by the French philosopher Auguste Comte in French, as altruisme, for an antonym of egoism. He derived it from an Italian altrui, which in turn was derived from Latin alteri, meaning "other people" or "somebody else". Altruism can be distinguished from feelings of loyalty, in that whilst the latter is predicated upon social relationships, altruism does not consider relationships. The notion of altruism The concept has a long history in philosophical and ethical thought. Scientific viewpoints Anthropology General
'Stoicism' School of Hellenistic Greek philosophy Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. It was heavily influenced by certain teachings of Socrates, while Stoic physics are largely drawn from the teachings of the philosopher Heraclitus. The Stoics are especially known for teaching that "virtue is the only good" for human beings, and that external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves, but have value as "material for virtue to act upon". Stoicism flourished throughout the Roman and Greek world until the 3rd century AD, and among its adherents was Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Terminology Stoic comes from the Greek stōïkos, meaning "of the stoa [portico, or porch]". Basic tenets History Scholars usually divide the history of Stoicism into three phases: No complete work by any Stoic philosopher survives from the first two phases of Stoicism. Logic Propositional logic
Compatibilism Compatibilism (or soft determinism) is the belief that free will and determinism are compatible ideas, and that it is possible to believe both without being logically inconsistent. Compatibilists believe freedom can be present or absent in situations for reasons that have nothing to do with metaphysics. For instance, courts of law make judgments about whether individuals are acting under their own free will under certain circumstances without bringing in metaphysics. Similarly, political liberty is a non-metaphysical concept. Likewise, compatibilists define free will as freedom to act according to one's determined motives without arbitrary hindrance from other individuals or institutions. In contrast, the incompatibilist positions are concerned with a sort of "metaphysically free will", which compatibilists claim has never been coherently defined. History Defining free will Alternatives as imaginary Implications for morality Criticisms References