The following is a selection of terms used in this book, gathered here for quick reference. For more information on each of them, please refer to the relevant index entry. 
  • Behaviourism the view that the mind can be understood in temis of physical activity 
  • Blik a particular way of seeing something, used especiaily of religious language 
  • Categorical imperative sense of moral obligation; the basis of Kant's moral argument for the existence of God 
  • Cosmological (arguments) arguments for the existence of God, based on observation of the world 
  • Deconstruction the process of examining a text in the context of the linguistic and social structures within which it was put together (see also structuralism) 
  • Deductive argument an argument based on logical principles, rather than on the assessment of evidence 
  • Dualism the view that mind and matter are distinct and separate (of importance for the mind/body probiem, but also for epistemology) 
  • Empiricism a theory of knowledge based on sense experience
  • Epiphenomenalism the theory that the mmd is a product of complex physical processes 
  • Epistemology the theory of knowledge
  • Idealism the claim that the world, as we experience it, is fundamentally mental. 
  • Inductive method the process of coming to a conclusion based on the assessment of evidence 
  • Interactionism the general term for theories of the mmd in which mmd and body are distinct (dualism) but interact 
  • Intuitive knowledge direct knowledge which is not the result of conscious reasoning or experience 
  • Materialism reality is material (for example the self' is a way of describing the body and its actions) 
  • Metaphysics the study of theories concerning the nature, structure and general characteristics of reality 
  • Modernism a general term for the self-conscious approach to philosophy and the arts, developed particularly in the first half of the 20th century. 
  • Natural selection Darwin's theory of evolution, by which only the strongest examples of a species survive to breed 
  • Numinous the 'holy', beyond rational definition (term used by Rudolph Otto) 
  • Ontological (argument) argument for the existence of God, based simply on a proposed definition of God and independent of evidence 
  • Panentheism belief that God exists within everything (implied by theism, but not the same as pantheism) 
  • Pantheism the idea that God is identical with the material universe 
  • Phenomenology the study of what people actually experience (a theory developed by Husserl) 
  • Postmodernism a modern, 'continental' approach to philosophy and the arts, rejecting the modernist concept of a self-conscious, authentic, creative self in favour of a direct appreciation of symbols and texts in their cultural context (see also structuralism) 
  • Pragmatism the idea that a theory should be assessed according to its practical use, its implications for other areas of knowledge and its coherence with other beliefs 
  • Rationalism the theory that all knowledge is based on, and shaped by, the process of thinking 
  • Reductionism the tendency to reduce everything to its component parts; the 'nothing but' view of complex things 
  • Schema a cluster of rational terms by which the 'holy' is understood and described (the process is called schematisation') 
  • Structuralism an approach to philosophy, developed within the 'continental' school in the second half of the 2Oth century, which interprets the meaning of a text, a word or an idea in the context of the structures of thought within which it is found 
  • Theism belief in the existence of God 
  • Utilitarianism the ethical theory that evaluates actions in temis of their predicted results ('the greatest good to the greatest number') 
  • Verification checking the validity of a statement, used especially of logical positivist and other empirical approaches to language


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