Glossary of Terms ‘C’

Written By Thomas Perez. December 14th, 2010 at 5:12PM. Copyright 2010.

Capitalism
An economic system in which all or most of the means of production are privately owned and operated (usually through employing wage labour, and for profit), and in which the investment of capitaland the production, distribution and prices of commodities and services are determined mainly in a free market. Capitalism has also been called laissez-faire economy, free market economy, free enterprise system, economic liberalism, and economic individualism.

Anarcho-Capitalism
A philosophy based on the idea of individual sovereignty, and a prohibition against initiatory coercion and fraud. It sees the only just basis for law as arising from private property norms and an unlimited right of contract between sovereign individuals. From this basis, anarcho-capitalism rejects the state as an unjustified monopolist and aggressor against sovereign individuals, and embraces anti-statistlaissez-faircapitalism. Anarcho-capitalists would aim to protect individual liberty and property by replacing a government monopoly, which is involuntarily funded through taxation, with private, competing businesses.

Careerism
The desire to advance one’s own career as a sole aim in life, often at the expense of personal and social growth or development.

Cartesianism
A philosophy based on the ideas and works of René Descartes.

Christianism
Another name for Christianity, the monotheistic religion recognizing Jesus Christ as its founder and central figure. With more than two billion adherents, or about one-third of the total world population, it is the largest world religion. Its origins are intertwined with Judaism, with which it shares much sacred lore, including the Old Testament(Hebrew Bible). Christianity is sometimes termed an Abrahamic religion, along with Judaism and Islam.

Classicism
In the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity, as setting standards for taste which the classicist seeks to emulate. Classicism is usually contrasted with romanticism; the art of classicism typically seeks to be formal, restrained, and Apollonian(nothing in excess) rather than Dionysiac (excess), in Friedrich Nietzsche’s opposition. It can also refer to the other periods of classicism. In theater, Classicism was developed by 17th century French playwrights from what they judged to be the rules of Greek classical theater, including the Classical unities of time, place and action.

Cognitivism
In ethics, cognitivism is the philosophical view that ethical sentences express propositions, and hence are capable of being true or false. See Cognitivism (ethics). More generally, cognitivism with respect to any area of discourse is the position that sentences used in that discourse are cognitive, that is, are meaningful and capable of being true or false. In psychology, cognitivism is the approach to understanding the mind which argues that mental function can be understood as the ‘internal’ rule bound manipulation of symbols. See Cognitivism (psychology).

Coherentism
There are two distinct types of coherentism. One refers to the coherence theory of truth, which restricts true sentences to those that cohere with some specified set of sentences. Someone’s belief is true just in case it is coherent with all or most of their other beliefs. Usually, coherence is taken to imply something stronger than mere consistency. Statements that are comprehensive and meet the requirements of Occam’s razor are usually to be preferred. The second type of coherentism is the belief in the coherence theory of justification, an epistemological theory opposing foundationalism and offering a solution to the regress argument. In this epistemological capacity, it is a theory about how belief can be justified.
Colbertism- a variation of mercantilism, which has applied in France between 1661 and 1683 by the superintendent of Finances Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

Collectivism[1]
A theoretical or practical emphasis on the group, as opposed to (and seen by many of its opponents to be at the expense of) the individual. Some psychologists define collectivism as a syndrome of attitudes and behaviors based on the belief that the basic unit of survival lies within a group, not the individual. Collectivists typically hold that that the “greater good” of the group, is more important than the good of any particular individual who is one part of that larger organization. Some collectivists argue that the individual incidentally serves his own interests by working for the benefit of the group.

Communalism
Outside of South Asia, communalism describes a broad range of social movements and social theories which are in some way centered upon the community. Communalism can take the form of communal living or communal property, among others. It is sometimes said to put the interests of the community above the interests of the individual, but this is usually only done on the principle that the community exists for the benefit of the individuals who participate in it, so the best way to serve the interests of the individual is through the interests of the community.

Communism
A theoretical system of social organization and a political movement based on common ownership of the means of production. As a political movement, communism seeks to establish a classless society. A major force in world politics since the early 20th century, modern communism is generally associated with The Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, according to which the capitalist profit-based system of private ownership is replaced by a communist society in which the means of production are communally owned, such as through a gift economy. Often this process is said initiated by the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie (see Marxism), passes through a transitional period marked by the preparatory stage of socialism (see Leninism). Pure communism has never been implemented, it remains theoretical: communism is, in Marxist theory, the end-state, or the result of state-socialism. The word is now mainly understood to refer to the political, economic, and social theory of Marxist thinkers, or life under conditions of Communist party rule.

Communitarianism
A group of related but distinct philosophies that began in the late 20th century, opposing aspects of liberalism and capitalism while advocating phenomena such as civil society. Not necessarily hostile to liberalism in the contemporary American sense of the word, communitarianism rather has a different emphasis, shifting the focus of interest toward communities and societies and away from the individual. The question of priority (individual or community) often has the largest impact in the most pressing ethical questions: health care, abortion, multiculturalism, hate speech, and so on.

Compatibilism
Also known as “soft determinism” and championed by Hume, is a theory which holds that free will and determinism are compatible. According to Hume, free will should not be understood as an absolute ability to have chosen differently under exactly the same inner and outer circumstances. Rather, it is a hypothetical ability to have chosen differently if one had been differently psychologically disposed by some different beliefs or desires. Hume also maintains that free acts are not uncaused (or mysteriously self-caused as Kant would have it) but caused by our choices as determined by our beliefs, desires, and by our characters. While a decision making process exists in Hume’s determinism, this process is governed by a causal chain of events.

Comtism
Auguste Comte’s positivistic philosophy that metaphysics and theology should be replaced by a hierarchy of sciences from mathematics at the base to sociology at the top.

Conceptualism
A doctrine in philosophy intermediate between nominalism and realism, that universals exist only within the mind and have no external or substantial reality.

Confucianism
An East Asian ethical and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of the early Chinese sage Confucius. It is a complex system of moral, social, political, and religious thought that has had tremendous influence on the history of Chinese civilization down to the 21st century. Some have considered it to have been the “state religion” of imperial China.

Neo-Confucianism
A form of Confucianism that was primarily developed during the Song dynasty, as a response to the dominance of Taoism and Buddhism at the time. Neo-Confucians such as Zhu Xire cognized that the Confucianism lacked a thorough metaphysical system, and so synthesized one based on previous Confucian concepts. There were many competing views within the Neo-Confucian community, but overall, a system emerged that resembled both the Buddhist and Taoist thought of the time.

New Confucianism
A new movement of Confucianism since the 20th century applying Confucianism to modern times. Not to be confused with Neo-Confucianism.

Consequentialism
The belief that what ultimately matters in evaluating actions or policies of action are the consequences that result from choosing one action or policy rather than the alternative.

Constructivism
The view that reality, or at least our knowledge of it, is a value-laden subjective construction rather than a passive acquisition of objective features.

Consumerism
Attachment to materialistic values or possessions

Contextualism
A collection of views which emphasize the context in which an action, utterance or expression occurs, and argues that, in some important respect, the action, utterance or expression can only be understood within that context. Contextualist views hold that philosophically controversial concepts, such as “meaning P”, “knowing that P”, “having a reason to A”, and possibly even “being true” or “being right” only have meaning relative to a specified context. Some philosophers hold that context-dependence may lead to relativism; nevertheless, contextualist views are increasingly popular within philosophy.

Conventionalism
Philosophical attitude that fundamental principles of a certain kind are grounded on (explicit or implicit) agreements in society, rather than on external reality. Although this attitude is commonly held with respect to the rules of grammar and the principles of etiquette, its application to the propositions of law, ethics, science, mathematics, and logic is more controversial.

Cosmotheism
Synonym for pantheism (see theism).

Creationism
Also referred to as creation theology is the belief that humans, life, the Earth, and the universe were created by a supreme being or deity’s supernatural intervention. The intervention may be seen either as an act of creation from nothing (ex nihilo) or the emergence of order from pre-existing chaos.

Day-Age Creationism
A type of Old Earth creationism, it is an effort to reconcile Creation as presented in Genesiswith modern scientific theories on the age of the Universe. It holds that the six days referred to in Genesis are not ordinary 24-hour days, but are much longer periods, thus interpreting Genesis as cosmic evolution.

Evolutionary Creationism
A lesser used term for theistic evolution, the general opinion that some or all classical religious teachings about God and creation are compatible with some or all of the modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. Theistic evolution is not a theory in the scientific sense, but a particular view about how the science of evolution relates to some religious interpretations.

Gap Creationism
Also called Restitution creationism or Ruin-Reconstruction, are terms used to describe a particular set of Christian beliefs about the creation of the Universe and the origin of man. The concept of the Gap Theory is widely thought to have been promulgated by William Buckland and Thomas Chalmers in the early 19th century, though some adherents maintain that it can be traced back to biblical times. Certainly it became quite popular when it was promoted by the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909.

Old Earth Creationism
A variant of the creationist view of the origin of the universe and life on Earth. As a theory of origins it is typically more compatible with mainstream scientific thought on the issues of geology, cosmology and the age of the Earth, in comparison to Young Earth creationism.

Young Earth Creationism
The religious belief that Heaven, Earth, and life on Earth were created by a direct act of God dating between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. Its adherents are those Christians, Jews and Muslims who believe that God created the Earth in six 24-hour days, taking the Hebrew text of Genesis as a literal account.

Omphalos Creationism
Named after the title of an 1857 book, Omphalos by Philip Henry Gosse, in which Gosse argued that in order for the world to be “functional”, God must have created the Earth with mountains and canyons, trees with growth rings, Adam and Eve with hair, fingernails, and navels(omphalos is Greek for “navel”), and that therefore no evidence that we can see of the presumed age of the earth and universe can be taken as reliable. The idea has seen some revival in the 20th century by some modern creationists, who have extended the argument to light that appears to originate in far-off stars and galaxies, although many other creationists reject this explanation (and also believe that Adam and Eve had no navels).

Cynicism
Was originally the philosophy of a group of ancient Greeks called the Cynics(main article), founded by Antisthenes. Nowadays the word generally describes the opinions of those inclined to disbelieve in human sincerity, in virtue, or in altruism: individuals who maintain that only self-interest motivates human behavior. A modern cynic typically has a highly contemptuous attitude towards social norms, especially those which serve more of a ritualistic purpose than a practical one, and will tend to dismiss a substantial proportion of popular beliefs, conventional morality and accepted wisdom as irrelevant or obsolete nonsense.

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