Glossary of Terms ‘R’

Written By Thomas Perez. December 14, 2010 at 5:53PM. Copyright 2010.

The individualist movement founded by Ayn Rand, known by its adherents as objectivism.

A theory or method based on the thesis that human reason can in principle be the source of all knowledge. In the modern period, rationalism was initially championed by René Descartes and spread during the 17th and 18th centuries, primarily in continental Europe. It is opposed with empiricism.

Critical Rationalism
The philosophy that tenants of science should always be criticized and questioned so as to continually prove their worth.

Pancritical Rationalism
Sub-concept of critical rationalism, it argues that every tenant of science or commonly held truth should be questioned regardless of an authority figure’s justification or assurance that it is true.

A view of a reality ontologically independent of conception, perception, etc. Objects have certain properties regardless of any thought to the contrary.

Critical Realism
A view that certain types of sense data accurately represent a mind-independent reality while other types do not. A key example is the primary/secondary quality distinction.

Modal Realism
The view most notably put forth by David Lewis that possible worlds are as real as the actual world.

Moral Realism
The philosophical view that there are objective moral values. Moral realists argue that moral judgments describe moral facts. This combines a cognitive view about moral judgments (they are belief-like mental states that describe the state of the world), a view about the existence of moral facts (they do in fact exist), and a view about the nature of moral facts (they are objective: independent of our cognizing them, or our stance towards them). It contrasts with expressivity or non-cognitive theories of moral judgment, error theories of moral judgments, fictional theories of moral judgment, and constructivist or relativist theories of the nature of moral facts.

Naïve Realism, Direct Realism, or Common Sense Realism
The common view of the world including the claims that it is as it is perceived, that objects have the properties attributed to them, and that they maintain these properties when not being perceived.

Platonic Realism
A belief in the existence of universals as articulated by Plato. Platonic realism is often called Plato’s theory of Forms.

A philosophy which holds that societies should continually reform in order to establish a more perfect government or social network.

A number of related, contentious theories that hold, very roughly, that the nature of complex things can always be reduced to (be explained by) simpler or more fundamental things. This is said of objects, phenomena, explanations, theories, and meanings. In short, it is philosophical materialism taken to its logical consequences.

Ontological Reductionism
The idea that everything that exists is made from a small number of basic substances that behave in regular ways. Compare to monism.

Methodological Reductionism
The idea that explanations of things, such as scientific explanations, ought to be continually reduced to the very simplest entities possible (but no simpler). Occam’s Razor forms the basis of this type of reductionism.

Theoretical Reductionism
The idea that older theories or explanations are not generally replaced outright by new ones, but that new theories are refinements or reductions of the old theory in greater detail.

Scientific Reductionism
Has been used to describe all of the above ideas as they relate to science, but is most often used to describe the idea that all phenomena can be reduced to scientific explanations.

Linguistic Reductionism
The idea that everything can be described in a language with a limited number of core concepts, and combinations of those concepts. (See Basic English and the constructed language Toki Pona).

Greedy Reductionism
This term was coined by Daniel Dennettto condemn those forms of reductionism that try to explain too much with too little.

Analytical Reductionism
As used in “Is Reductionism A Good Approach In Science?””is the underlying a priori of ontological reductionism”.

A philosophy that holds that space and time are basic entities ontologically on a par with matter and radiation.

The view that the meaning and value of human beliefs and behaviors have no absolute reference. Relativists claim that humans understand and evaluate beliefs and behaviors only in terms of, for example, their historical and cultural context. Philosophers identify many different kinds of relativism depending upon what allegedly depends on something and what something depends on.

Moral Relativism
The belief that there is no one universal set of morals; i.e., that each individual has his or her own moral beliefs, usually based on personal experience or perception, and that those morals are valid and true for those individuals.

Linguistic Relativism
The idea that differences in language are related to differences in cognition of the language users. It is an idea inferred from Linguistic determinism, and subject in the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.

Methodological Relativism
The idea that a researcher must suspend his or her own cultural biases while attempting to understand beliefs and behaviors in their local contexts. See ethnocentrism.

In epistemology, the claim that the status of a belief as knowledge should be judged by whether it was arrived upon through a reliable method. For instance, scientific experiment may be considered a more reliable method than intuition or guesswork.

A philosophical concept that states that we do not (and can not) perceive the external world directly; instead we know only our ideas or interpretations of objects in the world. Thus, a barrier or a veil of perception prevents first-hand knowledge of anything beyond it. The “veil” exists between the mind and the existing world.

A philosophy that expresses art as an emotional experience based on the appreciation of the aesthetic. In other words, Romanticism is a philosophy where art is celebrated due to the emotional reaction on the part of the receiver.

The Maritime and Science Technology Academy movement towards true college experience while still in High School.

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