A blupete Essay

Glossary Of Philosophic Terms
In Support of blupete's Essay
"On Philosophy"
§ To an empiricist, all validity in knowledge must be a result of experience.
Locke, Bacon and Hume were empiricists. An empiricist is one who subscribes to the notion that knowledge comes to us through experience. There is no such thing as innate ideas; there is no such thing as moral precepts; we are born with an empty mind, a soft tablet ready to be writ upon by experimental impressions. Thus, empiricism opposes the rationalist belief in the existence of innate ideas; it is a doctrine basic to the scientific method. Certain philosophers would call themselves empiricists though claiming that there are certain a priori truths (e.g., principles of mathematics and logic); but, it is better thought (see John Stuart Mill) that even the most sacred "a priori truths" are generalizations deduced from experience.
An empiricist, incidently, is not to be confused with a skeptic or a cynic.
§ See
The Age of Reason.
§ In its more genteel definition, Epicureanism is that situation where one devotes his or her life to refined and tasteful sensuous enjoyment. In plainer terms, Epicureanism has come to mean that where one has made a dedication to making pleasure the chief object in life. Epicureanism is, however, in its strict definition, a philosophy which relates to the ethical and physical system of philosophy taught by
"Stoicism, Epicureanism and Scepticism express the same tendency of the subject to renounce the possibility of self-satisfaction. The Stoics and the Epicureans consider knowledge as a means of practical life, whose object is the happiness attainable only by reason freed from passion, that is, by virtue, according to the first, or by sense and pleasure aided by calculation, according to the second."16
§ Epistemology investigates the nature of knowledge and the process of knowing. It is the
science of determining the nature and limits of human knowledge. Epistemology, as a branch of philosophy, deals with the origin and nature of knowledge. The conclusions of Rationalists and of Empiricists, in their study of epistemology, are different.
§ Ethics deals with the problems of right conduct. Ethics is the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of
moral principles, which may be viewed as the individual's standard of conduct or as a body of social obligations and duties. Theories of conscience have ascribed the moral awareness of right and wrong to divine will; to an innate sense (e.g. Rousseau); or to the set of values derived from individual experience (e.g., Locke and Mill). Idealists such as Plato have contended that there is an absolute good to which human activities aspire. Moral codes have frequently been based on religious absolutes, but Kant's categorical imperative attempted to set up an ethical criterion independent of theological consideration.17
A majority (probably a large majority) in the general population, will have to subscribe to basically the same ethics if the population is to survive. The argument, as I see it, is not, in a surviving population, if moral awareness of right and wrong exist; but how this common moral code (common set of values) is adopted and adapted through time.
§ In referring to his time at Harvard Law School, Felix Frankfurter wrote: "We had no course in ethics but his course [Dean James Barr Ames] on the law of trusts and fiduciary relations was so much more compelling as a course on ethics than any formal course in ethics that I think ill of most courses in ethics. The delight he took in finding again and again and again the law had much higher standards than the businessmen who prate about it!" [Felix Frankfurter Reminisces (New York: Reynal & Co., 1960) p. 19.]
Evil & Good): § See Spinoza.
Excluded Middle, Law of:
§ 'A' must be either 'A' or 'not A'. (See
deductive reasoning; and see logic.)
Existentialism § (See Sartre.)


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