Deductive Reasoning

I. Definition Deductive reasoning, or deduction, is one of the two basic types of logical inference. A logical inference is a connection from a first statement (a “premise”) to a second statement (“the conclusion”) for which the rules of logic show that if the first statement is true, the second statement should be true. Specifically, deductions are inferences which must be true—at least according... »


I. Definition Theism (pronounced THEE-ism) means “belief in one or more gods.” It covers a huge range of religious beliefs, notably the Abrahamic monotheisms, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Theism refers to any kind of belief in any god or gods, so it is difficult to make any other generalizations about it. Two people may both say they believe in God, so they’re both theists; but what they mean... »


I. Definition Monotheism means “belief in a single God.” It usually refers to the so-called Abrahamic monotheisms: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. However, any religion with a single god counts as monotheism. Monotheisms are extremely diverse, having little in common other than the fact that they believe in only one god. Even then, the word “God” can mean an enormous range of different things (o... »

Analytic Philosophy

I. Definition Analytic philosophy is based on the idea that philosophical problems can be solved through an analysis of their terms, and pure, systematic logic. Many traditional philosophical problems are dismissed because their terms are too vague, while those that remain are subjected to a rigorous logical analysis. For example, a traditional philosophical problem is “Does God exist?” Various ph... »


I. Definition Epistemology (pronounced eh-PIH-stem-AH-luh-jee) is the study of knowledge. It raises questions like What is truth? Do we really know what we think we know? How can knowledge be made more reliable? It’s one of the oldest branches of philosophy, reaching far back into the time before Socrates. Today, epistemology is connected with many other areas of philosophy and science — after all... »


I. Definition Causality is the process of one thing “causing” another. That seems pretty simple: you throw a ball, the ball hits the window, it causes the window to break? What’s weird or confusing about that? What problems does philosophy need to solve where causality is concerned? But things get more complicated when you try to think more abstractly about causality. What does the word “cause” ac... »


I. Definition Taoism (or Daoism) is one of the main strands of traditional Chinese philosophy. It gets its name from the idea of the Dao, which means “the way,” which is the reality beyond human perception, a reality that Taoists strongly associate with the natural world. For Taoists, the ultimate goal of human life is to understand this reality and learn to live in harmony with it. One of t... »


I. Definition Eudaimonia is often translated as “happiness,” but that’s a bit misleading. Eudaimonia comes from two Greek words: Eu-: good Daimon: soul or “self.” A difficult word to translate into English. In Greek philosophy, Eudaimonia means achieving the best conditions possible for a human being, in every sense–not only happiness, but also virtue, morality, and a meaningful life. It was... »


I. Definition Ataraxia (pronounced AT-uh-RAX-ee-yuh) is Greek for “undisturbed” or “untroubled.” It’s a kind of inner peace – the ability to remain calm despite fear, anger, sadness, or stress. A person who with strong ataraxia has mastered the emotions and can rise above the ordinary difficulties that we all encounter in life. Ataraxia is the ultimate form of “keeping an even keel.” Ataraxia is s... »


I. Definition Stoicism is a moral philosophy that emphasizes the discipline and mastery of the emotions in order to reach a wiser, rational, and peaceful mindset. However, in popular usage, “stoic” usually refers to a grim-faced, emotionless person — someone who shows neither joy nor pain, is capable of suffering much in silence, and is not very social. But this stereotype partially reflects the o... »