Philosophical Concepts

Philosophical concepts define logical entities which convey philosophical investigations in terms of language. There are numerous such concepts. Some are detailed below.

A priori knowledge refers to everything that is known independent of experience. Examples include mathematics, deduction and pure reason.
A posteriori knowledge refers to knowledge that depends on empirical evidence. Examples include personal knowledge and science.

a priori a posteriori

Dogma refers to the view or philosophical tenet a person or a group believes to be true. These views, usually concerning faith, morals, religion or behaviour, are put forward as authoritative without providing an adequate reason or ground. In religion, dogmas are often communicated by divine revelation and further defined by religious institutions. Members accept dogma without question or doubt. Dogma excludes rational discussion. Dogma provides moral certainty, which frequently translates into oppression, aggression and the stifling of opposing ideas.

Moral Relativism (relativist ethics, relative morality) suggests that no judgment of any kind can be objectively right or wrong. Moral Relativism rejects universal moral rules. What is morally good in one context may be ethically deficient in another. Consequently, all positions deserve tolerance equally, even when significant differences in ethical views exist.
Cultural Relativism sees moral rules as dependent on traditions and convictions of particular groups or cultures.
Ethical Relativism connects to a specific culture and should not be judged outside that culture. Cultural values are specifically ‘right’ for that culture.
Individual Relativism sets values relative to individuals. The individual decides what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ based on personal belief. In this way, two individuals can have an opposite moral evaluation.

Moral relativism

Epistemology discusses the philosophy of knowledge, including the study of nature, origin, and knowledge limits. Epistemology examines what constitutes knowledge the conditions required for a mere belief to be judged rational and thus become a justified belief, i.e. knowledge. Perception, reason, memory and testimony provide the sources of epistemology. Epistemology asks these questions: “What do we know?”, “What does it mean to say one knows something?”, “What makes a justified belief justified?” and “How do we know that we ‘know’?”.
Ontology (the science of being) focuses on concepts such as existence, being and the nature of reality. What have all entities in the broadest sense in common? What applies neutrally to everything real?
Axiology studies the nature of values. What is the nature of ‘value’? What has ‘value’?. Axiology divides the nature of value into ‘intrinsic’ (if good for its own sake) and extrinsic ( valuable only as a means to something else). The theory of Monism suggests that there is only one intrinsic value. Pluralism, on the contrary, contends that there are various types of inherent values such as virtue, friendship or knowledge.


Metaphysics constitutes the branch of philosophy dealing with fundamental principles such as the nature of being, knowing, identity, time, space, causality, necessity, possibility, consciousness, cosmology and the relationship between mind and matter. What exists? What type of existences are there? What is there? What is it like? Metaphysics divides into ontology (general metaphysics), psychical or religious metaphysics (god, freedom, immortality), and physical metaphysics time, space, laws of nature and matter). The physical study is limited to what is observable. The metaphysical study includes all philosophical possibilities of being and knowing.

Metaphysical Questions

Determinism in philosophy suggests that previously existing causes ultimately determine all events, including moral choices. This cause and effect principle implies that events are causally bound, and prior conditions determine all current conditions—the scope of determinism varies according to the philosophical viewpoint.
Nomological determinism presents the notion that the past dictates the future.
Necessitarianism denies all casual possibilities; everything happens for a reason and by necessity.
In Predetermanism, all events are determined in advance.
Fatalism is a form of determinism that suggests that humans have no control over their future.
Theological determinism holds that events are predestined to happen by a monotheistic deity.
Logical determinism presents the idea that all notions about the future or past are either true or false.



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