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HIST 121 WINTER

Terms and definitions

TermDefinition
Scala Naturae AKA the Great Chain of Being, it is the philosophical and religious belief that there is divine order that has organized a hierarchy and that everyone has their place in it.
Geocentric Model Model that puts the Earth at the centre of the solar system with the other planets and the sun revolving around it. (Ptolemy)
Heliocentric Model Model that puts the sun at the centre of the solar system while the planets (including earth) orbit around it. (Copernicus, Galileo)
Epistemology Branch of philosophy that studies the study of knowledge. It looks at what can be considered knowledge and whether we can know anything at all (Descartes, Newton)
A priori Knowledge that precedes/comes before experience - innate knowledge (Kant & Descartes)
A posteriori Knowledge that is gained after experience (Newton)
Cartesian Dualism Belief that there is a difference and necessary distinction between the mind and body. The mind does not occupy space while the body does (Descartes)
Deductive Reasoning Method of logic in which one comes to a conclusion by logically following the premises. AKA top-down reasoning
Representationalism Epistemological theory that we can only know things that the mind perceives, rather than the world that is outside of our mind and its filters. There is an external world out there but we cannot truly understand it.
Inductive Reasoning AKA bottom-up processing. The conclusion is probable given that the premises are true. Usually based on observation by looking for evidence to make a hypothesis.
Innatism The idea that concepts, mental structures, and mental ideas are not acquired or learned from the environment, but come from the mind.
Tabula Rasa Locke's concept that the mind is a blank slate and acquires information once being exposed to the external empirical world. Information is not innate.
Contradiction (logic) logical incompatibility between two (or more) propositions. Occurs when two conclusions are stated, but the result is an inversion where the two (or more) ideas cannot coicide with each other.
Argument from design AKA intelligent design argument, it is the argument that the natural physical world appears to consist of so many intricate parts that it must have been designed by a powerful being (i.e. God)
Physiocrat 18th century economic theory that advocates for the wealth of nations to be accumulated by agricutlture. Against mercantilism in favour of laissez-faire economic policies, it was developed cy Charles de Secondat.
Deism Largely associated with the Enlightenment, it is the belief that God and his existence can be understood through reasoning, without reliance on miracles, or revelation. This being has a plan for creation, but does not interfere.
Egalitarianism General belief that all humans are equal in their worth, dignity and moral status. Can be interpreted in different ways what equality may mean, but associated with many enlightenment thinkers (i.e. Locke).
Covenant Hobbe's basis for the social contract, states that a contract is when two groups agree to transfer their right to the other party because the other party is doing the same.
Moral Relativism Belief that there is no objective morality, for it is dependent on the context (culture and history).
Negative Liberty One is free to act in such a way that there are no obstacles or barriers preventing their actions.
Positive Liberty The possibility of acting in one's free will so that he/she can acheive his/her goals. One is self-sufficient enough to achieve self-realization.
Classical Liberalism Belief that an individual has inalienable/natural rights that a government cannot take away from it. Also believed in negative liberty and limited government involvement in economics and social matters.
Social Contract Theory A person's moral and/or political obligations are dependent on a contract they have with others in order to support society. Rousseau, Locke, Hobbes.
Cameralism belief that state control could lead to the bettering of society. Often led to support of Monarchical governments and resources being placed at the service of the state.
Sensationalism Belief that all cognition comes from sensory experience.
Idealism Believes that all knowledge has some sort of mental foundation. Everything that we know is at least partially self-created as a result of the mind's faculties or filters that process the external world.
Idea of Progress wide-ranging philsophy which generally states that social, economic and scientific imrpvement improve the human condition. Views history as linear and that people have gone from barbarism to civilizaiton via reason.
Cultural Relativism Cultural norms and values come from a specific social context. A culture's moral values can only be judged from the conditions in which the values originated.
Teleology An attempt to explain something by referencing/using its end goal/conclusion.
Irrationalism Ontologically, associated with will and instinct over reason. Denies that rational methods of science define human history.
Rational Egoism Belief that it is rational and in accordance with reason to pursue one's own interests.
Positivism Deals exclusively with the data of experience. Beyond fact is pure logic and mathematics, where observation and experience are emphasized as sources of knowledge. Rejects metaphysics and being beyond possible evidence.
Perspectivism Denies objective perspectives or absolute knowledge. Does not believe that there is a perspective that can discover reality. Different from skepticism and relativism.
Nihilism Belief that all values are baseless, there is no absolute knowledge. Often associated with pessimism, rejection of a God.
The Invisible Hand Most favourable outcome will come to market players if they act out of self-interest in a free-market.
Laissez-Faire System that opposes government interference in economic activities, other than the maitnenance in peace and property.
Mass Society Toquevile's concept of a mass of people who strive for lowly pleasures and alienate themselves from others.
Pluralism Co-existing of different ethnic, racial, and cultural groups within a society. Each group is allowed to grow and follow their own culture within the civilization.
Consequentialism Moral system that believes an action''s morality is determined by the results of one's actions.
Hedonism Belief system that pleasure and pain are the only things that constitute good and bad and morality.
Utilitarianism Consequentialist theory that believes that maximizing utility (pleasure) while minimizing pleasure is what's moral. Should achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. Rejects systems based on customs or tradition.
Natural Selection The process of organisms who can adapt to their environment better are more likely to survive and pass on their genes.
Scientific Theory An explanation of a natural phenomenon that is supported by repeated tests, observation and experimentation. They are reliable facts of the real world that undergo continual refinement through new observations and insights.
Uniformitarianism Earth's geologic processes that have occurred in the past are still ocurring in the same manner and intensity. Used to explain the gradual but certain changes that Earth has gone through.
Catastrophism The difference in fossil forms is explained through cataclysmic processes that have rapidly replaced species over time.
Exceptionalism The state of being different and apart from everything else. Applied to humans as anthropocentrism where it is often used to support that human life is fundamentally more important.
Socialism Generally, it advocates for the collective or government ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods. It can be the abolition of private property and was labeled by Marx as the transition between capitalism and communism.
Communism According to Engels and Marx, the final stage where goods are distributed based on the collective and individual needs. It is a classless society that is also associated with Marxism-Leninism
Labour Theory of Value Economic theory that the value of a good or service is directly proportional to the amount of labour put into it. Different from potential market price and exchange value. Linked to Adam Smith and Marxist writings.
Proletariat The landless class whose chief source of income derives from their labour power. Referred to as wage-workers or just people that receive salaries.
Dialectical Materialism The material (real, not spiritual or mental) world is in a state of constant change and transformation. Change is the major force in reality.
Bolsheviks Faction of the Social-Democratic Worker's party, their membership is restricted to professional revolutionaries. After teh February Revolution in 1917 they took power in the pos-tsarist time period.
Fascism Generally agreed to be a non-rationalist government epitomizing system. Values utlra-nationalism, extreme elitism, hierarchy, mass mobilization and military virtue
Totalitarianism Highly centralized government with a single party/ruler. Values extreme control of its citizens and obedience. Associated as the antagonist to liberty and natural rights.
Volkisch Movement Combines sentimental patriotism with Germanic folklore and local history, Idealizes the Germanic people while putting down other ethnic groups, such as the Jews.
New Liberalism Between 1906 and WWI, some thinkers saw the government and its citizens as capable of enhancing the lives of the poor. Government could control the direction of social evolution and create a "good society" by implementing policies.
progressivism a social political movement that aimed to address and understand the amount of wealth that was held by the tiny number of elite. Occurred upon the expansion of industrial and urban cities.
Contractarianism Political theory that governments must receive consent from the governed. This consent comes from a mutual agreement between the two. Rawls held that people are self-interested, but taking a rational approach will lead them to act morally.
Post-modernism In the 20th Century, it is a movement defined by skepticism, subjectivism and relativism. Questioned the assumptions made in traditional philosophy, such as an objective truth or the power of language to represent a reality exterior to itself.
Poststructuralism Variety of post-modernism that rejects an overarching truth. Believes that words get their meaning in comparison with other words, rather than from an objective truth. Language comes from the unconscious human phenomena is formless and subjective.
Postcolonialism Field that looks at the effects of imperialism. Looks at the political economic and social effects of colonialism. Looks at imperialism and ID and how violence against colonialism helps the colonized regain their self-conscious agency.