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(And contrasted with Classical Realism.)

Copyright 1999 by The Center for Applied Philosophy. All Rights Reserved.

Some definitions which may help in understanding the above:

Epistemological empiricism: The doctrine which denies or doubts the validity of all intellectual knowledge and admits only the certainty of sense-knowledge.

Epistemological rationalism: The doctrine which denies or doubts the validity of sense-knowledge and admits only the certainty of intellectual knowledge.

Metaphysical Idealism: The doctrine that nothing exists except ideas or minds; material reality is an illusion. The mind is the sole existing thing.

Metaphysical Materialism: The doctrine that nothing exists except matter in motion (material reality). The mind is just a material entity.

Pragmatism: The doctrine (or attitude) which places all knowledge and truth in a direct relation to life and action. Truth is that which satisfies human needs and interests in a social way.

Positivism: A doctrine that is a form of naturalism which denies the legitimacy of philosophical problems and methods and claims that science is the only knowledge which is exact and ultimate.

Scientism: The doctrine that nothing exists except that which can be measured by the instruments of science. Reality = the material universe.

Politicism: The dogma that all human problems are political in nature and the solution must be a political one. Public polls determine truth and morality.

Determinism: The doctrine that human beings do not possess free will; all behavior is determined. There is no "personal" responsibility for behavior.

Epistemological Subjectivism: The doctrine that objective truth is impossible; truth is completely relative.

Moral Relativism: The doctrine that objective moral principles don't exist; moral principles are always relative. There is nothing basically moral or immoral.

Social Collectivism: The doctrine that human individuals live only for the benefit of the state or society, from which all rights are derived.

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I was recently asked to express my opinion regarding the five major individuals who had intellectually influenced American culture for either good or ill. The five I came up with were not really beneficial influences, in my opinion, which may explain why our society and culture are in the bankrupt state I think they are suffering from. I could not think of a single intellectual to put in the top five who had influenced contemporary thought for the better. And I think that's terrible! If I had been given fifteen or twenty major influences, I probably could come up with a few that have influenced intellectual thought for the better. But, for better or worse, here are my choices. Jonathan Dolhenty

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