Atheism: a naturalistic view of reality; a belief that no God or gods exist
De-constructionism: belief that the source of a literary discipline must be dismantled; an author's point of view is only as valid as the reader may determine; guts classical literature and law' the Constitution becomes what the reader or the judge says- not its authors
Egalitarianism: belief that total equality must exist for everyone in every area of life: political, social, cultural, economic; all opinions, talents and wealth must become equal; its fallacies are addressed in Federalist Paper #10
Empiricism: All knowledge is based on sense experience alone; nothing can be true unless it can be tested (like the Scientific Method)
Existentialism: An introspective humanism; an attempt to create a personal identity from a meaningless universe based on the subjective feelings of the individual -"live for the moment," My life, my way," the 1960's mindset
Hedonism: Doctrine that elevates pleasure as the sole end and a good life; moral duty is fulfilled in the gratification of pleasure" Root word from the French: "world- weary"
Humanism: Ascribes to the individual the highest value and considers him to be the ultimate source of value apart from the supernatural- "man is the measure of all things" or the Serpent in the garden: "You shall be as gods."
Materialism: Belief that nothing exists other than matter; everything that exists is material and natural and is only the result of the product of time + chance + matter (like evolution/ Darwinism)
Modernism: Basis found within the Enlightenment thought (expressed through the Renaissance) which centered on humanity as the ultimate source of authority' emphasis on human autonomy "modernity"
Multiculturalism: Belief that each culture or ethnic group creates its own reality, its own universe; no belief, idea, or culture is superior or inferior another (i.e. Gorbachev= Reagan; USA = China) No individual choice; attempts to unite by division; polar opposite of E Pluribus Unum ("out of many, one")
Naturalism: There is no supernatural; all can be explained by the physical; there are no consequences to actions; man is a product of his genetics and environment, therefore, he is a victim of society' life has no meaning- man is no better than plants or animals
Nihilism: Latin- "nihil" or "nothing." Theory which ascribes the universe as meaningless and without any purpose. Nothingness.
Pantheism: Belief that God is identical with the universe; God and nature are synonymous and impersonal
Relativism: Theory that truth is only whatever a particular individual or society decides that is is; truths change with circumstances; no objective standards of right or wrong; no universal truth, no absolute code of conduct. (values clarification or situational ethics)
Utilitarianism: Radical individualism; autonomy unguided by virtue; personal happiness and success are achieved and justified by whatever means is necessary to obtain them- the use ("utility") of people and/ or circumstances is justified; the goal is paramount to whatever means may be needed to reach it - "the end justifies the means"- Machiavelli