Glossary

Behaviorism

Behaviorism is the school of psychology which advocates focusing on public events - the behaviors of people - while ignoring private events - the thoughts of people. Behaviorism contends that public behaviors as such can be described scientifically without recourse to either internal physiological events or to hypothetical constructs like thoughts or beliefs.

Category mistake

A term coined by philosopher Gilbert Ryle, is a type of informal fallacy where things that belong to one grouping are mistakenly placed in another.

Conscious

In Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality, the conscious mind consists of everything inside of our awareness; the aspect of our mental processing that we can think and talk about in a rational way.

Dualism

In philosophy of mind, dualism is the position that mental phenomena are, in some respects, nonphysical and that as a result the mind and physical body are not identical.

Dualistic

Two-fold. Related to dualism, the view that material substance (physical body) and immaterial substance (mind or soul) are two separate aspects of the self.

Eliminative materialism

The radical claim that our ordinary, commonsense understanding of the mind is deeply wrong and that some or all of the mental states posited by common sense do not actually exist.

Empiricist

The view that sense experience is the primary source of all knowledge and that only a careful attention to sense experience can enable us to understand the world and achieve accurate conclusions.

Functionalism

A theory of the mind in contemporary philosophy based on the core idea that mental states (beliefs, desires, being in pain, etc.) are constituted solely by their functional role—that is, they are causal relations to other mental states, sensory inputs, and behavioral outputs.

Hylomorphism

A philosophical theory developed by Aristotle that views “being” as a compound of form and matter.

Neoplatonism

A modern term used to designate a tradition of philosophy that arose in the third century C.E and persisted until shortly after the closing of the Platonic Academy in Athens in C.E 529. Neoplatonists were heavily influenced both by Plato and by the Platonic tradition.

Phenomenology

A philosophical approach that attempts to give a direct description of our experience as it is in itself, without taking into account its psychological origins or causal explanations

Physicalism

The thesis that “everything is physical,” that there is “nothing over and above” the physical.

Rationalist

The view that reason is the primary source of all knowledge and that only our reasoning abilities can enable us to understand sense experience and reach accurate conclusions.

Theologian

A term derived from the Greek theos (God) and logos (study of)—the study of God.

Unconscious

The processes in the mind that occur automatically and are not available to introspection, and include thought processes, memory, affect, and motivation. Even though these processes exist well under the surface of conscious awareness, they are theorized to exert an impact on behavior.