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Those who are easily confused ought to skip this part of this section. Here I will attempt to organize, identify, categorize, and otherwise "slice and dice" each of the great "buzz-word" philosophies with a view towards planting each in its proper place and showing what parts (if any) ought to fall within our philosophical doctrine and what parts (if any) are incompatible with that doctrine. For those who are interested in a thorough consideration of alternative philosophical principles, this exercise is mandatory. Here we go:

a. Absolute79 Idealism

There is no separate dictionary definition for this phrase. The key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

Absolute Idealism is one of those philosophies which Ayn Rand despised as being based upon the Supremacy of Consciousness (i. e., the supreme reality is the idea of reality, not its actuality). Since I have elected to declare the outer reality to be superior to the inner reality, I must reject all forms of philosophical Idealism, including the Absolute.

b. Agnosticism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

Of course, this is what this here book is really all about, . . . . For those of you who think this to be a "Johnny-come-lately" theological doctrine, check out the term "Deism," below, which clearly anticipated much of agnosticism.

c. Altruism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

There are those who will assert that altruism is the essence of Christian Ethics. Ayn Rand railed at length against altruism, while avoiding mention of its association with Christianity, and she wrote at length in support of blatant selfishness as the proper basis for her Ethics. I reject both as overly simplistic. Forced altruism is the source of much unhappiness for those who are among the forced, but so is unrestrained selfishness the source of much unhappiness for those who are its victims.80 Utilitarianism at least attempts to strike some sort of balance between these two end points, and thus I prefer it to the other two.

d. Anarchism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

Anarchism is the penultimate return to "The Law of the Jungle." It calls for the devolution of human society down to a level which mankind leaves the moment we form into a tribe and choose a "chief" to be in charge. If you believe that the "Alpha Male" concept extends to humanity, then anarchism forces devolution to back before our roots in the primate family. Where that would place us in the overall scale of evolution is not worth the time to actually consider. I believe in the exact opposite doctrine: that the thing which makes mankind "human" is the ability to organize ourselves into formal groups with some form of government. If you have ever participated in the organization of a "club" for any purpose at all, there is almost always a relatively natural selection of a "leader" or "leaders" who act as the logical equivalent of the "state" with respect to that group. While there may well be some validity to certain of the complaints of the anarchists, the alleged "cure" amounts to no less than to "throw the baby out with the bath water." Instead of moving our society back towards "The Law of the Jungle," I most strongly advocate moving our society as far away from that end of the scale as is possible to do, and to instead move towards "The Golden Rule" as the rational basis of human conduct. Under that rule, if you were afflicted by the bad conduct of another, you may well have no alternative but to allow the state to apprehend, punish, and otherwise deal with the perpetrator, so in the event you are instead the perpetrator in question, you have no cause to complain about any treatment which you receive from the state.

e. Capitalism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

Pure Capitalism is the essence of "The Law of the Jungle," which I reject as the basis of a code of conduct for mankind. On the other hand, a failure to provide any form of selfish motive for a person to act properly, as is inherent in forced altruism, will usually result in either the failure to act, or the acting in an inefficient or wasteful manner. So far as an economic system continues to be necessary to the existence of mankind, Capitalism is a better starting point than is any other economic system, but pure Capitalism cannot be allowed; the unrestrained selfishness of pure Capitalism is just as injurious to the health of the civilization as would be any other unrestrained selfishness in any other context.

f. Collectivism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

This is one of three principal governmental theories, the other two being individualism and totalitarianism.

g. Communism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

Pure Communism has never been tried, but if it were, it would fail. It is essentially altruism as an economic system, and the failure to provide a selfish motive for individual action is fatal to its ability to succeed in promoting useful economic activity.

h. Conceptualism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

If held up by my thumbs and forced to choose, I would probably go with Conceptualism in lieu of the two stated alternatives. We clearly apply "the same words to" objects because we perceive certain commonalties between those objects, but such perception is clearly a product "of us and our abilities." The difficulty comes from the definition of "universals." In essence, a universal is a property of a set of objects which all have the same property as defined by the particular word which is used to invoke the concept of that property in the mind of the recipient of such a description. If you study this carefully, it appears to be a sort of paradox, similar to "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Mankind is the great labeler of all things. The labels which we apply are the "universals" at issue herein. It seems beyond argument that the labels are limited by the abilities of mankind to perceive and conceptualize the particular universal in question. On the other hand, it also seems beyond argument that the object has the quality to which mankind applies universal labels whether or not mankind ever perceives or conceptualizes that particular quality. Thus, the theory that these universals are "shadows of our grasp of concepts" does seem much closer to the truth than the two stated alternatives. If you consider the complexity of multiple languages and translations between different languages, the idea that the words which we equate to these universals are merely shadows of concepts in our mind becomes even more appealing than before.

i. Confucianism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

As noted elsewhere, Eastern thinkers see Philosophy and Religion as more of a unified whole, and not as a dichotomy. Thus, Western thinkers are immediately confronted with whether to categorize Confucianism as a Religion or a Philosophy. Of course, the truth is that it is both; but Confucius essentially adopted the religious views of his time, incorporating them into his Philosophy, thus he is most correctly categorized as a philosopher. By contrast, the teachings of Buddha were primarily of a religious nature, and were less of a philosophical bent. But discussions of this sort merely emphasize my personal belief that Western thought is wrong in allowing religious views to exist separate from Philosophy. Of course, this dichotomy has resulted in a much longer life for the old churches than they would ever have enjoyed if the predominant philosophical views had entered their religious arena.

j. Consequentialism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

It seems obvious that if a "just" character does an "unjust" act, that does not implicitly ameliorate the unjustness of the particular act in question, thereby calling into question the option of "virtue ethics." The essence of deontological ethics is the notion of a "duty" to do what is "right" based upon some independent evaluation of the possible actions to be taken. The essence of altruism is imposition of a duty to act through deontological ethics. My Ethics, Utilitarianism, is usually seen as a form of Consequentialism. However, there would seem to be little practical distinction between "Rule Utilitarianism" and deontological ethics. The only question for either is who defines the duty and/or who makes up the rule, and just how are such decisions to be made by any particular "powers that be."

k. Contextualism & Formalism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

The blind application "of abstract principles of a high degree of generality," as called for by Formalism, is clearly unacceptable as it imposes injustice as readily as it does justice. On the other hand, to discard the Formalism "of abstract principles of a high degree of generality" in its entirety is clearly also wrong, since that would leave those who are to render ethical judgments with literally no guidance at all. As with most dichotomies where both alternatives are unacceptable, the Hegelian dialectic demands a synthesis. One rule is that there is an exception to every rule, so no sane person would believe in pure "rule-worship." Nor should the result required "by the mechanical application of antecedent rules" be totally ignored in structuring the verdict for some particular case. The synthesis would seem to be to adopt "the result required `by the mechanical application of antecedent rules'" as the first approximation of the verdict, and then to require anyone who desires some different result to justify that result in terms of the distinctions in context. This approach has the advantage of achieving a rapid result, due to the rule-based mode of decision-making, while still preserving the individuality of each situation. It also has the advantage of familiarity; our current judicial system is designed to work in this fashion.

l. Contractarianism & Contractualism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

The modern view is that whatever benefit we achieve by adopting the metaphor of a contract is more than lost by the consequential importing of popular perceptions of contract law (i.e., "lack of consent" and "fraud") into the discussion of ethical obligations. Furthermore, the problem most generally arises upon the discovery by an individual that they must now perform some duty which they would probably gladly avoid, regardless of the "consideraton" which they may have already received for their alleged "consent." To defer the striking of the bargain until after the benefit is received and payment is due would prevent the formation of most contracts, and particularly such contracts where the ethical duty to be performed by the individual could be life-threatening. However, the language metaphor of the "social contract" is impossible to kill. It lives on despite its clear impracticality.

m. Conventionalism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

The one moral rule imposed by nature on every known life form is "The Law of the Jungle." The most widely accepted alternative moral rule is "The Golden Rule." The exact expression of this latter rule seems to vary a great deal between cultures and expressions in different languages, but the essence seems to always boil down to a concept of fundamental fairness; treat me as you would wish that I would treat you if the roles were reversed. There do not seem to be any "alternative, equally workable conventions" to "The Golden Rule." On the other hand, it does not impose itself upon citizens the way that "The Law of the Jungle" does. So there may well be some basis for believing that "The Golden Rule" is merely a convention among certain groups of humans. If you then assert that, for example, the moral rule of Utility is one of the "alternative, equally workable conventions" for "The Golden Rule," the first problem for me is to discern if there is any real difference between those two proposed "conventions." In another part of this book, I declare them to be so nearly the same as to be simply different aspects of the same basic rule of civilized conduct. Thus, while there may be a linguistic or semantic difference, I do not believe there to be a substantive difference. If there is a true substantive difference, then I would have to believe in conventionalism.

n. Deism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

Any deist out there would be welcome in the Agnostic Church. The last time I checked, the quantity of agnostics was around 20 to 30 percent of the quantity of atheists, so "you are not alone." In any case, a true atheist has to justify that there is no God, and just who among us is capable of taking on that chore, anyway?

o. Determinism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

Don't let any good negligence defense lawyers get hold of that last part! The so-called "dilemma of determinism" can be shown to be false by any willful act which you care to imagine, assuming that you believe in "free will" in the first place! Of course, that is the whole point. Those who believe in determinism do NOT believe in "free will." I believe in "free will," and thus the willful act of any agent which sets a chain of causation into progression can be held to be the "cause" of each consequential event. The key to unlocking this so-called "dilemma" is to realize that an act of pure free will is, in point of fact, a "random" act! Thus, there is responsibility in spite of an allegedly "random" occurrence. I drive down a street and just sort of randomly pick a time to pull my steering wheel hard to the left so that my car veers into a rush of oncoming traffic . . . .

p. Eclecticism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

I guess that I could admit to Eclecticism in my approach to both philosophy and religion, in that very little of what I have to say herein is really new; in essence, I am combining "the best elements of other views," such as those held by Spengler, J. S. Mill, T. H. Huxley, the Durants, and Ayn Rand.

q. Egalitarianism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

I am all for "respecting" any and all "inherent" "equality of persons." I do reject the right, claimed by Ayn Rand, to be unyieldingly selfish. However, forced altruism is at least as bad as unyielding selfishness. To me, there should not be a perpetually extended "handout" for the less fortunate, but instead, a perpetually extended offer of a "hand up" for those willing to work to better their own state of affairs towards a greater "equality" with the rest of the population. To this limited extent, I support Egalitarianism.

r. Egoism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

Her embrace of unrestrained selfishness is my point of greatest disagreement with Ayn Rand. Unrestrained selfishness is no more and no less than "The Law of the Jungle," which is, in turn, the antithesis of civilized behavior. If you adopt the philosophy of egoism, which is "The Law of the Jungle," you have adopted the philosophy of an animal, and in my opinion, you have divorced yourself from the human race. In my opinion, civilized behavior requires ethical rules which bear some corollary relationship with "The Golden Rule," which I find exists for Utility.

s. Eliminativism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

I would never be in favor of abandoning a search for Truth. On the other hand, there are clearly times where a "project" gets so far off track that you are better off to throw out what you have and start over with a clean sheet of paper. If that implies that we must invent new "terms" with which to discuss the problem, then the solution is obvious . . . . Scientists invent new terms all the time. If the "ultimate" term(s) cannot be immediately invented, then surely some "intermediate" new term(s) can be created to move the research forward through the next step.

t. Emanationism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

It is extremely interesting to note how well the above statement aligns with our current understanding of the "Big Bang" theory of creation. In the "Big Bang," a single small concentration of matter "exploded" into enough atoms to "create" all of the galaxies throughout the entire universe which we can know. Since many scientific theists equate the act of creation inherent in the "Big Bang" with an "act of God," it would be a small step indeed to see the "Big Bang" "as an overflow, radiating out from the supreme principle or God, somewhat as light emanates from a light source without in any way diminishing it." The concept of pantheism, however, is unnecessary to the explanation of emanationism herein. As for my own view, I find emanationism to be but one possible speculative view of the cause(s) of the now pretty well accepted event of the "Big Bang," and that there are many other possible views of such cause(s), including a possibility of a huge bureaucracy, which we might see fit to call the "Universal Space Administration" (USA), as somehow "causing" the "Big Bang" as part of some sort of experiment, the purposes of which we may never know, and which we might not even be able to comprehend.

u. Empiricism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

The principal difficulty for empiracism is to explain away the development of abstract concepts which have little or no basis in reality, but which prove useful for purposes of scientific investigation. As we have increasingly investigated the very large (i. e., the content of the universe) and the very small (i. e., sub-atomic particle theories), we have needed increasingly abstract and esoteric mathamatical and conceptual models around which to construct experiments. Personally, as I have elected rationalism for my philosophy, I must reject empiracism, which I find easy to do for the reasons mentioned herein.

v. Epicureanism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

There is probably some reason to believe that Utility is a logical descendant of the philosophy of Epicurus, and this philosophy is clearly worth a look.

w. Existentialism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

x. Idealism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

I reject the "Idealism" of dictionary definition 5a, because I accept the primacy of existence. On the other hand, it is most certainly my intention to paint a picture which will "represent things in an ideal form, or as they might or should be rather than as they are, with emphasis on values." To that extent, which is clearly the essence of dictionary definition 5b, I am an Idealist. Idealism is one of those philosophies which Ayn Rand despised as being based upon the Supremacy of Consciousness (i. e., the supreme reality is the idea of reality, not its actuality). Since I have elected to declare the outer reality to be superior to the inner reality, I must reject all forms of philosophical Idealism, while retaining my (5b) idealistic nature.

y. Individualism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

This is one of three principal governmental theories, the other two being collectivism and totalitarianism.

z. Libertarianism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

aa. Naturalism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

bb. Nominalism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

cc. Pragmatism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

Pragmatism caries the connotation of the "quick fix" as you seemingly abandon any search for a full and complete solution once you stumble upon some form of workable result.

dd. Realism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

ee. Socialism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

In modern usage, socialism is viewed as a middle ground between Capitalism and Communism. As Will and Ariel Durant noted in their 1968 book, "The Lessons of History," "Marx was an unfaithful disciple of Hegel: he interpreted the Hegelian dialectic as implying that the struggle between capitalism and socialism would end in the complete victory of socialism; but if the Hegelian formula of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis is applied to the Industrial Revolution as thesis, and to capitalism versus socialism as antithesis, the third condition would be a synthesis of capitalism and socialism; and to this reconciliation the Western world visibly moves." In his book, "The Decline of the West," Spengler included three charts, one of which diagrammed four "seasons" which are further subdivided into the fourteen stages of spiritual development. The concluding item in the chart for Western Civilization is the "Spread of a Final World-Sentiment" which is "Ethical Socialism from 1900."

ff. Totalitarianism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

This is one of three principal governmental theories, the other two being collectivism and individualism.

gg. Utilitarianism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

hh. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

ii. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

jj. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

kk. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

ll. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

mm. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

nn. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

oo. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

pp. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

qq. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

rr. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.

ss. Xism

The "Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition," (1993) defines this as:

By way of contrast, the key comments from "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" (1996) by Simon Blackburn are:

xxx.


79 As used herein, the "Absolute" is a term which non-religious philosophers appear to prefer to use instead of "God." However, the term is clearly a virtual equivalent to the Universal God of Spinoza. Thus, if you accept the premise of Idealism, that nothing is real except thought, then Absolute Idealism expresses the ultimate reality of universal thought.

80 This seems to be a point which Ayn Rand refused to concede. When a person gains the ultimate in wealth and power through selfish actions, particularly where those actions are based in some way upon fraud or deceit, the oppressed population may have no alternative other than to begin a bloody revolution, as has occurred so many times down through history.

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