the view that the well-being of others should have as much importance for us as the well-being of ourselves. Some argue that altruism, even if it is desirable, is not possible, and that our ethics must be based on egoism.
the central method of analytical philosophy, shaped by the development of modern logic and found in the work of Frege, Russell, Moore and Wittgenstein,according to which philosophical problems can be overcome through replacing the apparent structure of statements by their real logical structure. Many philosophers, while still considering themselves analytical philosophers, have altered or even abandoned this programme.
According to Kant's formulation of the distinction, in an analytic proposition the conceptof the predicate is contained in the concept of the subject, and we can tell that the proposition is true by analysis. In a synthetic proposition, the concept of the predicated adds something new to the concept of the subject, and the truth or falsity of the proposition cannot be determined by analysis. There has been much dispute over the adequacy of this account, but there is general agreementthat synthetic propositions tell us something about the world. Together with the metaphysical distinction between necessary and contingent propositions and the epistemological distinction between a priori and a posteriori propositions, this logical distinction sets the framework for much modern philosophy. Kant famously argued that some a priori necessary propositions are synthetic. Contemporarydiscussion has developed from Quine's criticism of the distinction as a dogma of empiricism.
a puzzle or perplexity. In the early Platonic dialogues, Socrates raised problems without offering solutions to them and showed that those he questioned could not offer an acceptable solution either. The aporetic method let to the development of the dialectical methold, by which Socrateselicited truth through questioning. The term aporia (no way through) was introduced by Aristotle for puzzles concerning incompatibilities that arise among views we hold without prompting or among reputable beliefs adopted commonly or by the wise. His approach was to seek the minimal adjustments needed to reconcile these conflicting views.
argument from design
the argument for the existence of God,disputed by Hume, according to which the complex and intricate order of the world can only be explained (or can best be explained) by positing an intelligent and powerful creator.
artificial intelligence (AI)
the use of programs to enable machines to perform tasks which humans perform using their intelligence. Early AI avoided human pychological models, but this orientation has been alteredby the development of connectionism, which is based on theories of how the brain works. In connectionism, complex functions, including learning, involve the transmission of information along pathways formed among large arrays of simple elements. AI raised questions about the conditions, if any, in which we would be justified in ascribing mental attributes to purely physical systems.association of ideas
a view, especially important to Hume, explaining the patterned occurrence of out ideas according to laws of assocation. Philosophers today generally seek to maintain what is important in Hume while rejecting this mechanism.
an autonomous being is one that has the power of self-direction, possessing the ability to act as it decides, independent of the will of others andof other internal or external factors.
propositions selected as the foundations of a field - classically geometry - which, together with methods of proof, allow other propositions to be proved in an ordered way. The axiomatic method has powerfully influenced philosophy, although each feature of the method has been criticized as inappropriate for philosophy.