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Related Words, Beliefs, Background--part 1

Worldviews & Knowledge, Worldview Themes and Examples

alphabetical listing: A to K 

  alphabetical listing, continued: L to Z

anthropology -- the study of the human species, in particular of the origin, nature, distribution, diversity, behavior and works of groups of people. This field is typically divided into physical and cultural anthropology.

axiology -- the study of the theory of values

cosmology --just as traditionally anthropology is broken into two fields, physical and cultural, we present two definitions of cosmology: 1) the study of the matter of the universe, focusing on its origin and structure; 2) the understanding gleaned by a society from a philosophical and spiritual effort that places it in the larger scheme of things and answers big questions such as “Where did we come from?”     

epistemology -- the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge, its nature, where it comes from, the methods used to obtain it, and the limits faced by humans as they attempt to broaden knowledge.

explicit knowledge–knowledge that can be expressed in words or with symbols (perhaps mathematical symbols) or otherwise abstracted from an actual individual experience.  If the reality experienced is like the terrain, explicit statements describing it are like a map of the terrain.  As science extends its map of Reality, the scientific conceptual framework is steadily refined and becomes a better guide to the underlying terrain.  But one must recognize that science is limited in that–as good as the map is–it can not replace the terrain itself, the actual experience of Reality.  see also knowledge, two kinds

fact—an occurrence in the real world, independent of belief.  Facts can be verified, that is demonstrated to be consistent with experience of Reality

history, philosophy of--considers such topics as what can be learned by studying history, what should be the focus of such study, what patterns can be discerned, what purpose (if any) lies behind it, the causes of events, and biases in historical records (writings of  "victors" may be more propaganda than truth!)

knowledge, two kinds of -- Bertrand Russell distinguished between 1) Knowledge by acquaintance, that is knowledge gained by direct experience involving a) sensory experience, b) objects of memory, c) internal states, d) ourselves, and 2) Knowledge by description, that is thought-out or mediated knowledge of a) other selves , and b) physical objects (our conceptualization of them, not direct sensory experience ) The distinction he makes is what others (most notably Michael Polanyi in Tacit Knowledge, and Graham Martin in Shadows in the Cave ) have elaborated on in distinguishing between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge.

Manichaen black & white certainty--a way of seeing aspects of the world in simplistic terms where something is either all good or bad, right or wrong, etc. The name can be traced to an ancient (3rd century AD Persian) religion whose cosmology was characterized by a dualism built around a struggle between a good, spiritual world full of light, and a dark,  evil, material world. Today, the term "Manichaen" is sometimes used figuratively as an adjective to refer to a simplistic good vs. evil / dualistic component of a worldview. 



metaphysics -- a branch of philosophy that involves inquiry into the most fundamental and ultimate reality

Reality–the totality of all things, structures (actual and conceptual), events (past and present) and phenomena, whether observable or not; what a worldview (whether it be based on individual or shared human experience) ultimately attempts to describe or map.    

reality generating mechanisms--according to John Casti, these are particular ways of seeing the world, each possessing its own terminology, tools, and methods.  Examples are science, religion, mysticism, poetry, music, literature and art.  Each of these represents a particular way of seeing reality and thus determining what is seen. 

tacit knowledge–knowledge that is ineffable, that is can not be put into words, symbols or otherwise made into explicit know-ledge.  It is argued that you both know much more than you can describe, and that often you know but can’t identify how it is you know.  Tacit knowledge is intimately connected with personal experience of Reality, whereas explicit knowledge is one step removed from Reality.  It is argued that the attempted transformation of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge (by putting one’s experience into words) can not only at times be difficult, fall far short , or be impossible, but can lead to falsification.  Such falsification results when an experienced "whole truth" becomes a pieced together collection of parts (words and symbols) and some-thing much different from the whole.  Mystical experience is firmly set in the realm of tacit knowledge.

teleology -- the idea that there is a design or purpose inherent in everything and belief that events unfold toward some divinely specified ultimate end or that everything strives to fulfill some purpose

theology -- the rational study of religious faith, experience, and practice

Weltanschauung -- the German term that very loosely translates to mean the same as “worldview”. Thus there are as many definitions of “weltanschauung” as “worldview”. The Oxford English Dictionary defines Weltanschauung as “...a particular philosophy of life; a concept of the world held by an individual or group”.

worldview--a conceptual framework and a set of beliefs used to make sense out of a complex, seemingly chaotic reality based on  your perceptions, experience and learning.  Besides incorporating a purpose or “raison d’etre,” it provides an outlook or expectation for the world as it exists or is perceived to exist--one that you base predictions about the future on.  It is something that continually evolves--indeed, you spend the rest of your life testing and refining it, based on feedback you get.  As it develops, it increasingly it becomes the source of your goals and desires, and as such it shapes your behavior and values.  

worldview theme--given a formal name and description,  this refers to the beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior that come together in a way that is articulated in similar fashion by lots of people. Many such themes can be used to characterize a person's worldview.     


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