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Philosophy Glossary

Several people wrote to say that they found the glossary in the last issue helpful, so we intend to arry on producing them for the time being This issue of the magazine doesn’t appear to contain so much specialist language, so we’ve included one or two words that don’t actually appear in the mag but are still in fairly common use.

proposition : any sort of sentence stating that something is the case, regardless of whether that claim is true, false, silly, profound or whatever.

premise : In a logical argument, one of the statements from which the conclusion is deduced.

syllogism : the cornerstone of Aristotle’s system of logic. A syllogism is an argument that deduces a conclusion from two premises. There are various forms of syllogism, but one of the classics takes this form : “All philosophers are ugly”, and “Socrates is a philosopher”, therefore “Socrates is ugly”.

idealism : the theory that what we think of as the external world is somehow a product of our own minds.

ontology : the philosophical study of questions of existence (what things exist?; what are those things composed of?).

subsidiarity : nobody agrees on what this word

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