Synonyms within Philosophy, Religion, Faiths, and Worldviews—Less Diversity Than Is Apparent

These synonyms are not necessarily precise, but they are important to show associations, relationships, and interdependency of concepts and terms that otherwise might not be recognized. Much confusion in philosophy could be overcome if there were more groupings of synonyms and similarities of concepts. The vocabulary of past and modern philosophies has grown to be beyond anyone’s ability to grasp, much less to understand. Thus, these synonyms are ongoing and will have additions from time to time.

Some groupings could be combined, but I wanted to lead (in bold type) with some words for their significance for philosophical discussions. There is much duplication, but then, that is the idea—to link and associate words and terms.

I have made little attempt to be consistent with nouns, verbs, or other forms of speech. These are not complete lists! There may be a few duplicates in each section by oversight. These are words that I have encountered in my studies and writings—not by a thoroughgoing search. You can help by sending me others.

This grouping is sort of a hodge-podge. There is much overlap—which only shows the necessity to know words (that convey concepts) that are related to each other. I have added a few comments in explanation. Perhaps, there ought to be more. There may be some duplicates within groups which are unintended—duplicates among groups is intended. Please let me know of group duplicates. If you think of other synonyms for a group, please email me:

Philosophy is essentially a belief system of an individual or group; as such, it has all the characteristics of a religion. Thus, synonyms are: faith, religion, way of life, chosen path, “ground motive” (Dooyeweerd), meaning, purpose, explanation of ultimates, metaphysics, metanarrative, cosmology, “what is,” reality, worldview, state of affairs, systematic ethics, philosophy of religion, meta____ (add any term here), individualism, ultimate concern, belief or belief system, ultimate reality, ideology, the whole list of “-isms” (such as, idealism, materialism, naturalism, communism, scientism, atheism, fascism, spiritualism, physicalism, and capitalism to name only a few!), purpose of life, meaning of life, the whole list of “-ologies” and “-osophies” (such as, theology, philosophy, cosmology, ideology, to name only a few!), reason, Reason (Hegel’s Begriff), worldview, philosophical outlook, first causes, God or god, fundamental reality (Durant), ontology (Titus), origins, a priorism, truth (correspondence, coherence, pragmatic), all formed religions (Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism, etc.), pluralism, etc.

Only two religions and philosophies. The Bible simplifies these philosophies and worldviews. One side is Biblical Christianity and on the other are all other belief systems, best summarized as individual subjectivisms and organized belief systems (philosophies and religions).

Religion is what one individual believes which may correspond to some extent with an organized system of philosophy or religion. All the terms listed above would be listed here. Religion is philosophy is worldview is belief-system is … all the above and more.

Faith, first principle, justified true belief, presupposition, starting point, pou stou, place to stand: axiom, foundational belief, first philosophy, assumption, bias, prejudice, testimony, authority, beginning, core beliefs, basic belief, properly basic belief, most basic belief, foundation, foundational belief, any absolute, dogma and dogmatism, doctrine, metaphysics (Aristotle), value, values, value judgments, heart, aesthetics, meta-ethic or other “meta____” (insert any term), assumption, presumption, bias, prejudice, simple belief, predilection, subjectivism, fundamental, ultimate desire, a priori or any a priori position, ultimates (value, truth, ethic, person, Person, Faith, etc.), philosophical outlook, pre-theoretical suppositions, basic commitment, basic idea, the ideal, “one’s most efficacious argument” (Richard Weaver), “ultimate concern” (Tillich), “ultimate reality” (Henry Stob), worldview, ground of being, absolute or Absolute, Begriff (Hegel), etc. See Fact below.

“The redemptive work of Christ may be described in many different ways: covenant, sacrifice, atonement, resurrection, purification, new creation, obedience-righteousness, kingdom-conquest, liberation, reconciliation, redemption, propitiation, revelation, judgment, courtship, adoption, giving faith, hope, love, joy, peace, and so forth.” (John Frame, Knowledge of God, 193)

Empiricism, objective realism, Scottish Realism, materialism, scientism, Logical Positivism, etc.: Common Sense realism, logical empiricism, Baconian empiricism (anti-deduction), Baconian method, scientific method, Baconian hermeneutics (applied to Scripture), philosophy of Thomas Reid, Scottish enlightenment, official philosophy of 19th century American (Pearcey, Total Truth), Baconian induction, induction, The Way of Ideas (Reid’s own term), “no creed but the Bible” (or “Christ”), Scottish naturalism, natural law theory, naturalism, empiricism, anti-historicalism, “objective” approach to truth, Free Inquiry, methodical naturalism, scientific moralism, natural philosophy, natural theology, natural law, scientism, the lower story of a two-tiered worldview, materialism, scientism, theosophy, logical positivism, modernism (no link to past), the domain of philosophy (Aquinas), individualism, subjectivism, (plain) realism, nominalism, phenomenalism, scientific worldview, legal positivism, naïve realism, the Socratic “unexamined life,” scientific method, Enlightenment Project (McGrath), direct realism, common sense theory, representative realism, “what is thought to be the case” vs. “what is the case,” the thing as it appears (not the thing-in-itself), identity theory of mind, monism, epistemic reductionism, positivistic foundationalism (Hume), amoralism (in an impersonal universe), behaviorism, materialistic determinism, materialistic dialecticism (Marx), Freudian (and all materialistic psychologies), etc.

For discussion of many of these terms, see Pearcey, Total Truth, Chapter 11, or George Marsden in Faith and Rationality (Plantinga and Wolterstorff, Eds.)

Classical realism: Platonic realism, universals (real universals), conceptual realism, objective idealism (approximately),

Aristotelianism: realism of Aquinas, wholistic realism (hylozoism—unity of form and matter), substance dualism,

See Facts below.

Reason (noun or verb), logic, inference, judgment, concept, universal, rational, rationalism, logos: conclude (conclusion), reason out, think through, feel (“I feel that such and such is true.“) cogitate, cerebrate, think, argue, present, represent, present a syllogism, ratio, “it follows,” of necessity, coherence, correspondence, judgment, deduction, induction, “therefore”, “thus,” understanding, “knows,” “sees”, believes, is aware, necessarily, by necessity, sane-sanity (moral connotation to wrong knowledge, “Iit is insane not to believe in God’s Word.”), apply one’s conscience, lack of fallacy, etc.

*The following groups are repetitious to the above. I have included them to identify reason, rational, and the other bolded synonyms to be sure that they are indentified with each other.

Rational: coherent, logical, lucid, demythologized, intelligent, reasoned, enlightened, thought, reasonable or reasoned, necessary, sane, sober, intellectual, logical, reasonable, intellectual, sensible, noetic, commonsensical, levelheaded, sound-minded, tenable, well-founded, fair, fair-minded, non-superstitious, sees clearly, understandable or understood, conclusion or concluded, argument, valid, proof, sound argument, inference (induction and deduction), planning, figuring (out), discerning, sane-sanity (see above), well-grounded, common sensical, etc.

Think, believe (faith), feel, ratiocination, cognition, make judgment: hold, consider, see rational (above), judge, ponder, meditate, cogitate, ruminate, intellection, understanding, will, judgment, intellect, sort out (groups of things), any activity of the mind, mental, psychological (psyche-soul, pneuma-spirit), heart, mind, imagination, speak-speech, communicate, being wise (wisdom), inference (deduction, induction), argument, discerning, apply wisdom, “plausibility structure” (Peter Berger), “all thought concerns belief” (C. S. Peirce), etc.

Being, substance, essence: metaphysical reality, reality, ontology, what is real, existence, metaphysics, attributes, accidents, posit, assign, know, see, understand, category, predication, “is” or “what is,” hypostasis, ousia, the real or reality or realism, “what is the case,” truth, eternality, “I am,” God, The Neoplatonic One, faith (Hebrews 11:1), truth, correspondence theory of truth, nature of a thing, ding-an-sich, “it is,” that which does not change under any circumstance (Descartes’ wax), unity, simplicity, non-accidental and essence (Aristotle), “what is the case” vs. “what is thought to be the case,” abstract a universal, things as they were and are created by God, Kant’s judgments, etc.

Emotions: feelings, agitations of the soul (and all its synonyms), disturbance of body or mind, not at peace, not resting, disturbed, troubled; sad-mad-glad-afraid; sensuous, sensate, flighty, unstable, “double-minded” (James 1:8); passions, mutable (opposite of immutable), post-modern, pluralism, skepticism, passionate, instability, uncertain, not at peace, not at peace, the awakened state vs. the sleeping state, etc.

Contrast with rest, peace, etc. The absence of emotion is “no shadow of turning,” “thou will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee,” without threat of enemies (change), achieving happiness (all that one could desire), etc.

Supernatural, metaphysical: transcendence (transcendent, opposite—immanent), noumenal, speculative, religious, mental, mystical, Gnostic, ethereal, spiritual, ghostly, non-material, ground of being, speculative, substance (hypostasis), essence, ousia, otherworldly, immaterial, not mystical, not mystery, essence, necessary, Begriff, Absolute, etc.

Modernism, modernity, Enlightenment: rationalism and all that that encompasses, physicalism, secular humanism, anti-transcendentalism, empirical, scientism, etc. See Materialism (naturalism-above), anti-God, anti-Special Revelation, anti-Middle Ages, naturalism, evolution, anti-Reformation, anti-history, skepticism, Postmodernism as the inevitable result of the Enlightenment, anti-supernaturalism, etc.

Facts, “Matters of Fact” (Hume): concepts (Kant), “universal manifold” (Kant), appearance, appearance of reality, phenomena, aboutness, testimony, instrument recording, empiric conclusions, induction, correspondence, state of affairs, “what is” empirically, correspondence; Thomas Reid’s “self-evident”, Descartes “clear and distinct,” first principles (faith), “what is thought to be the case” vs. “what is the case,” common sense, common sense philosophy, etc. See Empiricism above.

Skepticism: eliminativism, agnostic, atheism, secular humanism, operationalism, reductionism, critical analysis (parts, rather than the whole), post-modernism, pluralism, pantheism, Descartes’ that which is not “clear and distinct,” philosophy of Hume, irrationality, insane-insanity, modernism, infinite regress, over-analysis, doubt, uncertainty, ambiguity, apprehension, anxiety, worry, confusion, difficulty, disbelief, distrust, fear, hesitation , misgiving, mistrust, suspicion, uncertainty, agnosticism, diffidence, dilemma, disquiet, dubious, faithlessness, hesitancy, incertitude, incredulity, indecision, perplexed, vacillation, double-minded, wavering, lack of confidence, etc.

Antonyms: holism, truth, certainty and certitude, God of the Bible, Biblical Christianity, indubitable knowledge, unity, belief, etc.

Universal: adjectives and adverbs, predication, some, parts, parts of wholes, characteristics of objects, accidents, “is” is not necessarily an equals sign, particulars of a particular, category, intuition and concept (Kant), classes, genus’s, phyla, species, divisions, partitions, facets, files, folders, separations, castes, limits, limitations, segments, segmentation, halves-thirds-fourths-all fractions, participation, atoms-molecules—all subatomic units, water-fire-earth-air, etc.

Certainty, peace: opposite of emotions, conviction, great faith, little faith, knowledge, truth, God is One, security, peace of mind, rest, clear conscience, Descartes’ rational basis (“clear and distinct”), Biblical “to know,” peace with God, absence of skepticism, clear judgment, epistemology, metaphysics, Biblical Christianity, examined doubt, examined life, absence of doubt, indubitable knowledge, conviction, assensus, belief, without doubt, rest or Sabbath rest, etc.

Ethics, morality, value, judgment, heart, worth-worship, First Commandment, Tne Commandments, any commandment, passion, ought, imperative, critical theory, social action, sociology, action theory: axiology, value-theory, subjectivity, desire, emotion, priority, use of time, vocation or avocation, Mammon, treasure, pleasure, pain, jealousy, lust, envy, good or The Good, summum bonum, comparison and contrast, evaluation, perception, righteousness, justification, understanding, individualism, preference, bias, presupposition, faith, belief, virtue, idol or icon, worship, affection, love (as in loving another person), love (as in keeping Christ’s commandments), affection, origin of value, know (as in sexual intercourse: “Adam knew Eve and she conceived” or God “fore-knew the elect), absolute, “ought”, all Biblical instruction, commandment, “Thou shalt…”, “will to power” (Nietzsche), categorical imperative (Kant), the ethical and religious stages (Kierkegaard), “Love God will all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor as yourself,” deontology, teleology, purpose, reason for action, temperance, etc.

Interdependence: Hume: there can be no “ought” from an “is”; “ought” is ethics and “is” is epistemology. “what” … “is” … “know” (epistemology). I have to “know” what “is” right and wrong in order to realize my “ought”, system, systematic theology… See Whole, holism, organic, Monadology, etc. following here.

Whole, holism, wholism, wholistic, holistic, organic—see my paper, “Unity” in all: particulars (vs. universals), context (smaller and larger), as in sentence, chapter, book, etc.), a whole made up of parts, system (systematic), truth, synthesis (thesis, antithesis), functionalism, operationalism, various types of philosophic holism, relationality, integrate-integration, philosophy of language, syntax, definitions by context, philosophy of mind, monism (physicalism and idealism), dualism (usually one substance is dominant in that theory), chaos theory, object, subject to be studied (as an object), thing, ding an sich, substance (especially everything is one substance), machine, composite, absolute, Begriff, Absolute, idealism, god or God, theism, fact, sentence, proposition, concept, state of affairs, Abraham Kuyper, etc. See Unity in God.

Monadology (Leibniz): pre-established harmony, each monads perceives all the other monads in the universe, well-grounded phenomena, plenum, composites, etc. The substance or essence of all things is Creation and the Providence of God—His hypostasis or essence of created things and their function according to His designs.

Knowledge as love: sexual experience: “Adam knew Eve, and she conceived,” “I love apple pie”, “I love golf”; God “fore-knew” the elect (everything about them… omniscience); epistemology, as intimacy of acquaintance—“I know” for certain or varying degrees of certainty; assurance; association with peace; is there a sense in which all meaning and knowledge is united to a whole? That whole is God?; knowledge as experience; knowledge as skill; all knowledge is pre-conditioned by a priori’s and previous knowledge; no knowledge is “new,” but always a synthesis of prior knowledge; see kinds of knowledge;

Progress (human, social, scientific, etc.), civilization, morality: “war to end all wars,” MAD (mutual assured destruction),

Philosophy of religion: Christianity in the West, natural religion, philosophical theology, theistic philosophy, philosophical theism, theological philosophy, natural theology, natural law, theology of science, natural philosophy, atheism, secular humanism, liberal theology, neo-orthodoxy, atheism, agnosticism, non-biblical religion, non-biblical philosophy, secular philosophy, all non-Christian religions, all “arguments” for God (cosmological, ontological, metaphysical, etc.), evidentialism, brute facts, naturalism, ultimate concern… thus, just a synonym for any non-Biblical philosophy or religion.

Only two philosophies, religions, and worldviews. In simplification from a first principle of Biblical Christianity, there are only two systems: Biblical Christianity and any other system—light and darkness.

Absolute: “There are no absolutes” is an absolute that means that there must be at least one absolute. Truth-true proposition, reality, The Absolute (God), The Gods of the Philosophers, Islam, classical theism, classical foundationalism, system, coherence, unchanging, eternally permanent, true in all possible worlds, “is,” “ding and sich,” substance, absolutes are inescapable, inescapables, Scripture in its original autographs, God in Trinity, Providence, Hegel’s Begriff, Nature or naturalism, idealism, realism, Kierkegaard’s Leap of Faith, Nietzsche’s übermensch, Logical Positivism, Descartes’s certainty, Kant’s concepts (judgment, understanding), “what is the case” vs. “what is thought to be the case,” authority, revelation, monism, state of affairs, fact, proposition, etc., etc. See Philosophy that begins these Synonyms—any force that dominates and supersedes all other forces.

In reasoning, there are only two dominant forces: that of autonomy or that of Biblical Christianity. In the latter, the Christian believes that God’s Word is the ultimate authority over man’s reason. In the former, man relies upon himself, choosing autonomously whatever principles that he chooses—whether by examination or just accumulations from his life experience.

Paradox, mystery, antinomy: irrational, dilemma, incoherence, inconsistent, theological or logical difficulty, logical contradiction, over-analysis, reductionism, apparent contradiction, antithesis, mystical (see below), insane-insanity, skepticism, postmodernism, paranormal, extraterrestrial, science fiction, speculative, Gnostic, secret, heart knowledge, implanted, infused, innate (and all its synonyms), “God told me,” “God led me” (any statement that God spoke to a person about a specific situation), quietism, insight, mediation, Gnostic, mystery, emotional—“I feel that,”

Idealism: anti-realism (see Titus), monism, spiritualism, supernaturalism, etc. See Absolute and holism above.

Innate: inborn, genetic, inherited, nativism, inbred, determined, structured, intuitive, pre-determined, fatalistic, predestined, fate, will of the gods, etc.

Reality, truth, “what is the case”: Biblical creation, ding and sich, God Himself, the Bible itself, the Trinity, the visible and invisible universe, the visible universe and Heaven and Hell (and all creatures therein), etc.

Authority: self-autonomy, testimony, social recognition, social epistemology, opinion, majority vote, “power behind the testimony,” arbitrary belief, thing believed in, revelation, Revelation, “The Grand Sez Who” (Arthur Leff), civil magistrate, power to enforce, power of reasoning, Absolute (Hegel and others), Tao or universal morality, God’s “eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20), moral and religious conscience, Begriff, “Thus says the Lord,” “I AM,” etc.

Language: logos (Classical Greek and New Testament koine), speech, thought in words, communication, concept in words, categories (Aristotle, Kant, etc.), reason, logic, definition, laws of noncontradiction, symbolic representation, syntax, grammar, unity, holism, context, hermeneutics, interpretation, praise of God, worship, liturgy, “Thus saith the Lord,” dictation, command, exclamation, interpretation, translation, meaning, proposition, sentence, word, abstraction, book, essay, writing, universal, nominal(ism), translating observations to sentences (empirical process),

Symbol, icon, image, Form, sign, etc. idol, representation, phenomenon, Idea, likeness, same identity, category, genus (species, phyla, etc.), thing of awe, item of worship, Mammon, temple, church (building), word or words, letters of an alphabet, stand in the place of, Golden Calf, Moloch, ultimate desire, lust, the “I” or self,

Onto-theology: “god of the philosophers,” idol, idolatry, being and Being, Heidegger’s Dasein, pagan Greek logos, Plato’s Forms or Ideas or The Good, Hegel’s Begriff (Absolute, Reason, Logic, etc.), Kant’s noumena, the god who gives ground to being and epistemology, the Deist’s God, the God of orthodox Judaism, the god of the Open Theists, Allah of Islam, Nature or the universe (pantheism), Chance (naturalism and evolution), the dialectic of Marx, the ultimate Other of postmoderns, the Unmoved Mover of Aristotle and Aquinas, the gods of the Roman pantheon, the various gods of the Greeks, human reason of the Enlightenment (modernism and secular humanism), scientism, communism, socialism, Nazism, etc.