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Empedocles (d. 433 BCE)

Greek presocratic philosopher who supposed that the four elements are irreducible components of the world, joined to and separated from each other by competing principles. Love {Gk. filia [philia]} invariably strives to combine everything into a harmonious sphere, which Strife {Gk. neikoV [neikos]} tries to shatter into distinct entities. Human beings corrupted by eating animal flesh, Empedocles, supposed, pursue philosophy in an effort to contribute positively to the cosmic cycle.

Recommended Reading: Empedocles: The Extant Fragments, ed. by M. R. Wright (Hackett, 1995) {at}; Empedocles, ed. by Brad Inwood (Toronto, 2001) {at}; and Peter Kingsley, Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition (Oxford, 1997) {at}.

Also see John Burnet, IEP, S. Marc Cohen, Charles Ess, ColE, ELC, Vigdis Songe-Møller, WSB, and BIO.

empirical {Ger. Erfahrung}

Based on use of the senses, observation, or experience generally. Hence, the empirical coincides with what is a posteriori.


Reliance on experience as the source of ideas and knowledge. More specifically, empiricism is the epistemological theory that genuine information about the world must be acquired by a posteriori means, so that nothing can be thought without first being sensed. Prominent modern empiricists include Bacon, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Mill. In the twentieth century, empiricism principles were extended and applied by the pragmatists and the logical positivists.

Recommended Reading: The Empiricists (Anchor, 1961) {at}; The Empiricists: Critical Essays on Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, ed. by Margaret Atherton (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999) {at}; Encyclopedia of Empiricism, ed. by Don Garrett and Edward Barbanell (Greenwood, 1997) {at}; and Lynn Hankinson Nelson, Who Knows: From Quine to a Feminist Empiricism (Temple, 1992) {at}.

Also see IEP, Richard Hooker, ColE, ISM, DPM, and CE.

Title Page

A group of French philosophers, including Condillac, d'Alembert, d'Holbach, Diderot, Helvetius, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Turgot, and Voltaire, who expressed their anti-institutional views on morality, politics, and religion in the seventeen-volume Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts, et des métiers (Encyclopedia, or a Descriptive Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Trades) (1751-1772), a generative text of the French Enlightenment.

Recommended Reading: Jean Le Rond D'Alembert, Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia of Diderot, tr. by Richard N. Schwab (Chicago, 1995) {at} and Encyclopedie (French & European, 1997): Vol. I {at}, Vol. II {at}, Vol. III {at}, and Vol. IV {at}.

Also see IEP, ColE, and CE.

end {Gk. teloV [télos]}

The goal or purpose of a thing; hence, in the philosophy of Aristotle, the final cause.

energeia [energeia]

Greek term for the operation or activity of anything. More technically, in the philosophy of Aristotle, energeia is the actuality characteristic of every individual substance toward some end {Gk. teloV [télos]}, in contrast with its potentiality {Gk. dunamiV [dynamis]} or capacity to change.

Recommended Reading: George A. Blair, Energeia and Entelecheia: Act in Aristotle (Ottawa, 1992) {at} and F. E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (NYU, 1967) {at}.

Also see PP and Christopher P. Long.

Engels, Friedrich (1820-1895)

German political activist and philosopher. Engels collaborated with Karl Marx on the Manifest der kommunistischen Partei (Communist Manifesto) (1848) {at} and other political works. His own philosophical writing, including Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England (The Condition of the Working Class in England) (1845) {at}, Socialism, Utopian and Scientific (1880) {at}, and Ludwig Feuerbach and the Outcome of Classical German Philosophy (1888) {at}, provided an excellent exposition of dialectical materialism and significantly influenced the development of the ideology of modern communism. His analysis of bourgeois family life in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884) {at} offers an interesting anticipation of feminist concern with the place of women in society by noting the role of patriarchal oppression in preserving the capitalist order and by urging the elimination of private domestic labor for women.

Recommended Reading: Terrell Carver, Friedrich Engels: His Life and Thought (St. Martins, 1993) {at}; Introduction to Marx and Engels: A Critical Reconstruction, ed. by Richard Schmitt, Keith Lehrer, and Norman Daniels (Westview, 1997) {at}; and Engels After Marx, ed. by Manfred B. Steger and Terrell Carver (Penn. State, 1999) {at}.

Also see ColE, ELC, and BIO.

Enlightenment {Ger. Auflkärung}

An eighteenth-century movement that placed great emphasis on the use of reason in the development of philosophical, social, political, and scientific knowledge. Enlightenment philosophers include Bayle, Hume, Wollstonecraft, Kant, and many lesser figures.

Recommended Reading: The Portable Enlightenment Reader, ed. by Issac Kramnick (Penguin, 1995) {at}; Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment, tr. by J. Pettegrove and F. Koelin (Princeton, 1968) {at}; Michael Losonsky, Enlightenment and Action from Descartes to Kant: Passionate Thought (Cambridge, 2001) {at}; Peter Gay, The Enlightenment (The Rise of Modern Paganism (Norton, 1995) {at}; Adam Sutcliffe, Judaism and Enlightenment (Cambridge, 2003) {at}; and The Science of Freedom (Norton, 1996) {at}); and Age of Enlightenment: The Eighteenth Century Philosophers, ed. by Isaiah Berlin (Plume, 1993) {at}.

Also see Sébastien Charles, ColE, Giuliano Pancaldi, and Paola Giacomoni.


Relation between propositions such that one of them is strictly implied by the other(s); that is, its falsity is logically impossible, given the truth of what entails it. Thus, the premises of a valid deductive argument entail its conclusion.

Recommended Reading: Charles F. Kielkopf, Formal Sentential Entailment (U. Press of America, 1986) {at} and Entailment, ed. by Alan Ross Anderson, Nuel D. Belnap, and J. Michael Dunn (Princeton, 1992) {at}.

Entäusserung and Entfremdung

German terms (literally, "estrangement" and "externalization") used by Hegel and Marx to describe the phenomenon of alienation from one's own nature.

enteleceia [entelecheia]

Aristotle's Greek term for the complete reality or perfection of a thing, as the soul is of the human body. For Leibniz, then, an "entelechy" is the active force resident in every monad.

Recommended Reading: George A. Blair, Energeia and Entelecheia: Act in Aristotle (Ottawa, 1992) {at}; F. E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (NYU, 1967) {at}; and The Cambridge Companion to Leibniz, ed. by Nicholas Jolley (Cambridge, 1994) {at}.

Also see PP.


An exaggerated state of religious fervor or reliance on divine inspiration. Enlightenment philosophers such as Locke and Leibniz decried manifestations of enthusiasm as incompatible with the proper employment of rational faculties.

Recommended Reading: Michael Heyd, ‘Be Sober and Reasonable’: The Critique of Enthusiasm in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries (Brill, 1995) {at} and Josef Pieper, Enthusiasm and Divine Madness: On the Platonic Dialogue Phaedrus, tr. by Richard and Clara Winston (St. Augustine, 2000) {at}.


A deductive argument (especially a categorical syllogism) from whose ordinary-language expression one or more propositions have been omitted or left unstated.

Example: "Since some finches are cardinals, it follows that some birds are cardinals."

(Omitting the minor premise, "All finches are birds.") from a valid IAI-3 syllogism.

Epictetus (55-135)

Stoic philosopher whose Manual set forth the conditions under which one may live well (even as a slave) by distinguishing correctly between things under our control (our desires and feelings) and things not under our control (events and circumstances).

For a discussion of his life and works, see Epictetus.

Epicurus (341-270 BCE)

Greek philosopher who explored the moral consequences of ancient atomism.

For a discussion of his life and works, see Epicurus.


Belief that consciousness is an incidental side-effect ("epiphenomenon") or by-product of physical or mechanical reality. On this view, although mental events are in some sense real they have no causal efficacy in the material realm.

Recommended Reading: D. M. Armstrong, The Mind-Body Problem: An Opinionated Introduction (Westviesw, 1999) {at} and Jaegwon Kim, Mind in a Physical World: An Essay on the Mind-Body Problem and Mental Causation (Bradford, 2000) {at}.

Also see SEP, DPM, and ISM.

episthmh [epistêmê]

Greek term for an organized body of theoretical knowledge. According to Plato, this encompasses the upper portion of the divided line. In the philosophy of Aristotle, episthmh is a body of demonstrable truths about the essences of things.

Recommended Reading: F. E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (NYU, 1967) {at}.

Also see SEP and PP.


Branch of philosophy that investigates the possibility, origins, nature, and extent of human knowledge. Although the effort to develop an adequate theory of knowledge is at least as old as Plato's Theaetetus, epistemology has dominated Western philosophy only since the era of Descartes and Locke, as an extended dispute between rationalism and empiricism over the respective importance of a priori and a posteriori origins. Contemporary postmodern thinkers (including many feminist philosophers) have proposed the contextualization of knowledge as part of an intersubjective process.

Recommended Reading: Robert Audi, Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge (Routledge, 1998) {at}; A Companion to Epistemology, ed. by Jonathan Dancy and Ernest Sosa (Blackwell, 1994) {at}; D. W. Hamlyn, The Theory of Knowledge (Anchor, 1970) {at}; Stephen Hetherington, Good Knowledge, Bad Knowledge: On Two Dogmas of Epistemology (Oxford, 2001) {at}; Richard Swinburne, Epistemic Justification (Oxford, 2001) {at}; Martin Kusch, Knowledge by Agreement: the Programme of Communitarian Epistemology (Oxford, 2002) {at}; Fred I. Dretske, Perception, Knowledge and Belief: Selected Essays (Cambridge, 2000) {at}; and The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology, ed. by John Greco and Ernest Sosa (Blackwell, 1998) {at}.

Also see G.J. Mattey, SEP on Bayesian, evolutionary, feminist, foundationalist, naturalized, social, and virtue epistemology, perception, and the analysis of knowledge, Richard Hooker, ColE, DPM, and CE.

epoch [epochê]

Greek term for cessation or stoppage; hence, in the philosophy of the skeptics, the suspension of judgment. Only by refusing either to affirm or to deny the truth of what we cannot know, they supposed, can we achieve the ataraxia [ataraxia] of a peaceful mind.

Also see PP.


Relation between two propositions, either of which may be inferred from the other.
 p  q  p º

A material equivalence, symbolized here in the form:

	p º q
is a compound statement that is true whenever both of its component statements have the same truth-value.

Example: "We'll meet outside tomorrow if and only if it doesn't rain."

A logical equivalence is a tautologous statement sharing this form.

Example: "Alice is tall and Jeremy is short if and only if Jeremy is short and Alice is tall."

Equivalence (Equiv.)

A rule of replacement of the forms:

	[ p º q ] º [ ( p É q ) · ( q É p ) ]

	[ p º q ] º [ ( p · q ) Ú ( ~ p · ~ q ) ]

Example: "We ski if and only if it snows." is equivalent both to "If we ski then it snows and if it snows then we ski" and to "Either we ski and it snows or we don't ski and it doesn't snow."

The appropriate truth-table analysis demonstrates the reliability of both forms.


Having more than one meaning; see univocal / equivocal.


The informal fallacy that can result when an ambiguous word or phrase is used in different senses within a single argument.

Example: "Odd things arouse human suspicion. But seventeen is an odd number. Therefore, seventeen arouses human suspicion."

Also see FF and GLF.


©1997-2006 Garth Kemerling.
Last modified 6 August 2002.
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