Glossary of Terms ‘N’

Written By Thomas Perez. December 14th, 2010 at 5:42PM. Copyright 2010.

Nativism
An opposition to immigration that originated in United States politics, that distinguishes between Americans who were born in the United States, and “first-generation” immigrants. It is based on fears the immigrants do not share supposedly American values.

Naturalism
Any of several philosophical stances, typically those descended from materialism and pragmatism, that do not distinguish the supernatural(including strange entities like non-natural values, and universals as they are commonly conceived) from nature. Naturalism does not necessarily claim that phenomena or hypotheses commonly labeled as supernatural do not exist or are wrong, but insists that all phenomena and hypotheses can be studied by the same methods and therefore anything considered supernatural is either nonexistent, unknowable, or not inherently different from natural phenomena or hypotheses.

Humanistic Naturalism
The belief that human beings, as well as plants and animals, are divine and intricate extensions of nature. Followers share a mutual respect for things created directly by nature, even though life must feed upon life for continuance. While most believers are able to adapt to modern change, naturalists prefer the a fair exchange of resources, as was in the case of former agricultural and hunter-gatherer societies. Industry and technology are in exact opposition to naturalism.

Legal Naturalism
Term coined by Olufemi Taiwo to describe a current in the social philosophy of Karl Marx which can be interpreted as one of Natural Law. Taiwo considered it the manifestation of Natural Law in a dialectical materialist context.

Metaphysical Naturalism
The belief that nature is in fact all that exists. The term applies to any world view in which nature is all there is and all things supernatural do not exist (including spirits and souls, non-natural values, and universals as they are commonly conceived).

Necessitarianism
A metaphysical principle that denies that any facts or events are contingent or indeterminate, from human actions to the laws of physics themselves.

Nihilism
Philosophical view that the world, and especially human existence, is without meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. It is more often a charge leveled against a particular idea than a position to which someone is overtly subscribed. Movements such as Dada, Deconstructionism, and punk have been described by various observers as “nihilist”.

Nominalism
The belief that universals or mental concepts have no objective reality but exist only as words or “names” (Latin nomina).

Non-Cognitivism
The meta-ethical view that moral statements do not assert propositions i.e. they do not express factual claims or beliefs and therefore lack truth-value. This view should be distinguished from moral realism, skepticism, subjectivism, relativism, and nihilism; proponents of these views avow that moral statements are either true or false.

Nontheism
The absence of belief in both the existence and non-existence of a deity(or deities, or other numinous phenomena). The word is often employed as a blanket term for all belief systems that are not theistic, including atheism(both strong and weak) and agnosticism, as well as certain Eastern religions like Confucianism, Taoism, and Zen Buddhism.

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