In this series of articles, we will be exploring some of the tough concepts/doctrines that one needs to know, from a difficult Reading Comprehension point of view. Knowing the definition is enough in most of the cases, hence, without getting into depth, we will be keeping it crisp. I have segregated these concepts for better understanding and comparison. I will be using Wikipedia liberally here, and will share a link in case you wish to read more about the topic or branch or doctrine! Let’s start with Metaphysics


Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy exploring the fundamental questions, including the nature of concepts like being, existence and reality. Topics of metaphysical investigation include existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility. Read more

Deism (derived from Latin “deus” meaning “god”) is a philosophical position that posits that a god does not interfere directly with the world. It also rejects revelation as a source of religious knowledge and asserts that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator of the universe. Read more

Theism is broadly defined as the belief in the existence of a deity or deities. In popular parlance, or when contrasted with deism, the term often describes the classical conception of god(s) that is found in monotheistic and polytheistic religions; a belief in a god or in gods without the rejection of revelation as is characteristic of deism. Read more

Monotheism has been defined as the belief in the existence of only one god that created the world, is all-powerful and intervenes in the world. A broader definition of monotheism is the belief in one god. Read more

Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. Read more

Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable. According to the philosopher William L. Rowe, “agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist” Read more

Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Read more

Antitheism is a term used to describe an opposition to theism. The term has had a range of applications and definitions. In secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to the validity of theism, but not necessarily to the existence of a deity. Read more

Pantheism is the belief that all reality is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent god. Pantheists do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god and hold a broad range of doctrines differing with regards to the forms of and relationships between divinity and reality. Read more


Atomism (from Greek atomon meaning “uncuttable”, “indivisible”) is a natural philosophy that developed in several ancient traditions. The atomists theorized that nature consists of two fundamental principles: atom and voidRead more

Monism is the view that attributes oneness or singleness to a concept (e.g., existence). A philosophy is monistic if it postulates unity of origin of all things; all existing things return to a source that is distinct from them. Read more

Dualism (from the Latin word duo meaning “two”) denotes the state of two parts. The term dualism has been more generalized in other usages to indicate a system which contains two essential partsRead more

Pluralism is a term used in philosophy, meaning “doctrine of multiplicity“, often used in opposition to monism (“doctrine of unity”) and dualism (“doctrine of duality”). Read more

Idealism is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. Read more

Physicalism is the ontological thesis that “everything is physical“, that there is “nothing over and above” the physical, or that everything supervenes on the physical. Physicalism is a form of ontological monism—a “one substance” view of the nature of reality as opposed to a “two-substance” (dualism) or “many-substance” (pluralism) view. Read more

Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental aspects and consciousness, are results of material interactions. In contrast to idealism, materialism concedes the primary of material, not consciousnessRead more


Intellectualism denotes the use, development, and exercise of the intellect; the practice of being an intellectual; and the Life of the Mind. In the field of philosophy, “intellectualism” occasionally is synonymous with “rationalism”, that is, knowledge mostly derived from reason and ratiocinationRead more

Voluntarism is “any metaphysical or psychological system that assigns to the will a more predominant role than that attributed to the intellect”, or, equivalently, “the doctrine that will is the basic factor, both in the universe and in human conduct”. Read more

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