You won’t have to wade through any confusing philosophy texts to do well with philosophy on the MAT. To excel on the MAT analogies on philosophy, all you need to know are history’s major philosophers, their works, and some basic philosophy terms.

Philosophical terms that appear on the MAT test

Brush up on your knowledge of philosophy by studying these terms and their definitions.

  • Empiricism: Theory that knowledge comes mainly from sensory perception

  • Ethics: Moral philosophy, concepts of right and wrong

  • Existentialism: School of philosophy based on the concept of free will

  • Idealism: Theory that reality is mentally constructed

  • Logic: Study and use of reasoning

  • Logical Positivism: Analytic philosophy that combines empiricism and rationalism

  • Neoplatonism: Mystical philosophy based on the teachings of Plato

  • Philosopher: Someone who studies fundamental questions and uses rational argument

  • Pragmatism: The idea that theory should come from practice

  • Rationalism: Method that uses deductive reasoning

  • Transcendentalism: Belief that the spiritual is more important than the material

Important philosophers that appear on the MAT test

The following lists important philosophers you should get to know before taking the MAT.

  • Aristotle: Greek philosopher and student of Plato; wrote Poetics

  • Bacon, Francis: English philosopher

  • Bradley, Herbert Francis: British idealist who wrote Appearance and Reality

  • Descartes, René: Frenchman known as the “Father of Modern Philosophy”

  • Dewey, John: American philosopher concerned with education and social reform

  • Gandhi, Mahatma: Indian leader who advocated nonviolent civil disobedience

  • Hobbes, Thomas: English political philosopher; wrote Leviathan

  • Hume, David: Scottish philosopher known for empiricism and skepticism

  • James, William: American philosopher and psychologist

  • Kant, Immanuel: German philosopher who wrote Critique of Pure Reason

  • Leibnitz, Gottfried: German philosopher and mathematician

  • Locke, John: English philosopher and empiricist; wrote An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

  • Macchiavelli, Nicolo: Italian philosopher and author of The Prince

  • Marx, Karl: German philosopher, economist and proponent of communism; wrote The Communist Manifesto

  • Mill, John Stuart: British philosopher and political economist

  • More, Thomas: English philosopher and humanist who wrote Utopia

  • Nietzsche, Friedrich: German philosopher known for the idea of the death of God; wrote Beyond Good and Evil

  • Peirce, Charles Sanders: American philosopher known as the “Father of Pragmatism”

  • Plato: Greek writer and author of The Republic

  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques: Swiss philosopher and author of The Social Contract

  • Schopenhauer, Arthur: Atheist German philosopher who wrote The World As Will and Representation

  • Smith, Adam: Key figure of the Scottish Enlightenment

  • Socrates: Greek philosopher known for work in ethics and the teacher of Plato; inspired the Socratic Method

  • Tzu, Sun: Ancient Chinese philosopher and author of The Art of War

  • Voltaire: French philosopher and author of Candide

  • Zedong, Mao: Chinese communist leader

Important philosophical works that appear on the MAT

The following lists important works in the field of philosophy you should familiarize yourself with before taking the MAT.

  • Appearance and Reality: By British idealist Francis Herbert Bradley

  • An Essay Concerning Human Understanding: By John Locke. Asserts that the mind is a blank slate at birth

  • The Art of War: Ancient Chinese book by Sun Tzu about military strategy

  • Beyond Good and Evil: By Nietzsche; criticizes past philosophers on their acceptance of religious principles

  • Candide: French satire by Voltaire

  • The Communist Manifesto: Political manuscript by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

  • Critique of Pure Reason: Influential work by Kant in which he describes the relationship between knowledge and experience

  • Leviathan: By Thomas Hobbes. Focuses on society and government

  • Poetics: An analysis of tragedy by Aristotle

  • The Prince: Political work by Machiavelli where he asserts that the truth is more important than an ideal

  • The Republic: A Socratic dialogue by Plato

  • The Social Contract: By Rousseau; focuses on political community

  • The World as Will and Representaion: Primary work of Schopenhauer; he writes that all of nature has a will to life and that suffering comes from the desire for more

  • Utopia: Fiction and political philosophy by Thomas More

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Vince Kotchian is a full-time standardized test tutor specializing in the MAT, SSAT, ISEE, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. He teaches a GRE prep course at the University of California, San Diego, and has an extensive understanding of analogies and the MAT.

Edwin Kotchian is a MAT tutor and freelance writer who has contributed to a variety of test-prep material.

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