The majority of philosophical ‘ism’ words are quite broad terms designating a certain general type of doctrine. The danger is that they might say more than they actually do. ‘Of ‘isms’’ examines a number of philosophical ‘isms’ including idealism, dualism, materialism, empiricism, and rationalism. The former three belong to metaphysics, which is about what sort of things there are. The latter two belong to the field of epistemology, which asks: how do we know? In many ways we all make a distinction between perceiving and thinking. Empiricism is a general word for doctrines that favour perceiving over thinking, and it is a general word for seeing things the other way around.