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Kojève, Alexandre

(175 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (actually Alexander Koshevnikov; May 11, 1902, Moscow – Jun 4, 1968, Brussels), studied philosophy, linguistics, and literature in Heidelberg and earned his doctorate there as a student of K. Jaspers in 1926. He subsequently moved to Paris, deepened his previously acquired knowledge of religious studies, and entered the École Pratique des Hautes Études as a lecturer in comparative religion in 1933. However, he attained philosophical renown as a result of his lectures on G. Hegel's Phänomenologie des Geistes (1807; ET: Phenomenology of Mind, 1910), which influen…

Cynics,

(326 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] a Greek philosophical school, believed to have been founded by a student of Socrates named Antisthenes (c. 455–360 bce), but whose truest representative was Diogenes of Sinope (died c. 320 bce). The name derives from Gk kýon, “dog,” an association explained by a comment of Philodem (after 110–40/35 bce) to the effect that the Cynics wanted to imitate a dog's way of life ( Stoicorum Index Herculanensis, ed. D. Comparetti, 1875, 339, 8), by which they meant living without shame or following human conventions. The Cynics trivialized the stra…

Plato

(2,073 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (c. 427 bce, Athens – 347 bce, Athens), marks the beginning of a philosophical tradition in the strict sense. He took the various approaches to philosophical thought of his predecessors and brought them together in a unified intellectual context. Myth and poetry were included; poetic motifs and forms of expression were borrowed and used productively to articulate something ¶ totally new. As F. Nietzsche said, “the Platonic dialogue was the raft . . . on which the earlier poetry rescued itself and all its children from shipwreck” (“Die Geburt der Tragödie,” in: Kritische …

Epicurus

(241 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (342/341, on Samos – 371/370, Athens) was a Greek philosopher, the founder of a school of philosophy that he understood to be a competitor to the Platonic Academy and the Aristotelian Peripatos. Of his numerous writings – according to Diogenes Laertes 10.28 he left nearly 300 scrolls – only three didactic letters, a collection of 40 Sentences, and a few fragmenta…

Discourse

(156 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] is derived from Lat. discursus, “running to and fro,” and came to be used as a philosophical term in English and French (and thence also in German, as Diskurs), while “discursive” has been commonly employed as an antonym of “intuitive” since I. Kant. The English “discourse” and the French discours denote a linguistic unit that spans several sentences; it may be a speech, a narrative, a treatise, or a line of argumentation. In analytical philosophy, the “universe of discourse” denot…

Epoch

(262 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (᾿Εποχή/ epochḗ) derives from the Gk verb ἐπέχειν/ epéchein, “to stay,” “to hold back.” The noun epochḗ was originally a term from astrology and there indicated either the position a heavenly body occupied in its course, or the constellation of two heavenly bodies. Analogously, the word can also designate the point in time from which it can be reckoned. In the Enlightenment, the meaning of the term changed: the epoch was now a historically significant period of time. The word epochḗ first acquired philosophical significance in ancient …

Feyerabend, Paul

(144 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Jan 13, 1924, Vienna – Feb 11, 1994, Geneva) was an epistemologist who followed K.R. Popper in his early writings, but also turned against him after developing his own “anarchistic epistemology.” Feyerabend denies the existence of tenable criteria for scientific cognition. As with all other ways of experiencing the world, science can thus only be evalu-¶ ated under the perspective of creativity and originality. Feyerabend summarized this position by quoting the title of a Cole Porter hit, “Anything Goes.” Günter Figal Bibliography Works: “Against Method: Outli…

Selbstbewußtsein

(2,123 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Korsch, Dietrich
[English Version] I. Philosophisch S. ist die Kenntnis eigener Zustände, Wünsche und Absichten sowie die Schätzung der eigenen Person (: II.) im Zusammenhang mit anderen. Zum S. gehört wesentlich Reflexion, d.h. die Fähigkeit, sich auf eigene Zustände, Wünsche und Absichten, auf die Eingebundenheit des eigenen Lebens in Situationen sowie auf den Verlauf des eigenen Lebens zu beziehen. So ist das S. weder ein unmittelbares Wissen noch ein Sonderfall des Bewußtseins (: III.) von in der Welt begegnend…

Self-consciousness (Self-awareness)

(2,248 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Korsch, Dietrich
[German Version] I. Philosophy Self-consciousness (or self-awareness) is knowledge of one’s own states, wishes, and intentions, together with assessment of one’s own person (II) in relationship to others. An essential element of self-consciousness is reflection, i.e. the ability to relate to one’s own states, wishes, and intentions, to the embeddedness of one’s own life in situations, and to the course of one’s own life. Thus self-consciousness is neither immediate knowledge nor a special case of co…

Understanding

(1,637 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy It was not until the modern period that the concept of understanding became philosophically important. It gained currency by denoting the special kind of of knowledge in the humanities (Epistemology). What is understood is “historical material” (J.G. Droysen, ¶ Grundriss der Historik, 1868, §9; ET: Outline of the Principles of History, 1967) and any expression of human life. Thus the term “understanding” is used in contrast to explanation, which is used in connection with scientific, explicable nature. W. Dilthey made…

Verstehen

(1,504 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Herms, Eilert
[English Version] I. Philosophisch Der Begriff des V. wird erst in der Moderne philos. bedeutsam. Er gewinnt Prägnanz, indem er das für die Geisteswissenschaften eigentümliche Erkennen (Erkenntnistheorie) bez. Verstanden wird das »hist. Material« (J.G. Droysen, Grundriß der Historik, 1868, § 9) und überhaupt jede Äußerung des menschlichen Lebens. Dabei tritt der Begriff in Kontrast zum Erklären (Erklärung), das auf die naturwiss. erkennbare Natur bezogen ist. W. Dilthey hat diesen Unterschied progr…

Finitude

(1,112 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Adriaanse, Hendrik Johan
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Dogmatics I. Philosophy In philosophy, finitude refers basically to that which has bounds or is limited and already R. Descartes considered it a defining essence of human being and knowing. This idea was adopted by I. Kant and extensively dealt with in the discussion of the human ability of cognition. In German idealism, especially in F.W.J. Schelling and G.F.W. Hegel, the interdependence or dialectics of finitude and infinity was the focus of philosophical concern. Schelling initially understood finitude ( Fernere…

Historicism

(1,564 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Church History – III. Systematic Theology I. Philosophy The concept of historicism came into currency in the 19th century and soon assumed critical and even polemical significance. Indeed, also G.W.F. Hegel's concept of reason freely actualized in history could be called historicism (J. Braniss, Die wissenschaftliche Aufgabe der ¶ Gegenwart als leitende Idee im akademischen Studium [The scientific task of the present as a leading idea in academic studies], 1848); but the understanding of historicism as a mode of tho…

Eros

(1,954 words)

Author(s): Konstan, David | Stock, Konrad | Figal, Günter
[German Version] I. The Term – II. Eros and Amor – III. Eros and Agape ( Caritas) – IV. Eros in Philosophy I. The Term The Greek term ἔρως/ éros, noun, verb ἐρᾶν/ erā́n (“to be in love with”), denotes an intense affection or desire. It can express a passion for an inanimate object, such as wine or one's city, or even for wisdom, as in Plato. However, eros is commonly associated with er…

Logos

(4,012 words)

Author(s): Peppel, Matthias | Slenczka, Notger | Figal, Günter
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Fundamental Theology – III. Philosophy I. History of Religion The Greek noun logos (λόγος/ lógos), which is derived from the verb λέγειν/ légein, “to say, to speak,” designates the human faculty of speech and ability to reason, usually in combination, as well as numerous individual aspects such as: sentence, topic, oration, prose, teaching, judgment, cause, conclusion, and reason. In its earliest attestations logos refers to an “oration,” whose deceptive effects are frequently emphasized (Hom. Od. I 56) – thus in the personific…

Memory

(1,437 words)

Author(s): Assmann, Jan | Schröter, Jens | Figal, Günter
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Philosophy I. Religious Studies Memory, in the present context, is the ability to store motor skills, experiences, and learned materialover longer periods; remembrance on the other hand has to do with the use of memory. Individual memory is already ¶ socially conditioned (through language, socialization, cultural setting) and thus has a communicative character. Institutionalization (e.g. feasts, school) and objectivization (e.g. rites [Rite and ritual], texts) serve to stabilize the co…

Weisheit

(1,321 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Hailer, Martin | Wahl, Heribert
[English Version] I. Philosophisch W. ist das von der Philosophie angestrebte Wissen. Dem verdankt die Philos. im Griech. ihren Namen, der aus dem Verb ϕιλε´ω/philéō, »lieben«, »erstreben«, und σοϕι´α/sophía gebildet ist. Dabei hat σοϕι´α zunächst gar keine spezifisch philos. Bedeutung. Das Wort bez. die ausgebildete Fähigkeit, ein Handwerk oder eine Kunst auszuüben. Noch Aristoteles, der für die Ausarbeitung der spezifisch philos. Bedeutung maßgeblich ist, führt die σοϕι´α ein, indem er sie »die Vollkommenheit der Kunst« nennt (α᾿ρετη` τε´χn̆ης/aretē´ téchnēs; e.N. 114…

Wisdom

(1,471 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Hailer, Martin | Wahl, Heribert
[German Version] I. Philosophy Wisdom is the knowledge that philosophy aspires to. It is an element of the Greek word for philosophy, which combines the verb φιλέω/ philéō, “love, aspire to,” with the noun σοφία/ sophía. Initially σοφία had no particular philosophical significance. The word denoted expert skill in the practice of an art or craft. Aristotle, who was responsible for developing the word’s specifically philosophical sense, introduced σοφία by calling it “the perfection of an art” (ἀρετὴ τέχνης/ aretḗtéchnēs; Eth. Nic. 1141a 12). The designation of philosophical ins…

Critical Theory

(1,635 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Moxter, Michael | Junker-Kenny, Maureen
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Fundamental Theology – III. Practical Theology I. Philosophy Critical theory is the designation for the philosophical program of the Frankfurt School, a group of philosophers and social scientists belonging to the Institut für Sozialforschung (Institute for Social Research) founded in 1923 in Frankfurt am Main. The term traces to an essay by M. Horkheimer, Traditionelle und kritische Theorie (1937; ET: “Traditional and Critical Theory,” in: idem, Critical Theory: Selected Essays, 1972) and was then adopted as the general c…

Validity

(859 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Dreier, Ralf | Grube, Dirk-Martin
[German Version] I. Philosophy The term validity was already used by I. Kant ( Akademie-Ausgabe IV, 460f.), but it did not play a prominent role in philosophy until the late 19th century. Validity is an actuality, not further explicable, that is understood primarily in contrast to existence. In this sense, R.H. Lotze distinguished between things, which exist, events, which take place, and propositions, which are valid ( Grundzüge der Logik und Encyklopädie der Philosophie, 1902; ET: Outlines of Logic and of Encyclopædia of Philosophy, 1892). To say that a proposition is valid …
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