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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…

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…

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 …

Metaphor

(2,992 words)

Author(s): Löser, Philipp | Figal, Günter | Mühling, Markus | Mädler, Inken
[German Version] I. Literary Criticism – II. Philosophy – III. Philosophy of Religion – IV. Fundamental Theology – V. History of Art I. Literary Criticism Metaphor (Gk μεταφορά/ metaphorá, “transfer,” from μεταφέρω/ metaphérō, “to transfer”) is a figure of speech in which, by means of a linguistic image, that is, in a figurative sense, reference is made to an object. The semantic analysis of metaphor, its distinction from other tropes, and discussion of the effectiveness and comprehensibility of poetic metaphors are some of the more difficult tasks of literary criticism. Definit…

Wine

(2,151 words)

Author(s): Staubli, Thomas | Janowski, Bernd | Figal, Günter | Jüngel, Eberhard
[German Version] I. Archaeology and Religious Studies The wild predecessors of cultured vines ( Vitis vinifera vinifera) are found especially in the north-eastern Mediterranean region and in the area of the Black Sea. The earliest evidence of collecting grapes, presumably from wild stocks, is 9,000 years old (Çayönü, Tell Aswad and Jericho). The earliest indications of vine cultivation come from the end of the 4th millennium bce in Egypt (Omari, Abydos, Saqqara). Grapes were eaten, but mostly made into wine; in southern Mesopotamia also into syrup for preserva…

Philosophy

(6,572 words)

Author(s): Erler, Michael | Schönberger, Rolf | Puster, Rolf W. | Figal, Günter
[German Version] I. Antiquity 1. Western philosophy is usually held to begin with the Ionian philosophers of nature (Thales, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Natural philosophy), even if they described their activity less as philosophy than as “history.” The first to refer to himself specifically as a philosopher is said to have been Pythagoras, but this may have been a retrospective reference. The word ϕιλοσοϕεῖν/ philosopheín, “to philosophize,” occurs first in the 5th century bce. Initially, like sophia, it denoted a non-specific interest in a form of knowledge, or familia…

World

(7,847 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert | Figal, Günter | Herms, Eilert | Worthing, Mark
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. Cosmos a. There are various ways of expressing the concept of the “world” in Greek and Latin: as the world as a whole, with the bipolar hendiadys heaven and earth (e.g. Diodorus Siculus I 7.7); as the world of human beings, with Greek οἰκουμένη/ oikouménē (sc. γῆ/ gḗ, “earth”; e.g. Diodorus Siculus I 1.3; cf. Lat. orbis terrarum, “circle of the earth”; genus humanum, “human world”); with emphasis on the world’s order, beauty, and completeness, with κόσμος/ kósmos (Cosmology) and universum or πᾶν/ pán, ὅλον/ hólon; or with emphasis on its self-a…

Theory and Praxis

(4,249 words)

Author(s): Linde, Gesche | Figal, Günter | Westhelle, Vítor | Herms, Eilert | Meyer-Blanck, Michael
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences The distinction between theory as a consistent linguistic or symbolic system of ordered statements about a par-¶ ticular subject area or phenomenal domain and practice (praxis) as technical action to produce quantifiable phenomena in an experiment, or at least observation against the background of a theory, is fundamental to the modern natural sciences, although the precise definition of the relationship between the two is disputed and is addressed by the philosophy of science. Usually the relationship between theory and praxis is desc…

Name

(5,597 words)

Author(s): Udolph, Jürgen | Figal, Günter | Hutter, Manfred | Assel, Heinrich | Rüterswörden, Udo | Et al.
[German Version] I. Linguistics – II. Philosophy – III. Religious Studies – IV. Philosophy of Religion – V. Old Testament – VI. New Testament – VII. Church History – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam I. Linguistics Linguistically, a name is a proper noun ( nomen proprium) as opposed to a common noun ( nomen appellativum); both function grammatically as substantives. Proper nouns (names) designate individual persons, places, things, and ideas or collectives thought of as individuals; they do not ascribe common attributes to their referents. Outside…

Hermeneutics

(8,461 words)

Author(s): Terrin, Aldo Natale | Dohmen, Christoph | Schunack, Gerd | Figal, Günter | Jeanrond, Werner G. | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Philosophy – V. Fundamental Theology – VI. Ethics – VII. Practical Theology – VIII. Cultural History I. Religious Studies The classical questions of hermeneutics concern the problems of understanding within a historical context that includes both what is to be interpreted and the one who is interpreting. The latter's horizon of understanding is effective as pre-understanding in dealing with documents of the past, whose history of influen…

Freedom

(9,782 words)

Author(s): Kaiser, Otto | Vollenweider, Samuel | Schwartz, Daniel R. | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Figal, Günter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. New Testament – III. Early Judaism – IV. Church History – V. Philosophy – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. Dogmatics – VIII. Ethics – IX. Sociology, Politics, and Law I. Old Testament 1. The concept of political freedom, which originated in the Greek polis (City cult), first appeared in Hellenistic Jewish historiography. The Stoics' concept of freedom, which contrasts inner freedom and outward constraint, has no counterpart in the OT. The OT is rooted in an internal mythological cultur…

Worldview

(11,663 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Ahn, Gregor | Janowski, Bernd | Furley, David J. | Sellin, Gerhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Philosophy The word Weltbild (“worldview”; more lit. “world picture”) is already found in early medieval German; it is defined as a “conceptual view of the world that emerges from the totality of impressions made by the world and ideas of one’s Weltanschauung” ( DWb 28 [14.1.1], 1955, 1553). Its meaning is thus related to the meaning of Weltanschauung . Philosophy usually treats both together. A Weltbild can be understood as both a premise and a product of a Weltanschauung. W. Dilthey called a Weltbild “the basis of one’s appreciation of life and understanding…

Human Beings

(18,165 words)

Author(s): Gregersen, Niels H. | Grünschloß, Andreas | Figal, Günter | Janowski, Bernd | Lichtenberger, Hermann | Et al.
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences and Psychology – II. Religious Studies – III. Philosophy – IV. Old Testament – V. New Testament – VI. Church History – VII. Dogmatics and Ethics – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam I. Natural Sciences and Psychology 1. Evolution From the perspective of the natural sciences, the theory of evolution offers the most comprehensive framework for understanding human beings. It views the human species as a late product of a biogenetic process that began with the origin of life (VI) on earth some 3.8 billion …
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