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Technology

(5,115 words)

Author(s): Berg, Christian | Meisinger, Hubert | Krüger, Oliver | Schmidt, Jan C. | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Definitions 1. Technique In antiquity, τέϰνη/ technē originally meant special skill in handwork; it also denoted competence in reasonable action in other practical, artistic and philosophical areas. For Aristotle it is reasonable behavior directed to the production of praxis and poiesis ; technē imitates natural events, being distinct from them but embedded in them. In the modern period ¶ (Modernity), with criticism of Aristotelian metaphysics, the understanding of technique also changed. Technique became a key concept of modern culture…

Intention/Intentionality

(1,594 words)

Author(s): Gander, Hans-Helmuth | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Ethics I. Philosophy In the context of action theory, intention/ intentionality (from Lat. intentio) usually denotes an aim or purpose. Intentionality is understood both in the sense of the will that initiates actions and in the sense of the motive or motivation that guides both volition and action. In other philosophical contexts, the prevailing understanding of intentionality goes back to the turn of the 20th century in the work of E. Husserl, who drew in turn on his teacher F. Brentano. In his major work Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt, vo…

Activity and Passivity

(1,353 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Härle, Wilfried
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion and Fundamental Theology – II. Dogmatics I. Philosophy of Religion and Fundamental Theology From the perspective of fundamental theology, the relationship between activity and passivity thematizes the constitution of the christian certainty of Dasein. Its theoretical description in terms of consciousness or personhood must be examined for its ontological presuppositions and understood within their framework. Only …

Competition

(890 words)

Author(s): Sautter, Hermann | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Economics – II. Ethics I. Economics The term “competition” is linked with the idea of rivalry, but the Latin competere makes it clear that the notion ultimately has to do with several players seeking a prize together. As competitors they strive together in an activity that demands that they give their best. Everyone profits from their competition – in economics no less than in sports. Economic competition benefits society in general precisely when those involved do no…

Society

(6,607 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Kippenberg, Hans G. | Thiel, Winfried | Wehr, Lothar | Münch, Richard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology The word society ( societas, société) has changed from a term denoting particular forms and modes of human coexistence to a term (in both sg. and pl.) denoting the totality of human coexistence; it has thus become the basic term of the theoretical sciences that deal with human coexistence. The German equivalent, Gesellschaft (from OHG sal, “room,” and selida, “dwelling place”), suggests ties that arise from sharing the same room (cf. Geselle, “apprentice,” etymologically “someone ¶ sharing accommodations” with a master) or belonging to the sa…

Action

(1,873 words)

Author(s): Meixner, Uwe | Mühling-Schlapkohl, Markus | Herms, Eilert | Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Theology – III. Ethics – IV. Practical Theology I. Philosophy The concept of action is of central importance for philosophical ethics and anthropology. It is closely related to the concept of person, since persons are the subjects of action and cognition (the latter always itself an action, since it necessarily involves judgment). We may distinguish …

Coercion

(357 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] (Lat. coercitio) takes place when a certain type of behavior is forcibly imposed upon a person against his/her declared will. “Means of coercion” are the embodiment of all instruments that are available for this purpose. The availability of such means is indispensable for the state if it is to fulfill its fundamental task of maintaining the peace. The latter requires it to enforce compliance with the legal order, especially on the part of t…

Self-control

(369 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] (Gk σωϕροσύvη/ sōphrosýnē, ἐγκράτεια/ enkráteia; Lat. temperantia, moderatio, continentia, imperium in semetipsum; Ger. Selbstbeherrschung; Fr. maitrise de soi) means mastery (Dominion) over oneself, exercised by the self. As in outward relationships between persons, rule or dominion means the effective control of an inferior will by a superior will within an individual’s personhood. With variations in terminology, self-control has been a theme of the theory of virtues in philosophy and theology, …

State

(4,704 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Terminology The word state with its various cognates came into use in the Romance languages in the 16th century and was used in German ( Staat) by the end of the 18th. It expresses the notion of the socio-historical “state” or “condition” of a body politic – more specifically the state of physical security ensured for this body by the authority effective and recognized within a “national population” living in its “national territory” (Georg Jellinek [1851–1911], Allgemeine Staatslehre, 1900). Domestically the authority reliably governs the outward relati…

Self-interest

(343 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The concept of “interest” in its civil and economic sense is rooted in Roman law (indemnification, benefit, advantage, value). Extended to include political action and its goals, in the 16th century it became a general designation of the motives governing the actions of competing individuals or collectives pursuing the goal of their own advantage. Finally (since T. Hobbes) it became the designation of the natural motivation of all possible action, with the goal of the actant’s self-preservation. Late Scholasticism and Christian moral philosophy questioned…

Vocation

(5,411 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias | Klöcker, Michael | Ulrich, Hans G. | Sprondel, Walter M. | Drehsen, Volker | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology No term equivalent to vocation is found in classical Greek and Latin. An officium was exercised by virtue of a preexisting status, usually by birth. Trades (including medicine) fulfilled the conditions of a regular vocation (τέχνη/ téchnē), but had no self-awareness reflected in terminology. In the New Testament, κλῆσις/ klḗsis mostly refers to the “calling” of a Christian (1 Cor 7:20); in the national church of Late Antiquity, it referred primarily to the call to the religious life ( vocatio) in contrast to lay status. In Middle High German mys…

Dignity of Life

(435 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The heightened sensitivity to ecological issues in the last decades of the 20th century led to the broad acceptance of the earlier expressed feeling (cf. A. Schweitzer's “reverence for life”) that not just human beings but all living things are endowed with dignity and, accordingly, that the human being (as a recipient of dignity) should respect his own dignity as a living being by recognizing and appropriately respecting the dignity of …

Evolution, Law of

(1,993 words)

Author(s): Kubon-Gilke, Gisela | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. History of Science – II. Dogmatics – III. Ethics I. History of Science A fundamentally new understanding of human beings and nature from the end of the 16th century prepared the way for evolutionary thinking. In the new paradigm, which is regarded as one of the greatest scientific revolutions, a world without a final cause and which developed and changed ad infinitum was presumed. Since C.R. Darwin, the mechanism of evolution has been described as variation and natural selecti…

Politics

(7,247 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Hutter, Manfred | Schieder, Rolf | Thiemann, Ronald | Badry, Roswitha | Et al.
[German Version] I. Social Sciences Since its Greek origins, politics has meant (a) an action with a specific object, aiming to achieve the best way for all the inhabitants of the ancient city-state ( pólis) to live together and hence achieve the common good of the ¶ community ( koinón), and (b) the theory of this action (Sellin; see also Political science). Given that we no longer live in small urban societies but in large, open, and functionally complex societies (Society), politics includes – but cannot be limited to – the system of state g…

Democracy

(2,082 words)

Author(s): Letto-Vanamo, Pia | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Concept and History – II. State and Governmental Forms – III. Presuppositions for Democracy. – IV. Democracy as a Universal Ideal of Life in Society – V. Democracy from a Christian Perspective. I. Concept and History “Democracy” designates a particular mode of legitimate political dominion. The literal translation of Gk δημοκρατία/ dēmokratía is “power/dominion of the people.” The prototype is ancient Greece, especially Athens. Aristotle understood democracy as a …

Brandström, Elsa

(93 words)

Author(s): Herms Eilert
[German Version] (Mar 26, 1888, daughter of the Swedish ambassador in St. Petersburg – Mar 4, 1948, Cambridge, MA) served in Siberia during World War I as a Red Cross delegate for German and Austrian prisoners of war. She worked there during the typhoid epidemic, organizing help efforts. After the war she founded sanatoria for former prisoners of war (Marienborn, Schreibermühle) and a home for war orphans (Neusorge/Mittweida) with American aid. Eilert Herms Bibliography E. Brandström, Unter Kriegsgefangenen in Rußland und Sibirien, 1921 E. Juhl et al., Elsa Brandström, 1962.

Will

(3,711 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph | Loos, Fritz | Herms, Eilert | Hühn, Lore
[German Version] I. History of the Term The development and spread of the term will go hand in hand with the history of Christian theology. Classical Greek had no single, distinct term like will denoting an independent mental faculty. The voluntative dimension was contained in the terms used for rational deliberation, decision-making, willingness, and non-rational desire. For Aristotleβουλή/ boulḗ is conation (Striving) that ensues after deliberation and hence is guided by reason based on knowledge ( De anima III 10, 433a ¶ 20–23). In the Bible, especially in Paul, the phenom…

Intuition

(740 words)

Author(s): Enskat, Rainer | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Systematic Theology I. Philosophy Intuition is a term used in epistemology and refers to a special, successful cognitive act. Accordingly, and following the typology of G. Ryle, “intuition” is thus a (cognitive) success word, but it also designates a special cognitive faculty. In many contexts, a performative quality is reserved for the intuitive act, as expressed by the characteristic feature that was probably first noted in Epicurean circles: its instantaneousness (ἀϑρόα/ athróa). Inasmuch as this instantaneousness is understood i…

Creation

(11,110 words)

Author(s): Friedli, Richard | Janowski, Bernd | Herrmann, Klaus | Wischmeyer, Oda | Gunton, Colin E. | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. History of Theology – VI. Creation and Preservation – VII. Religious Education – VIII. Islam – IX. Science – X. Art History I. History of Religion 1. Fundamentals Life, nature, the environment, the passage of time – these are everyday experiences for any society. But reality also includes the danger that this world may be imperiled or perilous. Chaos and death are part …

Geismar, Eduard

(204 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] (Feb 12, 1871, Randers, Denmark – May 14, 1939, Copenhagen) served as a pastor in Copenhagen from 1899 until 1921, when he became professor of systematic theology. Sensitized by the Student Christian Movement and the Church's Urban Office for Social and Political Questions, he took an active part in founding Danmarks Retsforbund (Justice Party/Single-Tax Party), a party backing social reform. Influenced by S. Kierkegaard, he espoused an ethics of the individual conscience bound by…
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