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Categorical Imperative

(507 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
1. Term I. Kant (1724–1804) used the term “categorical imperative” to designate the absolute character of the moral law. The law must be stated in terms of an imperative, for the human will is not “holy,” that is, not fully in accord with reason (Kantianism). In practical morality the categorical imperative is necessarily and universally valid (i.e., it is an a priori); it is stronger than the “hypothetical imperative” (e.g., the rules of what is apt or the precepts of cleverness), which describes the more limited relation between end and means. 2. Formulations The most important form…

Moralism

(321 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
We first find the term “moralism” in the works of J. G. Fichte (1762–1814; Idealism 5), who argued that it is the same as what philosophy is formally and idealistically ( Wissenschaftslehre 2.6.196). Building on the teaching of I. Kant (1724–1804; Kantianism) and Fichte that the moral is autonomous (Autonomy 2), moralism is often taken to denote a morality that has no links to God or to the orders of creation but that, as practical reason, defines good and evil on its own. F. Nietzsche (1844–1900) criticized this type of moral…

Analytic Philosophy

(1,341 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
1. Name The term “analytic philosophy” derives from its methodology. Its aim is to arrive at the truth, meaning, and significance of statements by analysis of language and usage. 1.1. Rise and Spread Analytic philosophy arose in Great Britain at the beginning of the 20th century. It did so in reaction to English idealism and its interpretation of Hegel (Hegelianism). Under the influence of the Vienna Circle and Wittgenstein, it moved on from logical atomism to logical empiricism and then to linguistic philosophy or phenomenalis…

Transcendentals

(349 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
Deriving from Lat. transcendens (stepping over), the word “transcendentals” was used by the Scholastics (Scholasticism) for that which is far above ordinary categories. In reality, we find transcendentals in both Plato (427–347 b.c.; Platonism) and Aristotle (384–322 b.c.; Aristotelianism) as initial forms of being. We can define what is, in terms of its goodness, truth, or unity. Special features of transcendentals are that they lie beyond the ability of categories to predicate and that they are also mutually convertible: ens et unum, verum, bonum, pulchrum convertuntur (being …

Motive, Ethics of

(992 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
1. Term The expression “ethics of motive,” which came to be used as a philosophical term during the 20th century, refers to a basic ethical disposition that looks for the ethical qualification of actions in a reference to their underlying intention, while remaining indifferent toward any actual consequences such actions may have. One can show that E. Troeltsch (1865–1923) also used the term in this sense in his characterization of Kantian ethics as ethics not oriented—as was objective-theological ethics—toward the result of actions (p. 626). 2. Problems 2.1. Implicit The antithesis …

Faith and Knowledge

(1,881 words)

Author(s): Petzoldt, Matthias | Hofmeister, Heimo
[German Version] I. Fundamental Theology – II. Philosophy of Religion I. Fundamental Theology The relationship between faith and knowledge became a classic theme within the Christian cultural sphere as the terms πίστις/ pístis and πιστεύειν/ pisteúein became widespread as a result of the Christian missionary practice of adopting equivalents from foreign languages, as the noun itself became synonymous with “being a Christian” and then with religion as such, and as the structures of “I believe…” were secularized, becoming part of…

Freedom

(4,234 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo | Tödt, Heinz Eduard
1. Philosophical 1.1. Etymology and Concept With related terms in other languages, the word “free” derives from the Indo-European root *prai-, meaning “protect, spare, like, love.” The Latin word ¶ for “freedom” is libertas, the Greek, eleutheria (esp. in the sense of political freedom). The latter occurred for the first time in Pindar (ca. 522-ca. 438), who said of Hieron I (ca. 540–467/466), founder of the city of Etna, that he founded it “with ordered freedom” (Pyth. 1.61). The eleutheroi were free persons who, as distinct from slaves, lived in their fatherland …

Metaphysics

(3,216 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo | Brown, Robert F.
1. Term and Concept The term “metaphysics” derives from the Gk. expression ta meta ta physika (lit. “the things that come after physics”), which stands as the title of a work by Aristotle (384–322 b.c.; Aristotelianism). The name was long attributed to a bibliographic accident, to placement of the book after the Physics in the Aristotelian canon. But the name in fact fits the sequence that knowledge takes according to Aristotle. In controversy with the earlier Ionian and Eleatic philosophies, Aristotle speaks of the archē, or ground of being, the first principles that in the…

Anthropology

(6,709 words)

Author(s): Ritschl, Dietrich | Schmidt, Werner H. | Brandenburger, Egon | Hofmeister, Heimo | Schöfthaler, Traugott
Overview Theological anthropology is systematic reflection on human nature and destiny ( Human and Civil Rights) in the light of the biblical witness. As a classic theological discipline (Dogmatics), anthropology holds an important place. It does not simply challenge the various anthropological sciences, nor does it necessarily transcend or endorse them. Insofar as these sciences say true things about humanity, theological anthropology regards their findings neither as competition nor as threat b…