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World Spirit

(290 words)

Author(s): Wesche, Tilo
[German Version] In G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophy of history, the world spirit or world mind ( Weltgeist) constitutes the motive of history (History/Concepts of history) and hence of reality per se. Everything real is an expression of change as well as of a particular historical time. At the same time, what is real is rational; in other words, changes and historical particularities are non-contingent, interlocking elements of “advance in the consciousness of freedom” (Hegel, Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Geschichte, 1837, 1970, 32; ET: Lectures on the Philosophy of History, 2011…

World Soul

(183 words)

Author(s): Wesche, Tilo
[German Version] Following the Neoplatonic interpretation of Plato’s Timaeus, the term world soul refers to the notion that the cosmos is a living being endowed with a soul. In German Idealism, F.W.J. Schelling in particular adopted this view, to which J.W. v. Goethe also appealed. In his Von der Weltseele. Eine Hypothese der höheren Physik zur Erklärung des allgemeinen Organismus (1798; partial ET: On the World Soul, 2010), Schelling cited the world soul to answer the central problem of his natural philosophy, “the origin of the universal organism.” The inorg…


(363 words)

Author(s): Wesche, Tilo
[German Version] Historically, there is a difference between dejection (Ger. Schwermut) and melancholy. In Problemata XXX 1 ( Aristotelis Opera, vol. II, 21960, 953 a 10 – 955 a 49), Theophrastus begins by asking why all outstanding personalities are melancholics and proceeds to describe melancholia as an anthropological disposition shared by all human beings, from which illness, mania, and depression, but also their opposite, distinctive creative powers arise. The melancholic transcends a generally ordinary life by virtue of a men-¶ tal productivity acquired by overcoming …


(621 words)

Author(s): Wesche, Tilo
[German Version] The term principle, despite many differentiations, has retained the dual meaning of the Greek ἀρχή/ archḗ and Latin principium, “beginning” and “rule”: the principle is the beginning, as that from which something comes; and the rule, as that which is immovably fixed. The aspects of meaning as what is first or fundamental explain why philosophy, wherever it sees itself as the “theoretical science of first causes and first principles” (Arist. Metaph. 982b 9f.), emerges as foundational philosophy. The full semantic content of principle takes effect ea…


(1,438 words)

Author(s): Horyna, Břetislav | Wesche, Tilo | Zachhuber, Johannes
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy – III. Dogmatics I. Religious Studies The origins (Ger. Ursprung) of something are an event or a set of events which, as a cause and in causal relationship with one another, constitute the initial shape of further events that ensue from the origins. Accordingly, the concept of origins must be understood on two levels of explication: (1) origins as a temporal conception in which the chronological beginning as well as the chronological proximity of origins and…


(2,419 words)

Author(s): Wesche, Tilo | Huxel, Kirsten | Herms, Eilert | Ziemer, Jürgen
[German Version] I. Philosophy The term self (ἑαυτοῦ/ heautoú; αὑτοῦ/ hautoú) appears as a noun (“the self”) but more often in compounds such as self-consciousness, self-relation, self-assertion, self-actualization, self-determination, self-assurance, and self-realization. Its basic meaning has to do with autonomy: self is something that can be by itself and stand by virtue of itself alone. Greek philosophy already emphasized this meaning: what something is of itself (καϑ᾿ αὑτά/ kath’ hautá; Arist. Metaph. 1017a 27) is what is independent of accidentals. What is self-moving (α…