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Ethos

(716 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The word ethos combines the meanings of Gk ἔϑος/ éthos (“custom”) and ἦϑος/ ḗthos (“natural stopping place, what is usual there, inner nature, character”)…

Voluntarism

(950 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Schröder-Field, Caroline
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion Voluntarism is a descriptive category in the history of ideas and society that came into use in Germany in the 1880s (first by F. Tönnies, VWPh 7, 1883, 169), and from there spread to the French- and English-speaking worldareas. The term can be applied to very different historical phenomena: to the behavior of individuals or groups, metaphysical views, and psychological models (Psychology). In politics it denotes procedures, attitudes, plans and programs that, regardless of current conditions, and if necessary alone against them, set out to…

Dignity

(409 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] renders the Latin dignitas and, like it, refers to a relationship, the unity of the being of “a” for “b” and the determination of “b” by “a,” that is: the being of the one who has dignity for his addressee and, at the same time, the latter's being as determined by the being of the one who has dignity for him. Three elements of this relationsh…

Self-assertion

(415 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] Self-assertion can involve (1) individuals and (2) groups. 1. Self-assertion of an individual person is his or her effort to maintain the constitution he has achieved in the course of his personal formation as a self, guided and motivated a particular self-image, endowed with certain faculties of experience, processing of experience, and action, against demands for change made in the course of his development from the dimension of his relationship to t…

Interim Ethics

(403 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] If there are objective or subjective reasons to regard a life-orienting certainty concerning the nature (essence), origin and destiny of the world and humanity and the rules of action derived from it as valid for only a limited time, one speaks of an interim ¶ ethics. More properly, it should be referred to as an interim ethos or an interim morality. Examples include (a) the ethos of Jesus and (b) the “provisional morality” of R. Descartes ( Discours de la méthode, 1637; ET: Discourse on Method, 1960). a. A. Schweitzer first described Jesus' ethos as an “interim ethics”: like apocalypticism, Jesus regarded the present only as a time for refraining from the conditions of the present world, destined to collapse, and of preparation for the coming of the new age envisioned to reject this world; the point of the radicality of his demands,…

Certainty

(3,343 words)

Author(s): Künne, Wolfgang | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Fundamental Theology – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Philosophy Certainty may be either objective or subjective (Goclenius: certitudo rei cognitae or certitudo hominis cognoscentis). Objective certainty is expressed by “It is certain that p,” subjective certainty by “The epistemic subject S is certain that p.” Objective and subjective certainty are logically independent: one can be cer…

Morals

(937 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The term “morals” designates all aspects of a rule-complying and thus relatively stabilized form of interaction that is founded on motivating and guiding certainties (or convictions) and, accordingly, on affective pursuits and interests with the fundamental decisions resulting therefrom. As such, it is equivalent to “ethos” (though emphasis on the individual may be stronger than in the social focus of “ethos”); there is a corresponding equivalence between “moral philosophy” and “ethics.” Key moments in the terminological history include: (a) Cicero's introduction of moralis philosophia as a Latin equivalent to Greek ethikē theoria; (b) the descriptive transition of moral philosophy (to the theory of “moral sense”) in England from the 17th century; (c) the general acceptance of the discipline's shortened name (“morals”) as a designation of its subject matter. Philosophia moralis (already used by Seneca, in conjunction with philosophia rationalis [logic] and philosophia naturalis [physics], as a designa…

Briefs, Goetz Anton

(240 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] (Jan 1, 1889, Eschweiler– May 16, 1974, Rome) was a sociologist and economist. Beginning in 1913, he taught at the Universities of Freiburg and Würzburg, beginning in 1926, at the Technical University of Berlin. He emigrated to the USA in 1934, was guest professor at the Catholic University in Washington DC until 1937, from them until 1962 (wh…

Embryo Research

(1,142 words)

Author(s): Schwinger, Eberhard | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. General Considerations – II. Ethics I. General Considerations The results of research carried out on animal embryos have greatly changed animal husbandry. Totipotent embryonic cells can be extracted from embryos at a very early stage (2nd–8th cellular stage). These individual cells divide anew to form functional embryos which do not differ from normally developed embryos. Pa…

Ethics

(18,301 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Antes, Peter | Otto, Eckart | Horn, Friedrich Wilhelm | Leicht, Reimund | Et al.
[German Version] I. Concept and Scope – II. Religious Studies – III. Bible – IV. Judaism – V. As a Theological Discipline – VI. As a Philosophical Discipline (Business Ethics, Discourse Ethics, Economic Ethics, Ethics, Bio-Medical Issues, Ethics Commissions, Ethics Education, Ethics of Conviction, Ethics of Duty, Ethics of Goods, Ethics of Responsibility, Evolutionary Ethics, Fraternal Ethics, Individual Et…

Ethics of Goods

(568 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. can refer to a sub-discipline of ethics: reflection on consequences, on interaction within an ethos and its contribution to the bonum commune/proprium. This task is indispensable because actions have consequences (Consequence/Inherent consequences of actions), which – depending on knowledge and ability – can be foreseen, intended and brought about with varying degrees of certainty so t…

Contingency/Chance

(2,299 words)

Author(s): Russell, Robert John | Mörth, Ingo | Schütt, Hans-Peter | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences – II. Religious Studies – III. Philosophy – IV. Systematic Theology I. Natural Sciences The concept of contingency/chance occurs in various contexts and meanings in the natural sciences. In the simplest case, contingency denotes an event, a process or a property, the finality of which exists without an immediately discernible or determinable cause. Although we inaccurately assert that something happened by chance, the latter really implies the lack …

System

(1,872 words)

Author(s): Angehrn, Emil | Danz, Christian | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy A system (from Gk σύστημα/ sýstēma, “combination”) is a structured entity made up of parts; the term can refer to all reality as well as to science and philosophy themselves. In an objective sense, the idea of an ordered arrangement was used in various domains in antiquity – the cosmos (World: II), organisms, medicine, music,ethics, politics. In a methodological sense, the term is important in the history of modern philosophy, dominated in particular by two central themes: …

Metaethics

(628 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The triumph of the sensualistic restriction of the recognizable and real to what exists in sensory perception – which was not hindered but actually encouraged by I. Kant's transcendental philosophy (contrary to its intention) owing to the fact that the latter also viewed sensory perception as a necessary prerequisite for many different types of true knowledge and thereby also excluded itself (i.e. its theory of the theoretical as well as its theory of practical reasoning, includin…

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…

Damage

(460 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] refers to the essence of all the effects of natural or social events that, in contrast to benefit, do not maintain or increase the possibilities of human life, but diminish them. The subject of ethical consideration cannot be damage caused by nature (IV), but only damage as the consequence of human action. The deliberate production of damage b…

Jurisprudence

(3,744 words)

Author(s): Starck, Christian | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. History – III. Present-day Issues – IV. Significance for Theology I. Terminology Jurisprudence means the scholarly study of law (Law and jurisprudence) as an academic discipline. The German term Rechtswissenschaft was coined by the German historical school in the early 19th century and was intended to emphasize the scientific nature of legal scholarship: iuris scientia ( Rechtswissenschaft, legal science) was to replace iuris prudentia ( Rechtsklugkeit, legal prudence). Scientia and prudentia represent the Aristotelian ¶ distinction …

Casuistry

(1,832 words)

Author(s): Beck, Herman L. | Herrmann, Klaus | Molinski, Waldemar | Herms, Eilert | Krawietz, Birgit
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Judaism – III. Christianity – IV. Islam I. Religious Studies Casuistry (from Lat. casus, “case”) is a method of practical and dialectical reasoning and argumentation in which the formulation of a specific case that is perceived to be problematic is followed by the application of general moral principles, norms, and guidelines to the specific case at hand. The purpose of this method is to arrive, under changed and changing circumstan…

Self

(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…

Ethics of Responsibility

(483 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] To the degree that any ethics reflects responsible action in the context of an ¶ ethos, it is an ethics of responsibility and can thus deal with various aspects of being responsible (Responsibility). First, its constitutive requirements. Here, it is a matter of whether responsibility is created through the experience of the other or is already presumed in it and …
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