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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”); it always denotes a specific way in which individual living creatures deal regularly with others of their species and the challenges of their environment. The authority of the rules governing this behavior is somehow fixed in the internal milieu …

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 c…

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 the environment, his self, and the wor…

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 eth…

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 certain that p although it is not certain that p; and it can be certain th…

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 “e…

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 …

Behaviorism

(1,343 words)

Author(s): Loder, James E. | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Practical Theology – III. Ethics I. Concept Behaviorism has tried, like its historical antecedents, to explain human nature on the model of the animal or the machine. In 1913, John-Broadus Watson (1878–1958) established behaviorism as a modern research trend in psychology. Following Darwinist evolution theory, behaviorism argues that we can understand and control a…

Doctrine

(4,252 words)

Author(s): Wiegers, Gerard A. | Herms, Eilert | Schoberth, Ingrid | Nipkow, Karl Ernst
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Systematic Theology I. Religious Studies Doctrine is an oral or written system of traditions regarding the content of faith (Dogma, Revelation, Truth) and the implementations of faith (Rite and ritual). A doctrine assumes a community that defines itself through the establishment of orthodox thinki…

Weltanschauung (Worldview)

(2,530 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Thiede, Werner
[German Version] I. History of the Concept With its very first appearance in the writings of I. Kant( Kritik der Urteilskraft, 1790; ET: Critique of Judgment, 1951, 1987), the term Weltanschauung came to mark the difference between the empirical-scientific knowledge of individual phenomena in this world (or of an assortment thereof) and an all-encompassing conception of the world that fundamentally transcends this knowledge. While the expression “worldview” (Ger. Weltbild) has more or less established itself as the standard designation of the former, the latter …

Brentano

(781 words)

Author(s): Ströker, Elisabeth | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] 1. Franz (Jan 16, 1838, Boppard – Mar 17, 1917, Zürich). Amid the multitude of controversies in the last third of the 19th century over the philosophical foundations of science, Brentano came forward with a program that made him the founder of descriptive psychology and an influential precursor of phenomenological philosophy. As a pupil of F.A. Trendelenburg, he devoted himself initially to the study of Aristotle. After ordination to the priesthood in 1864, he …

Infallibility

(2,805 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Baumann, Urs | Hünermann, Peter
[German Version] I. Fundamental Theology – II. Dogmatics and History of Doctrine – III. Ethics – IV. Catholic Understanding I. Fundamental Theology Infallibility, understood as unswerving inerrancy or being held unshakably in the truth, is a theme of both Reformation and Roman Catholic theology. Both traditions of Western theology affirm the NT statement that the Holy Spirit will guide the faithful and the community of believers into all truth (John 14:16; 16:13) and that the church is therefore “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). 1. Reformation theology sees he…

Doctrinal Discipline

(2,728 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | de Mortanges, René Pahud | Germann, Michael
[German Version] I. Church History – II. Church Law I. Church History Within the church's general duty to confront heresies, there has been, since the time of the Early Church, a particular responsibility to counteract heresies held by those that hold church offices. Until the late Middle Ages, this task was fulfilled by synodal or episcopal, and ultimately, papal decree – in the West, after a p…

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 ba…

Action, Types of

(496 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] In his Philosophical Ethics, F.D.E. Schleiermacher distinguished between “symbolizing action” and “organizing action”; in his Christliche Sitte, he further distinguished “representative” and “effective” action, as well as “purgative” and “broadening action.” Habermas, in his recent Theory of Communicative Action, uses analogous language to indicate the difference between teleological, strategic, norm-based, dramaturgical, and communicative action. Both authors point – independently – to the same basic phenomenon: The poss…

Responsibility

(676 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] is the essential mode in which persons interact. It has three constitutive aspects: (a) its bearer (who?), (b) its forum (before whom?), and (c) its substance (for what?). Each of these aspects is itself relational. The bearers are self-identified persons, acting of their own free will in a mundane decisional present; the fora relate to norms; the substances are chosen or to-be-chosen determinations of the self-and-its-world. All aspects and every relation term of every aspect can…

Economics

(3,290 words)

Author(s): Sautter, Hermann | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Scope – II. History and Disciplines – III. Present Foci of Interest – IV. Significance for Theology I. Scope Traditionally economics has been defined primarily by its subject matter. It is the branch of inquiry that deals with economic phenomena (Economy: I). Methodologically, over a lengthy course of development (see II below) it has become increa…

Preimplantation Diagnostics

(495 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] is an umbrella term covering the procedures used to examine an embryo (Embryo research) conceived in vitro before implantation, to detect certain pathogenic genetic mutations but also more generally to identify other genetically controlled characteristics. The identification is made by ¶ blastomere biopsy (application of molecular genetics to blastomeres, the daughter cells of the mo…

Prenatal Diagnostics

(479 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] Like preimplantation diagnostics, prenatal diagnostics comprises procedures to diagnose diseases (Sickness and healing) before birth; unlike preimplantation diagnostics, however, it examines only implanted embryos (fetuses). The procedures ¶ employed include ultrasound, amniocentesis, and chorionic villi sampling; less commonly, umbilical cord puncture, embryoscopy, fetoscopy, and fetal liver or skin biopsy. Ultrasound has generally become a routine measure in medical pregnancy management. The stated purpose…

Church Order

(3,561 words)

Author(s): Metzger, Marcel | Fix, Karl-Heinz | Sichelschmidt, Karla | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Church History – II. Church Law – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Church History 1. Early Church The first written formulations of church law were assembled in church orders, drawing on Old Testament and New Testament legislation. This occurred at a time when the law was generally transmitted orally, sometimes even only in secret (Bas. Spir. 27 [SC 17 bis, 478–491; Ad Joann. 179–185]). Nothing is known of the original scope of this transitional literary genre. Only ten church orders are known, of which a few have only recently b…

Rational Choice

(268 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] denotes a choice of behavior that leads to a chosen external target situation, better (more economically, more securely, with no, or fewer, unwanted side-effects) than other forms of behavior that could have been chosen at the same time. Such rationali…

Love of One's Neighbor

(2,576 words)

Author(s): Mühling, Markus | Mathys, Hanspeter | Avemarie, Friedrich | Lindemann, Andreas | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Meaning – II. Old Testament – III. Early Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. Ethics I. Meaning Love of one's neighbor is the love of creaturely persons, for other concrete creaturely persons (“neighbors”) as bei…

Economic Ethics

(1,931 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. History – II. Problems and Themes I. History As reflection on the lived ethos, ethics has since Antiquity also considered economic participation, as it touches on ethos, as an essential component of ethos. Aristotle restricted economy to securing household autarchy, from which commerce was distinct; and, insofar as it produced money from money in transactions involving interest, he rejected it ( Eth. Nic. 1256 b 1–8). The …

Consequence/Inherent Consequences of Actions

(588 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] Every action has inculculable inherent consequences, and even its actual consequences are only partially foreseeable. This is due to the fact that action originates from a presence of action within this world, whose restrictions govern the impact of its effects. By choosing one of several available present possibilities of further becoming, action transforms this possibility into the determination of the presence to act as one that has become. This determination is inherent in the action as its effect. The effe…

Servum arbitrium

(1,165 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Dogmatics M. Luther’s insight into the servum arbitrium (“unfree will”) is at the heart of his Reformation ontology of created personhood (Person). Its core content is recognition of the radically passive constitution of the conditions that make it possible and necessary (unavoidable) for an individual to will self-consciously and freely (Freedom: VII) – that is, rationally and responsibly – and to act accordingly. These conditions are (a) the “being affected” of the individual’s appetitus (being-out-for) by either the created world (as the apparent …

Generation Contract

(1,108 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] In the broad sense, the generation contract entails every sort of responsible provision and consideration by one generation for the subsequent generations. Every generation is dependent on the acquisitions and savings of its predecessors and assumes the responsibility for the future well-being of its offspring through its own acquisitions and savings. This applies not only to assets, but also to forms of social life, educational and cultural background of whatever origin (both psy…

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 (

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 …

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 selection. As an important pioneer of the theory of …

Deeds and Consequences

(2,134 words)

Author(s): Grund, Alexandra | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Bible – II. Systematic Theology I. Bible 1. The deeds-and-consequences link is the idea, found especially in the Old Testament and in ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature, but also in the New Testament, of a correspondence between (good/evil) action and the consequences for the doer. What is controversial is the manner in which deeds and consequences take …

Ideal

(1,690 words)

Author(s): Mirbach, Dagmar | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Ethics I. Philosophy The term ideal derives from Lat. idealis, idealiter, first used by Martianus Capella ( ad ideam pertinens); from the 13th century on, it was used in two senses: (1) as existing in the Platonic “idea” or “archetypally” in the divine spirit ( esse exemplariter), and (2) as existing only as a model in the mind ( esse in intellectu). Systematically, the ideal lies between the poles of ideas and empirical reality. The ideal differs from the universality of ideas inasmuch as it individualizes an idea in a sin…

Adiaphora

(1,901 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Theology – III. Social Ethics The expression (Gk ἀδιάφορα semantic equivalents: intermediates, Gk μέση, mesē-, that which is permitted) designates phenomena of human life that are neither positive (good, bonum) nor negative (evil, malum) in the ethical realm (i.e. with regard to the attainment of human destiny). In the strict sense, then, adiaphora occur only in ethical systems whose guiding understanding of humani…

Middle Axiom

(89 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] At the first plenary assembly of the World Council of Churches (Amsterdam, 1948), J.H. Oldham put forward the concept of a “responsible society” as a concrete goal to guide the churches' socioethical involvement in response to the social conditions of the day. He called this the “middle axiom.” The expression became common currency, in the sense of a “medium-range (socioethical) maxim: (II).” Eilert Herms Bibliography J.H. Oldham, “A Responsible Society,” in: The Church and the Disorder of Scoiety, publ. World Council of Churches, 1948, 120–154.

Institution

(1,609 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Berger, Wilhelm | Heintel, Peter | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Social Sciences – III. Theology I. Religious Studies If an institution is understood as a set of norms that regulate action in a precise manner, then, from the perspective of religious studies, a differentiation can be made between institutions that regulate religious action and normative standards that regulate non-religious action but are religiously justified. However, it always needs to be taken into consideration that this distinction is made by the external …

Obligation

(801 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Reinhard | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Dogmatics – II. Ethics I. Dogmatics From a Protestant perspective, obligation (in the sense of binding authority) is assigned only to the Word of God (VI), the self-revealing power of which can lead to deeper insights and to “new Decalogues” (Luther); the latter must be examined by the church as a community with strict reference to the canon. The articles of faith assert binding authority insofar as they are based on Scripture as “the only rule and guiding principle” (BSLK 767, 15), and, at a further remove, insofar as agreement is rea…

Person

(5,668 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert | Schütt, Hans-Peter | Grube, Andreas | Herms, Eilert | Schmidt, Heinz
[German Version] I. Concept 1. The origin of the Latin word persona (“mask, role, status”) is unknown; it may be Etruscan. The philologist Gavius Bassus (1st cent. bce) traced the “origin” of the word to the function of the ancient theater mask, namely that of a megaphone which concentrated the voice and caused it to “sound through” ( per-sonare; cf. Gellius, Noctes Atticae V 7) in a more sonorous way. The corresponding Greek word is πρόσωπον/ prósōpon, “face, mask, front.” The word “persona” is employed in grammar, rhetoric, jurisprudence, and philosophy. What the mode…

Achievement

(1,279 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Nipkow, Karl E.
[German Version] I. Ethics – II. Education – III. Practical Theology I. Ethics With regard to processes in general, “achievement” refers to their efficacy. Ethics, however, speaks of achievement only with regard to actions (Action) – and not actions in general, but only actions that are ethically justified. This is possible only when two conditions are met. First: It must be possible …
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