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Goodness of God

(1,251 words)

Author(s): van den Brink, Gijsbert | Webster, John | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion – II. Dogmatics – III. Ethics I. Philosophy of Religion In philosophy of religion, the divine bonitas is considered from a metaphysical, a theological, and a moral perspective. In its metaphysical sense “goodness” is a transcendental term, i.e. a concept that transcends every ontological category. As such, goodness is co-extensive with existence: to exist is a good in itself. However, not everything that exists has being and goodness in the same degree. The quality of goo…

Sovereignty

(970 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The term sovereignty – as defined by J. Bodin after antique and medieval precursors – does not denote a legal title but a social reality, the reality of an effective social power to preserve external and internal peace in the territory over which it holds sway, a “commonwealth.” The term itself implies its peculiar mode of operation: recognition of its bearer as possessing the coercive power ( vis) necessary to assure sufficient compliance internally with the laws it issues, to make appointments to office and vest them with authority, and also to…

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…

Tradition

(8,661 words)

Author(s): Baumann, Martin | Hezser, Catherine | Liss, Hanna | Schröter, Jens | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies In general usage, tradition (from Lat. transdare/ tradere, “hand on, transmit”) connotes retention and safeguarding, understood as a conservative handing down of mores, customs, norms, rules, and knowledge. The emphasis is on continuity with the past. Jan Assmann interprets tradition as an exemplary case of “cultural memory,” an enduring cultural construction of identity. In religions appeal to tradition is a prominent element justifying interpretations, practices, clai…

Culture

(7,222 words)

Author(s): Laubscher, Matthias Samuel | Moxter, Michael | Recki, Birgit | Haigis, Peter | Herms, Eilert | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Philosophy – IV. Fundamental Theology – V. Ethics – VI. Culture, Art, and Religion – VII. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies The word “culture” derives from Latin cultura, “tilling of land”; since antiquity it has been used metaphorically for cultura animi, “cultivation of the mind,” and for status culturalis, the desirable refinement contrasting with the human status naturalis. Since the Enlightenment, the word has taken on different meanings. In the European context, culture co…

Restriction

(349 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] Restrictions are those ongoing or momentary conditions imposed on human action that are given prior to a particular action and cannot be evaded in the choice of ends and actions but must be taken into account by any rational choice. Ongoing conditions consist in the total relational structure of personhood in the world (i.e. in the unity of the relationship of the author of an action to the world, to himself, and to the source of the relationship between relation to the world and relation to oneself). The ongoing and fu…
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