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(2,246 words)

Author(s): Zimmerli, Walther C.
A definition of Hegelianism is hardly possible. Various positions in modern thought appeal to the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel (1770–1831), both those of his direct and indirect followers, as well as those of thinkers who had nothing directly to do with the Hegel school. We can achieve an adequate concept of Hegelianism only by reconstructing its development. 1. The Hegel School Hegel’s philosophy took up an idea that influenced modern thought from the time of R. Descartes (1596–1650; Cartesianism); namely, it tried to present the totality of secular though…


(1,096 words)

Author(s): Zimmerli, Walther C.
The term “empiricism” (from Gk. empeiria, “experience”) received its present meaning toward the end of the 18th century. Previously it was used to distinguish medicine based on practical experience (medicina empirica) from academic medicine (medicina rationalis). Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) used the term in 1781 to denote the philosophical trend that deduces even the knowledge of “pure reason” from experience. Since then the concept has made its way into philosophical lexica and histories of philosophy. We must distinguish between a use that serves philosophical classi…


(1,325 words)

Author(s): Zimmerli, Walther C.
1. Term Literally, individualism is a view that gives precedence to the individual (Lat. individuum, “what cannot be divided”). The type of individualism depends on what the individual has precedence over—society in the case of social individualism, the state in the case of political individualism, the economy as a whole in that of economic individualism, or the moral collective in that of ethical individualism. Other criteria might lead to emphasis on either the level of intensity or the function. Thus there are radical and moderate forms of individualism …


(1,448 words)

Author(s): Zimmerli, Walther C.
1. Term The term “criticism” (from Gk. kritikos, deriving from krinō, “discern; divide”) already in Plato (427–347 b.c.; Platonism) and Aristotle (384–322 b.c.; Aristotelianism) had the two senses that it still bears today: the ability to make logical and legal judgments, and the art of rhetoric and philosophy. These two senses constitute the formal meaning. In the modern era the term also has a substantive meaning of its own. 2. Early History In antiquity the Romans took the term in the narrower sense of the ars iudicandi as distinct from the ars inveniendi (Cicero [106–43 b.c.]). F…


(1,495 words)

Author(s): Zimmerli, Walther C. | Brown, Robert F.
1. Kant’s Philosophical Achievement The thought of Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) is central to modern philosophy in two respects. First, it is a definitive synthesis of rationalism and empiricism, the two main strands of early modern thought. Second, it became the basic position to which all subsequent philosophies were more or less explicitly related. Kant’s writings are customarily divided into two periods, precritical and critical. The second began in 1781 with publication of the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, which lays out the basic elements of his theoretica…