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Individual Ethics

(1,644 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] I. Definition of Terms – II. History – III. Reflections on the Present I. Definition of Terms 1. Individual ethics includes the whole realm of ethical problems related to fulfilling the purpose of individuals. It must be distinguished from social ethics, because the purpose of individuals cannot be reduced to the purpose of collectives or the ordering of life in a group. 2. For every acting subject, in the context of Christianity, God is the absolute reference point of responsibility, situated …


(288 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] the Greek term for “purification,” was employed systematically in Aristotle's poetics ( Poet. 6): by producing pity ( éleos) and fear (   phóbos) in the observer, the action portrayed leads to purification ( kátharsis) from these affects. This assertion reflects the notion that the objectification of besetting emotions makes them manageable, as it were. Similar ideas lie behind the theology and practice of confession, although in the Middle Ages (and in Catholicism still today) they have been…

Value Ethics

(585 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] is an ethics grounded on predefined values (Value/Values). The term gained acceptance in Neo-Kantian and phenomenological practical philosophy during the early 20th century (M. Scheler, N. Hartmann), but as a substantial category it can clearly be extended to earlier approaches. According to Aristotle, an action is good if it avoids extremes in favor of guidance by an objective “mean” ( Eth. Nic. II). Antiquity was dominated by several variants of this idea, which arose through the inclusion of normative categories like “nature” or “what is proper” ( decorum: Cicero…

Schütz, Alfred

(159 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] (Apr 13, 1899, Vienna – May 20, 1959, NY), a lawyer, initially explored sociological and economic topics as a sideline. His principal work, Der sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt, appeared in 1932 (61993; ET: The Phenomenology of the Social World, 1967). Forced to emigrate, Schütz began teaching as professor of sociology in New York in 1943. Following in the footsteps of H. Bergson, he initially sought to understand sociological phenomena on the basis of the structure of self-awareness. Later he tried to put the sociol…

Master Morality

(511 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] exemplifies the opposite of any kind of egalitarian ethos. The latter binds all members to the observance of the same general norms, while master morality recognizes the right or duty to follow special norms determined by status. This is founded on the superior mode of being of some members of society over against the rest, that may have arisen in various ways: by tradition (aristocracy), socially (class standpoint), biologically (master race), or through a certain superiority of …


(363 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] The word utopia was coined by T. More in 1516, though utopias were already discussed in substance in antiquity. The term means a theoretical or belletristic conception of an ideal configuration or improvement of human life based on rational or religious principles, often with the presumption of advancing technology (positive utopias). Negative utopias, common since the 20th century (e.g. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley), caution against the unforeseeable consequences of such experiments. A utopia claims a conceptual wealh that transcends reality. Cont…


(732 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] The term “lie” refers to a deliberate false claim or a denial of the truth. In the Old Testament, it is used, for example, in the context of malicious gossip (Ps 4:3, etc.). In the New Testament, “lie” (ψεῦδος/ pseúdos) refers predominantly to the culpable negation of salvation interpreted as truth (John 14:6). Accordingly, the lie has satanic origins (John 8:44) and belongs to the sphere of the unredeemed (Rom 1:25; 3:5; cf. Ps 116:11). Already in the NT the term “lie” also occurs in polemic against heresy (e.g. 2 The…


(1,082 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] I. Existential Conflicts – II. Social Conflicts – III. Theological Interpretation of Social Conflicts The issue of conflict is relevant to theology from two perspectives, namely as an existential and as social conflict. The Christian interpretation of conflict attempts to elucidate both aspects. I. Existential Conflicts Paul describes existence as a conflict between the will to do good and the incapacity to accomplish it (Rom 7:7–25), but also as a conflict between one's old life and the new one attained thro…


(359 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] For modern fatalism, because all actions are determined in a way that can be demonstrated scientifically, alleged freedom thus merely represents “false consciousness.” Causal determinism differentiates modern fatalism from earlier assumptions of blind fate and destiny ( moíra). G.W. Leibniz still tried to delimit his own concept of fate from determinism. During the subsequent period, theories came to differentiate such notions as practical fatalistic-deterministic worldviews. Marxism, for example, views all actions a…

Slave Morality

(144 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] This expression, common since F. Nietzsche, refers to an ethos that – allegedly as an act of self-effacement but in fact on account of deficient vitality – eschews direct self-assertion but subtly brings fatal consequences by distortion of a person’s life force. Matthias Heesch Bibliography F.D.E. Schleiermacher, “Rede zum Geburtstag Friedrichs des Großen,” 1817, in: idem, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, vol. I/11, 2002, 241–250 S. Kierkegaard, Frygt og Beeven, 1843; ET: Fear and Trembling, 1985 F. Nietzsche, “Jenseits von Gut und Böse,” 1886, in: idem, Werke, ed. K. S…


(490 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[English Version] ist eine von vorgegebenen Werten her begründete Ethik. Der Begriff hat sich in der neukantianischen und phänomenologischen praktischen Philos. des frühen 20.Jh. (M. Scheler, N. Hartmann) durchgesetzt, kann aber als sachliche Kategorie durchaus auch auf ältere Denkansätze angewandt werden. Nach Auffassung des Aristoteles ist gutes Handeln Vermeidung von Extremen zugunsten der Orientierung an einem objektiven »Mittleren« (e.N. II). Dieser Gedanke beherrscht die Antike in mannigfachen Abwandlungen, die sich durch das Hin…


(140 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[English Version] Schütz,  Alfred (13.4.1899 Wien – 20.5.1959 New York). Der Jurist Sch. beschäftigte sich zunächst nebenher mit soziologischen und volkswirtschaftlichen Themen. Sein Hauptwerk, »Der sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt«, erschien 1932 (61993). Zur Emigration gezwungen, arbeitete Sch. ab 1943 als Prof. für Soziologie in New York. Er bemühte sich zunächst in der Nachfolge von H. Bergson um ein Verständnis soziologischer Phänomene aus der Struktur von Selbsterfahrung heraus. Später versuchte er, die verstehende…


(317 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[English Version] . Der seit F. Nietzsche übliche Begriff meint ein Ethos, das – angeblich aus Selbstbescheidung, tatsächlich wegen eines Vitalitätsdefizits – auf direkte Selbstdurchsetzung verzichtet, aber durch Deformierung der Lebenskraft unterschwellig fatale Wirkungen entfaltet. – Die Entgegensetzung von S. und Herrenmoral hat drei Wurzeln: 1. Die antike Bindung ständischer Sondermoral an ontisch-personale Qualifikationen (Plato rep.), fortlebend in der kath. Vorstellung eines monastisch-kler…


(320 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias
[English Version] (Begriff bei Th. Morus, 1516, sachlich schon antik), meint ein theorieförmiges oder belletristisches Konzept für die ideale Ausgestaltung bzw. Verbesserung des menschlichen Lebens nach rationalen oder rel. Grundsätzen, häufig unter den Prämissen fortschreitender Technisierung (positive U.). Die im 20.Jh. verbreitete negative U. (George Orwell, Aldous Huxley u.a.) warnt vor den unabsehbaren Folgen solcher Experimente. – U. beansprucht einen gedanklichen Überschuß gegenüber den Rea…


(735 words)

Author(s): Dehn, Ulrich | Heesch, Matthias
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Rigorism is an ethical category used mostly in connection with perfectionist communities. It means unbending and rigid adherence to principles of conduct (and thought) and is in opposition to laxity as a carefree and casual moral attitude. When this approach is applied ¶ not only to oneself and one’s own community but also to others, it can lead to intolerance (Tolerance and intolerance), but it sees itself as providing impetus for reform in the face of an unresisting secularized religiosity that conforms…


(648 words)

Author(s): Dehn, Ulrich | Heesch, Matthias
[English Version] I. Religionswissenschaftlich R. ist eine ethische Kategorie, die meist im Zusammenhang perfektionistischer Gemeinschaften angewendet wird. Sie meint ein unbeugsames und starres Festhalten an Grundsätzen des Verhaltens (und Denkens) und opponiert dem Laxismus als einer unbekümmerten und lässigen moralischen Gesinnung. Als Haltung, die nicht nur auf sich selbst und die eigene Gemeinschaft, sondern auch auf andere angewandt wird, kann R. zur Intoleranz (Toleranz/Intoleranz) werden, v…


(1,343 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias | Pierard, Richard V.
[German Version] I. Terminology and History Utopians aspire to achieve fundamental improvement of human life from a rational, religious, or technological perspective – often in combination. To present their ideas, they frequently make use of a form somewhere between a philosophical or theological treatise and a narrative account, called a utopia after the eponymous Utopia of T. More (1516). But the theme is much earlier, going back to Plato’s Politicus: society should correlate with the three divisions of the soul, in such a way that representatives of the nous (philosophers) are i…

Masses, The

(951 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias | Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. Social Sciences and Ethics – II. Practical Theology I. Social Sciences and Ethics The term the masses (or the crowd) is a peculiarly modern, strongly normative designation for a great number of human beings thought of as an amorphous whole. Since antiquity there have been references to disorganized groups of people, uneducated and hence susceptible to demagoguery ( óchlos, plebs), but the modern use of the term presupposes specific processes of deracination in industrial societies along with the concomitant obsolescence – real or supp…


(1,211 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias | Richard, Pierard V.
[English Version] I. Begriff und Geschichte U. erstreben grundlegende Verbesserungen des menschlichen Lebens nach rationalen, rel. oder technischen Gesichtspunkten (häufig in Verbindung). Zur Darstellung ihrer Ideen bedienen sie sich oft einer zw. philos.-theol. Traktat und Erzählung schwankenden Form, die seit der namengebenden »Utopia« des Th. Morus (1516) Utopie benannt wird. Das Thema ist jedoch älter: Ausgangspunkt ist Platos »Politeia«: Die Gesellschaft soll den drei Seelenteilen entsprechen,…


(1,248 words)

Author(s): Stoellger, Philipp | Heesch, Matthias | Mette, Norbert
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion – II. Ethics – III. Practical Theology I. Philosophy of Religion To begin the interpretation of society and religion with the notion of interaction means to assume a basis of action. Fundamental forms of interaction are, for example, cooperation, exchange, conflict and competition, or, according to F.D.E. Schleiermacher, identical and individual symbolization and organization. Problems of interaction occur when the rules of interaction are questionable. A monadic the…
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