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(281 words)

Author(s): Puster, Rolf W.
[German Version] The term sensualism is used in various senses. Its semantic core is often expressed by the slogan “Nihil est in intellectu, quod non prius fuerit in sensu” (“There is nothing in the mind that was not previously ¶ present in the senses”). The fuzziness in actual use is due to the association of this notion with a vague inventory of historical positions, coupled with the fact that since the early 19th century, when it came into common use, it has often been used as a combat term with irrelevant connotations, such as tho…

Locke, John

(743 words)

Author(s): Puster, Rolf W.
[German Version] (Aug 29, 1632, Wrington, Somerset – Oct 28, 1704, Oates, Essex). The son of an English lawyer and imbued with Puritan values, John Locke attended Westminster School and matriculated at Oxford in 1652, where his studies extended not only to ¶ scholastic philosophy (Scholasticism) but also to areas of the natural sciences, and especially to the field of medicine. Following various academic and diplomatic activities, in 1667 he became a follower of Anthony Ashley Cooper, later the first Lord of Shaftesbury. A journey to Fra…


(6,572 words)

Author(s): Erler, Michael | Schönberger, Rolf | Puster, Rolf W. | Figal, Günter
[German Version] I. Antiquity 1. Western philosophy is usually held to begin with the Ionian philosophers of nature (Thales, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Natural philosophy), even if they described their activity less as philosophy than as “history.” The first to refer to himself specifically as a philosopher is said to have been Pythagoras, but this may have been a retrospective reference. The word ϕιλοσοϕεῖν/ philosopheín, “to philosophize,” occurs first in the 5th century bce. Initially, like sophia, it denoted a non-specific interest in a form of knowledge, or familia…

Modern Times

(4,825 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Puster, Rolf W. | Gräb, Wilhelm
[German Version] I. Church History – II. Philosophy – III. Practical Theology I. Church History 1. The German term Neuzeit, which first appeared in church historiography around 1870, and which corresponds to the English term “modern times,” encompasses a broad spectrum of heterogeneous meanings. Terms such as tempus novum, historia nova, or neue Zeit (“new times”) – in contrast to the Middle Ages (I) – were coined in the 17th century to express experiences, both fascinating and frightening, of accelerated change in many areas of life along with…