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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 (αὐτοκίνητον/ autokínēton; Plato Phaidr. 254c 5) is not dependent on any outward impulse but acts by virtue of its own power. Concern for oneself (ἐπιμέλεια ἑαυτοῦ/ epiméleia heautoú; Plato Apol. 36c) is interest in what remains apart from everything ephemeral. Building …

Principle

(621 words)

Author(s): Wesche, Tilo
[German Version] The term principle, despite many differentiations, has retained the dual meaning of the Greek ἀρχή/ archḗ and Latin principium, “beginning” and “rule”: the principle is the beginning, as that from which something comes; and the rule, as that which is immovably fixed. The aspects of meaning as what is first or fundamental explain why philo…

World Spirit

(290 words)

Author(s): Wesche, Tilo
[German Version] In G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophy of history, the world spirit or world mind ( Weltgeist) constitutes the motive of history (History/Concepts of history) and hence of reality

World Soul

(183 words)

Author(s): Wesche, Tilo
[German Version] Following the Neoplatonic interpretation of Plato’s Timaeus, the term world soul refers to the notion that the cosmos is a living being endowed with a soul. In German Idealism, F.W.J. Schelling in particular adopted this view, to which J.W. v. Goethe also appealed. In his

Melancholy

(363 words)

Author(s): Wesche, Tilo
[German Version] Historically, there is a difference between dejection (Ger. Schwermut) and melancholy. In Problemata XXX 1 ( Aristotelis Opera, vol. II, 21960, 953 a 10 – 955 a 49), Theophrastus begins by asking why all outstanding personalities are melancholics and proceeds to describe melancholia as an anthropological disposition shared by all human beings, from which illness, mania, and depression, but also their opposite, distinctive creative powers arise. The melancholic transcends a generally ordinary life by virtue of a men-…