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Komet

(808 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
An der Auflösung der Furcht vor K. lässt sich der Wandel nachvollziehen, den die Ablösung der ma. Kosmologie (Kosmos) durch die nzl. Astronomie mit sich brachte. Im Rahmen des alten Weltbildes waren alle besonderen Himmelserscheinungen wie K., Meteore und Sternschnuppen als atmosphärische Phänomene verstanden worden, da die aristotelische Kosmologie für die Sphären der Planeten einschließlich des Mondes nur vollkommene Kreisbewegungen zuließ. K. als irreguläre und vorübergehende Erschei…
Date: 2019-11-19

Determinismus

(706 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
Unter dem Eindruck der mathematisierten Naturwissenschaft der Nz. entstand in der Philosophie des 17. Jh.s erstmals die Auffassun…
Date: 2019-11-19

Comet

(896 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
The waning of the fear of comets reveals the shift brought about by the supersession of medieval cosmology (Cosmos) by early modern astronomy. In the old world view, all unusual celestial apparitions, such as comets, meteors, and shooting stars, were regarded as atmospheric phenomena, for Aristotelian cosmology only permitted complete and perfect circular orbits for the spheres of the stars, including the sun and moon. Comets, being irregular and transient phenomena, were therefore located benea…
Date: 2019-10-14

Determinism

(758 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
Seventeenth-century philosophy, under pressure from the new mathematical natural science, first developed the view that everything that happened and had happened in space, including human action, since the beginning of the world, was determined not by God and the “highest good” he defined, but, ineluctably and entirely, by unalterable laws of nature. However, the term “determinism” (antonym: “indeterminism”) was coined by German philosophers in the second half of the 18th century as the…
Date: 2019-10-14

Gaia Theories

(350 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
[German Version] regard the earth as a self-regulating system that behaves like an organism. The British atmo-¶ spheric chemist, James E. Lovelock, justified this view in the 1960s. He pointed out that, in contrast to the inactive Mars, the earth, even viewed from outer space, already seems to be a “living” system because of its oxygen-rich atmosphere apart from its chemical balance. Its atmosphere, however, is a result of the process of respiration of earth's smallest living beings. Contrary to traditional Darw…

Probability

(716 words)

Author(s): Kober, Michael | Evers, Dirk | Gräb-Schmidt , Elisabeth
[German Version] I. Philosophy Objectively, probability is the measure of the chance that a particular event will take place (ontological probability); subjectively, it is the measure of the certainty or credibility of a statement (epistemic probability). The interest in ontological probability arising from decision theory, as in games of chance, led to the mathematical theory of probability (Andrey N. Kolmogorov; Chance). But we must distinguish the logical ( a priori) ¶ probability of throwing a six, namely 1/6, from its empirical ( a posteriori) probability, i.e. its actua…

Teleology

(3,738 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Hewlett, Martinez J. | Angehrn, Emil | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. The Concept The word teleologia was a neologism coined in 1728 by C. Wolff ( Philosophia rationalis sive logica, 1728, §85) to denote the domain of natural philosophy that explains things on the basis of their end (Gk τέλος/ télos, “end, goal”; Ends and means); it was soon borrowed by other languages. In substance, however, the concept had an extensive prehistory. In the work of Aristotle, examination of phenomena on the basis of their “for-the-sake-of-which” (οὗ ἕνεκα/ hoú héneka) was one of the four forms of causality, which the Latin Middle Ages called causa finalis: …

Materialism

(2,549 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann | Hüttemann, Andreas | Evers, Dirk
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Philosophy – III. Theology

Emergence

(723 words)

Author(s): Hefner, Philip | Evers, Dirk | Leiner, Martin
[German Version] I. Theology and Science – II. Systematic Theology – III. Ethics I. Theology and Science Emergence (from Lat. emergere, “to arise”), an…

Natural Sciences

(7,736 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Berg, Christian | Murphy, Nancey | Ellis, George | Jackelén, Antje
[German Version] I. History 1. Antiquity. Although there is good reason to speak of natural science in the strict sense only with the dawn of the modern era, its roots actually go back to the beginnings of human history. Early scientific traditions arose from technical and practical knowledge acqu…

Syntax

(345 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
[German Version] (from Gk σύνταξις/ sýntaxis, “ordering together”) is a term used in linguistics for the system of rules of a natural language (I) governing the correct formation of clauses and sentences of that language from individual words. It is an aspect of grammar. Classical grammar already made a distinction between the collocation of concrete morphemes and the analysis of their abstract syntactical usage, as is found in L. Wittgenstein’s distinction between deep grammar and surface grammar (“…

Annihilation

(939 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Thomas, Günter
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion – II. Dogmatics…

Infinity

(1,645 words)

Author(s): Hühn, Lore | Evers, Dirk
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Dogmatics I. Philosophy Infinity is a key concept of ancient philosophy that combines a wide spectrum of meanings under the title ἄπειρον/ ápeiron: boundlessness and indeterminacy of the origins from which becoming emerged, that is, the fundamental principle of the physical world and of its objects (Anaximander); the limitlessness, to be evaluated negatively, which stands in opposition to the positive delimitation effected by number or measure (Pythagoras); t…

Value/Values

(5,528 words)

Author(s): Großheim, Michael | Heesch, Matthias | Evers, Dirk | Mokrosch, Reinhold | Würtenberger, Thomas
[German Version] I. Philosophy The philosophical value concept is the result of a hypostatization of value predicates that are assigned to objects or circumstances as signs of human esteem. By way of inference, the evaluative assessment gives rise to a value, which is in turn meant to serve as a source of norms. R.H. Lotze developed the value concept in the mid-19th century, at a time when the upcoming natural sciences were increasingly challenging its claim to world interpretation. While Lotze relinquished the topics of “being,” of the indifferent, and of the merely factual to the natural sciences, he reserved “validness” (Validity) for philosophy. The non-existing but valid value is characterized by its initial detachment from objects and human beings, but on the other hand also by its very significan…

Cybernetics

(1,190 words)

Author(s): Herzfeld, Noreen | Evers, Dirk | Seitz, Manfred
[German Version] I. Science – II. Ethics – III. Practical Theology I. Science Cybernetics denotes the science of the control and communication processes in machines and biological systems. Of particular interest for cybernetics are those systems that can regulate or organize themselves through feedback processes. Norbert Wiener coined the term

News Technology

(358 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
[German Version] In the broadest sense, the term news (or communication) technology covers the total technology of producing, transmitting, and processing news, including the technology of control and regulation; in the strict sense, though, the term refers just to electronic communication technologies as tools for optimizing the transmission of tokens with the help of electronic signals. First the invention of the electric telegraph by Samuel F.B. Morse, then later the telephone enabled remote communication as an everyday phenomenon. The explosive development of broadcasting technology led to media of mass communication (Radio, Television, Mass media), which reaches ever-increasing portions of the world’s population. Further improvements in transmission capacity (satellites, fiber optics), establishment of new telecommunication networks (cell phones, the internet), and digitization of the corresponding technologies have increasingly brought communication technologies and data processing together, producing all the forms of information communication, acoustic, visual, and textual. The importance of data protection and encryption has grown apace. Today’s communication systems are increasingly taking the form of a network in which users communicate reciprocally as soon as they have established contact, going beyond simple point-to-point communication of data. Complex transactions like purchase of merchandise, money transfer, telecommuting, and teleconferencing have been made possible. Today’s forms of communications technology thus create the conditions necessary for a global community by supplying a comprehensive infrastructure through which economic, political, and cultural goods and information are accessible throughout the world, a development which clearly represents an ecumenical opportunity for the church. Whether and how economically impoverished or ideologically isolated societies gain access, how national and international law can be enforced, and how freedom of opinion is to be weighed against crime prevention are unresolved issues of a still embryonic ethics of modern information technology. Since Christian churches and organizations are constituted through communication, they naturally make use of this technology. The glut of information naturally raises the question how these institutions can bring their own profile into focus and find a form appropriate to their commission to preach the gospel in the face of the fast-moving and vir…

End of the World

(2,438 words)

Author(s): Winter, Franz | Zager, Werner | Zachhuber, Johannes | Evers, Dirk
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Bible I. History of Religions The (potentially) imminent end of the world is taken up in many religious traditions, as is evident from the ¶ many graphic accounts of it. The term
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