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Democracy

(2,082 words)

Author(s): Letto-Vanamo, Pia | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Concept and History – II. State and Governmental Forms – III. Presuppositions for Democracy. – IV. Democracy as a Universal Ideal of Life in Society – V. Democracy from a Christian Perspective. I. Concept and History “Democracy” designates a particular mode of legitimate political dominion. The literal translation of Gk δημοκρατία/ dēmokratía

Brandström, Elsa

(93 words)

Author(s): Herms Eilert
[German Version] (Mar 26, 1888, daughter of the Swedish ambassador in St. Petersburg – Mar 4, 1948, Cambridge, MA) served in Siberia during World War I as a Red Cross delegate for German and Austrian prisoners of war. She worked there during the typhoid epidemic, organizing help efforts. After …

Will

(3,711 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph | Loos, Fritz | Herms, Eilert | Hühn, Lore
[German Version] I. History of the Term The development and spread of the term will go hand in hand with the history of Christian theology. Classical Greek had no single, distinct term like will denoting an independent mental faculty. The voluntative dimension was contained in the terms used for rational deliberation, decision-making, willingness, and non-rational desire. For Aristotleβουλή/ boulḗ is conation (Striving) that ensues after deliberation and hence is guided …

Intuition

(740 words)

Author(s): Enskat, Rainer | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Systematic Theology I. Philosophy Intuition is a term used in epistemology and refers to a special, successful cognitive act. Accordingly, and following the typology of G. Ryle, “intuition” is thus a (cognitive) success word, but it also designates a special cognitive faculty. In many contexts, a performative quality is reserved for the intuitive act, as expressed by the characteristic feature that was probably first noted in Epicurean circles: its instantaneousness (ἀϑρόα/ athróa). Inasmuch as this instantaneousness is understood i…

Creation

(11,110 words)

Author(s): Friedli, Richard | Janowski, Bernd | Herrmann, Klaus | Wischmeyer, Oda | Gunton, Colin E. | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. History of Theology – VI. Creation and Preservation – VII. Religious Education – VIII. Islam – IX. Science – X. Art History …

Geismar, Eduard

(204 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert

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

Order

(2,247 words)

Author(s): Kather, Regine | Sieckmann, Jan-R. | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Law – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Philosophy The concept of order (Gk …

Human Dignity

(1,961 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Historical Background – II. Theology I. Historical Background 1. Important terminology of modern legal culture was formed in antiquity: natural law , freedom , equality , justice , etc. Some terms, however, appeared in a different context in antiquity, or were less central and widespread than in the modern period. This is true of human rights ( ius humanum), freedom of religion ( libertas religionis), person ( persona; self), as well as human dignity ( dignitas hominis; dignity, dignity of life). The latter expression first appears in Cicero ( De officiis I 30.106; 44 …

Dogmatics

(10,340 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Lange, Dietz
[German Version] I. History – II. Systematics – III. Glaubenslehre (Doctrine of the Faith) I. History The term “dogmatics,” first used in the 17th century, refers to one of the oldest branches of theological endeavor: a coherent account of the content of the Christian proclamation, which in turn takes its orientation from the standard (“canonical”) paradigms of confession and proclamation. Other terms – “An exact exposition of the orthodox faith” (John of Damascus), “Sentences” (Peter Lombard), Summa Theologiae (Thomas Aquinas), Institutes of the Christian Religion (Calvin), L…

Media

(1,138 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Grethlein, Christian
[German Version] I. Concept and Scope – II. Practical Theology I. Concept and Scope In its broad sense, the term media denotes all the material conditions that enable coexisting individuals (individual persons and social systems) to be effectively present to each other and to respond effectively. Media in this broad sense are the material conditions for intersubjectivity. Even archaic, undifferentiated societies are characterized by a – likewise undifferentiated – complex of media. Social differentiation leads to differentiation of the system of media: both media specific to the differentiated systems themselves (which N. Luhmann tentatively identifies as love, power, money, and truth; these media themselves create differentiation) and media that make the differentiated realms of everyday life (Life-world) and the total social order transcending everyday life (and within the latter differing functional systems and organizations) present to each other in such a way that they can affect each other (these media have an integrative effect). These latter – the media that enable reintegration of the differentiated systems – attract particular attention. They may develop situatively (institutions assembling representatives of different functional systems, organizations, or institutions) or symbolically (Symbols/Symbol theory); the latter differ with regard to the nature of the symbol (code: writing, image, sound), the vehicle of the symbol (e.g. stone, wood, paper, electronic media), and the technology of the symbol (manual processing, mechanical processing [e.g. printing], electronic data processing). Only mechanical and electronic data processing make the so-called mass media possible. They are characteristic of and indispensable for highly differentiated, large, open societies. But these highly evolved societies cannot do without media that are “older” with respect to code, vehicle, and processing (whose use becomes less common and more specific, e.g. a hand-written letter, but also more efficacious, e.g. a meeting of heads of government or CEOs). Media can make symmetrical (reciprocal) communication possible or make it systematically impossible. The latter is tru…

Ethos

(716 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The word ethos combines the meanings of Gk ἔϑος/ éthos (“custom”) and ἦϑος/ ḗthos (“natural stopping place, what is usual there, inner nature, character”); it always denotes a specific way in which individual living creatures deal regularly with others of their species and the challenges of their environment. The authority of the rules governing this behavior is somehow fixed in the internal milieu of the interactants. …

Voluntarism

(950 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Schröder-Field, Caroline
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion Voluntarism is a descriptive category in the history of ideas and society that came into use in Germany in the 1880s (first by F. Tönnies, VWPh 7, 1883, 169), and from there spread to the French- and English-speaking worldareas. The term can be applied to very different historical phenomena: to the behavior of individuals or groups, metaphysical views, and psychological models (Psychology). In politics it denotes procedures, attitudes, plans and programs that, regardless of current conditions, and if necessary alone against them, set out to achieve desired goals in a powerful way. In relation to the appropriation of belief systems, it denotes their basis on a decision of the will (VII) directed only by interests or taste. In the history of philosophy and theology the term is applied to positions that attribute any kind of willing over creation by creative power; then, following W. Dilth…

Dignity

(409 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] renders the Latin dignitas and, like it, refers to a relationship, the unity of the being of “a” for “b” and the determination of “b” by “a,” that is: the being of the one who has dignity for his addressee and, at the same time, the latter's being as determined by the being of the one who has dignity for him. Three elements of this relationsh…

Self-assertion

(415 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] Self-assertion can involve (1) individuals and (2) groups. 1. Self-assertion of an individual person is his or her effort to maintain the constitution he has achieved in the course of his personal formation as a self, guided and motivated a particular self-image, endowed with certain faculties of experience, processing of experience, and action, against demands for change made in the course of his development from the dimension of his relationship to the environment, his self, and the world or the circumstances of his origin. Self-assertion can succeed only if the individual recognizes the passional elements in the development of the self that are beyond his or her control and draws on them actively for support. There is self-assertion in and against physical situations, in and against social challenges, but also in and against challenges arising from changes in the individual’s own corporeal situation in the world or changes of his original situation. Self-assertion in the process of formation of an individual and in the history of a group can play both a positive and a negative role. In the formation of individuals, it has a positive effect when and to the extent that it serves to preserve an attained degree of maturity of the self and substantiation of the individual’s self-image; it has a negative effect when it serves to impede or repudiate the chances for the self to mature and the self-image to take on substance. It social effect is positive to the extent that it opens opp…

Interim Ethics

(403 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] If there are objective or subjective reasons to regard a life-orienting certainty concerning the nature (essence), origin and destiny of the world and humanity and the rules of action derived from it as valid for only a limited time, one speaks of an interim …

Certainty

(3,343 words)

Author(s): Künne, Wolfgang | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Fundamental Theology – III. Dogmatics – IV. Ethics I. Philosophy Certainty may be either objective or subjective (Goclenius: certitudo rei cognitae or certitudo hominis cognoscentis). Objective certainty is expressed by “It is certain that p,” subjective certainty by “The epistemic subject S is certain that p.” Objective and subjective certainty are logically independent: one can be certain that p although it is not certain that p; and it can be certain th…

Morals

(937 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] The term “morals” designates all aspects of a rule-complying and thus relatively stabilized form of interaction that is founded on motivating and guiding certainties (or convictions) and, accordingly, on affective pursuits and interests with the fundamental decisions resulting therefrom. As such, it is equivalent to “ethos” (though emphasis on the individual may be stronger than in the social focus of “ethos”); there is a corresponding equivalence between “moral philosophy” and “e…

Briefs, Goetz Anton

(240 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] (Jan 1, 1889, Eschweiler– May 16, 1974, Rome) was a sociologist and economist. Beginning in 1913, he taught at the Universities of Freiburg and Würzburg, beginning in 1926, at the Technical University of Berlin. He emigrated to the USA in 1934, was guest professor at the Catholic University in Washington DC until 1937, from them until 1962 (wh…

Embryo Research

(1,142 words)

Author(s): Schwinger, Eberhard | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. General Considerations – II. Ethics I. General Considerations The results of research carried out on animal embryos have greatly changed animal husbandry. Totipotent embryonic cells can be extracted from embryos at a very early stage (2nd–8th cellular stage). These individual cells divide anew to form functional embryos which do not differ from normally developed embryos. Pa…
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