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Skepticism

(1,332 words)

Author(s): Fricke, Christel | Bormuth, Matthias | Rudolph, Ulrich
[German Version] I. Philosophy The term skepticism denotes an attitude informed by doubts regarding certain beliefs. In the realm of philosophy, these doubts have to do primarily with the existence or knowableness of the external world and the knowableness or motivating force of moral norms. Since ancient Greece, a distinction has been made between academic skepticism and Pyrrhonian skepticism. The former was cultivated at Plato’s Academy (I) and used against the defenders of dogmatism; it argued the …

Sensuality

(1,613 words)

Author(s): Fricke, Christel | Rosenau, Hartmut | Sparn, Walter | Stock, Konrad
[German Version] I. Philosophy Sensuality is a collective term for various human faculties that mediate sensations. Sensations are mental states. In contrast to abstract thoughts, memories, and fantasies, sensations are qualitatively dependent on the present state of the sensate person. It is traditional to distinguish between perceptual sensations and affective sensations. Sensations function as information, making it possible for us to react appropriately to our environment, have an idea of it, an…

Rationalism

(3,896 words)

Author(s): Fricke, Christel | Steiger, Johann Anselm | Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] I. Philosophy The term rationalism is used in philosophy in a wider and a narrower sense. In its wider sense, it stands for all those antiskeptical positions (Skepticism: I) in the theory of being and its epistemology that see the only reliable source of certain knowledge not in sensory perception but in the activity of ratio, reason (I). The paradigm for reasoning activity that guarantees certainty (I) is provided by mathematical thought with its concepts of tautologies and deductive conclusions. In its narrower sense, Rationalism st…

Rationality

(2,088 words)

Author(s): Fricke, Christel | Petzoldt, Matthias | Huxel, Kirsten | Linde, Gesche
[German Version] I. Philosophy Rationality is derived from Latin ratio (“calculation, consideration, reason”) and medieval Latin rationalitas (“reason, capacity for thought”). The term denotes various intellectual capacities that distinguish human beings as “rational animals” from the other more highly developed animals. In German, from the 18th century, these capacities were generally designated as Verstand (Intellect: I) and Vernunft (Reason: I). Under the influence of the English term rationality, and the usage of various scientific disciplines, especially s…