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(4,234 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo | Tödt, Heinz Eduard
1. Philosophical 1.1. Etymology and Concept With related terms in other languages, the word “free” derives from the Indo-European root *prai-, meaning “protect, spare, like, love.” The Latin word …

Categorical Imperative

(507 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
1. Term I. Kant (1724–1804) used the term “categorical imperative” to designate the absolute character of the moral law. The law must be stated in terms of an imperative, for the human will is not “holy,” that is, not fully in accord with reason (Kantianism). In practical morality the categorical imperative is necessarily and universally valid (…


(349 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
Deriving from Lat. transcendens (stepping over), the word “transcendentals” was used by the Scholastics (Scholasticism) for that which is far above ordinary categories. In reality, we find transcendentals in both Plato (427–347 b.c.; Platonism) and Aristotle (384–322 b.c.; Aristotelianism) as initial forms of being. We can define what is, in terms of its goodness, truth, or unity. Special features of transcendentals are that they lie beyond the ability of categories to predicate and that they are also mutually convertible: ens et unum, verum, bonum, pulchrum convertuntur (being …


(3,216 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo | Brown, Robert F.
1. Term and Concept The term “metaphysics” derives from the Gk. expression ta meta ta physika (lit. “the things that come after physics”), which stands as the title of a work by Aristotle (384–322 b.c.; Aristotelianism). The name was long attributed to a bibliographic accident, to placement of the book after the Physics in the Aristotelian canon. But the name in fact fits the sequence that knowledge takes according to Aristotle. In controversy with the earlier Ionian and Eleatic philosophies, Aristotle speaks of the

Motive, Ethics of

(992 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
1. Term The expression “ethics of motive,” which came to be used as a philosophical term during the 20th century, refers to a basic ethical disposition that looks for the ethical qualification of actions in a reference to their underlying intention, while remaining indifferent toward any actual consequences such actions may have. One can show that E. Troelts…


(321 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
We first find the term “moralism” in the works of J. G. Fichte (1762–1814; Idealism 5), who argued that it is the same as what philosophy is formally and idealistically ( Wissenschaftslehre 2.6.196). Building on the teaching of I. Kant (1724–1804; Kantianism) and Fichte that the moral is autonomous (Autonomy 2), moralism is often taken to denote a …

Analytic Philosophy

(1,341 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
1. Name The term “analytic philosophy” derives from its methodology. Its aim is to arrive at the truth, meaning, and significance of statements by analysis of language and usage. …

Faith and Knowledge

(1,881 words)

Author(s): Petzoldt, Matthias | Hofmeister, Heimo
[German Version] I. Fundamental Theology – II. Philosophy of Religion I. Fundamental Theology The relationship between faith and knowledge became a classic theme within the Christian cultural sphere as the terms πίστις/ pístis and πιστεύειν/ pisteúein became widespread as a result of the Christian missionary practice of adopting equivalents from foreign languages, as the noun itself became synonymous with “being a Christian” and then with religion as such, and as the structures of “I believe…” were secularized, becoming part of…