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Natural Philosophy

(2,417 words)

Author(s): Meyer-Abich, Klaus Michael
[German Version] Natural philosophy is the philosophy of the one nature of things, in which all the many things of nature participate. Every philosophy began as natural philosophy in antiquity. The different philosophical disciplines have, however, separated from this beginning, so that now natural philosophy appears as one of many areas of philosophy. I. Antiquity Natural philosophy emerged from poetry with Hesiod. To recognize the being of the whole as proceeding from an original appears in retrospect to constitute the enquiry into its nature, yet the words ϕύσις/ phýsis and ὅλον/ h…

Nuclear Energy

(586 words)

Author(s): Meyer-Abich, Klaus Michael
[German Version] Nuclear technology uses the energy from nuclear reactions for peaceful or military purposes. It is released when heavy nuclei (e.g. Uranium 235, Plutonium 239) are split (fission energy) or light atoms (Nuclear physics) are fused (e.g. production of helium from hydrogen: fusion energy). The potential for production of nuclear energy arises from the greater stability of moderately heavy atoms in comparison to atoms with higher or lower atomic weights. The possibility of…

Naturalism

(2,772 words)

Author(s): Meyer-Abich, Klaus Michael | Danz, Christian | Kitschen, Friederike | Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] I. Philosophy Naturalism is a polysemous concept; its meaning depends on whether it is used (1) affirmatively or (2) with critical intention, depending on the presupposed understanding of nature. ¶ 1. Affirmative naturalism. When (a) the one nature of all things is contained in God in such a way that nothing can be contrasted with it, the gods and human beings are also (and unconditionally) conceived of as parts of this whole. The gods are then identical with the forces of nature (as in Greek religion [Greece: I,…

Nature

(3,393 words)

Author(s): Harrington, Anne | Meyer-Abich, Klaus Michael | Gregersen, Niels Henrik | Niekerk, Kees van Kooten
[German Version] I. Terminology and Natural Science 1. Terminology. The term “nature” (Gk ϕύσις/ phýsis; Lat. natura [ Physis/Natura : II, 2]) is a concept that derives from Aristotle and ancient philosophy. There it denotes that which is of itself, as distinct from that which is made by art or culture (Arist. Phys. II 1.6). Greek philosophy distinguished, if often implicitly, between (a) investigation of ethical, juridical and political questions as the field of human interest and (b) study of the origin of nature and physical reality. In this c…