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Philosophy of Law

(2,219 words)

Author(s): Höffe, Otfried
[German Version] The philosophy of law studies law (Law and jurisprudence) solely with the tools of common human reason (including common human experience), without appealing to divine revelation or legal authority. Unlike legal doctrine, legal history, and legal sociology, it asks (II) what law actually is (“legal analysis”), (III) why we need law (“legal anthropology”), and (IV) what the normative criteria that define and govern law (“fundamental legal ethics”) are, so as to assess fundamental topical problems by applying these criteria (“applied legal ethics”).…

Justice and Righteousness

(8,833 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | Klaiber, Walter | Höffe, Otfried | Holmes, Stephen R. | Anzenbacher, Arno | Et al.
[German Version] I. Bible – II. Philosophy – III. History of Theology and Dogmatics – IV. Ethics – V. Law – VI. Social Politics, Social Ethics – VII. Missiology – VIII. Islam I. Bible 1. Ancient Near East and Old Testament The concept of justice in the ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible is basically one of connectivity. It designates the positive relation of the king to the gods and to his people, of the individual to the various collectives ranging from the family to the entire nation, of the deed to the doer's well-being, as well as the correlation between the human being and nature. The antithesis of juridical and soteriological interpretations of justice emphasizing the punitive or salvific aspects of action are to be overcome in favor of an initial starting point in connective justice (J. Assmann). In ancient Egyptian, the term maʾat refers to a behavior which is conducive to community life in a just and stable society that is in harmony with nature and the gods. Mediated by the king, it comes from the goddess Maʾat, the daughter of the creator god (from whom she originated), and returns to her in the offering in the temple ritual. In Mesopotamia, the king as the representative of the sun-god – i.e. the god of justice, the latter being expressed with the binomen kittu(m)/mīšaru(…

Philosophy of Life

(1,357 words)

Author(s): Höffe, Otfried
[German Version] The concept of philosophy of life or vitalism cannot be defined unambiguously; it is used as a label by…

Rawls, John

(436 words)

Author(s): Höffe , Otfried
[German Version] (Feb 21, 1921, Baltimore, MD – Nov 24, 2002, Lexington, MA). The English-speaking world owes to the philosopher Rawls the most important 20th-century contribution to political ethics. His monumental work A Theory of Justice (1971, 21999) succeeds in making a change of paradigm comprising five aspects: 1.While meta-ethical studies had dominated up to that point, Rawls turned directly to a normative theme, namely justice (II; IV; VI). 2. Inasmuch as the anglophone world discussed normative questions, it favored utili…


(391 words)

Author(s): Höffe , Otfried
[English Version] Rawls, John (21.2.1921 Baltimore, MD – 24.11.2002 Lexington, MA). Dem Philosophen R. verdankt der engl. Sprachraum den bedeutendsten Beitrag zur polit. Ethik des 20.Jh. Seinem monumentalen Werk »A Theory of Justice« (1971, dt. 1975) gelingt ein Paradigmenwechsel, der sich aus fünf Aspekten zusammensetzt: 1. Während vorher metaethische Studien vorherrschten, wandte sich R. unmittelbar einem normativen Thema, der Gerechtigkeit (: II., IV., VI.), zu. 2. Soweit die anglophone Welt doc…


(1,962 words)

Author(s): Höffe, Otfried
[English Version] Die R. untersucht das Recht allein mit Mitteln der allgemeinmenschlichen Vernunft (einschließlich allgemeinmenschlicher Erfahrung), ohne sich auf eine göttliche Offenbarung oder rechtliche Autorität zu berufen. Im Unterschied zur Rechtsdogmatik, auch Rechtsgesch. und Rechtssoziologie fragt sie, (II.) was Recht überhaupt ist (»Rechtsanalyse«), (III.) warum der Mensch Recht braucht (»Rechtsanthropologie«) und (IV.) nach den normativen Kriterien, die das Recht definieren und normier…