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Historicism

(749 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
1. The term “historicism,” now used mostly in a critical sense, still had positive significance in the mid-19th century. Thus it could denote a philosophy that, following G. W. F. Hegel (1770–1831; Hegelianism), viewed world history as a realization of the absolute (C. J. Braniss). It then soon became a polemical title for Hegel’s own philosophy of history (R. Haym), for the historical school of law (I. H. Fichte), and finally for a concept of human life oriented primarily to historical facts and contexts. Critics of historicism did not dispute the historicity of this life but …

Spontaneität

(195 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[English Version] Spontaneität, von neulat. spontaneitas, gebildet von lat. spons, »Antrieb, Wille«, bez. im Anschluß an den Ablativ sponte, »von selbst«, die Selbsttätigkeit. Spontan ist eine Bewegung, für die es weder in der Natur des Sichbewegenden noch in einem anderen eine Ursache gibt. In diesem Sinne hatte schon Aristoteles eine Bewegung von selbst (α᾿πο` ταυτομα´του/apó tautomátou, metaph. VII 7, 1032a 13) von der natürlichen und der durch Kunst (τε´χn̆η/téchnē) bewirkten Bewegung unterschieden. Prominent wird der Gedanke aber erst in der neuzeitlichen …

Sein

(1,742 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[English Version] als substantivierter Infinitiv bez. in der Philos. die Bedeutung des Ausdrucks »sein«, und zwar auch in seinen flektierten Formen. Wer nach dem S. fragt, möchte wissen, was es heißt, daß etwas ist – sei es überhaupt, sei es dieses Bestimmte. Das derart erfragte S. wird in der die Problemstellung vorgebenden griech. Philos. außer mit dem Infinitiv, dem ein bestimmter Artikel vorangestellt ist (το` ει᾿˜n̆αι/tó eínai), auch mit dem Partizip το` ο῎n̆/tó ón bez., das in diesem Fall eher mit »das Seiend« als mit »das Seiende« zu übers. wäre. Seit Plato i…

Turnabout

(314 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] German Kehre, “turnabout” or “turning,” is a philosophical term of M. Heidegger, probably first used in the draft of a lecture dating from 1937: ¶ human beings stand “in a turnabout,” and that is synonymous with a possible “transformation of personhood itself “ ( Gesamtausgabe XLV, 214). Heidegger here draws on a fundamental philosophical motif that Plato had already addressed (περιαγωγή/ periagōgḗ, “shifting, conversion”; Rep. 518d) and visualized in the allegory of the cave in his Politicus. Heidegger developed his understanding of this turnabout in his lectures E…

Epoch

(262 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (᾿Εποχή/ epochḗ) derives from the Gk verb ἐπέχειν/ epéchein, “to stay,” “to hold back.” The noun epochḗ was originally a term from astrology and there indicated either the position a heavenly body occupied in its course, or the constellation of two heavenly bodies. Analogously, the word can also designate the point in time from which it can be reckoned. In the Enlightenment, the meaning of the term changed: the epoch was now a historically significant period of time. The word epochḗ first acquired philosophical significance in ancient …

Jünger

(884 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] 1. Ernst (Mar 29, 1895, Heidelberg – Feb 17, 1998, Riedlingen), author of literary diaries and essays, but also of novels and stories, one of the most important German writers in the 20th century. Jünger participated in World War I immediately after completing his schooling. In 1918, he was awarded the Order Pour le Mérite. From 1923 until 1926, he studied philosophy and zoology in Leipzig and Naples. Afterwards, he worked as a national revolutionary journalist; in the late 1920s, however, he withdrew from politics and began life as …

Parmenides

(437 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (probably not before 510 – after 450 bce). Alongside Heraclitus, Parmenides was the most important thinker before Socrates and Plato. Nothing is known of his life apart from his birthplace, Elea in southern Italy. By contrast, his philosophy is well attested; the poem in hexameters, in which he presents it, has been preserved in large part, particularly in quotations given by Simplicius. Parmenides is the discoverer of the unity of being. This does not mean a unity imposed on being from outside; rather, it is imparted directly with the sense of “being” (ἐόν/ eón): everyth…

Feyerabend, Paul

(144 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Jan 13, 1924, Vienna – Feb 11, 1994, Geneva) was an epistemologist who followed K.R. Popper in his early writings, but also turned against him after developing his own “anarchistic epistemology.” Feyerabend denies the existence of tenable criteria for scientific cognition. As with all other ways of experiencing the world, science can thus only be evalu-¶ ated under the perspective of creativity and originality. Feyerabend summarized this position by quoting the title of a Cole Porter hit, “Anything Goes.” Günter Figal Bibliography Works: “Against Method: Outli…

Discourse

(156 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] is derived from Lat. discursus, “running to and fro,” and came to be used as a philosophical term in English and French (and thence also in German, as Diskurs), while “discursive” has been commonly employed as an antonym of “intuitive” since I. Kant. The English “discourse” and the French discours denote a linguistic unit that spans several sentences; it may be a speech, a narrative, a treatise, or a line of argumentation. In analytical philosophy, the “universe of discourse” denot…

Mimesis

(1,016 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] is both “imitation” and “representation.” For example, when someone is said to destroy his life through mimesis of a tyrant (Plato Gorg. 511a), the former is meant; when the sculptor is said to produce the mimesis of a body (Hippocrates, DK 22, C 1,29), the reference is to the latter. The term is philosophically significant for Plato because of both meanings. Although Plato adopted the term from the theory of music, it did not have primary significance in the philosophy of art. But in reference to art…

Entwurf

(263 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (design, draft, plan), is a term first used in a philosophically significant way by I. Kant, to designate the productive role of reason with respect to the realm ¶ of what is understandable. In this sense Kant says “that reason only understands that which it produces according to its own design [ Entwurf].” Reason needs to force nature “to answer its questions” instead of allowing itself to “be led, as it were, by the nose,” otherwise there will be no progress beyond …

Democritus

(203 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (c. 460 – between 380 and 370 bce) came from Abdera. He was a disciple of Leucippus and chief advocate of atomism, founded by his teacher. Democritus dealt with a range of topics; his writings were devoted to issues of ethics and the doctrine of the soul, logic, mathematics and astronomy, as well as poetry and music. However, above all he cultivated his natural philosophy in which following his teacher he formulated and worked out the basic theses of atomism: in an empty space there are small, “indivisible” bodies (the word átomon, indivisible, does not occur in the tra…

Cynics,

(326 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] a Greek philosophical school, believed to have been founded by a student of Socrates named Antisthenes (c. 455–360 bce), but whose truest representative was Diogenes of Sinope (died c. 320 bce). The name derives from Gk kýon, “dog,” an association explained by a comment of Philodem (after 110–40/35 bce) to the effect that the Cynics wanted to imitate a dog's way of life ( Stoicorum Index Herculanensis, ed. D. Comparetti, 1875, 339, 8), by which they meant living without shame or following human conventions. The Cynics trivialized the stra…

Arendt, Hannah

(256 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Oct 14, 1906, Linden/Hannover – Dec 4, 1975, New York) was a German-American philosopher and political thinker who at times exercised considerable public influence. From an assimilated Jewish family from Königsberg, she studied under, among others, M. Heidegger, K. Jaspers, and R. Bultmann. After emigrating, she lived initially in France, then from 1941 in the …

Fundamental Ontology

(465 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] is a term, analogous to “fundamental philosophy” and “fundamental theology,” coined by M. Heidegger in order to characterize the philosophical program of his main work Sein und Zeit (1927; ET: Being and Time). Heidegger was concerned with clarifying the possibility of ontology; only when this has been worked out can the question of Being, which Heidegger understood as the basic question of Western philosophy, be asked explicitly and without unexplained assumptions. In this spirit, Heidegger points out that all o…

Being

(1,927 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] The German Sein, which can be either the infinitive of the verb “to be” or a noun (“being”), is translated by English-language philosophers as “Being” (often capitalized). One who inquires into Being seeks to know what it means for something to exist – whether specifically or in general. In Greek philosophy, which set the terms of this debate, Being in this sense is expressed not only by means of a definite article plus infinitive, το εἶναι/ tóeînai, but also by means of the article plus participle τὸ ὄν/ tò ón (“that which is/exists”). From Plato onwards, the noun οὐσία/ ousía…

Nietzsche, Friedrich

(2,451 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Oct 15, 1844, Röcken near Leipzig–Aug 25, 1900, Weimar). Nietzsche is the key philosophical figure for understanding modernity. Like no other before him, he diagnosed the break with tradition taking place in his time and reflected on the consequences of this process. In doing so, his intention was neither to glorify the past nor to count on a better future. Nietzsche is not a romantic and not a propagandist of progress, but sees himself as a transition thinker; he looks back on a his-¶ tory that bears the stamp of Christianity and metaphysics, and weighs up the …

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice

(515 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Mar 3, 1908, Rochefort – May 3, 1961 Paris), French philosopher, leading representative of phenomenology. After completing his studies, Merleau-Ponty taught first in secondary schools, and then, between 1935 and 1939, at the École Normale Supérieure, where he had been a student. During the German occupation of France he was active in the resistance. In 1945 he became professor in Lyon, and a year later returned to Paris, first to the Sorbonne. From 1952 until his death he taught at the Collège de France. From 1945 to 1953 he edited the periodical ¶ Les temps modernes, toge…

Heidegger, Martin

(971 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Sep 26, 1889, Meßkirch – May 26, 1976, Freiburg im Breisgau). The history of 20th-century philosophy is unthinkable without Heidegger. J.-P. Sartre, E. Lévinas, M. Foucault, and J. Derrida were all strongly influenced by him; his students included, among others, H. Arendt, K. Löwith, H. Jonas, L. Strauss, and H.-G. Gadamer, who played a decisive role in the further development of Heidegger's philosophy. Heidegger is the only philosopher of his century who reflected upon Western p…

Destruction

(276 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] is (as Destruktion) a term in M. Heidegger's philosophy in the 1920s that appeared first in his lecture in the summer semester of 1920 and was extensively elucidated in the programmatic work Phänomenologische Interpretationen zu Aristoteles (1923). “Destruction” refers to the “dismantling” of tradition in terms of the self-evidence of its concepts and discourse. This destruction is necessary in order to expose and repeat the origina…

Blumenberg, Hans

(189 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Jul 13, 1920, Lübeck – Mar 28, 1996, Altenberge), a German philosopher, was professor at Münster from 1970 to 1985, following professorates at Gießen and Bochum. Blumenberg is the author of many books that attest to his deep and broad learning. They deal primarily with two systematic questions. On the one hand, Blumenberg was concerned with a…

Moment

(258 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] A moment stands out in one's experience of time. While the mathematical, punctiliar “now” is empty, the ecstatically perceived moment marks a distinctive, no longer temporal suddenness. The most important writer on the moment in modern philosophy and theology has been S. Kierkegaard, who in turn was influenced by Plato's dialogue Parmenides and the idea of the “sudden” (τὸ ἐξαίϕνης/ tó exaíphnēs) developed in it. For Kierkegaard, the moment marks the point at which a human being becomes spirit: spirit is the place where the eternal and the …

Maximus of Tyre

(140 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (c. 125 – c. 182), rhetorician with philosophical aspirations who was imbued with the ¶ ideas of late Platonism, of the Stoics, and of Cynicism (Cynics). A written work containing lectures (διαλέξεις/ dialéxeis) has been preserved. The lectures are eclectic and lack philosophical originality, but are characterized by rhetorical brilliance and didactic skill. Thematically, they offer reflections on the religio-philosophical and ethical discussion in the environment of early Christianity. Günter Figal Bibliography Works: Maximi Tyrii Philosophi Platonici…

Benjamin, Walter

(254 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Jul 15, 1892, Berlin – Sep 27, 1940, Port Bou, France) left a rich oeuvre as a writer, translator, and philosopher. In the center of Benjamin's thought stands the attempt to rehabilitate religious, magical, and speculative experience in the medium of language. Benjamin wishes to regard the phenomena of the world from the perspective of their …

Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund

(425 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Sep 11, 1893, Frankfurt am Main – Aug 6, 1969, Visp, Canton Wallis) is along with M. Horkheimer the most significant representative of the first generation of critical theory. The focus of his thought is a radical critique of the rationalism that was then manifesting itself academically, technically and socially. Adorno studied in Frankfurt am Main and, after receiving his PhD in philosophy in 1924, he studied composition under Alban Berg in Vienna. In 1930 he gained his Habilitation with a thesis on S. Kierkegaard in Frankfurt …

Gadamer, Hans-Georg

(1,026 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Feb 11, 1900, Marburg – Mar 13, 2002). Gadamer is the most important representative of philosophical hermeneutics; the fact that hermeneutics has developed into a firmly established philosophical approach is due to him and his principal work, Wahrheit und Methode, 1969 (ET: Truth and Method, 21989). Gadamer studied first in Wrocław (Breslau) and then in Marburg. In 1922 he obtained his doctorate under P. Natorp. In 1923 he spent a semester studying in Freiburg im Breisgau, where he met M. Heidegger, who was to become his re…

Modernity

(1,057 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (from Lat. modernus, “new”; cf. Ger. Moderne) is a periodization concept which, though usage varies, properly designates the latter part of the modern age, in distinction from modern times (cf. Fr. temps modernes; Ital. eta moderna; Ger. Neuzeit), which refers to the modern age as a whole. There are various opinions as to exactly when modernity began. Koselleck proposes the earliest date for the beginning of modernity by stressing the importance of the “threshold of c. 1770” for “the transformation process (that led)…

Boethius, Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus

(428 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (c. 480, Rome [?] – c. 524, Pavia [?]) is considered the most significant Latin author of Late Antiquity ¶ and one of the most important figures in the mediation of classical philosophy to medieval civilization. His most famous work is De consolatione philosophiae (or Philosophiae consolationis libri quinque), written in the Neoplatonic tradition; it was one of the most widely read books in the Middle Ages and still finds readers today. Most of our …

Sokrates

(1,008 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[English Version] (470 oder 469 Athen – 399 ebd.) ist die maßgebliche Gestalt des Philosophen. In S. verkörpert sich der Gesprächscharakter des Denkens, die Möglichkeit also, Gedanken so zu artikulieren, daß sie nicht mehr – wie bei den »vorsokratischen« Denkern Heraklit oder Parmenides – verkündet, sondern in immer wieder neu ansetzenden Formulierungen erprobt und auf ihre Stimmigkeit hin geprüft werden können. Erst dabei erweist sich die Verbindlichkeit von Gedanken; was so wichtig ist, daß man …

Parmenides

(402 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[English Version] (kaum vor 510 – nach 450 v.Chr.). Vom Leben dieses neben Heraklit wichtigsten Denkers vor Sokrates und Plato ist nur seine Heimat, das in Süditalien gelegene Elea, bekannt. Hingegen ist seine Philos. gut überliefert; das in Hexametern vf. Gedicht, in dem er sie darstellt, ist v.a. durch Zitate bei Simplikios in großen Teilen erhalten. P. ist der Entdecker der Einheit des Seienden. Damit ist keine Einheit gemeint, die dem Seienden von außen zukommt; vielmehr ist sie unmittelbar mit dem Sinn von »seiend« (ε᾿ο´n̆/eo´n) gegeben: Alles muß als seiend gedacht und a…

Nietzsche

(2,049 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[English Version] Nietzsche, Friedrich (15.10.1844 Röcken bei Leipzig – 25.8.1900 Weimar). N. ist die philos. Schlüsselfigur für das Verständnis der Moderne. Wie kein anderer vor ihm hat er den Traditionsbruch seiner Zeit diagnostiziert und dessen Konsequenzen bedacht. Das Gewesene zu verklären liegt ihm dabei ebenso fern wie auf eine bessere Zukunft zu setzen. N. ist kein Romantiker und kein Propagandist des Fortschritts, sondern versteht sich als Denker eines Übergangs; er blickt zurück auf eine durch …

Substanz

(1,174 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[English Version] Substanz, von lat. substantia, ist allg. das Gleichbleibende im Kontrast zum Wechsel seiner Zustände und Eigenschaften, die im Hinblick auf die S. als Akzidentien bez. werden. Es ist das, was als Gleichbleibendes seine Eigenschaften trägt. Das kommt auch in der Bedeutung des Wortes zum Ausdruck: Substantia (gebildet vom Verb substare) ist wörtl. das Standhaltende und Darunterseiende; accidens (Partizip Präsens des Verbs accidere) ist das Anfallende oder Eintretende. Im philos. Sprachgebrauch stehen substantia und accidens i. allg. für die Ausdrücke ου᾿σι´α…

Plato

(2,001 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[English Version] (ca.427 Athen – 347 v.Chr. ebd.) Erst seit P. existiert eine philos. Tradition im eigentlichen Sinne. P. hat die verschiedenen Ansätze philos. Denkens vor ihm aufgenommen und zu einem einheitlichen Gedankenzusammenhang gefügt. Dabei wurden Mythos und Dichtung einbezogen, dichterische Motive und Ausdrucksformen übernommen und zur Artikulation von etwas ganz Neuem fruchtbar gemacht. P.s Werk ist, mit F. Nietzsche gesagt, »der Kahn, auf dem sich die schiffbrüchige ältere Poesie samt al…

Difference, Ontological,

(345 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] a term introduced by M. Heidegger for the purpose of determining the ¶ relationship between being ( Sein) and “beings” ( das Seiende; Ontology). Although the term did not yet appear in Being and Time ( Sein und Zeit, 1927) and was first introduced in the summer semester lecture series of 1928 and further elaborated in The Essence of Reasons ( Vom Wesen des Grundes, 1929), in content it also relates to the conception of Heidegger's early main work. In it, the discovery of “beings” as they are enco…

Decisionism

(381 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] From Latin decisio, “decision,” “judgment,” is a term coined by C. Schmitt to designate ¶ his thesis that the application of a norm can never be entirely defined by the norm itself, so that there is always a margin and need for “decision.” The term is directed critically against normative and legal positivist positions, especially against the position of Hans Kelsens. For Schmitt …

Interpretation

(328 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] Interpretation, from Lat. interpretatio, “analysis,” “translation,” generally refers to the elucidation of works and texts. F. Nietzsche elevated the term's prominence in philosophy. In analogy to human behavior toward the world, he understood vitality in general as interpretation. Interpretation is the attempt “to become lord over something” ( Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. XII, 314); it is the selective and harmonizing mastery of an infinitely manifold reality. Only through interpretation, and that means, from relative perspec…

Blondel, Maurice

(179 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Nov 2, 1861, Dijon – Jun 4, 1949, Aix-en-Provence), French philosopher. He was professor in Aix from 1896 to 1949. In a broad sense, his philosophy can be classed under the heading of phenomenology and has a clear philosophy-of-religion accent. A central element is the supposition that thinking proceeds from a comprehensive existential …

Kojève, Alexandre

(175 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (actually Alexander Koshevnikov; May 11, 1902, Moscow – Jun 4, 1968, Brussels), studied philosophy, linguistics, and literature in Heidelberg and earned his doctorate there as a student of K. Jaspers in 1926. He subsequently moved to Paris, deepened his previously acquired knowledge of religious studies, and entered the École Pratique des Hautes Études as a lecturer in comparative religion in 1933. However, he attained philosophical renown as a result of his lectures on G. Hegel's Phänomenologie des Geistes (1807; ET: Phenomenology of Mind, 1910), which influen…

Socrates

(1,072 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (470 or 469, Athens – 399, Athens), is the prototypical philosopher. He embodies the dialogical character of thinking, the possibility of articulating thoughts in such a way that they are no longer simply stated, as in the case of the “pre-Socratic” thinkers Heraclitus and Parmenides, but can be repeatedly reformulated and tested to determine their coherence. Only in this process can the authority of ideas be proved – whatever is important enough for people to take the trouble to …

Epicurus

(241 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (342/341, on Samos – 371/370, Athens) was a Greek philosopher, the founder of a school of philosophy that he understood to be a competitor to the Platonic Academy and the Aristotelian Peripatos. Of his numerous writings – according to Diogenes Laertes 10.28 he left nearly 300 scrolls – only three didactic letters, a collection of 40 Sentences, and a few fragmenta…

Jonas, Hans

(218 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (May 10, 1903, Mönchengladbach – Feb 5, 1993, New York) studied with E. Husserl, M. Heidegger, and R. Bultmann. His dissertation was on “Augustin und der paulinische Freiheitsgedanke” [1930, Augustine and the pauline notion of freedom]. Jonas emigrated to London in 1933, and two years later to Palestine. He taught in Jerusalem (1946–1948), as professor in Montreal and Ottawa (1949–1950), and in New York (1955–1976). His book Gnosis und spätantiker Geist (vol. I, 1934; vol. II/1, 1954; vol. II/2, 1993; ET: Gnostic Religion: The Message of the Alien God and the …

Plato

(2,073 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (c. 427 bce, Athens – 347 bce, Athens), marks the beginning of a philosophical tradition in the strict sense. He took the various approaches to philosophical thought of his predecessors and brought them together in a unified intellectual context. Myth and poetry were included; poetic motifs and forms of expression were borrowed and used productively to articulate something ¶ totally new. As F. Nietzsche said, “the Platonic dialogue was the raft . . . on which the earlier poetry rescued itself and all its children from shipwreck” (“Die Geburt der Tragödie,” in: Kritische …

Löwith, Karl

(232 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Jan 9, 1897, Munich – May 24, 1973, Heidelberg), German philosopher. Löwith studied in Munich and Freiburg, earned his doctorate in Munich and his habilitation under M. Heidegger, in Marburg with his thesis “Das Individuum in der Rolle des Mitmenschen. Ein Beitrag zur anthropologischen Grundlegung der ethischen Probleme” [The individual in the role of fellow human being: a contribution to the anthropological foundation of the ethical problem]. In 1933, Löwith emigrated to Italy, …

Apollonian and Dionysian

(131 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] are terms first attested in F.W.J.Schelling ( Philosophy of Revelation, posthum. 1858) for the nature of the Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus. The comparison of the two gods and the arts ascribed to them plays a role already in Plato ( Polit. 398c–400c; Nomoi 652a–674c) and is taken up in a manner suited to modern times in F. Nietzsche. According to the explanations in his book on the Geburt der Tragödie (1872; ET: The Birth of Tragedy, 1927), apollonian stands for the limiting, individuating principle of graphic art, while diony…

Spontaneity

(225 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] from Neo-Latin spontaneitas, based on Latin spons, “incentive, will,” the ablative of which ( sponte), means “of one’s own accord,” self-motivated. A movement is spontaneous if it is not caused by something inherent in the person who moves or in someone or something else. In this sense, Aristotle already distinguished between motion that arises “from itself ” (ἀπὸ ταυτομάτου/ apó tautomátou, Metaph. VII 7, 1032a 13) and motion caused by nature or art (τέχνη/ téchnē). The notion first became prominent, however, in modern philosophy under the category of…

Idea

(849 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] Idea, in Greek ἰδέα/ idéa or εἶδος/ eídos, “form”; in pre-philosophical usage this means particularly the form of a human being (e.g. Plato Prot. 315e; Hom. Il. III 39; V 787; X 316). This also explains philosophical usage: since it is by their form that people are recognized, the idea can be generally that which makes something understandable. To perceive something that makes it what it is means the same as to perceive its idea. Plato uses this expression very early, using “idea” to distinguish between understanding an object and the object's actual existence. Thus Socrate…

Substance/Substance and Accident

(1,192 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] Substance (from Lat. substantia) generally denotes what is constant in contrast to the variation of its conditions and attributes, which are called accidents vis-à-vis substance. Substance is what stays constant as it bears its attributes, as the etymology of the word indicates: substantia (from the verb substare) means literally “what stands firm” and “is beneath”; accidens (present participle of the verb accidere) means that which arises or eventuates. In philosophical usage, substantia and accidens generally represent Greek οὐσία/ ousía and συμβεβηκός/ symb…

Verstehen

(1,504 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Herms, Eilert
[English Version] I. Philosophisch Der Begriff des V. wird erst in der Moderne philos. bedeutsam. Er gewinnt Prägnanz, indem er das für die Geisteswissenschaften eigentümliche Erkennen (Erkenntnistheorie) bez. Verstanden wird das »hist. Material« (J.G. Droysen, Grundriß der Historik, 1868, § 9) und überhaupt jede Äußerung des menschlichen Lebens. Dabei tritt der Begriff in Kontrast zum Erklären (Erklärung), das auf die naturwiss. erkennbare Natur bezogen ist. W. Dilthey hat diesen Unterschied progr…

Self-consciousness (Self-awareness)

(2,248 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Korsch, Dietrich
[German Version] I. Philosophy Self-consciousness (or self-awareness) is knowledge of one’s own states, wishes, and intentions, together with assessment of one’s own person (II) in relationship to others. An essential element of self-consciousness is reflection, i.e. the ability to relate to one’s own states, wishes, and intentions, to the embeddedness of one’s own life in situations, and to the course of one’s own life. Thus self-consciousness is neither immediate knowledge nor a special case of co…

Selbstbewußtsein

(2,123 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Korsch, Dietrich
[English Version] I. Philosophisch S. ist die Kenntnis eigener Zustände, Wünsche und Absichten sowie die Schätzung der eigenen Person (: II.) im Zusammenhang mit anderen. Zum S. gehört wesentlich Reflexion, d.h. die Fähigkeit, sich auf eigene Zustände, Wünsche und Absichten, auf die Eingebundenheit des eigenen Lebens in Situationen sowie auf den Verlauf des eigenen Lebens zu beziehen. So ist das S. weder ein unmittelbares Wissen noch ein Sonderfall des Bewußtseins (: III.) von in der Welt begegnend…

Understanding

(1,637 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Philosophy It was not until the modern period that the concept of understanding became philosophically important. It gained currency by denoting the special kind of of knowledge in the humanities (Epistemology). What is understood is “historical material” (J.G. Droysen, ¶ Grundriss der Historik, 1868, §9; ET: Outline of the Principles of History, 1967) and any expression of human life. Thus the term “understanding” is used in contrast to explanation, which is used in connection with scientific, explicable nature. W. Dilthey made…

Finitude

(1,112 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Adriaanse, Hendrik Johan
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Dogmatics I. Philosophy In philosophy, finitude refers basically to that which has bounds or is limited and already R. Descartes considered it a defining essence of human being and knowing. This idea was adopted by I. Kant and extensively dealt with in the discussion of the human ability of cognition. In German idealism, especially in F.W.J. Schelling and G.F.W. Hegel, the interdependence or dialectics of finitude and infinity was the focus of philosophical concern. Schelling initially understood finitude ( Fernere…

Historicism

(1,564 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Church History – III. Systematic Theology I. Philosophy The concept of historicism came into currency in the 19th century and soon assumed critical and even polemical significance. Indeed, also G.W.F. Hegel's concept of reason freely actualized in history could be called historicism (J. Braniss, Die wissenschaftliche Aufgabe der ¶ Gegenwart als leitende Idee im akademischen Studium [The scientific task of the present as a leading idea in academic studies], 1848); but the understanding of historicism as a mode of tho…

Weisheit

(1,321 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Hailer, Martin | Wahl, Heribert
[English Version] I. Philosophisch W. ist das von der Philosophie angestrebte Wissen. Dem verdankt die Philos. im Griech. ihren Namen, der aus dem Verb ϕιλε´ω/philéō, »lieben«, »erstreben«, und σοϕι´α/sophía gebildet ist. Dabei hat σοϕι´α zunächst gar keine spezifisch philos. Bedeutung. Das Wort bez. die ausgebildete Fähigkeit, ein Handwerk oder eine Kunst auszuüben. Noch Aristoteles, der für die Ausarbeitung der spezifisch philos. Bedeutung maßgeblich ist, führt die σοϕι´α ein, indem er sie »die Vollkommenheit der Kunst« nennt (α᾿ρετη` τε´χn̆ης/aretē´ téchnēs; e.N. 114…

Critical Theory

(1,635 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Moxter, Michael | Junker-Kenny, Maureen
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Fundamental Theology – III. Practical Theology I. Philosophy Critical theory is the designation for the philosophical program of the Frankfurt School, a group of philosophers and social scientists belonging to the Institut für Sozialforschung (Institute for Social Research) founded in 1923 in Frankfurt am Main. The term traces to an essay by M. Horkheimer, Traditionelle und kritische Theorie (1937; ET: “Traditional and Critical Theory,” in: idem, Critical Theory: Selected Essays, 1972) and was then adopted as the general c…

Logos

(4,012 words)

Author(s): Peppel, Matthias | Slenczka, Notger | Figal, Günter
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Fundamental Theology – III. Philosophy I. History of Religion The Greek noun logos (λόγος/ lógos), which is derived from the verb λέγειν/ légein, “to say, to speak,” designates the human faculty of speech and ability to reason, usually in combination, as well as numerous individual aspects such as: sentence, topic, oration, prose, teaching, judgment, cause, conclusion, and reason. In its earliest attestations logos refers to an “oration,” whose deceptive effects are frequently emphasized (Hom. Od. I 56) – thus in the personific…

Eros

(1,954 words)

Author(s): Konstan, David | Stock, Konrad | Figal, Günter
[German Version] I. The Term – II. Eros and Amor – III. Eros and Agape ( Caritas) – IV. Eros in Philosophy I. The Term The Greek term ἔρως/ éros, noun, verb ἐρᾶν/ erā́n (“to be in love with”), denotes an intense affection or desire. It can express a passion for an inanimate object, such as wine or one's city, or even for wisdom, as in Plato. However, eros is commonly associated with er…

Memory

(1,437 words)

Author(s): Assmann, Jan | Schröter, Jens | Figal, Günter
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Philosophy I. Religious Studies Memory, in the present context, is the ability to store motor skills, experiences, and learned materialover longer periods; remembrance on the other hand has to do with the use of memory. Individual memory is already ¶ socially conditioned (through language, socialization, cultural setting) and thus has a communicative character. Institutionalization (e.g. feasts, school) and objectivization (e.g. rites [Rite and ritual], texts) serve to stabilize the co…

Validity

(859 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Dreier, Ralf | Grube, Dirk-Martin
[German Version] I. Philosophy The term validity was already used by I. Kant ( Akademie-Ausgabe IV, 460f.), but it did not play a prominent role in philosophy until the late 19th century. Validity is an actuality, not further explicable, that is understood primarily in contrast to existence. In this sense, R.H. Lotze distinguished between things, which exist, events, which take place, and propositions, which are valid ( Grundzüge der Logik und Encyklopädie der Philosophie, 1902; ET: Outlines of Logic and of Encyclopædia of Philosophy, 1892). To say that a proposition is valid …

Wisdom

(1,471 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Hailer, Martin | Wahl, Heribert
[German Version] I. Philosophy Wisdom is the knowledge that philosophy aspires to. It is an element of the Greek word for philosophy, which combines the verb φιλέω/ philéō, “love, aspire to,” with the noun σοφία/ sophía. Initially σοφία had no particular philosophical significance. The word denoted expert skill in the practice of an art or craft. Aristotle, who was responsible for developing the word’s specifically philosophical sense, introduced σοφία by calling it “the perfection of an art” (ἀρετὴ τέχνης/ aretḗtéchnēs; Eth. Nic. 1141a 12). The designation of philosophical ins…

Philosophy

(6,572 words)

Author(s): Erler, Michael | Schönberger, Rolf | Puster, Rolf W. | Figal, Günter
[German Version] I. Antiquity 1. Western philosophy is usually held to begin with the Ionian philosophers of nature (Thales, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Natural philosophy), even if they described their activity less as philosophy than as “history.” The first to refer to himself specifically as a philosopher is said to have been Pythagoras, but this may have been a retrospective reference. The word ϕιλοσοϕεῖν/ philosopheín, “to philosophize,” occurs first in the 5th century bce. Initially, like sophia, it denoted a non-specific interest in a form of knowledge, or familia…

Wine

(2,151 words)

Author(s): Staubli, Thomas | Janowski, Bernd | Figal, Günter | Jüngel, Eberhard
[German Version] I. Archaeology and Religious Studies The wild predecessors of cultured vines ( Vitis vinifera vinifera) are found especially in the north-eastern Mediterranean region and in the area of the Black Sea. The earliest evidence of collecting grapes, presumably from wild stocks, is 9,000 years old (Çayönü, Tell Aswad and Jericho). The earliest indications of vine cultivation come from the end of the 4th millennium bce in Egypt (Omari, Abydos, Saqqara). Grapes were eaten, but mostly made into wine; in southern Mesopotamia also into syrup for preserva…

World

(7,847 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert | Figal, Günter | Herms, Eilert | Worthing, Mark
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. Cosmos a. There are various ways of expressing the concept of the “world” in Greek and Latin: as the world as a whole, with the bipolar hendiadys heaven and earth (e.g. Diodorus Siculus I 7.7); as the world of human beings, with Greek οἰκουμένη/ oikouménē (sc. γῆ/ gḗ, “earth”; e.g. Diodorus Siculus I 1.3; cf. Lat. orbis terrarum, “circle of the earth”; genus humanum, “human world”); with emphasis on the world’s order, beauty, and completeness, with κόσμος/ kósmos (Cosmology) and universum or πᾶν/ pán, ὅλον/ hólon; or with emphasis on its self-a…

Metaphor

(2,992 words)

Author(s): Löser, Philipp | Figal, Günter | Mühling, Markus | Mädler, Inken
[German Version] I. Literary Criticism – II. Philosophy – III. Philosophy of Religion – IV. Fundamental Theology – V. History of Art I. Literary Criticism Metaphor (Gk μεταφορά/ metaphorá, “transfer,” from μεταφέρω/ metaphérō, “to transfer”) is a figure of speech in which, by means of a linguistic image, that is, in a figurative sense, reference is made to an object. The semantic analysis of metaphor, its distinction from other tropes, and discussion of the effectiveness and comprehensibility of poetic metaphors are some of the more difficult tasks of literary criticism. Definit…

Wein

(1,924 words)

Author(s): Staubli, Thomas | Janowski, Bernd | Figal, Günter | Jüngel, Eberhard
[English Version] I. Archäologisch und religionsgeschichtlichDie wilden Vorläufer der Kulturpflanze (Vitis vinifera L. ssp. vinifera) finden sich bes. im nordöstlichen Mittelmeerraum und im Schwarzmeerraum. Früheste Belege für Weintraubensammlung, vermutlich von wilden Stöcken, sind 9000 Jahre alt (Çayönü, Tell Aswad und Jericho). Früheste Hinweise auf Weinkulturen stammen vom Ende des 4.Jt. v.Chr. in Ägypten (Omari, Abydos, Saqqara). Trauben wurden gegessen, meistens aber zu W., in Südmesopotamien …

Welt

(6,774 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert | Figal, Günter | Herms, Eilert | Worthing, Mark
[English Version] I. Religionsgeschichtlich 1.Kosmos a) In der griech. und lat. Sprache wird »W.« wiedergegeben: allg. mit dem polaren Ausdruck »Himmel und Erde« (z.B. Diodorus Siculus 1,7,7); als die »von Menschen bewohnte W.« mit »Oikouménē« (οι᾿κουμε´n̆η, ergänze: γη˜/gē´, »Erde«; z.B. Diodorus Siculus 1,1,3; vgl. lat. orbis terrarum, »Erdkreis«; genus humanum, »Menschenwelt«); unter den Aspekten von Ordnung, Schönheit und Ganzheit mit »Kósmos« (κο´σμος; Kosmologie) und Universum (πα˜n̆/pán, ο῞λοn̆/hólon); unter den Aspekten von selbsttätiger, zielgerich…

Philosophie

(5,955 words)

Author(s): Erler, Michael | Schönberger, Rolf | Puster, Rolf W. | Figal, Günter
[English Version] I. Antike 1. Die abendländische Philos. läßt man gewöhnlich mit den ionischen Naturphilosophen (Thales, Anaximander, Heraklit; Naturphilosophie) beginnen. Diese bez. ihre Tätigkeit freilich weniger als Philos., denn als »Historie«. Als Philosoph im Wortsinn soll sich als erster Pythagoras bez. haben, doch mag dies eine Rückprojektion sein. Das Wort ϕιλοσοϕει˜n̆/philosophei´n, »philosophieren«, kommt im 5.Jh. v.Chr. auf. Es bedeutet zunächst wie »sophia« unspezifisch das Interesse an einem Wissen oder die Vertrautheit mit ei…

Theorie und Praxis

(3,910 words)

Author(s): Linde, Gesche | Figal, Günter | Westhelle, Vítor | Herms, Eilert | Meyer-Blanck, Michael
[English Version] I. Naturwissenschaftlich Die Unterscheidung zw. Th. als einem widerspruchsfreien sprachlichen oder symbolischen System geordneter Aussagen über einen bestimmten Gegenstands- bzw. Phänomenbereich und P. als technischem Handeln zur Erzeugung von quantifizierbaren Phänomenen im Experiment, mindestens aber Beobachtung vor dem Hintergrund einer Th., ist für die modernen Naturwissenschaften konstitutiv, wenngleich die genaue Bestimmung des Verhältnisses beider umstritten und Thema der Wissenschaftstheorie ist. Üblicherweise werden Th. und P. s…

Theory and Praxis

(4,249 words)

Author(s): Linde, Gesche | Figal, Günter | Westhelle, Vítor | Herms, Eilert | Meyer-Blanck, Michael
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences The distinction between theory as a consistent linguistic or symbolic system of ordered statements about a par-¶ ticular subject area or phenomenal domain and practice (praxis) as technical action to produce quantifiable phenomena in an experiment, or at least observation against the background of a theory, is fundamental to the modern natural sciences, although the precise definition of the relationship between the two is disputed and is addressed by the philosophy of science. Usually the relationship between theory and praxis is desc…

Name

(4,894 words)

Author(s): Udolph, Jürgen | Figal, Günter | Hutter, Manfred | Assel, Heinrich | Rüterswörden, Udo | Et al.
[English Version] I. SprachwissenschaftlichAus sprachwiss. Sicht werden Eigennamen (nomen proprium) und Gattungsnamen (nomen appellativum) unterschieden, die beide der Funktion nach zu den Substantiven gehören. Eigennamen dienen der Benennung (d.h. der Identifizierung) von individuellen Personen, Örtlichkeiten, Sachverhalten oder als individuell gedachten Kollektiven und weisen einem Bezeichneten zunächst keine allg. Eigenschaften zu. Mit dem N. »Lena« ist außerhalb eines konkreten Kontextes keine…

Name

(5,597 words)

Author(s): Udolph, Jürgen | Figal, Günter | Hutter, Manfred | Assel, Heinrich | Rüterswörden, Udo | Et al.
[German Version] I. Linguistics – II. Philosophy – III. Religious Studies – IV. Philosophy of Religion – V. Old Testament – VI. New Testament – VII. Church History – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam I. Linguistics Linguistically, a name is a proper noun ( nomen proprium) as opposed to a common noun ( nomen appellativum); both function grammatically as substantives. Proper nouns (names) designate individual persons, places, things, and ideas or collectives thought of as individuals; they do not ascribe common attributes to their referents. Outside…

Hermeneutics

(8,461 words)

Author(s): Terrin, Aldo Natale | Dohmen, Christoph | Schunack, Gerd | Figal, Günter | Jeanrond, Werner G. | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Philosophy – V. Fundamental Theology – VI. Ethics – VII. Practical Theology – VIII. Cultural History I. Religious Studies The classical questions of hermeneutics concern the problems of understanding within a historical context that includes both what is to be interpreted and the one who is interpreting. The latter's horizon of understanding is effective as pre-understanding in dealing with documents of the past, whose history of influen…

Human Beings

(18,165 words)

Author(s): Gregersen, Niels H. | Grünschloß, Andreas | Figal, Günter | Janowski, Bernd | Lichtenberger, Hermann | Et al.
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences and Psychology – II. Religious Studies – III. Philosophy – IV. Old Testament – V. New Testament – VI. Church History – VII. Dogmatics and Ethics – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam I. Natural Sciences and Psychology 1. Evolution From the perspective of the natural sciences, the theory of evolution offers the most comprehensive framework for understanding human beings. It views the human species as a late product of a biogenetic process that began with the origin of life (VI) on earth some 3.8 billion …

Worldview

(11,663 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Ahn, Gregor | Janowski, Bernd | Furley, David J. | Sellin, Gerhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Philosophy The word Weltbild (“worldview”; more lit. “world picture”) is already found in early medieval German; it is defined as a “conceptual view of the world that emerges from the totality of impressions made by the world and ideas of one’s Weltanschauung” ( DWb 28 [14.1.1], 1955, 1553). Its meaning is thus related to the meaning of Weltanschauung . Philosophy usually treats both together. A Weltbild can be understood as both a premise and a product of a Weltanschauung. W. Dilthey called a Weltbild “the basis of one’s appreciation of life and understanding…

Freedom

(9,782 words)

Author(s): Kaiser, Otto | Vollenweider, Samuel | Schwartz, Daniel R. | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Figal, Günter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. New Testament – III. Early Judaism – IV. Church History – V. Philosophy – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. Dogmatics – VIII. Ethics – IX. Sociology, Politics, and Law I. Old Testament 1. The concept of political freedom, which originated in the Greek polis (City cult), first appeared in Hellenistic Jewish historiography. The Stoics' concept of freedom, which contrasts inner freedom and outward constraint, has no counterpart in the OT. The OT is rooted in an internal mythological cultur…

Weltbild

(9,960 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter | Ahn, Gregor | Janowski, Bernd | D. Furley, William | Sellin, Gerhard | Et al.
[English Version] I. PhilosophischDas Wort »W.«, das schon im frühma. Deutsch nachweisbar ist, bez. i. allg. ein »vorstellungsmäsziges bild der welt, wie es sich aus der gesamtheit der welteindrücke und weltanschaulichen vorstellungen ergibt« (DWb 28 [= 14,1,1], 1955, 1553). So ist die Bedeutung des Wortes mit der von »Weltanschauung« verwandt und kommt in der Philos. auch meist zus. mit diesem vor. Dabei wird das W. sowohl als Voraussetzung wie als Resultat der Weltanschauung verstanden. W. Dilth…
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