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Komet

(808 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
An der Auflösung der Furcht vor K. lässt sich der Wandel nachvollziehen, den die Ablösung der ma. Kosmologie (Kosmos) durch die nzl. Astronomie mit sich brachte. Im Rahmen des alten Weltbildes waren alle besonderen Himmelserscheinungen wie K., Meteore und Sternschnuppen als atmosphärische Phänomene verstanden worden, da die aristotelische Kosmologie für die Sphären der Planeten einschließlich des Mondes nur vollkommene Kreisbewegungen zuließ. K. als irreguläre und vorübergehende Erscheinungen wurden deshalb unterhalb der Mondsph…
Date: 2019-11-19

Naturphilosophie

(3,245 words)

Author(s): Meinel, Christoph | Stengel, Friedemann | Evers, Dirk | Rueger, Alexander
1. Begriff und ForschungspositionenDer Begriff N. ist nicht eindeutig definiert. In der Frühen Nz. war er noch weitgehend gleichbedeutend mit einer allgemeinen Wissenschaft von der Natur, die zentraler Bestandteil der Philosophie war. In dem Maße, in dem das empirische Wissen als Prototyp sicheren (philosophischen) Wissens galt (Empirismus; s. u. 3.), wurde der Begriff N. sogar als Synonym für Experimentalphysik benutzt, wie dies z. B. an schott. Universitäten bis ins 20. Jh. der Fall war. Eine Begriffsgeschichte von N. hat …
Date: 2019-11-19

Determinismus

(706 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
Unter dem Eindruck der mathematisierten Naturwissenschaft der Nz. entstand in der Philosophie des 17. Jh.s erstmals die Auffassung, dass alles Geschehen in Raum und Zeit einschließlich des menschlichen Handelns seit Anbeginn der Welt nicht mehr durch Gott und das von ihm gesetzte höchste Gute, sondern durch unabänderliche Naturgesetze alternativlos und vollständig bestimmt (determiniert) ist. Der Begriff des D. (Gegensatz: Indeterminismus) ist allerdings erst eine Wortprägung der dt. Philosophie der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jh.s, die die Problematik der Freiheit des Mensc…
Date: 2019-11-19

Comet

(896 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
The waning of the fear of comets reveals the shift brought about by the supersession of medieval cosmology (Cosmos) by early modern astronomy. In the old world view, all unusual celestial apparitions, such as comets, meteors, and shooting stars, were regarded as atmospheric phenomena, for Aristotelian cosmology only permitted complete and perfect circular orbits for the spheres of the stars, including the sun and moon. Comets, being irregular and transient phenomena, were therefore located benea…
Date: 2019-10-14

Determinism

(758 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
Seventeenth-century philosophy, under pressure from the new mathematical natural science, first developed the view that everything that happened and had happened in space, including human action, since the beginning of the world, was determined not by God and the “highest good” he defined, but, ineluctably and entirely, by unalterable laws of nature. However, the term “determinism” (antonym: “indeterminism”) was coined by German philosophers in the second half of the 18th century as they discuss…
Date: 2019-10-14

Natural philosophy

(3,400 words)

Author(s): Meinel, Christoph | Stengel, Friedemann | Evers, Dirk | Rueger, Alexander |
1. Concept and research positionsThe term “natural philosophy” lacks a unanimous definition. In the first centuries of the early modern period, it was still largely synonymous with a general science of nature that was a central component of philosophy. As empirical knowledge came to be regarded as the prototype of reliable (philosophical) knowledge (Empiricism; see below, 3.), so the term natural philosophy even began to be used as a synonym for experimental physics – it was still so used at Scottis…
Date: 2020-04-06

Natural Law/Law of Nature

(972 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Rudolph, Ulrich
[German Version] I. Science Natural laws express regular connections between natural phenomena, with the ideal aim of potential mathematical modeling. Depending on whether the connection is unconditionally valid, or merely describes probabilities, a distinction can be made between deterministic and statistical natural laws. In classical physics, all natural events are consistently determined by laws of causality; only epistemic chance in relation to the state of the observer’s knowledge is allowed (…

Necessity

(3,951 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Natural Sciences In the natural sciences, necessity usually appears as an implication of causal natural laws (Natural law/Law of nature), according to which by necessity an event A as a cause must be followed by an event B as its consequence. This necessity implied by laws of nature is not undisputed. Empiricism, which goes back to D. Hume, rejects the possibility of human insight into necessary causal connections, preferring to replace the concept of causal necessity with that of…

Field Theory

(1,046 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Lück, Helmut E.
[German Version] I. Classical Field Theory – II. Quantum Field Theory – III. Field Theory in the Social Sciences I. Classical Field Theory Field theories have an ancient forerunner in the Stoic theory of the pneuma; however, in the history of modern science they have their origin in the difficulties in applying the principles of discrete particles in Newtonian mechanics (I. Newton) to the behavior of deformable solid or liquid continua. In his writings on hydrodynamics, Leonhard Euler (1707–1783) was the first to b…

Annihilation

(939 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Thomas, Günter
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion – II. Dogmatics I. Philosophy of Religion The concept of annihilation has its roots in the scholastic theology of creation; it also belongs to the vocabulary of German mysticism, which speaks of the soul as being “reduced to nothing” in its union with God. In the first context, it addresses the problem of how a reversal of the creation process leading from existence to non-existence can be understood, and whether this can be ascribed to God alone (as the creator). Unlike mere corruptio, “annihilation” in scholastic theology …

Infinity

(1,645 words)

Author(s): Hühn, Lore | Evers, Dirk
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Dogmatics I. Philosophy Infinity is a key concept of ancient philosophy that combines a wide spectrum of meanings under the title ἄπειρον/ ápeiron: boundlessness and indeterminacy of the origins from which becoming emerged, that is, the fundamental principle of the physical world and of its objects (Anaximander); the limitlessness, to be evaluated negatively, which stands in opposition to the positive delimitation effected by number or measure (Pythagoras); t…

Natural Sciences

(7,736 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Berg, Christian | Murphy, Nancey | Ellis, George | Jackelén, Antje
[German Version] I. History 1. Antiquity. Although there is good reason to speak of natural science in the strict sense only with the dawn of the modern era, its roots actually go back to the beginnings of human history. Early scientific traditions arose from technical and practical knowledge acquired in dealing with nature, but they were also shaped by intellectual traditions that sought historical and mythological explanations for natural phenomena. Mathematics early on became a significant tool for…

Syntax

(345 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
[German Version] (from Gk σύνταξις/ sýntaxis, “ordering together”) is a term used in linguistics for the system of rules of a natural language (I) governing the correct formation of clauses and sentences of that language from individual words. It is an aspect of grammar. Classical grammar already made a distinction between the collocation of concrete morphemes and the analysis of their abstract syntactical usage, as is found in L. Wittgenstein’s distinction between deep grammar and surface grammar (“…

Gaia Theories

(350 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
[German Version] regard the earth as a self-regulating system that behaves like an organism. The British atmo-¶ spheric chemist, James E. Lovelock, justified this view in the 1960s. He pointed out that, in contrast to the inactive Mars, the earth, even viewed from outer space, already seems to be a “living” system because of its oxygen-rich atmosphere apart from its chemical balance. Its atmosphere, however, is a result of the process of respiration of earth's smallest living beings. Contrary to traditional Darw…

Probability

(716 words)

Author(s): Kober, Michael | Evers, Dirk | Gräb-Schmidt , Elisabeth
[German Version] I. Philosophy Objectively, probability is the measure of the chance that a particular event will take place (ontological probability); subjectively, it is the measure of the certainty or credibility of a statement (epistemic probability). The interest in ontological probability arising from decision theory, as in games of chance, led to the mathematical theory of probability (Andrey N. Kolmogorov; Chance). But we must distinguish the logical ( a priori) ¶ probability of throwing a six, namely 1/6, from its empirical ( a posteriori) probability, i.e. its actua…

Creation

(11,110 words)

Author(s): Friedli, Richard | Janowski, Bernd | Herrmann, Klaus | Wischmeyer, Oda | Gunton, Colin E. | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. History of Theology – VI. Creation and Preservation – VII. Religious Education – VIII. Islam – IX. Science – X. Art History I. History of Religion 1. Fundamentals Life, nature, the environment, the passage of time – these are everyday experiences for any society. But reality also includes the danger that this world may be imperiled or perilous. Chaos and death are part …

Teleology

(3,738 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Hewlett, Martinez J. | Angehrn, Emil | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. The Concept The word teleologia was a neologism coined in 1728 by C. Wolff ( Philosophia rationalis sive logica, 1728, §85) to denote the domain of natural philosophy that explains things on the basis of their end (Gk τέλος/ télos, “end, goal”; Ends and means); it was soon borrowed by other languages. In substance, however, the concept had an extensive prehistory. In the work of Aristotle, examination of phenomena on the basis of their “for-the-sake-of-which” (οὗ ἕνεκα/ hoú héneka) was one of the four forms of causality, which the Latin Middle Ages called causa finalis: …

Value/Values

(5,528 words)

Author(s): Großheim, Michael | Heesch, Matthias | Evers, Dirk | Mokrosch, Reinhold | Würtenberger, Thomas
[German Version] I. Philosophy The philosophical value concept is the result of a hypostatization of value predicates that are assigned to objects or circumstances as signs of human esteem. By way of inference, the evaluative assessment gives rise to a value, which is in turn meant to serve as a source of norms. R.H. Lotze developed the value concept in the mid-19th century, at a time when the upcoming natural sciences were increasingly challenging its claim to world interpretation. While Lotze relinquished the topics of “being,” of the indifferen…

Cybernetics

(1,190 words)

Author(s): Herzfeld, Noreen | Evers, Dirk | Seitz, Manfred
[German Version] I. Science – II. Ethics – III. Practical Theology I. Science Cybernetics denotes the science of the control and communication processes in machines and biological systems. Of particular interest for cybernetics are those systems that can regulate or organize themselves through feedback processes. Norbert Wiener coined the term cybernetics in 1947. It is the transliteration of the Greek κυβερνητική/ kybernētikḗ, “the helmsman's art.” Plato used this term both for the regulation of people and for the steering of a boat. To…

News Technology

(358 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
[German Version] In the broadest sense, the term news (or communication) technology covers the total technology of producing, transmitting, and processing news, including the technology of control and regulation; in the strict sense, though, the term refers just to electronic communication technologies as tools for optimizing the transmission of tokens with the help of electronic signals. First the invention of the electric telegraph by Samuel F.B. Morse, then later the telephone enabled remote co…
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