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Plessner, Helmut

(254 words)

Author(s): Großheim, Michael
[German Version] (Sep 4, 1892, Wiesbaden – Jun 12, 1985, Göttingen), philosopher and sociologist; professor in Cologne, after emigration in 1933 in Groningen, after 1951 in Göttingen. His earliest works (1913) display an equal interest in both philosophy and biology. In Grenzen der Gemeinschaft (1924; ET: The Limits of Community, 1999), Plessner defended the importance of masks, functions, and roles in society against “social radicalism” with its ethos of openness, honesty, and brotherliness. As an alternative to the idea of authenticity he su…

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…

Gehlen, Arnold

(152 words)

Author(s): Großheim, Michael
[German Version] (Jan 29, 1904, Leipzig – Jan 30, 1976, Hamburg), philosopher and sociologist who taught at Leipzig (1934), Königsberg (Kaliningrad; 1938), Vienna (1940), Speyer (1947), and Aachen (1962). His habilitation thesis stands under the influence of phenomenology and existential philosophy; subsequently he took his lead from German Idealism (J.G. Fichte). In 1936 he turned to philosophical anthropology, for which he also made use of empirical (biological) research: as “deficient” but acti…

Klages, Ludwig

(388 words)

Author(s): Großheim, Michael
[German Version] (Dec 10, 1872, Hannover – Jul 29, 1956, Kilchberg), philosopher and psychologist. After beginnings in poetry that brought him close to S. George, Klages turned to science, into which he sought to integrate mystical experiences. While his metaphysics, which assumed a spirit from beyond space and time that broke into original life, is very distant from contemporary thought, the following elements are still significant: (1) his critique of culture, especially in Mensch und Erde (1913), an early ecological manifesto with its rigorous condemnation of the hu…

Simmel, Georg

(290 words)

Author(s): Großheim, Michael
[German Version] (Mar 1, 1858, Berlin – Sep 26, 1918, Strasbourg), philosopher and sociologist. After lecturing in Berlin, he was appointed professor in Straßburg in 1914. His work fell into three phases. (1) From 1879 to 1900, Simmel was a positivist, adopting the biolo-¶ gism of H. Spencer and leaning toward Pragmatism. From 1894 on he published essays on sociology. (2) His Philosophie des Geldes (1900; ET: The Philosophy of Money, 1978) added treatment of the theory of value; the revised edition of his Probleme der Geschichtsphilosophie (1905; ET: Problems of the Philosophy of Hi…

Psychologism

(244 words)

Author(s): Großheim, Michael
[German Version] The term psychologism is usually employed pejoratively to describe what is seen as a problematic confusion of logical and psychological categories or ambitious attempts to ground logic in psychology. The charge of psychologism is directed against relativism regarding truth (dependence of cognition on individual psychological states or features of the human species) and genetic reductionism (dependence of knowledge on psychological causes). Criticism of psychologism began toward the …

Death

(11,861 words)

Author(s): Heller, Birgit | Cancik, Hubert | Liess, Kathrin | Necker, Gerold | Goldberg, Sylvie-Anne | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies and History of Religions – II. Death and the Realm of the Dead in the Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. Philosophy – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. History of Dogma and Dogmatics – VIII. Ethics – IX. Practical Theology – X. Art – XI. Islam – XII. Buddhism – XIII. Hinduism I. Religious Studies and History of Religions 1. General Modern religious criticism regards religion as compensation for human anxiety in the face of death. …

Nihilism

(1,196 words)

Author(s): Großheim, Michael
[German Version] The word “nihilism” is derived from Latin nihil (“not”) or nihilum (“nothing”); the medieval Latin preliminary concepts nichilianista (“one who believes in nothing,” “heretic”) and annihilare (“to destroy, to negate,” in the sense of a total annihilation of the world) exerted no direct influence on the modern history of the concept. The concept of nihilism that has been commonly employed from the 19th century to the present refers to a mental situation in which all schemes of human life (norms, purposes, …

Freyer, Hans

(164 words)

Author(s): Großheim, Michael
[German Version] (Jul 31, 1887, Leipzig – Jan 18, 1969, Ebersteinburg), philosopher and sociologist; 1922–1925, professor in Kiel; 1925–1947 in Leipzig; 1955–1963 in Münster. His first works were written in the spirit of the Jugendbewegung (youth movement) and under the influence of G. Simmel. In his scientific work he endeavored to lay the foundation for sociology as Wirklichkeitswissenschaft [science of reality] (1930); in addition, his political publications are to be reckoned as part of the “conservative revolution.” Then came ¶ studies in history and, later, in the soc…

Dasein

(652 words)

Author(s): Großheim, Michael
[German Version] I. Dasein – II. Dasein Analysis I. Dasein 1. General The German term Dasein refers to the reality of things (Lat. existentia, which C. Wolff translated into German as Dasein, lit. “being there”) in contradistinction to their essence (Ger. Sosein, “being so”) and to the actuality of facts (i.e. that such-and-such is the case). In early Greek philosophy and also in Plato, Dasein does not receive much attention as an independent topic, there being more interest in determining the what and the how of things. Although Aristotle inquires concerning Dasein in his Posterior An…

Decision

(992 words)

Author(s): Großheim, Michael | Zehner, Joachim | Andersen, Svend
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Dogmatics – III. Ethics I. Philosophy The process of clarifying an uncertain, unclear situation that demands a reaction is essentially linked to decision as a choice between several possibilities of action. The scope of the term ranges from the more distanced judicial decision to the personal life decision. What is variable here is the amount of rational …