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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

Occultism

(2,147 words)

Author(s): Stengel, Friedemann | Reichmuth, Stefan
1. EuropeOccultism took institutional shape in Europe in 1875, with the foundation of the Theosophical Society by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott (Theosophy). At the same time, it developed as a theoretical system opposed to contemporary materialism and directed against the established churches, and closely associated with 19th-century esoterica. The essence of this theory was the assumption of immaterial, supra-sensory forces arising from a “fluid,” “astral light,” or “animal so…
Date: 2020-04-06