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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…


(1,623 words)

Author(s): Berg, Christian
[German Version] I. Standard Theories Initially conceived of as a caloric theory and later as general theory of energy, thermodynamics investigates the energetic properties of physical and chemical systems, and especially the transformations of the various forms of energy from one state to another. In addition to energy, the concept of entropy that developed from thermodynamics is also of central importance (see below). Thermodynamics itself is a branch of physics, but has greater relevance for other…


(351 words)

Author(s): Berg, Christian
[German Version] Lamarckism is a theory of the evolution of biological organisms that goes back to J.-B. de Lamarck. Around 1800 Lamarck broke with the established notion that biological species represented groups of living creatures unchanged since the dawn of creation. Drawing in part on fossil evidence, he explained graduated similarities between different complex organisms along with structural and functional differences as a consequence of ongoing modification in which species continually mut…


(5,115 words)

Author(s): Berg, Christian | Meisinger, Hubert | Krüger, Oliver | Schmidt, Jan C. | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Definitions 1. Technique In antiquity, τέϰνη/ technē originally meant special skill in handwork; it also denoted competence in reasonable action in other practical, artistic and philosophical areas. For Aristotle it is reasonable behavior directed to the production of praxis and poiesis ; technē imitates natural events, being distinct from them but embedded in them. In the modern period ¶ (Modernity), with criticism of Aristotelian metaphysics, the understanding of technique also changed. Technique became a key concept of modern culture…


(816 words)

Author(s): Berg, Christian
[German Version] While method in a general sense denotes a planned approach to achieving an aim (Gk μέϑοδος/ méthodos, “the way to something”), method-¶ ology is the science of such methods as strive to gain scientific knowledge. People have reflected since ancient times on the method of obtaining knowledge (cf. e.g. Dialectics, Logic), but the term “methodology” was first used in the 17th century. Today methodology, as part of scientific logic, is part of the philosophy of science. It has to present and justify the ge…

Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Antoine Pierre de Monet, Chevalier de

(268 words)

Author(s): Berg, Christian
[German Version] (Aug 1, 1744, Bazentin – Dec 18, 1829, Paris), French naturalist. Lamarck was the youngest of eleven children in an impoverished aristocratic family. During voluntary military service, he became a self-taught botanist; later he studied medicine. In 1778 he published a highly regarded work on the flora of France, in which he introduced a new method of identifying plants. In 1793 he was made professor of “insects, worms, and microscopic animals” in the newly created National Museum of Natural History. He introduced the term invertebrates for this group of fauna and…


(7,098 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Berg, Christian | Murphy, Nancey | Ellis, George | Jackele´n, Antje
[English Version] I. Geschichte 1.Antike. Zwar ist es sinnvoll, erst mit dem Beginn der Neuzeit von N. im eigentlichen Sinne zu sprechen. Doch ihre Wurzeln reichen zurück bis in die Anfänge der Menschheitsgesch. Frühe naturkundliche Traditionen entspringen technisch-praktischen Kenntnissen im Umgang mit der Natur, sind aber auch geprägt durch geistesgesch. Überlieferungen, die die Erscheinungen der Natur durch Gesch. und Mythen erklären wollen. Schon früh wird auch die Mathematik zur Darstellung un…


(1,309 words)

Author(s): Berg, Christian
[English Version] I. Klassische Theorien Zunächst als Wärme-, später als allg. Energielehre (Energie) begriffen, untersucht die Th. den Energiehaushalt physikalischer und chemischer Systeme, insbes. die Umwandlung verschiedener Energieformen ineinander. Neben der Energie ist die aus der Th. erwachsene Größe der Entropie von zentraler Bedeutung (s.u.). Die Th. selbst ist ein Teilgebiet der Physik, hat aber große Relevanz auch für andere Disziplinen. So ist sie grundlegend für die klassische theoretis…


(4,351 words)

Author(s): Berg, Christian | Meisinger, Hubert | Krüger, Oliver | Schmidt, Jan C. | Herms, Eilert
[English Version] I. Begrifflich 1.Technik In der Antike meinte τε´χn̆η/téchnē urspr. handwerkliches Spezialistenwissen, konnte dann aber auch die Kompetenz für vernünftiges Vorgehen in anderen praktischen, künstlerischen oder philos. Gebieten bez. Bei Aristoteles ist téchnē die auf ein Hervorbringen (Praxis/Poiesis) gerichtete vernünftige Haltung; téchnē imitiert das Naturgeschehen, von dem sie zwar unterschieden, in das sie aber eingebettet ist. Mit der Kritik der aristotelischen Metaphysik wandelt s…