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Philosophy of Science

(2,337 words)

Author(s): Linde, Gesche
[German Version] I. History The theory or philosophy of science is the theory of the conditions – in particular the structure, acquisition, and explication – of (institutionalized) scientific knowledge(Science); as such it is part of theoretical philosophy. There were already antecedents in antiquity, especially in Plato and Aristotle but also among the Stoics in the distinction (observed into the modern period) between immutable (true) knowledge, (variable) opinion, and belief. In the Middle Ages, as knowledge was institutionalize…

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…

Rationality

(2,088 words)

Author(s): Fricke, Christel | Petzoldt, Matthias | Huxel, Kirsten | Linde, Gesche
[German Version] I. Philosophy Rationality is derived from Latin ratio (“calculation, consideration, reason”) and medieval Latin rationalitas (“reason, capacity for thought”). The term denotes various intellectual capacities that distinguish human beings as “rational animals” from the other more highly developed animals. In German, from the 18th century, these capacities were generally designated as Verstand (Intellect: I) and Vernunft (Reason: I). Under the influence of the English term rationality, and the usage of various scientific disciplines, especially s…

Imagination

(2,195 words)

Author(s): Recki, Birgit | Linde, Gesche
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Ethics – IV. Power of Imagination I. Philosophy Imagination or fantasy (Gk φαντασία/ phantasía, Lat. phantasia; Lat./Eng./Fr. imaginatio[n], “appearance, mental image, idea”; cf. also Gk φάντασμα/ phántasma, “appearance, dream image, vision”) is the primarily pictographic conception of things that dominates in memory and recreation (as in dreams). Its elementary activity also contributes to academic insights, technical inventions, and artistic production. Ever s…

Realism

(4,743 words)

Author(s): Kober, Michael | Großhans, Hans-Peter | Kitschen , Friederike | Hartwich, Wolf-Daniel | Linde, Gesche
[German Version] I. Philosophy Realism in a given area B means the ontological thesis that names or terms used in a theory of B refer to things that exist independently of human thought. For example, in natural realism the existence of stones, trees, and ¶ tables is assumed; in scientific realism, that of electrons, force fields, and quarks (see V below); in mathematical realism, that of numbers and quantities; or in ethical realism, that of moral values. Critics of realism object, for example, that moral values are an expression of value…

Signs

(2,878 words)

Author(s): Esterbauer, Reinhold | Alles, Gregory D. | Kober, Michael | Ochs, Peter | Linde, Gesche | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology The term sign usually means something perceptible to the senses that signifies something else, which gives it its specific meaning. In theological and philosophical usage, it differs from the term symbol (Symbols), although the latter is sometimes used synonymously with sign in semiotics and mathematics as well as in logic. While Aristotle used the term σημεῖον/ sēmeíon in various contexts – including his theory of conclusions –,Augustine of Hippo associated the theory of signs more closely with the theory of language (Phi…

Pragmatism

(3,095 words)

Author(s): Linde, Gesche | Pape, Helmut | Grube, Dirk-Martin | Huxel, Kirsten
[German Version] I. The Term and Its Impact Though there was scattered use of the term in German historiography (Ernst Bernheim) and 19th-century German and French philosophy (Conrad Herrmann, M. Blondel), the concept and term go back to C.S. Peirce (see also II below), who introduced the concept in How to Make Our Ideas Clear (1878), the term in 1902 in J. Baldwin’s Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, and both orally between 1871 and 1873 ¶ in the Metaphysical Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He used the term for a logical maxim that the meaning of concepts must…