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Organism

(2,672 words)

Author(s): Dierken, Jörg
1. Term The term “organism” (from Gk. organon and Lat. organum, “instrument, sensory organ”), in common use since the 18th century, denotes an integrated, self-reproducing whole that in view of its inner teleology is more than the sum of its parts, even though the process of self-realization is possible only through the functions of the parts. In the biological and philosophical sense (Nature; Philosophy of Nature), “organism” has the basic sense of the structure of a living creature with all its individ…

Spiritualism

(2,147 words)

Author(s): Dierken, Jörg
1. Term Developed in the 17th century, “spiritualism” (from Lat. spiritus, and representing Gk. nous or pneuma) became in the 18th and 19th centuries a master term for philosophical systems that made mind or spirit their supreme principle. Mind or spirit, however, is a complex phenomenon and covers a broad spectrum, and we cannot give any comprehensive or precise and positive meaning to the term “spiritualism.” Counterpositions are materialism and positivism. If one uses the term in philosophy, it must be differentiated from an understanding of spiritualism stemmin…

Cramer, Wolfgang

(175 words)

Author(s): Dierken, Jörg
[German Version] (Oct 18, 1901, Hamburg – Apr 2, 1974, Frankfurt am Main), professor of philosophy in Frankfurt from 1951. Cramer's work combined (a) a transcendental ontology of subjectivity classified as category theory with (b) a speculative theory of the absolute. The former (a), starting from the individual subject, answers the “fundamental question” of the ¶ object of knowledge, an object known to be non-posited, with a “monadological” (G.W. Leibniz) and original productivity of consciousness. The latter (b) supplies the q…

Rationalism

(2,563 words)

Author(s): Dierken, Jörg | Brown, Robert F.
1. Term “Rationalism” and its cognates in European languages derived in the 17th century from Lat. ratio, “reckoning,” also “reason,” “plan,” or “theory”; also “the faculty that calculates and plans.” In religion the term designates standpoints based on reason that are critical of beliefs and practices relying on authority and revelation. More broadly, rationalism is any philosophical position affirming the ability of thinking, apart from sensory experience, to discover fundamental truths about the world or re…

Dialectics

(1,311 words)

Author(s): Wieland, Wolfgang | Dierken, Jörg | Korsch, Dietrich
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Dogmatics I. Philosophy In philosophy, the concept of dialectics serves to characterize various types of thought which share the tendency to seek out contradictions or other oppositions and render them fruitful for cognition. Dialectics takes contradictions as the occasion to develop viewpoints as conditions under which the contra…

Dualism

(3,097 words)

Author(s): Stroumsa, Guy G. | Casadio, Giovanni | Zenkert, Georg | Dierken, Jörg
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Philosophy – IV. Philosophy of Religion and Dogmatics I. Religious Studies Thomas Hyde seems to have coined the term dualism, which he used in his Historia religionis veterum Persarum (Oxford 1700) to describe the essential theological objectives of Zoroastrianism (Zarathustra/Zoroastrianism). The term comes into Western European languages between the mid-18th and …

Consciousness

(1,601 words)

Author(s): Waldenfels, Hans | Horowski, Reinhard | Hampe, Michael | Dierken, Jörg
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Natural Sciences – III. Philosophy – IV. Philosophy of Religion and Fundamental Theology I. Religious Studies The modern development of the concept of consciousness, in conjunction with the simultaneous concern for data in religious studies, has led to the question of the locus and understanding of consciousness in non-European systems of thought and religion. The underlying reality of the basic Western understanding of consciousness, which was rathe…