Grundbegriffe der Philosophie

transcendent philosophy, term describing systems holding that there are modes of being beyond the reach of mundane experience. It is closely associated with Kant, who states that transcendental elements of thought (such as concepts of space and time and categories of judgement) cannot be perceived directly through experience; nevertheless, they add to empirical knowledge. He called these elements noumena (as opposed to phenomena).

1. Philosophy. Concerned with the a priori or intuitive basis of knowledge as independent of experience. Asserting a fundamental irrationality or supernatural element in experience.
2. Beyond common thought or experience; mystical or supernatural.
(trânscendere trans- + scandere, to climb)

... in philosophy, term describing systems holding that there are modes of being beyond the reach of mundane experience. It is closely associated with Kant, who states that transcendental elements of thought (such as concepts of space and time and categories of judgment) cannot be perceived directly through experience; nevertheless, they add to empirical knowledge. He called these elements noumena (as opposed to phenomena).
(trânscendere : trâns-, trans- + scandere, to climb)

1. Philosophy. The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value.
2. A priori speculation upon questions that are unanswerable to scientific observation, analysis, or experiment.
(Ta meta ta phusika, (the things) after the physics, the title of Aristotle's treatise on first principles (so called because it followed his work on physics); meta, after; phusikos, of nature, from phusis, nature)
3. Ontology (the study of the nature of being), cosmology, and philosophical theology are its main branches. The term comes from the metaphysical treatises of Aristotle , who presented the First Philosophy (as he called it) after the Physics - meta-physic = after physics.

a priori
1. Proceeding from a known or assumed cause to a necessarily related effect; deductive.
2. Based on a hypothesis or theory rather than on experiment or experience.
3. Made before or without examination; not supported by factual study.
(â priorì: â, from + priorì, former)

The branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of being.
(on, ont-, present participle of einai, to be)

1. Philosophy. The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena.
2. The theory or doctrine that physical well-being and worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life.
(mâteria, matter)

in philosophy, is the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of moral principles, which may be viewed as the individual's standard of conduct or as a body of social obligations and duties.
The field of ethics has several subdivisions.
- Descriptive ethics, as its name suggests, examines and evaluates ethical behavior of different peoples or social groups.
- Normative, or prescriptive, ethics is concerned with examining and applying the judgments of what is morally right or wrong, good or bad. It examines the question of whether there are standards for ethical conduct and, if so, what those standards are.
- Comparative ethics is the study of differing ethical systems to learn their similarities and contrasts.
1. An occurrence, a circumstance, or a fact that is perceptible by the senses.
2. Philosophy. a. That which appears real to the mind, regardless of whether its underlying existence is proved or its nature understood. b. In Kantian philosophy, the appearance of an object to the mind as opposed to its existence in and of itself, independent of the mind.
3. Physics. An observable event.
(phainomenon, from neuter present participle of phainesthai, to appear)
The word phenomenon (plural, phenomena) comes from the Greek word for appearance and is generally understood to refer to an observable object or event, something that appears to the consciousness.
In philosophy
, the term has often been used to designate that which appears to be as opposed to that which really is, although the notion of what constitutes appearance and reality varies enormously among philosophers. 20th-century philosophical movement dedicated to describing the structures of experience as they present themselves to consciousness, without recourse to theory, deduction, or assumptions from other disciplines such as the natural sciences.
Phenomenology is a school of philosophy whose principal purpose is to study the phenomena, or appearances, of human experience while attempting to suspend all consideration of their objective reality or subjective association. The phenomena studied are those experienced in various acts of consciousness, mainly cognitive or perceptual acts, but also in such acts as valuation and aesthetic appreciation (Husserl, Heidegger).
More about phenomenology!
Positivism is a philosophical movement characterized by an emphasis upon science and scientific method as the only sources of knowledge, a sharp distinction between the realms of fact and value, and a strong hostility toward religion and traditional philosophy--especially metaphysics.
Positivism rejects pure speculation as a form of self-indulgence. It says that assertions must be subject to verification. Auguste Comte attempted to apply the methods of the natural sciences to the discovery of social laws. Hostility toward traditional thought was especially strong in Comte, who denied the possibility of metaphysical knowledge, which he held to be a stagnant and useless branch of inquiry. He demanded a "sociocracy" ruled by scientists for the unity, conformity, and progress of all humanity.
Logical positivism (logical empiricism)
This school of philosophy attempted in the 1920s to introduce the methodology and precision of mathematics to the study of philosophy, much as had been done in symbolic logic. Led by the Vienna Circle, a group including the philosophers Rudolf Carnap and Moritz Schlick and the mathematician Kurt Gödel, the logical positivists held
- that metaphysical speculation is nonsensical and meaningless,
- that logical and mathematical propositions are tautological
- that moral and value statements are merely emotive.
The function of philosophy, they maintained, is to clarify concepts in both everyday and scientific language. The movement received its inspiration from the work of Frege, Bertrand Russell, and Wittgenstein.
The main theses of logical positivism may be briefly stated as follows:

(1) A proposition, or a statement, is factually meaningful only if it is verifiable. This is understood in the sense that the proposition can be judged probable from experience, not in the sense that its truth can be conclusively established by experience.
(2) A proposition is verifiable only if it is either an experiential proposition or one from which some experiential proposition can be deduced in conjunction with other premises.
(3) A proposition is formally meaningful only if it is true by virtue of the definitions of its terms--that is, tautologous.
(4) The laws of logic and mathematics are all tautologous.
(5) A proposition is literally meaningful only if it is either verifiable or tautologous.
(6) Since metaphysical statements are neither verifiable nor tautologous, they are literally meaningless.
(7) Since ethical, aesthetical, and theological statements also fail to meet the same conditions, they too are cognitively meaningless--although they may possess "emotive" meaning.
(8) Since metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of religion, and aesthetics are all eliminated, the only tasks of philosophy are clarification and analysis. Thus, the propositions of philosophy are linguistic, not factual, and philosophy is a department of logic.

The Vienna Circle disintegrated in the late 1930s after the Nazis took Austria, but its influence spread throughout Europe and America, and its concept continues in the modern emphasis on the analysis of language as a function of philosophy.

Induction a major kind of reasoning process in which a conclusion is drawn from particular cases. In inductive reasoning there is no logical movement from premises to conclusion. The premises constitute good reasons for accepting the conclusion.
The premises in inductive reasoning are usually based on facts or observations. There is always a possibility, though, that the premises may be true while the conclusion is false, since there is not necessarily a logical relationship between premises and conclusion.
For example, a child growing up in a community where only English is spoken may wrongly conclude by induction that everyone in the world speaks English.

Inductive reasoning plays a very important role in our acquisition of knowledge about the world. Practically all our scientific and practical knowledge is based on induction. Past experience is used as the basis for generalizing about future experience.

David HUME pointed out what is now called the problem of induction, namely, that the results of the inductive processes are always in doubt, because one cannot justify the movement to the conclusion, and the conclusion can turn out to be false.
There has been a great deal of work in the last 200 years in the philosophy of science to find some solution to Hume's analysis-some way of justifying inductive procedures. This type of study continues because, Hume's arguments notwithstanding, inductive reasoning is essential to science, law, and other fields of knowledge.

What is called mathematical induction is actually not a form of induction at all; rather, it is a special kind of deductive mathematical reasoning process.

Deduction a method of logical reasoning, as well as the conclusion reached by use of such a method. The deductive method is the method of proof that is used in any situation for which there exists a set of underlying assumptions (axioms or postulates).
Any conclusion reached by the deductive method, however, must be true in all circumstances in which the assumptions are true.

In each area of knowledge that has a set of underlying assumptions, the deductive method is used to discover as many consequences as possible. If some of the consequences do not fit the observations, then revisions of the assumptions are considered in an effort to make the theoretical consequences compatible with the observations.


One of the most distinctive of Aristotle's philosophic contributions was a new notion of causality. Each thing or event, he thought, has more than one "reason" that helps to explain what, why, and where it is. Earlier Greek thinkers had tended to assume that only one sort of cause can be really explanatory; Aristotle proposed four. (The word Aristotle uses, aition, "a responsible, explanatory factor" is not synonymous with the word cause in its modern sense.) These four causes are the

material cause, the matter out of which a thing is made;
the efficient cause, the source of motion, generation, or change;
the formal cause, which is the species, kind, or type;
and the final cause, the goal, or full development, of an individual, or the intended function of a construction or invention.

Thus, a young lion is made up of tissues and organs, its material cause;
the efficient cause is its parents, who generated it;
the formal cause is its species, lion;
and its final cause is its built-in drive toward becoming a mature specimen.
In different contexts, while the causes are the same four, they apply analogically. Thus, the material cause of a statue is the marble from which it was carved;
the efficient cause is the sculptor;
the formal cause is the shape the sculptor realizedóHermes, perhaps, or Aphrodite;
and the final cause is its function, to be a work of fine art.
The material cause is what anything is made of, for example, brass or marble is the material cause of a given statue.
The formal cause is the form, type, or pattern according to which anything is made;
thus, the style of architecture would be the formal cause of a house.
The efficient cause is the immediate power acting to produce the work, such as the manual energy of the laborers.
The final cause is the end or motive for the sake of which the work is produced, that is, the pleasure of the owner.

In each context, Aristotle insists that something can be better understood when its causes can be stated in specific terms rather than in general terms. Thus, it is more informative to know that a "sculptor" made the statue than to know that an "artist" made it; and even more informative to know that "Polycleitus" chiseled it rather than simply that a "sculptor" did so.
Aristotle thought his causal pattern was the ideal key for organizing knowledge.
His lecture notes present impressive evidence of the power of this scheme.

Rival Notions

In early modern philosophy, Aristotle's laws of causality were again challenged, resulting in two rival notions of cause.

The French philosopher and mathematician Renè Descartes and his school made cause identical with substance. The physical scientists often had a mechanical view of causality, reducing cause to a motion or change followed by other motion or change with a mathematical equality between measures of motion.

The British philosopher David Hume carried to a logical conclusion the contention of Sextus Empiricus that causality is not a real relation, but a fiction of the mind. To account for the origin of this fiction Hume used the doctrine of association.

Hume's explanation of cause led the German philosopher Immanuel Kant to posit cause as a fundamental category of understanding. Kant held that the only knowable objective world is the product of a synthetic activity of the mind. He accepted Hume's skeptical result as far as it concerned itself with the world of things-in-themselves. Dissatisfied, however, with the concept that experience is only a succession of perceptions without any discoverable relationship or coherence, Kant decided that causality is one of the principles of coherence obtaining in the world of phenomena, and that it is universally present there because thought, as part of its contribution to the nature of that world, always puts it there.

The British philosopher John Stuart Mill took up the problem at this point. He denied the fundamental postulate of Kant's transcendentalism, namely, that thought is responsible for the order of this world. Mill sought to justify belief in universal causation on empiricist principles; for him, a proposition is meaningful only if it describes what can be experienced.

Modern Directions

Along with the method of empiricism as the source of all knowledge goes a definition of cause that is widely accepted today. The cause of any event is a preceding event without which the event in question would not have occurred. This is a mechanistic view of causality popular in scientific circles. All the previous events would constitute the complete cause.
Many philosophers deny the ultimate reality, or at least the fundamental validity, of the causal relation.
Thus, the American philosopher Josiah Royce maintained that the category of serial order, of which the category of cause is a particular case, is itself subordinate to the ultimate category of purpose.
The French philosopher Henri Bergson maintained that ultimate reality or life is not bound by exact causal sequences. It is a process of growth in which the unpredictable, and therefore the uncaused, constantly occurs. No exact repetition happens in real time; and where there is no repetition, there is no cause, for cause means the antecedent that repeatedly is followed by the same consequence.

The French existentialist Jean Paul Sartre attempted to adapt Heidegger's phenomenology to the philosophy of consciousness, thereby in effect returning to Husserl. He agreed with Husserl that consciousness is always directed at objects but criticized his claim that such directedness is possible only by means of special mental entities called meanings.
Sartre first gave the term existentialism general currency by using it for his own philosophy and by becoming the leading figure of a distinct movement in France that became internationally influential after World War II. Sartre's philosophy is explicitly atheistic and pessimistic; he declared that human beings require a rational basis for their lives but are unable to achieve one, and thus human life is a "futile passion".
Sartre nevertheless insisted that his existentialism is a form of humanism, and he strongly emphasized human freedom, choice, and responsibility. He eventually tried to reconcile these existentialist concepts with a Marxist analysis of society and history.
The French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty rejected Sartre's view that phenomenological description reveals human beings to be pure, isolated, and free consciousnesses. He stressed the role of the active, involved body in all human knowledge, thus generalizing Heidegger's insights to include the analysis of perception. Like Heidegger and Sartre, Merleau-Ponty is an existential phenomenologist, in that he denies the possibility of bracketing existence.
Phenomenology has had a pervasive influence on 20th-century thought. Phenomenological versions of theology, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, and literary criticism have been developed, and phenomenology remains one of the most important schools of contemporary philosophy. Although obviously related, phenomenology should be distinguished from phenomenalism, the view that human knowledge is limited to phenomena.
More about
phenomenology and other important schools of contemporary philosophy as structuralism, Deconstructionism!

Phenomenological Therapy
Phenomenological approaches view people as naturally evolving in the direction of psychological growth and maturity. Society may hinder this process by imposing false values and causing the individual to distort his or her awareness of experience. Emotional disorder results from this distortion. The goal of therapy is to restore the patient's natural self-direction by helping him or her to become aware of distorted or denied feelings and emotions. The therapist attempts, as far as possible, to understand the subjective experience of the patient and to communicate back--and thus clarify--this experience. The therapist is an active, empathetic listener who provides an accepting atmosphere and helps the patient to regain awareness and thus control of his or her emotions and behavior. Emphasis is on present experience as opposed to recollections of early development. In some forms of phenomenological therapy the therapist may use various exercises to elicit emotional responses within the therapy session.
The CLIENT-CENTERED THERAPY of Carl ROGERS is a well-developed example of this type of approach. Fritz Perl's Gestalt therapy is a related technique that uses therapy exercises. The existential approaches of Abraham MASLOW and Rollo May can also be grouped here.


... in philosophy, method of investigating the nature of truth by critical analysis of concepts and hypotheses. One of the earliest examples of the dialectical method was the Dialogues of Plato, in which the author sought to study truth through discussion in the form of questions and answers.
The term dialectic has both logical and metaphysical meanings in philosophy. In logic, it generally refers to a process of critical reasoning used either for refutation or for the discovery of truth.
Plato conceived of dialectic primarily as question and answer, and as the critical dialogue one has with one's soul. In the 18th century KANT used the term dialectic systematically in his CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON, arranging the four contradictions of pure reason as four sets of thesis and antithesis. For Hegel, dialectic is a threefold process in which reason is revealed through reality, which is both rational and spiritual in nature.
Aristotle thought of dialectic as the search for the philosophic basis of science, and he frequently used the term as a synonym for logic. In his logic, Aristotle distinguished between dialectic and analytic. Dialectic, he held, only tests opinions for their logical consistency; analytic works deductively from principles resting on experience and precise observation. This is clearly an intended break with Plato's Academy, where dialectic was supposed to be the only proper method for science and philosophy alike.
To the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, dialectic meant the study of ultimate realities as distinguished from objective phenomena.
Johann Gottlieb Fichte, followed by Friedrich Wilh. Joseph von Schelling, applied the term synthesis to the third stage of resolving the contradictions in the thesis and antithesis. This triadic concept, which characterizes the usual meaning of the term dialectic today, was advanced and elaborated by HEGEL and MARX.

Dialectical materialism
Dialectical materialism is the philosophical basis of the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The so-called dialectical materialism of Karl Marx, frequently considered to be a revision of the Hegelian system, asserts that the material or objective universe exists independently of mind, which is essentially a reflection of material reality. The materialist denies transcendence and affirms the ultimate reality of the physical world, beyond which nothing exists. Thus all phenomena, including human behavior, are regarded as having their origins in the material universe. Change is viewed as the result of the interaction of opposites. Each thing that exists (thesis) gives rise to its opposite (antithesis); the interaction of thesis and antithesis is ultimately reconciled (synthesis) to become a new thesis. Marx and Engels used these assumptions to analyze and explain historical development. They saw human actions as motivated by the material, particularly the economic, circumstances of the individual, and interpreted history as the interaction of economic forces. According to Marx and Engels, the 19th-century's dialectic was the opposition of the BOURGEOISIE and PROLETARIAT, which would lead to the ultimate synthesis, a classless society.

The science that analyzes and compares human cultures, as in social structure, language, religion, and technology; cultural anthropology. The branch of anthropology that deals with the origin, distribution, and characteristics of the races of humankind.
(ethnos, people)

1. The scientific study of animal behavior, especially as it occurs in a natural environment.
2. The study of human ethos and its formation.
(êthos, character)

Dada or Dadaism nihilistic movement among European artists and writers, 1916-22. It originated in Zürich with the French poet Tristan Tzara and stressed absurdity and the role of the unpredictable in artistic creation (Jean ARP, Max ERNST, Marcel DUCHAMP, George GROSZ). The literary manifestations of Dada were mostly nonsense poems-meaningless and random word combinations.

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