How do different philosophers define philosophy

Who philosophizes - lives!

Jos Schnurer

published on 01/28/2014

Philosophy is generally translated as "love of wisdom", as thinking about what human existence is, what a good, successful life could look like. As an intellectual requirement, Aristotle defines philosophy as the science of truth (alêtheia); and the “classic of philosophy”, Immanuel Kant, combines knowledge and criticism by stating that man can only know what is owed to thought. That is why he asks people: Sapere aude - have the courage to use your own understanding! The basic philosophical question: “What is a human being?” Therefore determines the search for the human being: “What can I know? - What should I do? - What can I hope for? ”. The human being as zôon politikon “, as a politically thinking living being that is aware of its actions, as Aristotle postulated, is not only capable of critical thinking, but is part of being human, independent and enlightened as a free individual and as a community live and articulate yourself.

The reflection on the annotated literature on the importance of philosophizing in human life - after all, "every person is a philosopher" - wants to make it clear that thinking about oneself and the world is not a task for professional philosophers (alone), but that every person philosophizes can learn!

Collage philosophy compiled by Dr. Jos Schnurer

say the truth

Thinking is a great argument! On the one hand, thinking is always determined by the object thought and is therefore the object of thinking; on the other hand, the quality of thinking depends on what is being thought (M. Bordt, in: Otfried Höffe, Aristoteles-Lexikon, Stuttgart 2005, p. 374ff). In the philosophical and psychological diction, thinking is only significant when thinking is the basis of individual consciousness, presents itself as a continuous as well as changeable process and shows itself as independent thinking - because the homo intellectus is a living being naturally endowed with reason. The question of what independent thinking is and how it manifests itself in philosophical discourse requires careful consideration, namely historical reflection on how independent thinking developed in its classical forms in order to gain criteria for contemporary thinking. Because thinking is as self-evident in the popular meaning “as walking and talking, chewing and having an appetite” (Carl Friedrich Graumann, Ed., Denk, Cologne 1969, p. 16); and so complex, complicated and controversial when thinking about thinking. To be able to explain the discrepancies and contradictions, “modern discontinuity (s)” must be pointed out. It is important to clarify terms as they are used in the discourse about “momentaryism” historically and in modern times; for example, what is meant by "temporalization" in the popular law of modernity. The “moment as function” and the “moment as substance” are made clear in numerous (literary and philosophical) sources and make it clear that “the change from function to substance within the temporal method cannot simply be explained in terms of epoch-history”. The question of what power philosophy still has today arises particularly when reflecting on the history of the impact philosophy had and has in the respective present, which undoubtedly also includes a question of (social) power. Continued, this means assessing whether philosophy presents itself as a systematic discipline or subject in the scientific community. Because being critical is viewed and lived in many ways today, and cultural and social criticism is also en vogue in academic discourse, it is definitely worthwhile to ask to what extent a "saving" criticism (Habermas) differs from the one that raises awareness: Is “Criticism at the end of cultural (and ideological) criticism” a contradiction that has become historical, or a contradiction inherent in criticism and an outrage against contemporary life based in literature? [1].

Who am I?

How do the philosophical, psychological and neurobiological insights into the consciousness of ourselves fit together? The knowing, existential “ego sum” - I am - must be preceded by a knowledge of the self and the world; that is, the question of "Who am I?" must include the question of "Who are the others?" Philosophers have pondered it at all times of human thought and senses, argued about it and defined commonalities. And yet, as the philosopher Richard David Precht notes, to this day, despite the many learned thoughts and reflections, the effort to discuss "the systematic interest in the great overarching questions" not only in the scholarly rooms, but in the man the woman to bring the child. An existential determination of the position requires temporal and spatial confirmation. In all searching, doubting, confirming and questioning certainties, Precht is the same as the magician Dalben in Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles when he says: "Often the search for the answer is more important than the answer itself". That is probably the secret when you go in search of the self: learning to ask questions, having the courage to ask, being curious about yourself and the world, to be fellow human beings and to have respect for yourself, other living beings and nature. These include the philosophical paradigms as they have been handed down and inscribed to us, such as the categorical imperative, which is popularly expressed in: "What you do not want to be done to you, do not do it to anyone else!" And in the Willingness and ability to fill one's own life with eu zên, a good life [2].

Diversity and diversity

Human expectations and perspectives are based either on the pessimistic, natural law conceptions that the human being is a wolf (Titus Maccius Plautus / Thomas Hobbes), or on the fact that he is a zôon politikon, a political living being that has reason and the will to is endowed with a “good life” and is dependent on living in community with people (Aristotle). The questions that arise about the respective positions are based in the same way on how the differences of people are viewed and interpreted philosophically and practically. The convictions based on freedom and human rights of the diversity and difference of the human race in its humane unity must be realized in scientific and social discourse, elaborated in theories and realized in social and everyday practices [3]

Born with dignity

"Recognition of the dignity inherent in all members of the human family and their equal and inalienable rights (forms) the basis of freedom, justice and peace in the world". This definition of humanity, which was first postulated in the preamble of the Universal Declaration proclaimed by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, and the principle clearly set out in Article 1 - “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should meet one another in a spirit of brotherhood ”- is considered a global ethic and obligation for all people. Fundamental, set, acquired and “felt” values ​​and norms that demand and regulate a just and peaceful coexistence of all people on earth are of course always subject to the misery that the implicit assumptions of insight, responsibility and peacefulness all too often fail exist and are overlaid by egoisms, opportunisms and nationalisms. Because the concept of “dignity” is so clear and at the same time so differently interpreted, it is worthwhile and commendable that one should start looking for clarity in local and global social discourse. Peter Bieri, born in Bern in 1944, has a reputation for being a "lateral thinker" and a "non-conformist". He taught as a philosopher at the Universities of Bielefeld, Marburg and at the FU in Berlin and is also active as a writer under the pseudonym Pascal Mercier. With his criticism of the (capitalist, economic use and exploitation processes) scientific enterprise, he joins the phalanx of those who warn that the accumulation of scientific knowledge is being displaced by the accumulation of capital. Bieri first assumes the metaphysical and philosophical understanding that stands behind the concept of dignity and defines dignity "as a certain way of living a human life ... (as) a pattern of thinking, experiencing and doing". He assumes that a keen and close look at the diverse life experiences is enough to get on the track of this ethical value. He approaches the challenge by asking three questions: How am I being treated by other people? - How do I treat other people? - How do I feel about myself? There are unquestionably philosophical questions after Kant's three-step: “What can I know? What should I do? What can I hope for ". These premises can be chiseled into commandments, poured into laws or written into constitutions. This allows them to develop into guidelines or shackles. But it could also be possible to understand human dignity as a risk, as a challenge that spreads, confronts and opens up as an obstacle or even as a trap in everyday thinking and doing [4]

Awareness is more than being awake

“Cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”) is how the French philosopher and scientist René Descartes (1596 - 1650) expressed his knowledge of himself, showing that people are immediately aware of their thoughts while he only perceives immediately the things that affect him from the outside world. So it is already evident in this early philosophical classification that our consciousness is part of our mind and thus of our individual existence. "Without consciousness, the personal view is suspended, we know nothing of our existence, and we also do not know that anything else exists". The existential question “Who am I?”, Which every human being asks and has to ask, is the basis for being human and for being human, both for one's own and collective identity. It's a philosophical and everyday question; and the answers to these are taken for granted, like surprises and discoveries. But how does our consciousness arise? There are also philosophical answers to this question, such as conjectures. One of the answers is: From our conscious mind. But what our mind is cannot be measured and certainly not looked at; because we only sense our spirit from within. The assumption that our spirit arises in our brain calls - in addition to the philosophers - those who know our brain as an organ: the neurologists and psychologists. The Portuguese neuroscientist from the University of Southern California, António R. Damásio, deals with two exciting questions in his book “Self is man”: “How does the brain build a mind?” And “How does the brain take care of it Mind for Consciousness? ”. Damasio's research on consciousness confronts the previous postulates received from Descartes that there is a separation between body and mind; rather, he assumes that there is a constitutive connection between body and mind and that the properties constantly influence one another [5].

Wild thinking is dead - long live wild thinking!

One of the magic words in the increasingly interdependent, unbounded and globalizing (one?) World is: "Change of perspective". What is meant by this is the call to rethink, to broaden horizons and to turn back from the rut of business as usual, as the World Commission “Culture and Development” dramatically put it in 1995: “Mankind is facing the challenge of rethinking, reorienting and reorganizing society, in short : to find new ways of life ". In the series of the Carl-Auer-Systeme Verlag “Systemic Horizons - Theory of Practice”, special attention is paid to this new, local and global requirement, how consciousness and (the perception of) reality are presented in the global reality of life and as interdisciplinary The connection between theory and practice shows: “You need theory when it seems to have become superfluous - as an occasion for new and different thinking, as a broadening of horizons and inspiring irritation that helps keep your own certainties and ultimate truths, ideologies large and small, for as long to turn and turn until they get blurred edges - and you can see more than before ”. The experience is omnipresent: "Trying to communicate with someone who uses a different worldview than you are, and not being aware of it, can only cause confusion". There are no mental processes without reference to reality and without assurance of reality, just as there is no perception of reality without consciousness. But because worldviews and worldviews are always situation and time-related, our perception of reality, as well as our actions in certain situations, are subject to change. The age-old philosophical question of whether knowledge appears as a priori, i.e. preceding human experience, or as mediated through experience, is discussed in different ways with the differentiated reviews of “Who am I?” Based on the respective personal and professional point of view. The scientific discourse about what consciousness is ultimately leads to the view: "Consciousness is a fascinating but elusive phenomenon"; It therefore remains a mystery, as does the question of how human consciousness and behavior relate to one another, whether the two phenomena were mutually exclusive, whether they belonged together or whether they complemented one another. The New York clinical psychologist Lawrence LeShan (born 1920) has been addressing this problem for decades. In his book "The Riddle of Knowledge" the author asks how reality comes about. Although he states that "in the field of consciousness () all attempts to create a classification system have failed", he attempts to create a classification system based on Linnaeus' biological taxonomy. He uses worldviews as they are presented in human realities. He proceeds in such a way that he asks "in what way and on the basis of which parameters our different worldviews differ from one another" [6].

Knowledge is added value

In the Aristotelian sense, knowledge is “the knowledge of a thing in the sense of knowing the cause of that thing”. In the register of those who are still of the opinion that knowledge is something that can be infused with the “Nuremberg funnel” and can be queried, Aristotle said that “the knowledge of the why in the comprehensive sense and the knowledge of the essence closely related to one thing ”(W. Detel, in; Otfried Höffe, Aristoteles-Lexikon, Stuttgart 2005). So a person is not wise because he can enumerate facts or represent a walking lexicon, but because he not only knows about a thing, a situation or a phenomenon, but can also fathom the truth about it. Plato put it this way: “Knowledge is true, reasoned opinion. The current, hectic slogan proclaimed almost as a message of salvation, that we are currently in a "knowledge society", often falls short when it usually refers to the knowledge that can be used in pennies and the ability to think is left to the hierarchs. It is therefore important to think about who and what creates knowledge, what is worth knowing and what is (can) be done. Every affirmative attempt to describe the state of society in the One World in a diagnostic way and to determine with a present-related and thoroughly future-oriented view that we live here in a knowledge-based society must be based on what makes people human, namely the Conviction that man naturally strives and is able to lead a good life (Aristotle). The question of which society we want to live in is a requirement and challenge for everyday and social existence [7].

Humanity and education

The “right” education has been thought about, argued and ideologically determined since time immemorial. Education euphoria and education panics are brought onto the market. In the educational sciences there is talk of formal and informal education and even a "pedagogy of happiness" is proclaimed [8]. The educational discourse is on the move, some say it is faltering; On the one hand, that (seeming) self-evident, habits and postulated truths are being called into question by the increasingly interdependent, unbounded and uncertainly developing (one?) world [9], on the other hand, that traditions are changing [10]. Last but not least, it is the (growing?) Realization that humanity will not survive if it is not possible to change perspectives locally and globally, as the World Commission “Culture and Development” formulated in 1995 as an appeal: “Mankind stands facing the challenge of rethinking, reorienting and reorganizing socially, in short: finding new ways of life ”. The economic thinking and acting more and more has reached the point with the realization that we humans can only secure and expand our human existence if we succeed in replacing uninhibited economic growth with education for sustainable development [11]

Without philosophy one understands nothing of the world

That is a demanding sentence, some might say, an inappropriate and arrogant one. But it is a truism that there is something in it that everyday people who are not professionally concerned with philosophy suspect and occasionally discover in certain situations - and it is always worth thinking about. The French philosopher Luc Ferry is known and recognized as a thinker in Germany because he succeeds in bringing philosophical questions neither flat nor complicated, but in understandable language to women, men and children. It is the question of human finitude and salvation, as a solution or redemption of life and thus the existential and religious meaning of the three dimensions of philosophy: understanding what is (theory), need for justice (ethics) and search for salvation (wisdom). Philosophy, it can be said, should have arisen from the point in time when people were no longer able to live solely according to the dependencies of nature and the gods, but rather to develop a rational consciousness and organize themselves in larger communities argue, discuss and practice free thinking. In the history of philosophy, this development is dated around the sixth century BC in Greece. Theoria, as it is understood and used in Greek philosophy, means nothing else than: “If you want to find your place in the world that surrounds us, if you want to learn to live in it and find your way around, you have to do it first know"; the cosmos and the universe, as the Stoics understood it as "cosmic order". And it is the question of just action in the existence of people and their expectations after death. Whether as “instructions for use” or as a reflector - the effort to learn life should always be clear. This requires a knack for thinking, in everyday life and beyond [12]

Demonstrates a superior and independent spirit

Being truthful and expressing oneself authentically have always been demands on the philosophical mind, regardless of powers and measures, monopolies and miracles. How often, of course, has it been violated in the course of human thought and action, out of egoism, fear or simply out of pragmatism. The yes-sayers in the history of philosophy definitely outweigh the critical, uncompromising thinkers and no-sayers, and the hesitant and fearful fear the downfall of Western thought when radical, atheistic thinkers shake the self-erected pedestals of "That's how it is". They were thrown into dungeons, burned or banished - and deliberately forgotten. Because the well-known Christian Morgenstern saying “What must not be, that cannot be” arises from an age-old regulation of the structures of opinion and power in human life. It is worth looking out for people who contradicted church, state or social doctrines in times of repression and adjustment; Philosophers, for example, who in the period before the French Revolution and the Enlightenment dared to express their critical spirit and make it visible and audible. Because "during the ancien régime ... it was suicide to openly represent such opinions". In Paris it was the Salon des Barons d`Holbach in what was then Rue Royale Saint-Roch, where people met regularly - Denis Diderot, Helvétius, David Hume, Laurence Sterne, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and others - who could trust that their critical thinking was discussed and not denounced: "The radical enlightenmentists wanted to change the way of thinking of their time", with their ideas that what is good for people and what does not harm them is sufficient as a moral principle for peaceful and just coexistence . Above all, it was Holbach and Diderot who turned the leaflets and pamphlets discussed at the meetings, some of which were smuggled back into the country by adventurous routes, into usable and distributable products; for example in Diderot's Encyclopédie, “a huge, twenty-eight volume Trojan horse made of printer's ink and paper”. Why? The historian and writer Philipp Blom, born in Hamburg in 1970, asks in his essay “A Wicket Company. The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment ”and the book“ Böse Philosophen ”published in German by Hanser Verlag in 2011, were Diderot and Holbach's works largely forgotten in European intellectual history, while those of Voltaire and Rousseau became formative and decisive for Western philosophy? He pleads against "Rousseau's disgust and guilt and the resulting hope for a better afterlife" - thinking and philosophizing and, on the other hand, recalls the attempts propagated by the radical enlighteners to "refine and direct one's passions instead of denying them," To find one's own happiness in this world, to harm one's own environment as little as possible, and to create as much good as possible ”. In this way, as the author puts it in his prologue, it could be possible to create a humane, global society [13].

Inquiring about the human condition of the human being

what is the human? This human question has moved people at all times, with different intentions and different forms of life; intellectual and everyday. The Greek philosopher Aristotle made the basis of his thinking that man is a zôon logon echon, a living being gifted with reason and language. He is also naturally able and capable of living a eu zên, a good life. With the question “How can man be human to man?”, The humanists postulated the value and dignity of man as a prerequisite for human coexistence. And in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, it says at the top: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should meet one another in a spirit of brotherhood ”. Man ought to be man; this vision remains - in spite of the depressing experience, thousands of years old, that man is man's wolf. In the ever more interdependent and delimiting world, the stake is: Either we succeed in understanding the diversity and diversity of human existence as unifying and as an opportunity for humane survival and further development - or humanity perishes! It's that simple and that drastic! When “being human in the horizon of knowledge”, that is, scientifically determined, presents the fundamental problem of orientation, namely “the integration of knowledge in a form that corresponds to what an action-guiding 'human image' has to achieve”. Because a unified image of man in the diversity of human cultures and realities is neither feasible nor desirable even in scientific diction, it becomes clear what should be inscribed for the cultural, transcultural, social and political discourse: the concept of Humanity is incomplete! Because this is the only way to make it sustainable! [14]

(Survive) live and let (survive) live

Survival artists, this is how people are called who have mastered the art of (surviving) survival. Significantly, they will either, as in the US comedy film of the same name from 1983, as comic types who move clumsily around their surroundings and survive despite the comic things they experience; or as artificial beings, such as in the Star Wars series, that are out of this world. Survival as a goal in life is also played, in the survivar US TV shows and in the dumb TV "games" based on the motto: "Only one gets through". Survivalism. The art of survival is an attitude to life that is intended to practice and train predictable (life-) dangerous situations in order to be able to use them as "life-saving" when they actually take place. This has resulted in manager courses, vacation offers and adventure events that people take part voluntarily and even pay a lot of money for. So there must be something to the will to survive. And it seems that these efforts affect not only physical but also psychological life. With this we move into the field of "life" research, that of philosophy and applied sciences. Kiel researchers, as WELT-Online reported in February 2009, speculated that there must be something like a “Methuselah gene” for human life. A substance in the blood of people who (although their lives are life-threatening - smoking, drinking, not exercising, eating unhealthily ...; the 105-year-old actor and operetta star Johannes Heesters is often cited as an example) are getting older than comparable test subjects. And they have filtered a gene from the blood of old men, which they call Foxo 3 A and which plays a role in human insulin metabolism. The sobering hint that this substance is present in the genome of the people concerned and cannot (yet?) Be produced, however, limits the expectations that the legendary "fountain of youth" has been found. This short excursion into the legendary world of "eternal life" should lead to the completely different question, namely how dangerous life is and whether and if so, how it is possible to survive dangerous situations in human life without dying from it . New York-based producer at the American news channel NBC, Ben Sherwood, sets out to answer two questions: “What do you really need to survive?” And “What kind of survivor are you?” Even if it is clear, Ben Sherwood's reflection that there is no recipe for happiness, a good, fulfilled and safe life and that survival cannot be guaranteed are a thoughtful signal to pay attention to and to look for your own reference point in life. The wisdom of life can be a lesson, a consolation, an invitation and a challenge for the reader of the book: "By making the best of every breath, you elevate your existence to real life" [15].

"Our personal happiness is not separate from the happiness of the whole world"

Be yourself! This philosophical and existential challenge is a claim that can be found in people's thinking in many ways - as a religious appeal, as metaphysical advice, as a way of life ... Advice, right up to the all too literal meaning of the term, is therefore found in the religious revelations of the Faith communities as well as in the doctor's offices and esoteric groups. They have entered the cultural memory of people all over the world as "wisdom of life"; and they are not infrequently hung on the wall as slogans in calendars, carried with them every day in pocket calendars or printed in annual books and illustrated or graphically designed. They are proverbs that usually come along simply and give the reader the feeling of understanding the meaning and being able to act on it. That is why they rarely act as exclamation marks and index fingers, but give the impression of being a means of life. The sayings mostly work in connection with pictures in which harmony, beauty, well-being and positive attitudes towards life are expressed. Skeptics, therefore, often attribute wisdom to tendencies of trivialization, glossing over and escaping from the all too real and disgraceful realities of life. Spiritists, on the other hand, perceive proverbs, especially if they come from the clergy they revered, as life aids and as a stimulus for meditation and thinking about oneself [16].

The complexity of trust

It is a magic word that is used when conversations, situations and behaviors seem to be in danger of getting out of hand, when conflicts make communication difficult or even impossible. “Having trust”, as an ethical and moral character trait, is therefore very important in philosophical, social and individual everyday thinking and acting. According to a biological interpretation, humans develop a basic trust of their own accord, especially when it comes to relationships with other people, contacts and communication. In order for trust to be more than the absence of mistrust, a social behavior is required that is based on the fundamentals of the logos as well as the pathos (Aristotle). Niklas Luhmann, for example, assumes that trust is an elementary fact of social life. To be capable of trust, of course, not only requires your own will and willingness to do so, but also that of the other person to accept and give trust. Accordingly, the question of what trust is and what its effects are, cannot simply be answered by saying that trustworthiness is a “soft” attitude and behavior; rather, the diverse forms and experiences of everyday life show that untrust and loss of trust are closely related to societal and social conditions, such as the values, norms, cultural and intercultural identities of human existence. "Trust is a phenomenon that ... can reduce complexity and make cooperation easier or even possible in the first place" - this reading is contained in the certainties with which we combine and demand a trusting attitude for all individual, local and global living conditions of people on earth . It is about the “practice of trust”, which develops in intact and good trust practices and is stored in a rational awareness that the acquisition of trust requires active, social behavior that often takes place in a practical framework in “dense interaction processes as such generates part of the reasons that make the subjects trust one another "[17].

Is there a German (European) philosophy?

German philosophers have / had a good reputation in the history of philosophy. In this respect, it makes perfect sense - with all the necessary distance and independence - to write a German history of philosophy. It should be almost impossible to filter out a “specifically German” direction of philosophical thought, because of course in European and global discourse over centuries - and today to a special degree - philosophers have influenced each other in their thinking as well as in the dispute over the direction. In particular, it is the "Philosophical Turn", as it became established in the 20th century, especially in the Anglo-Saxon countries, that brought about a change in (professional) philosophical thinking and made philosophy as a "life science" not only suitable for cooperation, but a priori as Cooperation subject stimulated [18]. Whether it is irritating or challenging should remain an open question, if the (thinking) command “keep silent!” Even provokes philosophers to abolish philosophy as the ultimate source of consumerist, critical attitudes and thereby remove the truth from its commodity form free "[19]; But the philosophical signals against the unleashed spiritlessness, which are expressed in complaints about the "insurance" of intellectual and cultural claims in (everyday) society [20], should not be ignored. Vittorio Hösle, who teaches at the University of Notre Dame in the US state of Indiana, attests that “the German spirit, if it ever existed, is gone”, and not just in view of the multinational and transnational that has arisen through globalization References also in the field of science, especially through the replacement of the Latin of the Middle Ages by the English today. With the working hypothesis "that the German Enlightenment philosophy shares common features of the European, it has nevertheless gained a special form which, beyond the mere use of the German language, distinguishes it from that of the neighboring countries", the author justifies the undertaking, "peculiarities that distinguishes this (the German, JS) from those of other European nations ”. In doing so, he filters out a characteristic of a “German philosophy”, namely “that thinking about the concept of spirit is a crucial part of the German spirit” [21].

Human beings are fundamentally changeable living beings

The traditio humana, as an important strand in historical-anthropological research, assumes that “what is possible for humans is recognizable in what was previously possible for humans, but this is not its ultimate measure. Everything that has been there is possible for people, but by no means everything has already been there ”.In historical anthropology it is about “combining knowledge from and about people from different epochs and cultures into an album of the human for an exploration of the human”, namely “looking back at historically and with regard to currently realized humanities the reflexive To widen the horizon of the present to the variety of possibilities of human existence ”. At the Institute for Educational Sciences at the University of Innsbruck, an understanding of transdisciplinary educational sciences has been cultivated since the 1980s, in which historical anthropology, the history of civilization, historical psychology, psychohistory and a number of other directions of thought that cross the disciplinary systems of the specialist sciences work together [22]. The reference to a "relativistic understanding of human beings" stimulates the necessary discourse about an expansion of the consciousness of being human and the efforts to incorporate anthropological [23], humanistic [24], empathic [25], human-philosophical [26] or political aspects into the anthropological debates to bring in understanding and knowledge of people [27].


In philosophical symposia, philosophy days and think tanks (for example in the Austrian Lech in Vorarlberg, in Alpbach in Tyrol, as a "Philosophy Talk" (with Richard David Precht and Gerald Hüther on ZDF, as a "Philosophical Quartet" (Peter Sloterdijk), in the ZEIT- Conversation (ZEIT PHILOSOPHIE: “What is the good life?”, No. 25 / June 2011, and numerous other events and events, questions about the “art of living” are asked, pointers directed to (mis) developments and grievances and to perspectives and Looking for possible solutions, how mankind could succeed in creating a humane, just, peaceful and democratic (one?) World. At the 12th Philosophicum from September 17th to 21st, 2008 the topic was: "Money. What the World holds together in its innermost being? ", Mind you with a question mark. There is no question of whether the topic is philosophical and thus lifeworld and values ​​[28].

Philosophy as a culture of thoughtfulness

Terms are signs of assumptions and unreasonable expectations. They can be used to communicate, confront and concentrate, think, connotate, contrast and converge; They can be used to represent concepts, make concessions and establish correlations, in short: terms are signs and thought patterns. After this admittedly idiosyncratic approach to thinking, we have come to the question of what thinking is. Answers have been around for as long as people have thought! Let us take from this process of the Incarnation only the Aristotelian statement that the anthrôpos, the human being, is a living being gifted with reason and language and is able to strive for eu zên, a good life; namely, in that he thinks and is able to orient his actions to his thinking. We are already in the middle of thinking about which competencies and which awareness are necessary in order to think. If, in the sense of Foucault's philosophy, the art of living is [29], then all people are called to philosophize. But because philosophizing does not mean fantasizing, but the ability to think for oneself, realistic, utopian and critical, the question of how philosophers, as trained and professional thinkers, so to speak, think is significant. Not to imitate their thinking, but to understand their own life from their philosophizing, to order thoughts and ideas, to reflect on their own convictions, to be able to relate their own actions and behaviors to those of others, near and distant people. Theodor W. Adorno once said that we humans all philosophized as children, but this ability was later driven out of us with the view that philosophizing was actually useless and a waste of time [30]. After all, there is a remarkable attention to philosophical questions in the social discourse. On the one hand, this may be due to the fact that people who are unsettled by existential uncertainties and processes of change are looking for answers that show more than material and superficial directions; on the other hand - and that is the hope that should never die - that man is able to think after all [31].

Philosophizing means learning to change

Whether in everyday life, in social processes or with the awareness that every person bears the responsibility for a just and humane world every day, it is always important to create a change of perspective, to change selfish and ethnocentric behavior, both individually and locally, as well as globally. It is important to understand that the vitality of human existence is life force [32].

[1] Karl Heinz Bohrer, self-thinker and system thinker. About Agonal Thinking, 2011, review; see also: MERKUR. German magazine for European thinking: Tell the truth! Why Everyone Wants to Be a Nonconformist, But Few Are, ed. by Karl Heinz Bohrer and Kurz Scheel (from 2012: Christian Demand), issue 9/10, September / October 2011

[2] Richard David Precht, Who am I - and if so, how many? A philosophical journey, 2007, review

[3] Dominique Grisard / Ulle Jäger / Tomke, eds., Be different. Reflecting on Gender and Difference, 2013, review

[4] Peter Bieri, A Way of Life. On the Diversity of Human Dignity, 2013, review; see also: Peter Bieri, How do we want to live? 2011, review

[5] Antonio Damasio: Man is himself. Body, Mind, and the Origin of Human Consciousness, 2011, review

[6] Lawrence LeShan: The Enigma of Knowledge. How Reality Comes, 2012, review

[7] Anina Engelhardt / Laura Kajetzke, eds., Knowledge Society Handbook. Theories, Topics and Problems, 2010, review

[8] Joachim Münch / Irit Wyrobnik, Pedagogy of Happiness. When, where and how we learn happiness, 2011, review

[9] Manfred Lütz, bluff! The Fake of the World, 2012, review

[10] Hermann Mückler / Gerald Faschingeder, eds., Tradition and Traditionalism. On the instrumentalization of an identity concept, 2012, review

[11] Julian Nida-Rümelin, Philosophy of a humane education, 2013, review

[12] Luc Ferry, Learn to Live. A Philosophical Instructions for Use, 2009, review; see also: Luc Ferry, Learning to Live. The Wisdom of Myths, 2009, review

[13] Philipp Blom, evil philosopher. A Salon in Paris and the Forgotten Legacy of the Enlightenment, 2011, review

[14] Jörn Rüsen, ed., Perspektiven der Humanität. Being human in the discourse of the disciplines, 2010, review

[15] Ben Sherwood, Who Survived? Why some people survive in borderline situations, others don't, 2009, review

[16] Thich Nhat Hanh, you are a gift to the world. Living Mindfully Every Day - A Companion for All Weeks of the Year, 2010, Review

[17] Martin Hartmann, The Practice of Trust, 2011, review

[18] Terry Eagleton, The Purpose of Life, 2008, review

[19] Boris Groys, Introduction to Anti-Philosophy, 2009, review

[20] Peter Sloterdijk, Philosophical Temperaments. From Plato to Sartre, 2009, review

[21] Vittorio Hösle: A Brief History of German Philosophy, 2013, review

[22] Bernhard Rathmayr, self-compulsion and self-realization. Building blocks for a historical anthropology of occidental people, 201, review

[23] Werner Petermann, Anthropology of Our Time, 2010, review

[24] Jörn Rüsen / Henner Laas, eds., Intercultural Humanism, 2009, review

[25] Jeremy Rifkin, The Empathic Civilization. Paths to global awareness, Frankfurt / M., 2010, review

[26] Thomas Metzinger, The Ego Tunnel. A new philosophy of the self. From brain research to ethics of consciousness, Berlin 2009, review

[27] Markus Holzinger / Stefan May / Wiebke Pohler, World Risk Society as a State of Emergency, 2010, review

[28] Konrad Paul Liessmann, ed., Money. What holds the world together at its core? 2009, review; as well as: ders., ed., Vom Zauber des Schönen. Stimulus, Desire and Destruction, 2010, review

[29] see also: Wolfgang Kersting, Macht und Moral. Studies on the Practical Philosophy of Modern Times, 2010, review

[30] Nora Nebel, Ideas from Time. Concepts of time from a cultural-philosophical perspective, 2011, review

[31] Herbert Schnädelbach, What philosophers know and what can be learned from them, 2012, review

[32] Daniel N. Stern, Expressions of Vitality, 2011, review

Dipl.-Päd. Dr. Jos Schnurer
Former lecturer at the University of Hildesheim
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Jos Schnurer: Those who philosophize - live !. Published on 01/28/2014 in socialnet materials at, date of access 05/19/2021.

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