Why are German philosophers so insignificant these days


Pradeep Chakkarath

To person

Dr. phil .; Co-Director of the Hans Kilian and Lotte Köhler Center for Social and Cultural Psychology and Historical Anthropology (KKC); Research assistant at the Chair for Social Theory and Social Psychology at the Ruhr University Bochum, Faculty for Social Science, Universitätsstrasse 150, 44801 Bochum. [email protected]

In one of the most famous philosophical parables by one of the most important occidental philosophers, people sit tied up in a cave in front of a rock face. The shackles prevent them from looking towards the cave entrance. On the wall in front of them, they see shadows that - thanks to the light of a flickering fire in front of the cave entrance - are shadowed on the rock face by objects and events outside the cave. The shadow images thus only represent the appearance of things, which the captive but - at least in the context of their so limited lay and everyday knowledge - believe to be the actual reality. To see through the projection mechanics and thus the deception in this primordial dwelling of the human being is only possible for those who manage to free themselves from their fetters, look around and take the way out of the gloomy cave to the light. [1]

In his allegory of the cave, which is only roughly sketched here, Plato not only draws a very awkward picture of the human level of knowledge, but at the same time assigns man an awkward position in the world from which he can hardly be further in this scenario. In an initially very general sense, the allegory of the cave is both an image of man and the world. It contains in a condensed form elements of human and world views that can be found in many cultures, in earlier and later as well as in current world views. For example, the allegory of the cave deals not only with the questions of man's relationship to the world, whether he is capable of objective knowledge and what he must do in order to gain true knowledge, but also whether man is free from what kind of freedom can be, whether he is able to liberate himself or needs the help of others, etc.

Without being able to trace the traces through the entire intellectual history, let us only remind you of the four questions that Immanuel Kant explained as the basic questions of philosophy over 2000 years after Plato. They can be seen as questions that people have asked and continue to ask at all times, in all cultures, in a wide variety of ideological systems of thought and belief, but for which they have also found different answers at different times and in different cultures: What can I know? What should I do? What can I hope for? What is man (asking these questions)? [2] We also recognize Plato's cave dweller in the European Enlightenment, which Kant with his definition of Enlightenment as the "exit of man from his self-inflicted immaturity". freed from his fetters, striving for the exit. [3]

It is not surprising that the term "Weltbild", when it appears in its Old High German form probably for the first time at the end of the 10th century, is used with reference to Plato's theory of ideas to distinguish between the truthful "ideas" and their images in the mere world of appearance to claim. "Worldview" is conceived as a model in which the mere shadows and images can be ordered and given meaning. [4] Since then, however, the term has undergone a number of changes and is used in different contexts and in the most varied of ways. Occasionally, for example, attempts are made to differentiate the concept of the world view as a more natural scientific one from that of the "world view" or the "world view" as a more humanistic and sociological one, whereby "world view" then more for cartographic representations and cosmological-astronomical ideas of Universe, space, the movement of planets and stars should be reserved. For example, the common talk of the replacement of the Ptolemaic geocentric worldview by the Copernican heliocentric worldview has shaped this use of the term considerably. In German-speaking scholarship, especially under the influence of the philosophy of German idealism, "Weltbild" was sometimes understood as the result of the fundamental human ability to perceive and thus distinguished from the act of "Weltanschauung".

However, the term has long since ceased to be reserved for scholarly treatises. If, for example, we say in everyday language of a person that he has a "quirky worldview", then we usually mean that his worldview is rather peculiarly ordered and that the meanings given to certain things and events are rather strange, thus deviate from a picture of the circumstances that is established and familiar in the community. However, this is a statement that has its academic counterpart, already mentioned above: Established worldviews have an important social function, which is to offer the members of a community a model - sometimes also to impose - through which they can see the things and events of the world consider, interpret and explain and understand meaningfully. Insofar as world views shape the views of larger and smaller groups about the world and people, the term "world view" is to be discussed in the following in close proximity to the term "world view" and primarily from a social-scientific perspective, without deviating understandings of their respective historical, contextual understandings and want to discuss terminological use. [5]