Concept (philosophy)

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In a broader sense, the word term in philosophy describes how a word is to be understood (in the sense of "to understand"). It is therefore a matter of combining a linguistic name with a thought content (a concept in the psychological sense). As terminology in philosophy conceivability or visual representation is referred to a concept.

This article presents the discussion of concepts in the history of philosophy and philosophical systematics; for some more general aspects see also the article term .


The question of what is meant by the term and what its function is, has a long history in philosophy and still plays a role that cannot be neglected, especially in the disciplines of philosophy of the mind , epistemology and ontology, as well as in related specialist sciences such as of psychology and approaches of formal knowledge representation . Basically, terms can be distinguished from properties on the one hand and objects on the other; from the latter, general terms are traditionally formed first, which different individuals share and which can be grouped into a hierarchy of genera and species . Some philosophers also use terms for individual individuals, so-called individual terms.

Conventional philosophical concept theories can initially be divided into five main families, which differ mainly with regard to the individuation criteria of concepts:

  1. classic concept theories: concepts are determined by necessary and sufficient conditions.
  2. neoclassical theories: terms have necessary conditions, but not sufficient ones.
  3. Prototype theories : typical properties, paradigmatic cases or examples define terms.
  4. Theory-Theories: Concepts are individuated by the functional role they play within certain theories.
  5. atomistic theories: terms cannot be analyzed further.


The New High German term “concept” is derived from Middle High German and early New High German concept or conception . In a meaning that prevailed up to the 14th century, it was also understood in the sense of 'circumference' and, for example, was spoken of as a city.

History of philosophy

In philosophy, especially in its field of logic , the term concept has a long history. In speech, certain expressions can be used to identify one or more objects. The question therefore arises early on whether they designate the unchangeable characteristics , ideas in the mind, or the things themselves.



Neither Socrates nor Plato nor Aristotle had an expression for what we now call a term . In the figure of Socrates of the Platonic dialogues , the question of the general characteristics of things and actions is explicitly passed down to us for the first time in methodical form.

Aristotle says of Socrates that he was the first to ask not only what something has become, but what it is (τί ἐστι). The aim of the Socratic questioning was a generally applicable, indubitable definition (ὁρισμός), which he wanted to elicit from his interlocutors by pointing out aporias . Socrates is not satisfied with giving cases or examples of a thing. So he does not ask for examples of virtuous action, but wants to know what virtue itself is. He asked his interlocutors to work out the general (καθόλου, literally: with regard to the whole) from the individual (ἕκαστον). That is what remains identical in all the diversity of the individual cases.

“There are two things that can rightly be ascribed to Socrates: the induction proofs and the general definitions; Both of these are based on the principle of science. Socrates did not position the general and the definitions as separate, independent beings; but the adherents of the doctrine of ideas separated it and called it ideas of things. "


Plato follows the teachings of Parmenides and Heraclitus . Because the sensual world is in constant change and one cannot say that something is so and so, the experience of sensual perception does not provide any knowledge or certain knowledge (epistêmê). These only exist from unchangeable beings that can only be recognized through thinking. He describes thinking (noêsis, dianoia) as a conversation between the soul and itself (dia-logos, dialegésthai). Speaking or linguistic quality and rational, discursive thinking (dianoia) are closely linked to one another. It can only be that object of knowledge that is conceptually grasped by λόγος ( logos , speech, reason). Plato distinguishes two types of terms. Immutable, actually existing forms or archetypes that exist independently of the individual things and the essence that only appears through the individual things. In the early dialogues, no specific expressions could be determined for something like unchangeable forms in his texts. Only since the middle dialogues have the expressions eidos (εἶδος) and idea (ἰδέα) crystallized, which form a recurring theme in the history of the term.

To the question of what something is, according to Plato the λόγος must give an answer in the form: what it (actually) is (ὃ ποτε ὅν). In some places he says that the definition is the indication of the essence of something or that which essentially belongs to being (λόγος τῆς οὐσίας). To beings (. Eg the virtue or even a bee) to determine, it is necessary to specify not only where it differs from other things, but essential for its determination is the indication in which it by all individuals of its species are identical , or as Friedrich Schleiermacher puts it, what his nature consists of. Plato now says that the ousia (ούσία) gives beings a certain shape or shape, the ειδος, which can only be recognized by reason. The ειδος does not go into one definition. Rather, with Plato it forms two complementary types of access to beings. A being is understood discursively through the definition, i.e. H. it progresses from one concept to another with logical necessity. In contrast, its essence is grasped intuitively. Definitions are representations of the ideas in λόγος. It tries to determine the general that makes it possible to address the many individual cases as something identical. Idea and essence differ from the world of appearances in that they are in principle nonsensible, only conceivable.

Plato uses many paraphrases for ideas (→  theory of ideas ). They are the medium of apprehending or knowing everything that is and are naturally part of both worlds. The changeable things are only being because they partake in the ideas. The question of what is aims at the idea of ​​being. The name describes on the one hand the idea of ​​the individual thing itself and on the other hand the concrete individual. The ideas do not simply fall to the λόγος , but must be won and at the same time justified through the division of ideas, which he calls Dihairesis . This art of distinguishing between genres falls into dialectical science .

Stranger: The division according to genre, so that one does not consider the same term to be another or another for the same - don't we want to say that belongs to dialectical science?
Theaetetos: Yes, we want to say that.
Stranger: Anyone who knows how to do this properly will notice an idea exactly through many individually separated from each other spread out in all directions, and many different from one another externally encompassed, and again one consistently only linked with one of many, and finite many completely separated from one another. This then means knowing to what extent each can enter into community and to what extent not.
Theaetetos: In all ways, certainly.
Stranger: But I hope you will not instruct this dialectical business to anyone other than the pure and right philosophizing person.

According to Plato, the terms do not go into definitions either. A definition is only the beginning or the basis of its determination. What the idea and concept have in common is that a relationship between the general and the particular is established in or through them. Looking more closely at Plato, the idea belongs to the order of being and the concept to the order of knowledge. The term can contain many individual cases. Many individual cases have contributed to the idea. It is something they agree on. He calls one kind of knowledge νοειν (“grasp”, “understand”, “see”). It is aimed directly at the ideas, but cannot be adequately expressed using the language. The other type of knowledge, διανοειν (from dianoia "thinking", "the understanding"), is based on the relationships between ideas in the form of concepts. This type can be communicated immediately. The highest genres or formal concepts for Plato are being, sameness (identity), diversity, movement and rest . Everything that is is ordered in these forms. Without the mutual intertwining of ideas, there is no reasoned speech.

Stranger: [...] but if, just to have thought up something wonderfully difficult, he takes pleasure in drawing the speech now here, now there [...]. Because this is neither wonderful nor difficult to find; but that is just as difficult and at the same time beautiful.
Theaetetus: Which one?
Stranger: What has been explained before, namely leaving this aside as much as possible to investigate what has been said in detail, if someone in a certain sense also sets different things as identical and what is identical as different, in the sense and the relationship, in which he says that one of the two belongs to him. But quite indefinitely of the identical, like claiming that it is also different and that the different are identical and the great things are small and the similar things are dissimilar, and are so happy when you always only bring up contradicting things in your speeches - that is not a true investigation, partly for sure a very young one from someone who has only just touched things.
Theaetetos: Obviously.
Stranger: But also, oh my best, wanting to isolate everything from everything is nowhere else to be done, but in all ways only for a person who has been abandoned by the muses and is completely unphilosophical.
Theaetetos: How so?
Stranger: Because it is the utter annihilation of all talk to separate everything from everything else. Because only through mutual interweaving of concepts can a speech arise.


Aristotle criticizes Plato's doctrine of ideas as substances or entities that exist in themselves . He says that the thought is only one and must not fall apart into different moments that exist for themselves. He defines the general (καθόλου) demanded by Socrates as "[...] that which is suitable to be included as something contained in several, [...] (or) which by its nature belongs to several". Only he denies the generality of substance. He says that it should not be seen as separate from the individual. For him, the general falls into both knowledge and sensory perception. With this, Aristotle stands in contrast to Plato, who denies knowledge of the sensual. Furthermore, the general does not merge into the generic term, since every generic term is general, but not every general is a generic term. However, there can be no concepts of individual things either, because it is impossible to define a sensual thing.

Aristotle often uses the terms λόγος and ὅρος with the meaning of a term or "essence (οὐσια) of a thing". This must be determined by the definition or definition (ὀριομος). The definition is so essential to the term that it often equates ὀριομος with λόγος and ὅρος . For him general concepts are formed from a kind of induction of individual things. They are only considered scientific if they can be determined by a definition. For him, concepts of a higher level are the predicables which, like the categories, do not, however, relate to the things themselves, but can only be determined in the form of statements about the things. It is also of great importance for the later period that he says that the terms can only be determined if it is possible to use a linguistic expression for them, the meaning of which must be clearly limited and fixed. Otherwise they are neither conceivable nor determinable. In his logic he differentiates between the terms from which the judgments are composed. Judgments in turn aggregate into logical conclusions .

What was later called his teaching of the terms intentions or “passiones animae” has a great influence on the later. According to this, written words are signs of spoken words ; these denote thoughts and thoughts are natural images of things. The basic idea is that there is a natural (unadulterated and immediate) relationship between images and things. The terms appear naturally.


In the Stoa one finds the terms σημαινόμενον (semainómenon) and λεκτὀν (lektón) for the term . They can be translated as “meaning of a linguistic expression”. For the Stoics the λεκτά (lektá) stand on the one hand in the middle between the ways of thinking and things. On the other hand, they should be identical to the thought content ( νοήματα noêmata). They can be interpreted either as dimensional objects or as incorporeal word meanings. In connection with the latter meaning, it seems more appropriate to see them in the logical sense as the objective meaning of linguistic expressions. According to this, only the speech sounds, but not the meanings connected with them, are assigned to being.

Ancient commentaries


Aristotle spoke of the first concepts in De Anima. In his commentary on the Aristotelian categorization, Dexippus (4th century) distinguishes between first and second terms (protai noeseis, deuterai epinoiai):

  1. primarily we show other things with words (pragmata) - such primary concepts fall under the ten Aristotelian categories
  2. In a second (extended) use (chreia) or a second meaning (semasia) a word can also mean something else - no substance or property (this includes linguistic expressions such as articles, particles, figurative-poetic expressions, logical connections such as "either- or ", derived expressions, metaphors, etc.)

This distinction between two types of thésis can be judged as a forerunner of the Latin distinction between two types of (im) positio ( Boethius et al.) Or, in Arabic, two wad '( Farabi et al.).


A similar distinction as in Dexippus can also be found in Themistius' De Anima commentary (4th century): first terms (such as day, light, Socrates) are simple and are combined by the spirit, so that a. Meanings of sentences, "second thoughts", result.

middle Ages


Böhme sees the decisive step for an understanding of the term that more or less corresponds to our modern one with Boëthius . He sees the concept as a successor to the Aristotelian idea, which, like them, is only in the soul. In Plato it is still a completely “metaphysical” principle that relates to being. Boëthius understands the term explicitly as a mediator between the soul and that which it recognizes of things as being.

Boëthius, Abälard and Wilhelm von Ockham take up Aristotle's conception of the passiones animae again. For all three, first-order terms are natural signs in consciousness that unambiguously identify things. These are in turn denoted by words, the meaning of which, however, is based on agreement. Characters form either one-way or two-way characters for the terms. The terms of the second level, so-called semantic predicates, relate to those of the first. Boëthius used the term conceptio for this. Other Latin expressions were: conceptus , intentio , intellectus , signum rei , and verbum mental .

Arabic theology and philosophy

Arabic logic (manṭiḳ) acts according to the classical definition of terms (taṣawwurāt) and judgments (taṣdīḳāṭ), progressing from known concepts or judgments to unknown ones . "Short" steps relate to the progress by definition by ḥadd or rasm; by analogous judgment ( ḳiyās ), by induction (istiḳrāʾ) or comparison (tamthīl); “Long” steps concern the consideration of the generality or particularity of a term or the proof by contrast or contradiction. To this end, the terms used by the subjects of judgment (mawḍūʿāt) and their attributes (maḥmūlāt) must also be examined.

In addition to the aforementioned approximate equivalents to the German term “concept”, the more complex term maʿnā (plural maʿānī ) is important. This describes (like maḳṣūd, niyya and murād ) in Arabic grammar and philosophy of language the intended content of linguistic speech, the semantic content of a linguistic expression (lafẓ), especially the pattern (binya) of a word root (aṣl) , which can be determined by grammatical analysis (taḳdīr ) . In this context, maʿnā is used similarly to the Greek term lektón in the Stoa. The differentiation of logic and grammar occurs along the opposition of maʿnā (object of logic) and lafẓ (object of grammar). The contrast between ism (linguistic sign as a whole) and musammā (thought or objective referent) can be distinguished from this.

In philosophical works, the expressions maʿnā and maʿḳūl are often used to reproduce the Greek expression noéma , sometimes also for “meaning” in general, roughly synonymous with the stoic lektón . The forms of things are mostly referred to as ṣuwar, but sometimes also as maʿnā. Avicenna distinguishes between maʿānī in a first and a second understanding (abstract terms), similar to Porphyry between the first and second impositio. The Aristotelian categories are called maʿḳūlāt. Avicenna speaks of intelligible terms, maʿānī maʿḳūla, often translated as intellecta in Latin.

The Mu'tazilitic theology Muʿammar uses the expression maʿnā in a central function: it is about individuation principles for substances and the real foundation of the appearances of accidents. Each maʿnā instance of this has its reason in a preceding instance, which creates an infinite regress, which, however, breaks off in a primary cause identified with God, which is thereby the real cause of the variety of accidental phenomena. The textual reconstruction and interpretation is controversial. This conception of the maʿānī has been linked with the Platonic concept of ideas (Horovitz), with the Aristotelian concept of physis (nature brings about movement and rest) ( Wolfson ), and as an intrinsic causal determinant, originally not for accidents but as material Substrate of atoms, which can be traced back to stoic origins (Peter Frank); on the other hand, one saw in them relational, non-substantial principles ( Hans Daiber ).


Similar to Dexippus, al-Farabi (around 870–950) takes the view that the ten Aristotelian categories deal only with the first concepts; the copula is also understood as a secondary term.


In his compendium on the soul, Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā, 980-1037) distinguishes between two sources of concepts or ideas or intelligible forms:

  1. first, other knowledge underlying terms are not learned or picked up by the senses and separated out by abstraction, but owe themselves to divine inspiration (ilham ilahi)
  2. About syllogisms - it is easy to read - further terms are gained from the underlying terms by abduction

According to Avicenna, entities do not exist per se. They can either 1. exist in spirit-independent reality, as a form of an entity, as a bundle of properties that describe compound substances, or 2. only as concepts in the spirit, or 3. only in themselves and in this respect are to be or not to be in the sense of the concept of existence neutral. Essence and existence are thus distinguished (for all objects, but not for God): whether a thing has existence is contingent (and is due solely to the divine creation).

High Middle Ages and Renaissance

Numerous medieval theorists discuss whether general terms ( universals ) have an independent real existence. This so-called conceptual or universal realism is opposed to the positions that general concepts only exist in the mind (so-called conceptualism) or exist only in the form of linguistic expressions (so-called vocalism, somewhat imprecise " nominalism "). This concerned in particular not only transcendental ( the good , the true etc.), generic and species concepts (humanity etc.), but also substantizable attribute concepts (redness etc.).

Different positions were also represented on questions of the acquisition of terms , including nativism or innativism (terms are innate), empiricism mostly associated with theories of abstraction (terms are actively formed by generalizing elements of sensual perception) and various variants of the terms owing to e.g. B. from an "active intellect" who has often been identified with God.


According to Wilhelm von Ockham, there are three types of verbal utterance: written, spoken and thought utterance. However, he refers to Boëthius and speaks of a mental logos. Accordingly, there are also three types of terms that occur only in the intellect. As for the conceptual term, he says it is

"[...] an intention or an (en) impression of the soul (intentio seu animae), which as part of a mental sentence (propossitionis menalis) naturally designates (significans) or co-designates (consignificans) something, whereby it naturally stands for the same supposes what he denotes. "

He deviates from Aristotle and Boëthius' view of understanding the sounds of spoken speech as signs of the soul. For both, spoken terms are ideas of the soul. For Ockham, only very specific expressions such as “idea”, “thought” and “concept” denote the impressions of the soul and not extramental things. Ockham criticizes those who regard the products of the soul as neither substances nor accidents or something made by the soul. This would make them fall out of the circle of natural things. Furthermore, he criticizes their portrayal character as described by Aristotle. After that, they are more or less similar to things. But if they were not substances or accidents, they would be more different from things than things are from each other. The natural signs for him are acts or "realities" of the soul. They are not different from the soul. These acts, like the things they designate, are to be understood as individual things. Combining several such acts creates a thought that can then be true or false.

“But with what kind of things in the soul should we identify such signs? There are a variety of opinions here. Some say that a concept is something made or manufactured by the soul. Others say that it is a certain quality that is different from the act of cognition that exists in the soul as in a subject. Still others say that it is simply the act of knowledge itself. This last view is supported by the principle that one should not postulate many things when one can get by with less. Furthermore, all the theoretical advantages that result from the postulate of entities different from acts of knowledge can be enjoyed without such a distinction, since an act of knowledge can denote something and can presuppose for something as well as any other sign. Therefore it is pointless to postulate something else beyond the act of knowledge. "

Early modern and classic


In the 17th and 18th centuries the focus shifted from the justification to the discovery context of the terms. Descartes' use of the term idea , which replaced the scholastic terminology, had a great influence . Descartes can be roughly assigned to rationalism . For him, the intellect is in principle able to produce ideas independently of experience. The basis for this is his acceptance of innate ideas that are always in the mind. He tries to analyze complex sentences by reducing them in such a way that they reveal their dependence on intuitively understandable principles. This requires a sure instinct in logic and mathematics.

He radically separates two worlds or substances : the res cogitans and the res extensa . According to Descartes, only what can be seen clearly and distinctly can be true. Two conditions must be met for this: First, the problems to be analyzed must be broken down into such small units that intuition is able to see through them. So-called natural light is responsible for the clarity and clarity of knowledge. Second, however, the luminosity of this light and thus the power of the understanding (or its ability to recognize things at all) depends on the power of its originator, God. For him only God has the power to connect the spiritual with the material world. So he's still trying to prove God. The important thing here is that he prefers the infinite idea to the finite ideas. Concepts of finite beings can only be formed in such a way that the idea of ​​the infinite is determined and restricted. Spinoza and later Hegel will take up this idea again. Wolfgang Röd summarizes Descartes' basic ideas as follows:

"Since both the order of the beings of things and the order of the rational thoughts depend on a common principle (God), both orders coincide, which is why judgments that only contain clear and distinct ideas and therefore do not depend on unreasonable ideas, with the Can match reality. Cartesian metaphysics is, like the Kantian of (scientific) experience, partly the epitome of the foundations of natural science, but partly also special metaphysics. "

The logic of Port Royal

The Logic of Port Royal published in 1662 , written by Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole , ties in with the approaches of late scholasticism and early modern developments, in particular Descartes, and becomes influential for modern philosophy of language, logic and conceptual theory. Central is a representation theory of the concept or the idea:

“If one looks at an object for itself and in its own existence, without directing the mind's gaze on what it might represent, then the idea that one has of the object is the idea of ​​a thing, like the idea of ​​the earth , the idea of ​​the sun. But if one regards a certain object only as a proxy for another, then the idea one has of it is the idea of ​​a sign, and the first object is called a “sign”. This is how one usually looks at maps and sculptures. Strictly speaking, the sign contains in itself two ideas, that of the thing that represents and that of the thing represented; its nature is to stimulate the second idea through the first "

For Michel Foucault , this definition gave rise to speaking of a duplicated structure of representation. Other interests in linguistic philosophy and conceptual theory aim at the thesis that concepts are innate. In this sense, z. B. Early on Noam Chomsky discussed the logic of Port Royal and the almost simultaneous grammar of Port Royal. For example, the first chapter of logic postulates:

“So it is wrong that all of our ideas come from our senses; On the contrary, it can be said that, conversely, no idea that is in our mind derives its origin from the senses, unless incidentally, provided that the movements that take place in our brain and in which the effect of our senses are exhausted are those of the soul To give oneself an opportunity to form various ideas which it would not have formed without that brain activity, although almost always these ideas bear no resemblance to what goes on in the senses and brain, and although, moreover, there are a great number of ideas which, since there is no physical image attached to them, cannot be related to our senses without obvious absurdity. "

Arnauld and Nicole explicitly differentiate between conceptual content ( intension as a complex of conceptual attributes , compréhension ) and conceptual scope ( extension as the set of individuals and species potentially covered by the concept, étendue ). This distinction can already be found in the case of Porphyrius and u. a. also already in many medieval presentations of the supposition theory . Intension and extension are inversely proportional to each other (the more precisely the content of the term is defined, the fewer individuals or species are included and vice versa). A deviation from the modern term extension is that Arnauld / Nicole also count species and not just individuals. More recent models of formal concept analysis are based on this two-dimensionality of concepts with explicit reference to the logic of Port Royal.


John Locke radically opposed the doctrine of innate ideas. He developed his theory of signs, in which simple and complex concepts are distinguished. For him, words are "[...] the sensual signs of the ideas of those who use them". They stand for the ideas (or concepts) of the spirit (mind). Because of this, and because they are represented by names, it is possible to speak of classes of things or properties of properties. Simple concepts are not in the mind , but are only acquired through direct experience. The general concepts are a product of abstraction and are formed by the mind. Overall, it is empirical epistemology that equates terms with ideas or images in the mind. For this reason, George Berkeley strictly rejects general and abstract terms.


Following Descartes, for Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, clarity and distinctness are sufficient features of a term.

German idealism and premodernism


First Immanuel Kant strictly distinguishes between ideas and concepts. He divides them into empirical , intellectual (categories) and rational concepts (ideas). According to his Transcendental Aesthetics, intuitions arise solely from sensuality and concepts from intellect alone. These two so-called stems of knowledge are inseparably interwoven, so that there can be no concepts without intuition and vice versa. Concepts without intuition would be empty (as a conclusion of the transcendental aesthetic). In the Transcendental Analytic , Kant undertakes to show that even views without concepts cannot exist because they would be blind. Concepts are used to judge the mind in its activity. Judgments can be traced back to the more general judgments preceding them, until one finally arrives at a table of elementary judgments, from which Kant finally deduces the table of the logical categories of understanding. The categories serve the understanding to synthesize the multiplicity of the received sensory impressions into one knowledge . In the transcendental deduction he shows that the activities of sensuality and understanding must always be accompanied by the Cartesian consciousness of the I think (he calls this "transcendental apperception"), so that laws can never exist in the phenomena, but always only in knowing subject. Objective knowledge is therefore always linked to the subject's capacity for knowledge. At the end of his investigation, Kant asks the question of whether it is possible to gain purely intellectual perceptions (noumena, like God, freedom, immortality of the soul) in addition to the knowledge of the objective world of phenomena (through the interplay of sensuality and understanding presented above) which he denies. Where this happens, reason is deceiving itself with the means of its own apparatus. Reliable knowledge is only possible where sensuality is combined with understanding - the concept is filled with content.


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel calls it one of Kant's greatest insights to have seen that the contents of our experience only have reality and truth when they are brought together under terms by the thinking ego . But with him they not only have a cognitive function, but are “an active principle that underlies reality and makes it what it is.” They are to be understood as moving, dialectical, living terms that are based on the constantly changing their inherent tension and in confrontation with their respective object and its dynamics. Hegel demands that the concept of a thing should not be applied to it from outside, but that it should be developed from its own determinations. The examination of the knowledge of the object is at the same time that of its standard. Philosophy should take on the effort of the term. The dialectical movement of things is the movement of the concept, of its medium in which they come together, or for the subject really, because they are in principle subject to it, in Hegel's language they are suspended in it . Petra Gehring gives u. a. the following features of the term:

  1. Concepts are forms in which the real essence or reality of a thing is manifested or established.
  2. Concepts are not only internal, but real accomplishments; they are thus a form of living expression.
  3. Freedom opens up and documents itself in terms.
  4. Concepts are not alien to the substantial world, including that of the natural sciences, but rather emerge from it, even if mediated.

Hegel deals with the subject of reality in the form of the substance relationship in his doctrine of essence . The categories of the being that still belong to the realm of necessity relate implicitly to a knowledge subject, which is then clearly expressed in the doctrine of the concept. The concept is the unity of being and essence. He brings these dimensions into motion, "in freedom and specifically for the subject". In doing so, he tries to derive the realm of freedom from that of necessity and does not oppose it as incompatible. Hegel identifies the term with freedom and freedom with the ego, which is understood as pure self-confidence . An I understood in this way is in freedom, because it stands for a "relationship that is, as a relationship to another, self-relationship". The self-confident ego is thus an identity that holds all the differences understood as its own. Understood in this way, the concept is not only something subjective, but is now linked to the only reality for the subject, i.e. always linked to the determination of objectivity. Only its determinations fall within the subject. He does not simply accept the fact of concepts and freedom, but tries to show their genesis. It should be noted that the general is thought of as an activity and not as an abstract something that only includes things, but as a real movement of reason.

The concept is always already the unity of immediacy, that is, of being as it is directly represented and the reflection of it, for Hegel that is the way in which being appears through or in being. Through him all being is both immediate and mediated, that is, posited by thinking. But that is only pure abstraction, which only defines the form of the concept. But what matters is that it is specifically developed and thus becomes richer and richer. The most concrete thing for him is God or the absolute spirit. There can be no being beyond the concept. Just more or less conscious or developed terms. The concept of the concept is 1. the unity of positedness and being- in-and-for-itself and 2. the unity of generality, particularity and particularity, each of these moments being asserted as the unity of itself and the other moments. Such a concept is only determined by itself.


From ancient times the emphasis was on seeing mental signs or shapes of things in terms. In the 19th century, on the one hand, the linguistic component of concept formation became more and more a topic and, on the other hand, newly emerging logics looked at the concept in a different light or even made it superfluous. Giambattista Vico , Johann Georg Hamann , Johann Gottfried Herder and Wilhelm von Humboldt place emphasis on the linguistic component .

You face Bernard Bolzano . He strictly differentiates between concepts in the logical and in the psychological sense. For him they are not actual acts of thinking, but rather “what is thought in a thought. In psychological terms, they are the subject of imagination. There are 'subjective ideas', that is, subjective ideas of words and ideas in themselves, ”unambiguous linguistic expressions. He also differentiates between simple and compound ideas: "Views" and "Terms should [...] mean all ideas that are neither simple individual ideas nor contain similar parts" Bolzano's understanding of the scope and content of the term thus deviates from tradition. For him, the conceptual content of an idea is the sum of the parts of which it consists. The scope of the term is made up of the objects to which the presentation relates. According to Bolzano, it is better to speak of components of a term and of features of the thing to which the term relates instead of features of a term.

Bolzano had direct influence on Edmund Husserl and Alexius Meinong and indirect influence on George Edward Moore and Bertrand Russell . The classical logic of concepts was increasingly replaced by the theory of linguistic signs through the influence of logic (System of Logic / 1843) by John Stuart Mill . In it, terms apply as “meanings of linguistic expressions”.


In the Prolegomena to Pure Logic, Edmund Husserl criticized the tracing back of concepts to their genesis and opposed their validity qua ideality of meaning. According to the first logical investigation, terms in the sense of meanings are species resp. ideal items. In this way, at least the early Husserl represents a form of platonic conceptual realism, which ascribes an - admittedly not real - to an ideal being to the meanings. More difficult to decide and more controversial in the literature is the extent to which a Platonic theory of terms and meanings can be assumed for the later (more) n Husserl and which criteria should play a role in this decision.

According to Husserl and Gottlob Frege, a distinction must be made between the first and second level terms. Second level concepts are “concepts of concepts and other ideal units”.

20th century and present

As part of the so-called linguistic turn in philosophy, analytical philosophy was developed , which asserted that numerous philosophical problems are in truth problems of the inaccuracy of everyday language. Important pioneers of analytical philosophy are Gottlob Frege , Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell . The linguistic turn led to the emergence of semiotics as a new science.


Gottlob Frege suggests using terms only in the logical sense and giving it the meaning of a grammatical predicate . For him, “a concept […] is a function whose value is always a truth value.” In another turn, a linguistic structure “from which one can obtain truth-defining statements by filling in the [...] blanks, that is, statements that have the truth value have true or false "and in the same sense" a proposition function of a variable "," if it is either a valid or an invalid judgment for each value of the variable from its domain of definition. "

According to Frege, objects have properties, concepts properties and features. The characteristics of a concept are part of the whole of the concept. The term “human” has, among other things, the characteristic “living being”. “Visible” is not a property, but a characteristic of the term “visible object”.

Of particular importance is the recognition that existence is a property of concepts, not of objects. Numbers are accordingly properties of first-level concepts under which objects fall


According to Hans-Georg Gadamer , the meaning of every word is only derived from conversation. For him, abstract conceptual thinking is a genuine characteristic of occidental philosophy. The term, however, is constantly being re-understood in relation to the experience of the world, which is not just part of a term, but is also determined by the interpreter's prior understanding. Here he adopts Heidegger's model of the hermeneutic circle . He asks whether an abstract concept, as presented in the concept game of philosophy, does not represent a misleading instrumental abstraction when viewed in isolation.

“This, too, is a criticism of subjective consciousness in our century. Language and concept are evidently so closely linked that the opinion that one could ›use‹ concepts, say something like: ›I call it this way and that,‹ always detracts from the binding nature of philosophizing. The individual consciousness has no such freedom if it wants to know philosophically. It is tied to language, which is not only a language of the speaker, but also that of the conversation that things have with us: In the philosophical topic of language, science and world experience of human life meet today. "

For him, concepts are tied to language. In it the whole horizon of world understanding opens up and all instances of meaning and significance are already integrated. The concepts of language are on the one hand passed down from tradition, on the other hand they offer the only possibility to rethink tradition. In principle, this process is open. The horizon of world experience is constantly shifting in this way. According to the hermeneutical conception of language, a word can not be exhausted by the concept. Language is always metaphorical. This metaphor of language precedes the concept and takes over its guidance.

“It is obvious that an instrumental theory of signs that understands word and concept as tools that are readily available or to be made available, fails the hermeneutic phenomenon. If we stick to what happens in word and speech and, above all, in every conversation with tradition that the humanities conduct, we must recognize that there is constant formation of concepts. This is not to say that the interpreter uses new or unusual words. But the use of the ordinary word does not arise from the act of logical subsumption by which the particular would be brought under the general of the concept. "

Critical theory

The critical theory of the Frankfurt School illuminates the function of science and its conceptual systems in society. She pays special attention to the context of justification, or the legitimation of interpretation patterns that determine society. This way of working can already be found in Walter Benjamin's studies of language and society . She developed her historical-dialectical understanding of terms based on, among other things, Hegel, Freud and Marx, or later in discussions with the neopositivists (Frege, Russel, Carnap) and their critics (Popper). According to the understanding of critical theory, the ideal of these positive sciences is the mere classification of the facts in logical, contradiction-free conceptual systems , without their reflexive penetration. The delusion of consistency has a direct impact on social practice. Horkheimer draws attention to the fact that the very concept of fact depends on the epoch and the view of society:

"The facts that the senses bring to us are socially pre-formed in two ways: through the historical character of the perceived object and the historical character of the perceiving organ."

According to their understanding, it is not possible to apply a system of concepts, however prepared, to the so-called facts. Adorno orients himself to Hegel when he says that the method of science changes with its object, but to Marx when he believes he recognizes the cause of this change in the changes in the material substrates on which the objects are based.

Formation of semiotics

The sketch and first, historically most important elaboration of the modern research program of a science that examines how certain objects designate other objects, the so-called semiotics, goes back to Charles Sanders Peirce . Other classics in the discipline are Charles W. Morris , Thomas A. Sebeok and Umberto Eco . The linguist Ferdinand de Saussure also made fundamental contributions. This includes, for example, the distinction between human speech in general (langage), the abstract system of rules that govern them (langue), as well as speech that is actually performed in individual acts (parole); furthermore an analysis of signs according to a two-part structure of what is indicative and what is denoted. This analysis has been modified many times. I.a. it was proposed to replace it with a three-part structure. An example of such a modification is the proposal by Charles Kay Ogden and IA Richards . The components here are symbols, thoughts or references and speakers. The latter is a concrete object; there was no direct equivalent in Saussure. This proposal exchanges v. a. the designations compared to the Peirce model; but it is so popular that every now and then it is also referred to as “the” semiotic triangle .

Systematic aspects

Basic meanings

A reflective, philosophical or scientific term is usually established by a definition that describes its properties and distinguishes it from other terms. Other definitions are also discussed, especially for class terms. Term denotes:

  1. the smallest unit of thought in contrast to judgment and conclusion in logic.
  2. a word, name or phrase.
  3. a psychic phenomenon (" idea ").
  4. the object itself.
  5. the set of designated objects (extension). The term can also be used indefinitely for intension and / or extension.

Intension and Extension

The terms “morning star” and “evening star” refer to the same object, Venus, but, according to classical analysis and the like. a. Freges, in different ways. Such deviations are usually described by differentiating between “Intension” (manner of reference, conceptual content) and “Extension” (reference, class of reference objects, scope of the term).

Differentiation between concept and word

Terms are represented by designations with words or symbols. The designation of a term using words is also called naming . A term can be represented by several terms, both by words in different languages ​​and in one language ( synonyms ). If different terms have the same names, one speaks of homonymy .

Uniqueness and ambiguity

In the ideal case a word stands for only one term, in this case it is clearly stated (univok) . In colloquial language, however, it is the normal case that a word stands for different terms, it is then referred to as ambiguous (equivok) . In this sense, equivocality includes the homonymy and polysemy of words. In a broader sense, equivocality also includes the case that several words stand for the same term ( synonymy ).

Uniqueness (univocality) of terminology is a seldom achieved ideal of any scientific language. Misunderstandings and manipulations live from the ambiguity (equivocality) of the expressions. A definition of terms serves to resolve these ambiguities. In the formalized languages, the unambiguousness of the meaning is inevitable.

Concept types

Terms can be divided according to various criteria. The way of expression and the meaning intended in each case vary in part between different theorists.

Individual term and general term

A general term, according to the usual explication, refers to features that several objects have in common, such as their red color, or covers a common species of individuals, such as "living beings". Whether such general terms or universals refer to something or can be identified with objects that also have an independent existence outside of what is thought has been a controversial debate for centuries, cf. about universality dispute . An individual concept , on the other hand, only refers to a single object, an individual, similar to a proper name on the level of language. Numerous philosophers have discussed whether individual terms exist at all. If you take z. If, for example, the conceptual genesis always appears as an abstraction of general properties, this appears questionable. (Assuming that knowledge encompasses general terms, this can lead to the view that knowledge of individuals is not possible, see Individual est ineffabile ). In addition, it needs to be explained what an individual term refers to. Some philosophers, u. a. Duns Scotus , have introduced "thisnesses" or individual beings, so-called haecceitates , by means of which it is also intended to explain how individuals and their concepts are actually constituted ("individuation").

Generic term / species term

A formed term can be “described as a set of different characteristics”. These features show the relationships to other terms. Essential characteristics of a term are the generic characteristic and the species difference. Genus (sbegriff) (genus) is the "term in relation to another, it occurs in the content as the main part, has a larger circumference" and type (realized) (species) of the "term in respect to the other , which occurs in its content as the main part, has a smaller scope. "

Concrete / abstract terms

In philosophy, various objections are raised to this classification, among other things because all concepts are formed by abstracting and generalizing. In this respect, the concrete concept is also a result of abstraction. In order to maintain the subdivision and to make it more strict, attempts have been made to reduce it to different methodological types of abstraction. Thus in some way the image of an object and the image of properties of an object must be distinguished. This distinction then leads to the division of the concepts into concrete and abstract.

A concrete term is a term that can be used “to define individual objects (of a kind) or to make a statement about any object of the same kind” (examples: horse, person, house). As a concrete term, in contrast to the abstract term, a certain, given object or a certain class of objects is referred to: z. B. Hotel , Berlin , surroundings , apple .

An abstract term is a term that is required "to define or represent a property of objects or a relation between individual objects" Examples are: courage , blush , love , hate , human dignity. It does not designate representational entities, such as freedom , spirit , being , as well as representational entities, such as nature, matter, thing, life, etc.

Conceptual relationships

Compatible / incompatible terms

According to the relation of extension and intension of concepts, one can divide them into compatible and incompatible concepts. Two terms are compatible which have such features in their content that their scope can coincide completely or partially. Terms that have the same scope are called equipollent (evening star / morning star). There may also be terms that partially intersect with one another in terms of scope (example: aquatic animal / mammal). Concepts can also be in relation to superordinate and subordinate. The superordinate term then functions as a generic term, the subordinate as a species term (example: living being / human). A further distinction is also made between coordinated terms, i.e. H. Terms that do not have an extension, but have a generic characteristic in common (e.g. monkey / human being - living being). In the case of incompatible terms , one can use contradicting terms, contradicting terms (e.g. white / not-white), contradicting terms that are subordinate to a third term but, unlike contradicting terms, are not complementary to one another, as well as disparate terms that have their scope exclude each other and do not have a common related generic term (e.g. soul / triangle), distinguish from each other.

General term / sub-term

Depending on how narrowly a term is defined, it can include very similar or very different objects. By classifying objects that fall under a term according to additional properties, sub-terms are formed. The broader term is the generic term (example: “Term” is the generic term for “General term” and “Individual term”). This already shows that each generic term is a general term, but a general term can also be a sub-term. An individual term, on the other hand, can only be a sub-term, even if the corresponding object or individual can fall under several generic terms. (Example: P. and his dog Waldi are very close to each other. Then Waldi falls under the generic term dog and friend, but is an element of the intersection and 'not generic term' of dog and friend.)

Concept acquisition and formation

Concept theory has been discussing the origin of concepts since its historical beginnings and in particular the question of whether all or some concepts are “innativism” (concept innativism / nativism) or whether all or almost all concepts are acquired through the cognitive's own contribution (concept empiricism ). According to Hans Aebli , the initial conceptualization in the form of assigning consideration with conjunction and correlation goes over to the conceptual formation with complex systemic links and categorization.

The concept formation is a psychological process that leads to the categorization of objects or events. The classification is based on the common characteristics of the objects. It is assumed that the characteristic features can be distinguished from the insignificant ones. It is assigned to the field of thought psychology , but also falls into that of learning psychology , since this is a learning process . The process of concept formation is often attributed to the following mechanisms:

  1. Abstraction of unimportant stimulus features,
  2. Differentiation and deletion of stimulus characteristics,
  3. mediated association or
  4. Invariant formation due to step-by-step information processing

Jean Piaget dealt with the conceptual formation of humans in the form of a structural analysis of the cognitive structures and environment already available to him. According to him, cognitive structures are formed through interaction with objects. Old structures are retained until new invariant features can be assigned and thus lead to a correction. In the first case the object is adapted to the perception, Piaget calls this assimilation . In the latter case, the perception adapts to the object, one speaks of accommodation . Between these processes there is a steady state that he calls equilibration . The perception and, as a result, the possibility of being able to form new terms is becoming more and more differentiated.


"Since man has language as the means of designation peculiar to reason, it is an idle idea to look around for a more imperfect mode of representation and to want to torment with it. The concept as such can essentially only be conceived with the spirit, whose property it is not only, but pure self. It is in vain to try to hold on to it by spatial figures and algebraic signs for the sake of the external eye [296] and a conceptless, mechanical treatment, a calculus. Anything else that should serve as a symbol can at most, like symbols for the nature of God, arouse hunches and echoes of the concept; but if it should be serious to express and recognize the concept through it, then the external nature of all symbols is inadequate to it, and rather the relationship is reversed, that what in the symbols resonates with a higher determination is only recognized and through the concept it can only be approached by the separation of that sensual presence that was supposed to express it "

“Because where there are no terms, a word appears at the right time. Words are an excellent way to argue, to prepare a system with words, to believe in words, not to steal an iota from a word . "



  • Gottlob Frege : Foreword to conceptual writing. In: Meixner (Ed.): Philosophy of Logic [2003], pp. 27–32.
  • Gottlob Frege: Function and Concept (Lecture 1891). In: Meixner (Ed.): Philosophy of Logic [2003], pp. 32–54.
  • Gottlob Frege: Foreword to: Basic Laws of Arithmetic, Volume 1 [1893] . In: Meixner (Ed.): Philosophy of Logic [2003], pp. 54–79.

Historical representations

  • Christoph Asmuth: Term. Conceptual optimism and conceptual skepticism in classical German philosophy. In: Annika Hand, Christian Bermes, Ulrich Dierse (eds.): Key terms of the philosophy of the 19th century. (= Archive for conceptual history ). Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg 2015. pp. 7–38.
  • Rudolf Haller : Art. Term , in: Joachim Ritter : Historical Dictionary of Philosophy . Vol. 1, 1971, pp. 780-785.
  • JHJ Schneider, S. Majetschak: Art. Term , in: G. Ueding (Hrsg.): Historical Dictionary of Rhetoric , Tübingen 1992, Vol. 1, pp. 1399-1422.
  • Morris Weitz: Theories of Concepts: A History of the Major Philosophical Traditions , London: Routledge 1988, ISBN 0-415-00180-3 ; see also works on the history of logic and the history of the philosophy of language
  • A. Zimmermann (Ed.): The concept of representation in the Middle Ages . Representation, symbol, sign, image (Miscellanea Mediaevalia 8). de Gruyter, Berlin 1971.
  • Dominik Perler: Theories of intentionality in the Middle Ages , Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2004.


Systematic representations

  • Wayne A. Davis: Meaning, expression, and thought , Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2003, ISBN 0-521-55513-2 , esp. Pp. 407-550.
  • Jerry Fodor : Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong . New York: Oxford University Press 1998.
  • Michael Gal: Concept, definition, concept analysis. Basic terminology. In: ders., International Political History. Concept - Basics - Aspects. Norderstedt 2019, ISBN 978-3-7528-2338-7 , pp. 159-177.
  • Frank Cameron Jackson : From Metaphysics to Ethics: A Defense of Conceptual Analysis . Oxford: Oxford University Press 1998.
  • Eric Margolis , Stephen Laurence (Eds.): Concepts: Core Readings . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 1999.
  • Ruth Millikan : On Clear and Confused Ideas . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2000.
  • G. Murphy: The Big Book of Concepts . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2002.
  • Christopher Peacocke : A Study of Concepts . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 1992.
  • Jesse Prinz : Art. Concepts , in: Encyclopedia of Philosophy , Vol. 2, pp. 414-420.
  • Jesse Prinz: Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis . Cambridge, MA .: MIT Press 2002.
  • George Rey: Art. Concepts , in: Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy .
  • Arno Ros : Reason and term. Changes in the understanding of conceptual arguments , Meiner, Hamburg, 3 vols, 1008 pages; ISBN 978-3-7873-0962-7 .
    • 1989: Volume 1: Antiquity, Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
    • 1990: Volume 2: Modern Times
    • 1990: Volume 3: Modern
  • Jürgen Schröder: The language of thinking , Königshausen & Neumann, 2001, ISBN 3-8260-2128-2 .
  • Thomas Bernhard Seiler : Understanding and Understanding , Verlag Allgemeine Wissenschaft, Darmstadt 2001, ISBN 3-935924-00-3 .
  • Christian Thiel : Art. Term , in: H. Seifert, G. Radnitzky (Hrsg.): Handlexikon zur Wissenschaftstheorie , Munich 1989.

Web links

Wikiquote: Term  - Quotes
Wiktionary: Term  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations



Individual evidence

  1. Earl, lc
  2. See "Term" in the Digital Dictionary of the German Language of the 20th Century [1]
  3. cf. R. Haller: Concept, the philosophical use, in: HWPh , 1, p. 780 f.
  4. cf. Chr. Axelos: General, Special , in: HWPh , 1, p. 164 f .; also: Gernot Böhme: Plato's theoretical philosophy , Metzler Verlag, 2000 (licensed edition of the WBG), p. 116
  5. Aristotle: Metaphysics , 1078b, translated by Hermann Bonitz
  6. cf. Uwe Meixner: Knowledge , in: Christian Schäfer (Ed.): Platon Lexikon , WBG, Darmstadt 2007, p. 111. Meixner refers to Philebos 59a – b, Theaitetos 152d, e, Timaios 27d – 28a and Politea 534a, as well as Aristoteles : Metaphysics 987a.
  7. cf. Michael Schramm: Logos , in: Schäfer, p. 184 f.
  8. cf. R. Haller: Term, in: Ritter, Volume 1, Basel 1971, p. 781.
  9. Plato deals with this problem in Menon 72a7–76a5
  10. cf. Böhme , p. 118 f.
  11. cf. Böhme , p. 117
  12. cf. Böhme , p. 116 f.
  13. cf. Plato: The State , 506E-507C
  14. cf. H. Meinhardt: Idea, I. Antike - from Plato to Aristotle, in: Ritter, Volume 4, Basel 1976, p. 56
  15. a b cf. Böhme , p. 6
  16. Plato: The Sophist (253B-254A). Translated by Friedrich Schleiermacher
  17. cf. Böhme , p. 110
  18. Peter Staudacher: Thinking , in: Christian Schäfer, p. 77.
  19. cf. Haller , p. 781
  20. cf. Dorthea Frede: Dialectics in Plato's late dialogues , in: Marcel van Ackeren (Ed.): Platon Understanding , WBG, Darmstadt 2004, p. 158
  21. Plato: The Sophist (259B? -260B)
  22. Chr. Axelos: General / Special , in: Ritter , Volume 1, p. 165 f. Axelos quotes from Metaphysics 1038b 11f
  23. cf. ibid. P. 166
  24. cf. Ritter , p. 781 f.
  25. ^ Ritter , p. 782
  26. 843a 10-14
  27. Cf. FW Zimmermann: Al-Farabi's Commentary and short treatise on Aristotle's De Interpretatione , London: Oxford University Press 1981, xxxiii
  28. See Zimmermann, lc, xxxiii-xxxiv
  29. Cf. Gernot Böhme: Plato's theoretical philosophy , Metzer Verlag 2000, licensed edition of the WBG , p. 110. Cf. also Ritter , p. 781.
  30. Above paragraph according to R. Arnaldez: Art. "Manṭiḳ", in: Encyclopaedia of Islam , 2. A. ( online version for subscribers )
  31. Above paragraph according to CHM Versteegh : Art. "Maʿnā", in: Encyclopaedia of Islam , 2. A. ( online version for subscribers )
  32. See in more detail JN Mattock: Art. "Maḳūlāt", in: Encyclopaedia of Islam 2nd A., online version for subscribers
  33. a b Above paragraph after Oliver Leaman : Art. "Maʿnā", in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2. A. ( online version for subscribers )
  34. See Zimmermann, lc, xxxiv-xxxvii
  35. With z. B. Lenn Evan Goodman : Avicenna , Routledge 1992, ISBN 0-415-01929-X , p. 147
  36. So at least the abstract in Sajjad H. Rizvi:  Avicenna. In: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy .
  37. P. Boehner, G. Gal and S. Brown (eds.): Ockham, Summa logicae (Sum of Logic) I, Chapter 1, Bonaventure Editiones instituti franciscani, 1974b. quoted in: Jürgen Schröder: Die Sprache des Denkens, Königshausen & Neumann, 2001, p. 17. Ockham refers here to Boëthius' Aristotle commentary in the first book of 'de interpretatione'.
  38. See Jürgen Schröder: The language of thinking, p. 17 f.
  39. See Schröder, p. 21 f.
  40. ^ Sum of Logic I, Chapter 12, quoted in: Schröder, p. 21
  41. ^ Wolfgang Röd: History of Philosophy: The Philosophy of Modern Times; 1. From Francis Bacon to Spinoza , CH Beck, 1999, p. 64
  42. see Röd , p. 62
  43. cf. Röd , p. 74
  44. Röd p. 67
  45. In fact, the Port Royal logic can be regarded as unusual in that it speaks of idées instead of concepts; see e.g. B. José Ferreiros: The Road to modern logic , in: The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 7/4 (2001), 441-484, here 455
  46. Arnauld, A. / Nicole, P .: The logic or the art of thinking, trans. by Christos Axelos (Library of Classical Texts), Darmstadt 2. A. 1994, 46. Brief information on this z. B. Russelö Wahl: Port-Royal: The Stirrings of Modernity , in: Gabbay / Woods (ed.): Handbook of the History of Logic, Vol. 2, Mediaeval and Renaissance Logic, Elsevier 2007; Ders .: The Port Royal Logic , in: Walton / Brinton (eds.): Historical Antecedents to Informal Logic, London: Avebury Press 1997. Elmar J. Kremer: Arnauld on the nature of ideas as a topic in logic : the Port- Royal Logic and On true and false ideas, in: Easton Patricia A. Atascadero (Ed.): Logic and the workings of the mind. The logic of ideas and faculty psychology in early modern philosophy, Ridgeview 1997, 65-82. Jill Vance Buroker: The Port-Royal semantics of terms , in: Synthesis 96/3 (1993), 455-475; U. Roclem: Problems of the sign and communication in the history of science and ideas of the Enlightenment , in: Saxon Academy of Sciences / Philological-Historical Class 125/6 (1985). B. Rolf: The Port-Royal Theory of Definition , in: Studia Leibnitiana 1 (1983); an early study is Herbert Brekle : Semiotics and linguistic semantics in Port-Royal , in: Indogermanische Forschungen 69 (1964), 103–121. As well as chapters in almost every history of logic and history of philosophy of language , e.g. B. in: W. Risse: The logic of modern times . Vol. 2, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1970.
  47. See next to The order of things z. B. Brekle, Herbert (1964): Semiotics and linguistic semantics in Port-Royal , Indo-European Research, 69, 103-121 La Grammaire générale de Port-Royal , in: Langages 7 (1967), 7-15.
  48. Arnauld / Nicole, ed. Axelos, 1994, p. 34; this passage cites e.g. B. Noam Chomsky: Aspects of the Theory of Syntax , MIT Press 1965, ISBN 0-262-53007-4 , pp. 49 f.
  49. cf. R. Kauppi: Conceptual content / conceptual scope in: Ritter, Volume 1, p. 808. In the 19th century, Hamilton then used the term intension.
  50. Further information on early variants or preparations for this distinction in the literature mentioned here
  51. cf. Haller , p. 784
  52. John Locke: Experiment on the Human Mind , § 2
  53. cf. Haller , p. 782 f.
  54. cf. Haller , p. 783
  55. Taylor quotes Hegel: “It is one of the deepest and most correct insights that can be found in the Critique of Reason that the unity that defines the essence of the concept , as the originally synthetic unity of apperception , as the unity of " I think " or of self-consciousness is recognized. ”GWF Hegel: Wissenschaft der Logic II , Vol. 6/20, stw, Frankfurt am Main 1986, p. 254
  56. cf. and see Charles Taylor: Hegel , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1978, p. 389
  57. cf. GWF Hegel: Phenomenology of Spirit , stw, Vol. 3/20, Frankfurt 1986, p. 78
  58. cf. GWF Hegel: Phenomenology of Spirit , stw, Vol. 3/20, Frankfurt 1986, p. 56 f.
  59. Petra Gehring: Thinking Hegel , Lectures # 9 / -0: 46
  60. cf. Charles Taylor: Hegel , p. 388
  61. Petra Gehring: Thinking Hegel , Lecture # 10 / -01: 30
  62. cf. on the transition from the substance relationship, which he treats in essence logic, as the realm of necessity to the free concept, GWFHegel: Wissenschaft der Logic II , p. 250 f.
  63. cf. Drüe / Gethmann-Siefert / Hackenesch / Jaeschke / Neuser / Schnädelbach: Hegel's encyclopedia of the philosophical sciences (1830). A commentary on the system floor plan , Frankfurt am Main 2000, p. 118 f.
  64. cf. GWFHegel: Science of Logic II , Vol. 6/20, stw, Frankfurt am Main 1986, p. 251 f.
  65. cf. GWF Hegel: Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences I , Bd. 8/20, stw, Frankfurt am Main 1986, § 163 f., The term as such
  66. cf. on this section: Friedrike Schick in: Paul Cobben [et al.] (Ed.): Hegel-Lexikon , WBG, Darmstadt 2006, p. 153 Note: Schick makes the limiting remark here that this is only so if the The thesis of the unity of the identity of generality and particularity in the individual can prove
  67. Haller does not cite a direct source, in the notes is: B.Bolzano: Wissenschaftslehre (1837) 1 § 48 , in: Ritter p. 784
  68. ^ Kauppi in: Ritter S. 809
  69. Husserl, Logical Investigations I , in: Meixner, (Ed.), Philosophy of Logic [2003], p. 83 (106)
  70. Gottlob Frege: Function and Concept. Jena 1891, p. 15.
  71. ^ Herberger / Simon: Theory of Science. [1980], p. 233.
  72. Clauberg / Dubislav: Systematic Dictionary of Philosophy. [1923], p. 60.
  73. cf. Patzig: language and logic. 2nd ed. 1981, p. 87
  74. Patzig: Language and Logic. 2nd Edition. 1981, p. 89.
  75. See foreword by Jean Grondin in: ders. (Ed.): Gadamer-Lesebuch , UTB, Tübingen 1997, pp. X f.
  76. Hans-Georg Gadamer: Collected Works, Vol. 4, Newer Philosophy II, Tübingen 1987, p. 20.
  77. Günter Figal: “A thinking that experiences the historicity of its concepts can no longer articulate itself without further ado, and since it does not have others available, it sees itself in a“ changed relationship to the concept (GW 1,2 ) «In general: conceptual speaking and thinking in the sense of tradition turns out to be a possibility that has become a fact and therefore unattainable. One expressly never experiences tradition without breaking it; it recedes as soon as it is discovered and thus binds all the more tightly, because there is no other space of articulation for present-day thinking. ”Günter Figal: Philosophische Hermeneutik - Hermeneutische Philosophie in: Figal, p. 336
  78. See Dennis J. Schmidt: What we can not say ... , in: Günter Figal, Jean Grondin, Dennis J. Schmidt (Ed.): Hermeneutische Ways , Hans-Georg Gadamer zum Hundertsten, Tübingen 2000, p. 173
  79. Gadamer, GW 1, p. 407, quoted from: James Risser: Die Metaphorik des SPEAKING , in: Günter Figal u. a. (Ed.): Hermeneutische Ways , p. 183.
  80. cf. Max Horkheimer: Traditional and Critical Theory, Five Essays, Fischer Wissenschaft, Frankfurt am Main 1992, p. 221.
  81. Horkheimer , p. 217.
  82. See, for example, Winfried Nöth : Handbook of Semiotics, Indiana University Press, Bloomington 1990, pp. 89f. For the history of ideas of the semiotic triangle, cf. for example François Rastier: La triade sémiotique, le trivium et la sémantique linguistique ( Memento from June 28, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), in: Nouveaux actes sémiotiques 9 (1990), 5-39 and the older literature mentioned there.
  83. M. Eysenck, M. Keane: Cognitive Psychology . Psychology Press, Hove (UK), 2000
  84. Elena Tatievskaya: Introduction to the propositional logic of Logos Verlag, Berlin 2003, ISBN 978-3-8325-0004-7 , p. 56.
  85. Tatievskaya, propositional logic [2003], p. 60
  86. a b Tatievskaya, propositional logic [2003], p. 53
  87. Tatievskaya, propositional logic [2003], p. 62
  88. cf. Tatievskaya, propositional logic [2003], p. 63
  89. More on the subject in Margolis / Laurence and Murphy 2002, chap. 8 (Induction), 9 (Concepts in Infancy), 10 (Conceptual Development), 12 (Conceptual Combination).
  90. Hans Aebli: Thinking: The Order of Doing, Volume II, Klett-Cotta 1981, p. 188
  91. K. Foppa: Concept formation , in: Joachim Ritter: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy., Volume 1, p. 787
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