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A definition ( Latin definitio "demarcation", from de "(from sth.) Down / away" and finis " limit ") is either, depending on the teaching that is followed here

  1. the determination of the essence of a thing to be explained,
  2. the definition of a term ( definition ),
  3. the establishment of an actually practiced use of the language ,
  4. the establishment or agreement of such in linguistics or
  5. as a legal definition the determination of a legal term in jurisprudence .

Classification of Definitions

Connotative and Denotative Definitions

Intension and Extension

In definition theory, a distinction is made between the extension and intension of an expression. The intension (conceptual content, meaning, connotation) comprises the set of features (attributes, properties) that must be given so that objects (people, objects) can be referred to with the expression. The extension (scope of terms, meaning, denotation) comprises the set of all objects that are identified with the expression.

“The extension of the name 'table' is the set of all tables, that of the name 'book' is the set of all books, that of the name 'cubist picture' is the set of all cubist pictures, etc. Ä. "

- Pawłowski : Concept formation and definition. 1980.

There is a reciprocal relation between intention and extension :

“If one compares the content and scope of the concept with one another, the following relationship results: the larger the content, the smaller the scope , and vice versa: the smaller the content, the greater the scope. The reason is because there are only a few common features on many different objects, while many features fit on a few different objects. "

- Beck : Philosophical Propaedeutics. 1841.

The extension can be empty ("the current King of France").

Connotative definitions

A definition that specifies the intension of a word is called intensional or connotative definition .

Equivalence definition

In the definition of equivalence, the term to be defined (Definiendum) and the defining term (Definiens ; plural: Definientia) are connected with the help of a copula, which expresses that there is an equivalence between Definiendum and Definiens , i.e. This means that the first expression is the same as the second intension.

The classical Greek conceptual structure (Greek ορίζειν (ορίζεσθαι) ορισμός) was split into definire / definitio and determinare / determinatio during the translation into Latin . The definitio (explanation of the term) is determined by the “object” to be defined, the determinatio (conceptual definition) by the defining “subject”. For the classical Greek way of thinking, both were still combined in a single term.

Examples of such copula are "... let's call ...", "... means something like ...", "by ... one should understand ...", "is ... exactly when ...".

Definition of the genus and the species difference

The Aristotelian doctrine was still common in the 19th century, according to which the next higher generic term (genus proximum) and the species-forming difference (differentia specifica) should be specified. Basically, however, it can only be used for classifications and is also closely related to Aristotle's special metaphysics .

Aristotle has imposed on such a definition following scheme: Each term can be used as nature (eidos, species) are defined

  1. by the term above ( genus , genos; genus proximum ) and
  2. the distinctive (type-forming) difference (diaphora; differentia specifica) , these are the characteristics .

The classic form of the definition is accordingly the one stating a genus proximum (genus) and a differentia specifica (specific delimitation criterion). While it was long believed that this was a universal form, the simple example “A Scandinavian is a person who comes from Denmark, Norway or Sweden” shows that meaningful definitions do not necessarily have to correspond to this scheme.

Definitions of the genus and the species difference (Latin: definitio fit per genus proximum et differentiam specificam) form the most important group of equivalence definitions. The term is determined with the help of a more extensive term and a difference is given which only occurs in the respective type of object and is absent in all other types of the genus. At first it seems to make sense to choose as large a number of properties as possible. However, such a list could not be exhaustive. Therefore one tries to find a characteristic which is sufficient to distinguish objects of the kind from other objects of the kind.

In definitions of the genus and the species difference, especially in the humanities and social sciences, one often finds the error that there are several genres. Definitions with this definition error are called definitions with several genera .

Synonym definition

One can define a word by giving a synonym for the word. The problem with this method is that there are seldom actual full synonyms. John Stuart Mill points out that this form of definition is not generally accepted:

"This may be done eight by predicating of the name intended to be defined, another connotative name exactly synonymous, as, 'Man is a human being', which is not commonly accounted a definition at all [...]"

Denotative definition

A definition that gives the extension of a word is called an extensional or denotative definition .

Deictic definition

A “deictic” (or “epideictic”) definition is a term definition, say of an “elephant”, which consists in pointing to an example of the class identified by the term in question (see Deixis ).

Example: This is red:  red

Descriptive, stating, and stipulative definition

Descriptive definition

A descriptive definition (or definitive definition) is a definition that records a familiar usage of the language.

Establishing definition

A defining definition is a definition in which a new term is introduced.

Thomas Hobbes was one of the first to firmly take definition as the establishment of meaning. But for him, as for Spinoza, “correct” definitions were the starting point for any real science.

Blaise Pascal ( L'Esprit Géométrique , Logic by Port-Royal ) was then the first to carry out the doctrine of definition as conceptualization in a logically clean manner.

Christoph Sigwart

Christoph von Sigwart (1830–1904) wanted to name “definition” only the sentence that equates the meaning of two expressions.

Thank God Frege

The "Frege theory" - which Dubislav calls it because it was Gottlob Frege who developed the distinction between signs and what is designated - understands definitions as rules of substitution over signs. A definition indicates the meaning of a character by indicating how one character is to be replaced by another in a logically equivalent manner.

Karl R. Popper

Traditionally, definitions are the building blocks of any science. For Karl Popper, however, definitions are rather unimportant compared to problems and theories. In their logical function, concepts are subordinate to the statements and theories in whose context they are used.

“The application of a term is not determined by the definition, but the use of the term determines what is called its 'definition' or its 'meaning'. In other words: There are only usage definitions. "

The traditional notion that before starting a discussion, one must first define the terms; That is, to agree on the vocabulary to be used, Popper believes that it is completely wrong. Because all definitions, including operational definitions, can only shift the problem from one side of the definition relation to the other side. This leads to an infinite regress ; in the end, there are always undefined expressions left. For logical reasons, it is impossible to empirically define or “constitute” scientific terms. However, in order to remove confusion, it is often necessary to distinguish between terms (such as “similar to truth” or “likely”).

The concepts of empirical science are always only implicitly defined by the sentences in which they appear. As such, this implicit definition is only a logical-formal one; it does not give any particular meaning to the implicitly defined terms (implicitly defined terms are variables). The implicitly defined terms only acquire a “specific meaning” and an empirical “meaning” through the empirical use of the sentences in which they occur.

The erroneous view that it is possible to empirically define terms either explicitly (through constitution) or through reference (through a so-called "assignment definition") can be countered by pointing out the unbridgeable gap between universals (general terms) and individuals (proper names) be refuted. It is trivial that one cannot define a universal concept by a class of proper names, nor can a proper name by specifying universal concepts. There is therefore no transition between individual and universal concepts in the sense that individualies can be defined by universals or universals by individualies; there is only one substitutional relationship between them: every individual concept can appear not only as an element of an individual, but also as an element of a universal class (but not the other way around).

An analogous relation to that between concept and object exists between proposition and fact. The sentence represents a state of affairs. This state of affairs can be distinguished from the fact (an irrational piece of reality) which the sentence describes and of which the state of affairs forms a “rational partial moment”.

One can state its characteristics of every object. Every sentence that expresses a characteristic represents a state of affairs. The fact that an object has an infinite number of characteristics corresponds to the fact that a fact has an infinite number of states of affairs as rational partial moments.

This second mode of expression, which relates to facts, states of affairs, and propositions, is undoubtedly more important than the language which speaks of objects, features and concepts. But just as an object does not consist of features, and how the features prove to be brought to the object by us because they - purely logically - always turn out to be arbitrarily selected (selected from an infinite number of possible features), likewise the facts turn out to be rational coordinates that we have carried into non-rationalized reality.

The naive inductivist empiricism considers the sentences to be images of reality. So he believes that the sentences represent what are here called "facts"; and so he overlooks the difference between "facts" and "facts". He does not consider the facts but the facts to be "given" or "observable" in any sense. A less naive point of view, which distinguishes facts from facts, is, if it proceeds inductivistically, confronted with the riddle of how the rational facts stand out from the irrational facts.

There is no fundamental difficulty here for deductivism. His theoretical approaches are consistently rational constructions. The fact that a state of affairs turns out to be a rational partial moment of a fact means nothing more to him than the possibility that the facts can contradict rational states of affairs - in other words, and in a biologically pragmatic way: that reactions can prove to be appropriate and inexpedient.

“The principles of theories (non-empirical as well as empirical) can be understood as implicit definitions of the basic concepts that arise. This is accepted for non-empirical theories; In empirical theories, however, one is usually of the opinion that the basic concepts are to be understood as non-logical constants or the like and that something is actually assigned to them. This view is untenable in this form (in particular the given view of the assignment definitions). The fact that a basic concept can be assigned to its object in reality would mean that general concepts denote objects that can be demonstrated (that is, the thesis 'universalia sunt realia' in the most primitive form).

The case is that the basic concepts of the empirical sciences are also implicitly defined. The assignment to reality does not happen for the basic concepts, but for the theory as a whole, with all its concepts (by specifying under which circumstances it is to be regarded as refuted). In other words: The assignment is made using the method of deciding on the special conclusions of the theory, by deciding on the derived prognoses in which the basic concepts no longer appear . (The assignment is the application of theory, it is practice, it is based on practical decisions; - a remark which makes it urgent to discuss the difference between the transcendental and the epistemological approach. "

While the logic of research suggests a methodology in the sense of empiricism , Popper distinguishes the latter from another, for which every scientific system essentially consists of definitions. The Conventionalism is likewise a deductivist methodology by Popper; but for these, statements of the law are not statements relating to reality or experience, but analytical judgments based on definitions. In a more comprehensive sense, “implicit definitions” can also be used instead of explicit definitions through the interpretation and conceptual networking within an axiomatic system. The terms are therefore not defined explicitly, but rather through the axiomatic theory .

The fundamental difference between conventionalism and the empiricism advocated by Popper cannot be determined logically, but is based on a difference in the decision for a certain methodological orientation: While empiricism tries to let scientific statements fail because of experience, the conventionalist can use a " conventionalistic twist “Always upholding his preferred theory in a variety of ways. Because this is already (logically) true based on the definition; it then defines for its part what data is relevant to it, for example by measuring procedures.

Stipulative definition and its explication

A stipulative definition (or also a regulating, regulating or prescribing definition) is a definition that is based on familiar language usage, but regulates usage in a new way. The analysis of the usage of language with the aim of a stipulative definition is called explication .

CG Hempel

Carl Gustav Hempel recommends subjecting real definitions as well as expressions and concepts taken from natural or everyday language to the process of explication or conceptual analysis. Only then can they be used appropriately in the context of scientific statements. A parallel to Karl Popper's “diacritical analysis / dialysis” becomes clear here.

Explication method

As explication is the process where by an expression whose meaning is not clear will come to a scientifically sound expression. Often the result is a stipulative, i. H. regulatory, definition. Various explication methods have become established.

Etymological method

The starting point for this method is the origin of the word. The reference can be made to the origin in the same language or the origin in another language. The origin of the word is often just one element in explication and is unreliable, but it can certainly produce surprising results and changes in perspective. In particular, it can help identify trends in the use of the term.

The etymological method

"[...] recommends the following procedure:
1. The defined expression should be broken down into its components.
2. Determination of the meaning of the individual components that they had in the language of origin.
3. The sense of the entire defined expression should finally be constructed from the senses of the components. "
Inductive method

Another method is to analyze (especially compare) many use cases of the expression under study. The method is also called the Socratic method because Socrates is said to be the first to systematically apply it in his reflections on the meaning of various words. The term Socratic method is problematic, however, since this term in the terminology of the history of philosophy does not only include induction.

Lexicon methods

In analytical philosophy, an attempt is often made to gain as much linguistic material as possible in order to start analyzing a word. There are various systematic tools for finding sufficient language material. Lexicon methods form a group of these methods.

“One is to go through the entire dictionary and write down whatever words seem relevant; it doesn't take as much time as many might assume. The other is to start with a fairly broad selection of obviously relevant words and look up each one in the dictionary. It will be found that in the explanations of the various meanings of each term, there are a surprising number of other, related, but often not synonymous terms. Then we look up each of these expressions again and thus expand our inventory through the "definitions" given in each case. If we have carried on a little further, the general result will be that the "family circle" begins to close until it is finally complete and we only come across repetitions. This method has the advantage of grouping the expressions together appropriately. But of course a large part will depend on how extensive the initial selection was. "
Transition to other parts of speech

Another explication method has established itself in analytical philosophy, the transition to other parts of speech. A typical case is the transition from a noun to the corresponding verb. In many cases, e.g. For example, if one examines speaking instead of language or determining instead of stating, this approach increases the emphasis on the character of the action of the object of study. In other cases, at least the perspective on the expression to be explicated changes.

Nominal and real definition

Following the Topik of Aristotle nominal and real definition are distinguished.

Nominal definition

By means of a nominal definition , the respective speaker determines what a name should designate or what a linguistic expression should mean through his own decision. The use of a nominal definition is the same as what is called an “explicit definition” today.

Example: In the following text, “AWT” is understood to mean “labor theory”.

Real definition

In the Aristotelian understanding, a real definition contains a statement about what a thing really is. In addition, it contains certain theoretical and philosophical prerequisites, such as what certain things are or what there are at all, and how they are ordered ( ontology ). Aristotle also makes differences in species and genus, or puts the terms in an order with one another ( taxonomy ).

Example: "Lagmy" ≡ Wine made by fermenting the juice of the date palm.

Behind the use of real definitions there is thus a certain philosophical conception of being and essence ( essentialism ) or assumptions about the existence of a certain regularity that finds its expression in the essence of the thing. Usually a truth claim is made with a real definition.

It is less philosophically sensitive to subject real definitions to the process of meaning analysis or explication . The result of such an attempt at explication can then be treated like an explicitly introduced definition without necessarily having to commit to a special philosophical position.


Aristotle's logic is never “formal” in the sense that it is free from all metaphysical assumptions or other factual assumptions. Methodologically is important that is, according to Aristotle, the highest task of defining the scientific investigation complete and thus the essence determine the investigated objects.

GWF Hegel

In conventional philosophy the general is treated following Aristotle within the logic of concept, judgment and conclusion. For Hegel ( Jenenser Logic , Science of Logic ), however, these logical forms and processes reflect those of reality, i.e. that is, they are interpreted by him ontologically .

Conventionally, it is through definition that thought grasps the general nature of an object as it is essentially different from other objects. According to Hegel, the definition can only achieve this because it reflects the real process in which the object differs from others: the definition expresses the movement in which a being maintains its identity in movement.

Accordingly, a real definition cannot be given in a single sentence, but actually only through the real history of the object itself, as it both defends itself against other particularities, as well as maintaining and expanding it.

The general is shaped by the negation of the particular, i.e. that is, the term is constructed dialectically . The process of dissolving and destroying the stable world of common sense results in the construction of something general that is concrete in itself. Because it is realized in the particular and through the particular, i.e. H. in the totality of special moments.

Heinrich Rickert and Emil Lask

Within Baden Neo-Kantianism , Heinrich Rickert and Emil Lask in particular tried to develop a doctrine of definition.

Defining is a definition of a term that is as unambiguous as possible , whereby it is differentiated from other neighboring terms.

Rickerts' On the Doctrine of Definition is his dissertation. Within the limits of scientific concept formation , he then further elaborated his theory of the concept regardless of the definition. The general confusion in the doctrine of definitions is based on a wrong conception of the concept. Rickert wants to adhere to "definition" as a "definition".

On the question of the relationship between experience and thinking or between perception and concept, Rickert says, referring to the “eye man” Goethe , who says in his theory of colors that we theorize with every careful look into the world:

"Every truth expressly brought to consciousness or recognized has the form of judgment, and its logical content necessarily includes both an 'intuitive' and a 'discursive' element."

Rickert treats definition as the formation and decomposition of concepts and seeks against the intuitionism of Jakob Friedrich Fries , for example , who believes that it is possible to theoretically grasp a truth by just seeing, to show that the defined concept is not logically earlier than that Judgment, but rather, according to its logical content, must be understood as a product of judgment. The judgment is therefore not a mere combination of concepts as representations, but is the carrier of an indispensable discursive element.

Ernst Cassirer

Ernst Cassirer raises the objection to nominalism that it cannot explain why a certain term (e.g. the atomic term) could lead to the discovery of new, previously unexplored facts.

Definitions based on explicitness

Context definition (implicit definition)

While the defined expression occurs alone on the left-hand side in explicit definitions , this does not apply to context definitions (or even implicit definitions ). In the context definition, the defined term does not appear only on the left, but in a context that is characteristic of it. Use in other contexts is not permitted.

For example, if a general definition of the predicate “adequate” is difficult, it can easily be defined that the statement “X is an adequate calculus ” is true if and only if X is a calculus that is complete and correct.

Adequacy was only defined in the context of “calculation”, and the question of when something is adequate at all, or which things fall under this term, does not arise. This ontological difference saves modern mathematics, for example, the philosophical question of the nature of the number ( empirical , psychologistic or logical). Because the mathematical axioms do not say what a number is, but when something can be called a number and which arithmetic properties then apply to it.


Baruch Spinoza confuses definitions with axioms in his “Ethics” .

As an example: He draws the conclusion from the following two statements, which he calls "definitions":

Substance is by nature earlier than its affections.

  1. “By substance I understand that which is in itself and is understood through itself (alone); it is that object whose concept does not presuppose the concept of another object from which it is to be formed. "
  2. “By a mode I understand an affection of the substance; it is something that is in another, through which it can also be grasped. "

Obviously, (1) and (2) are agreements on the use of language and symbols. From such, it is not even possible to infer the existence of the so-called, let alone derive a further claim of existence in a logically correct manner. If Spinoza succeeds in arriving at an interesting thesis, it is only because he secretly uses his definitions as existential axioms.

" Omnis determinatio negatio est. " ( Latin , to German : Every determination is a negation. )

Partial definitions

Partial definitions only apply to a specific sub-area. They are only applicable in the event that a certain precondition is met.

The most important group of partial definitions are the definitions of “ disposition terms ”, such as “water soluble”. Such definitions do not describe properties that can be read directly through observation, but rather those that are linked to a (test) condition.

Operational definition

Sometimes expressions are defined by a method with which one can determine whether the expression can be used in a specific case. In this case one speaks of operational definitions . Operational definitions are often partial.

Recursive definition

The recursive definition - also called inductive definition - begins with naming the simplest objects that belong to the definiendum. Then a method is given, with the help of which one can produce the further objects, and it is pointed out that everything that cannot be obtained by repeated use of the method does not belong to the definiendum. Induction can be structural or complete . Recursive definitions are found primarily in mathematics and mathematical logic.

Example: "The sum of the natural numbers up to and including is defined as 0, if , and otherwise."

Further examples are the recursive definition of the Fibonacci sequence or the recursive definition of a palindrome .

Persuasive definitions

Persuasive definitions are definitions which, in addition to their descriptive content, also have emotional meanings. Charles L. Stevenson , who introduced the term in a Mind article in 1938 , writes:

“A persuasive definition changes descriptive meaning without substantially changing emotive meaning; and a persuasive quasi-definition changes emotive meaning without substantially changing descriptive meaning. "

Persuasive definitions are very common in philosophy and the social sciences.

Type terms

Max Weber

For the development of the theory of type terms, Max Weber's considerations on the ideal type were theorematic.

CG Hempel

The logical investigations by CG Hempel on the concept of type are not only interesting with regard to Max Weber's ideal type , but also generally on the question of how a taxonomy should be created.

Philosophical problems of definitions

Scientific systematic classification

The doctrine of definition forms part of logic if it is understood as a methodology . The logical character of “definition” arises “ teleologically ” from its determinable methodological function.

Functions of definitions

Scientific definitions are usually required when hypotheses and theories are drawn up or models are constructed that can be understood and discussed by other scientists. In order to meet the criteria of intersubjectivity , agreement should be reached about the meaning of the terms used.

After defining doctrine of Karl Popper , however, the question of definition is thus whithin that applying the theory as a whole on an object region and individual implications of this on observation records checked.

In the social sciences, the line between definitions and terms that are not a definition is often fluid. If the external shape does not make it clear whether it is a definition, i. That is, if the author has neither explicitly nor implicitly stated his intention, it depends on the intention of the author, which cannot be clarified in this case. In this case, definitions and, in particular, empirical generalizations can be confused, which can lead to misunderstandings of the text.

Similar problems can arise if it is not clear to which class of definitions a given definition should belong.

A definition of teaching depending on perception of philosophy of science and logic a methodological design of what a "definition" and what they must be assessed, so what purpose they have. How definitions are created and handled in the area of ​​a technical language is examined and precisely determined by the terminology theory. When objects are classified by definitions, i.e. classified in a certain class, a taxonomy is created.

Every special doctrine of definition is based on a certain conception of conceptual theory or a conception of the relationships between concept , judgment and theory ; it thus has a certain conception of epistemology and / or methodology as a (more or less explicit) prerequisite. Therefore, opinions about the role of definitions in language and also in scientific contexts often differ greatly.

According to nominalism , a definition is nothing more than a stipulation of the relevant expression or the respective use of signs and, as a matter of agreement , cannot be “true or false” at all, only more or less appropriate. Definitions in this sense are merely a technical aid in that they allow the way of speaking to be abbreviated. Anyone who thinks, however, that there is a "correct" definition for every term, that is, a corresponding statement can be true or false, is on the side of essentialism as one of the possible answers to the problem of universals .

The most important definitions are:

A) A definition determines the essence (factual explanation).

B) A definition determines the term (term construction or breakdown).

C) A definition determines how or with what meaning a character is actually used.

This view has seldom been expressly advocated in the older philosophical tradition. It is often only represented implicitly. For example, such authors can be interpreted as those who seek to transfer the claim to truth that a real definition makes to a nominal definition .

Sometimes, as for example by Christoph von Sigwart , “definition” is simply understood to mean the meaning of an expression.

D) A definition stipulates how or with what meaning a symbol should be used.

Considerable confusion has arisen from the fact that even philosophers such as Aristotle, Leibniz and Immanuel Kant did not always keep these four conceptions strictly separate and therefore inconsistencies in their arguments.

Requirements for definitions

Classic definition rules

Which rules of definition one adheres to is fundamentally dependent on which definition theory one has decided to follow.

The classical rules of definition can also be traced back to Aristotle; today they are often seen as outdated and mostly viewed as not very helpful in modern science.

  1. A term is defined by its next higher genus and the species difference ( Praecisio definitionis ).
  2. The species difference must be a characteristic or a group of characteristics that belong only to the present term and are missing from other terms that belong to the same genus.
  3. A definition must be appropriate; i.e., neither too broad nor too narrow.
  4. A definition must not contain a circular argument.
  5. A definition must not contain any logical contradictions .
  6. A definition must not only be negative.
  7. A definition must not contain any ambiguities .


Some authors demand the non-creativity of definitions. This means that by adding the definition to a theory, nothing can be deduced that would not be deducible without that definition.


If a definition of equivalence is formed correctly, the definiendum can be replaced by the definiendum in all sentences or the definiendum by the definiendum without the truth value of the statement changing. However, this property does not apply to all types of definition, e.g. B. not for partial or recursive definitions.

The eliminability also does not apply if one is on the meta level. For example, the definition "a gray horse is a white horse" and the phrase "the expression 'white horse' has eight letters" does not follow "'white horse' has eight letters".

Freedom of circles

Karl Christian Friedrich Krause formulates the first "Basic Law of Definition":

“The first requirement is: that which is to be defined must not appear again in the definition (terminus definitus non debet ingredi definitionem) , because if this were, one would not learn what that is to be defined, the same would be explained by the same, idem per idem. how do you say."

And Krause also provides two examples:

"Z. B. the concept is to be defined: reason , one usually says: the reason of something is that through which this something is. But one does not learn anything with this, for it is defined idem per idem ; one has only inserted another word instead of reason , i.e. i. the word: by , which is synonymous with reason , or if one is to define space, and one says: space is the form according to which the physical is next to and with one another, here is explained idem per idem ; because you then understand the word: next to , spatially. "


As the third basic law of the definition , Krause describes the rule that a definition must neither be too narrow nor too wide.

Too broad a definition would be “a bird is an egg-laying animal”, since crocodiles also lay eggs.


Aristotle and Cicero have requested that a definition be brief. This is contradicted by the fact that definitions are sometimes very long. Often, however, long definitions indicate that they contain elements that do not explain the use of a term, but rather belong to the investigation of what is designated by the term.

Freedom from redundancy

Closely related to the requirement for brevity is the requirement for freedom from redundancy. According to this requirement, a definition must not contain any components that logically follow from the rest of the definition.

Example: "A parallelogram is a square in which the opposite sides are parallel and of the same length and the diagonals bisect each other" is redundant, since this sentence already comes from the sentence "A parallelogram is a square in which the opposite sides are parallel “Follows.

If a definition is not free of redundancy, one speaks of a definition with pleonasm ( definitio abundans ).

Working definition

A working definition is the preliminary definition of a situation that does not yet claim to be an exhaustive definition of this situation. As a rule, it serves as a working basis for certain questions and is generally revised in the interests of clarification after an investigation has been completed. Accordingly, it only serves to describe the phenomenon and roughly delimit the research area.

See also


  • Walter Dubislav : The definition. 4th edition. Meiner, Hamburg 1981 (classic) .
  • WK Essler: Theory of Science I (definition and reduction) . Alber, Freiburg / Munich 2nd edition 1982 (1st A. 1970).
  • Gottfried Gabriel: Definition II. In: Joachim Ritter (Hrsg.): Historical dictionary of philosophy . Volume 2, Basel / Stuttgart 1972, Col. 35-42.
  • Gottfried Gabriel: definition. In: Jürgen Mittelstraß (Hrsg.): Encyclopedia Philosophy and Philosophy of Science. 2nd Edition. Stuttgart / Weimar 2005, Volume 2, pp. 137-139.
  • 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.
  • NI Kondakov: Dictionary of Logic . Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 2nd edition 1983.
  • Guy Longworth: Definitions, Uses and Varieties of . (PDF). In: Keith Brown (Ed.): Elsevier Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics . Elsevier, Cambridge 2005, Volume 3 (of 14), pp. 409-412.
  • Albert Menne: definition. In: Hermann Krings , Hans Michael Baumgartner , Christoph Wild (eds.): Handbook of basic philosophical concepts . 3 volumes (study edition 6 volumes). Kösel, Munich 1973, Volume 1, pp. 268-274.
  • Tadeusz Pawłowski: Concept formation and definition . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1980.
  • Richard Robinson : definition . Oxford University Press, New York 1954 (reprinted 2003).
  • Jürgen L. Rößler: The operational definition . Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1998.
  • Eike von Savigny : Basic course in scientific definition . German paperback publishing house, Munich 1970.
  • Wolfgang Stegmüller : Problems and results of the philosophy of science and analytical philosophy. Volume I: Scientific explanation and justification. Springer, Berlin a. a. 1974 (improved reprint).
  • Rudolf Eisler : Definition . In: Kant-Lexikon. Reference work on all of Kant's writings, letters and handwritten legacy, Berlin 1930 (reprints Hildesheim 1961, 1972).

Web links

Wiktionary: definition  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Definition - Duden , Bibliographisches Institut ; 2016
  2. de-, De- - Duden , Bibliographisches Institut ; 2016
  3. ^ Finis - Duden , Bibliographisches Institut ; 2016
  4. ^ Walter Dubislav: The definition. Felix Meiner: Leipzig 3rd completely revised and expanded edition 1931, p. 2.
  5. Tadeusz Pawłowski: Concept formation and definition. Berlin / New York: Walter de Gruyter 1980, 53.
  6. Joseph Beck: Philosophical Propaedeutics. Stuttgart 1841, p. 95 f. (§ 144).
    In English translation by Emanuel Vogel Gerhart: An introduction to the study of philosophy with an outline treatise on logic. Lindsay & Blakiston, Philadelphia 1858, 231.
  7. Johannes Lohmann: From the original meaning of the Aristotelian syllogistics. In: Fritz-Peter Hager (ed.): Logic and epistemology of Aristotle. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1972, p. 193, note 14, ISBN 3-534-04552-1 .
  8. ^ Heinrich Rickert: On the doctrine of the definition. 3rd, verb. Edition. JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck) Tübingen 1929, p. 1.
  9. John Stuart Mill: A system of logic, ratiocinative and inductive, being a connected view of the principles of evidence, and the methods of scientific investigation . London: Parker 1843, Volume I, 183
  10. Joseph A. Schumpeter, (Elizabeth B. Schumpeter, ed.): History of economic analysis. First part of the volume. Vandenhoeck Ruprecht Göttingen 1965, p. 40, note 10
  11. Dubislav: The Definition. Felix Meiner: Leipzig 3rd completely revised and expanded edition 1931, p. 21.
  12. The first volume of his major work, Logic , was published in 1873 and is considered to be an important contribution to the philosophy of the late 19th century.
  13. G. Frege: Conceptual writing…. 1879; About the purpose of the conceptual writing. Headquarters. D. Jenaer Gesellsch. F. Med. U. Natural 1879; The Basics of Arithmetic , 1884; Fundamental Laws of Arithmetic , Volume I 1893, Volume II, 1903; About the basics of geometry , annual reports d. German Math Association, 1903.
  14. Dubislav: The Definition. Felix Meiner: Leipzig 3rd completely revised and expanded edition 1931, p. 28f.
  15. Karl R. Popper: The two basic problems of the theory of knowledge. Based on manuscripts from 1930–1933. 2., improve. Edition. Tübingen 1994, ISBN 3-16-145774-9 , p. 366 f.
  16. ^ Karl Popper: The Myth of the Framework. London New York 1994, p. 59.
  17. ^ Rudolf Carnap: The logical structure of the world. 1928, p. 213.
  18. Karl R. Popper: The world of Parmenides. The origin of European thought. Edited by Arne F. Petersen, with Jørgen Mejer. Piper, Munich / Zurich 2005, ISBN 3-492-24071-2 , p. 66.
  19. ^ Karl Popper: The two basic problems of epistemology. Edited by Troels Eggers Hansen, Tübingen 2nd edition 1994, p. 368f.
  20. after Heinrich Gomperz: Weltanschauungslehre II. 1908, p. 76f.
  21. ^ Karl Popper: The two basic problems of epistemology. Edited by Troels Eggers Hansen. 2nd edition Tübingen 1994, p. 376f.
  22. ^ Karl Popper: The two basic problems of epistemology. Edited by Troels Eggers Hansen. 2nd edition Tübingen 1994, p. 428 f.
  23. ^ Karl Popper: The two basic problems of epistemology. Ed. Von Troels Eggers Hansen, Tübingen 2nd edition 1994, p. 175 ff.
  24. a b Tadeusz Pawłowski: Concept formation and definition. Berlin / New York: Walter de Gruyter 1980, 44
  25. John L. Austin : A Plea for Apologies. In: Analytical Theory of Action. Volume 1. Action descriptions. (Ed .: G. Meggle). Frankfurt am Main .: Suhrkamp 1985, 8–42, here p. 22.
  26. ^ Herbert Marcuse : Reason and Revolution. Writings, Volume 4. Suhrkamp Frankfurt am Main 1st edition 1989, pp. 72 f., 118 f.
  27. ^ Heinrich Rickert: On the doctrine of the definition. 3rd, verb. Edition. JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck) Tübingen 1929, p. 15. "On the teaching of definition"
  28. ^ Heinrich Rickert: On the doctrine of the definition. 3rd, verb. Edition. JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck) Tübingen 1929. S. V (from the foreword to the first edition )
  29. ^ Heinrich Rickert: On the doctrine of the definition. 3rd, verb. Edition. JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck) Tübingen 1929. P. VI (from the preface to the second edition )
  30. ^ Heinrich Rickert: On the doctrine of the definition. 3rd, verb. Edition. JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck) Tübingen 1929. P. VII (Foreword to the third edition)
  31. ^ Heinrich Rickert: On the doctrine of the definition. 3rd, verb. Edition. JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck) Tübingen 1929. P. IX (Foreword to the third edition)
  32. Ernst Cassirer: Determinism and indeterminism in modern physics. ECW19 Hamburg 2004, p. 172.
  33. Tadeusz Pawłowski: Concept formation and definition. Berlin / New York: Walter de Gruyter 1980, 16-18
  34. ^ Walter Dubislav: The definition. Felix Meiner: Leipzig 3rd completely redone. and exp. Edition 1931, p. 66 f.
  35. Spinoza: Ethika. I, Def. 3; Def. 5
  36. ^ Paul Feyerabend : The problem of the existence of theoretical entities. In: Ernst Topitsch (ed.): Problems of the philosophy of science. Festschrift for Viktor Kraft. Vienna 1960.
  37. ^ P. Bridgman: The Logic of Modern Physics . 1927.
  38. ^ Stevenson, Charles L .: Ethics and Language . AMS Press 1979, 279
  39. Wolfgang Schluchter : The Development of Occidental Rationalism. An analysis of Max Weber's social history. JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck): Tübingen 1979, ISBN 3-16-541532-3 , p. 26.
  40. ^ Heinrich Rickert: On the doctrine of the definition. 3rd, verb. Edition. JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck) Tübingen 1929, p. 6.
  41. Tadeusz Pawłowski: Concept formation and definition. Berlin / New York: Walter de Gruyter 1980, 12–15
  42. Tadeusz Pawłowski: Concept formation and definition. Berlin / New York: Walter de Gruyter 1980, 19
  43. ^ Walter Dubislav: The definition. Felix Meiner Leipzig 3rd completely revised and expanded edition 1931, p. 2.
  44. Dubislav: The Definition. Felix Meiner: Leipzig 3rd completely revised and expanded edition 1931, p. 18.
  45. Christoph von Sigwart: Logic I. 1873, § 44, 4th ed. 1911, p. 385; quoted after Heinrich Rickert: On the doctrine of the definition. 3rd, verb. Edition. JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck) Tübingen 1929, p. 5f.
  46. Dubislav: The Definition. Felix Meiner: Leipzig 3rd completely revised and expanded edition 1931, p. 28.
  47. cf. Analytica posteriora , Organon : cit. after Kondakow 1983, p. 81.
  48. ^ P. Suppes: Introduction to logic. Princeton 1957.
  49. a b Karl Christian Friedrich Krause: The doctrine of knowledge and knowledge, as the first introduction to science. Lecture for educated people from all backgrounds . Göttingen: Dietrich'sche Buchhandlung 1836, 502
  50. ^ Karl Christian Friedrich Krause: The doctrine of cognition and knowledge, as the first introduction to science. Lecture for educated people from all backgrounds . Göttingen: Dietrich'sche Buchhandlung 1836, 503
  51. Aristotle: Topic VI 3
  52. ^ Cicero: De Oratore. I 42, 189
  53. Thomas Zoglauer: Introduction to formal logic for philosophers . Göttingen: Vanderhoeken & Ruprecht 2008 (4th edition), 19
  54. Working definition , Psychology Uni Heidelberg. Retrieved December 26, 2018.