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The double-headed Janus  - Roman god of time, from the beginning and the end - is a very old symbol of dualism in the understanding of the world

As dualism ( Latin duo "two" or dualis "containing two" and -ism ) are primarily philosophical , religious , social or artistic referred theories, theories or systems for the interpretation of the world emanating from two distinct and independent primitives for example two entities , principles, powers, appearances, substances or ways of seeing and cognizing. Both elements are often in tension or even in opposition to each other (up to incompatibility ), but can also complement each other as polarity (for example Yin and Yang , Adam and Eve , some legal norms ). A distinction must be made between dualism and the concept of duality in mathematics and logic, which refers to the reciprocal, precisely defined assignment of two objects or concepts.

Concept history

The term “dualism” initially had an ontological and religious or metaphysical meaning and only relatively late, although the subject-object problem emerged with Plato , also an epistemological one (e.g. in rationalism and Kant), to which then little by little other fields of meaning followed. It is thought to come from Thomas Hyde (1636–1703), who understood it to be the religious belief that there is a good and a bad supernatural being. While Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz also uses the term in the Hyde sense, Christian Wolff defines : "Dualists are those who accept the existence of material and immaterial substances".

Based on Wolff's definition, dualistic beliefs can be traced back to ancient Greece . Even the Nous concept of Anaxagoras seems to be motivated by appropriate beliefs. Plato's juxtaposition of the world of ideas and the material world in his doctrine of ideas and his argumentation for the immortality of the soul represents an elaborated version of dualism. Plato held ideas for real immaterial objects, material things for their imperfect images. He illustrates this in his allegory of the cave . According to Plato, therefore, true knowledge is always knowledge of ideas. According to the teaching of Aristotle, finite substances consist of two different principles, namely the substance or matter (Greek hýlē) and the form (Greek morphḗ); see hylemorphism .

Even if dualistic ideas can be found in antiquity and the Middle Ages , the classic formulation of dualism goes back to René Descartes ' distinction between res cogitans and res extensa . According to Descartes, there is an extensive material and a non-spatial spiritual substance .

Although a substance dualism understood in this way is still represented by philosophers today, most philosophers have rejected it since about Immanuel Kant . In contrast to substance dualism , there is substance monism , which can take different forms. On the one hand, a materialistic monism is possible that claims that all objects that exist are physical objects. The materialistic contrasts with the idealistic monism, which declares that in reality there are only states of consciousness . A third form is neutral monism , which claims that there is a substance with different qualities or properties . However, such a position, already formulated by Baruch de Spinoza , can also be seen as a dualism, since it accepts that there are irreducible physical and mental properties.

In modern philosophy, with its primarily post-Reformation replacement of theological constraints and patterns, dualisms are then widespread, especially from the second half of the 18th century and extremely increasingly in the 19th and 20th centuries, in all conceivable manifestations and deal with pairs of opposites such as Mind and matter, thing in itself and phenomenon, body and soul, inorganic and organic nature, subject and object, emotion and ratio, belief and knowledge, freedom and necessity, society and individual etc. dualisms, however, became mainly from the second half of the 20th century increasingly viewed as increasingly inadequate templates of meaning, for example by Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler , and increasingly questioned or replaced and / or supplemented by multifactorial and networked or continuously structured and self-referential systems that follow the cybernetic principle of interactive interaction .

Spiritual origin and problematic of dualism

Human cognition model

The Evolutionary epistemology may describe the most illuminating the origin of this spiritual order principle. The Viennese biologist Rupert Riedl defines reason as an evolutionary product of adaptation to this world. Our thinking apparatus was “by no means created for the purpose of knowing this nature”, but for the “purpose of survival. And for this survival it is sufficient to have certain sense windows into this world ... And in the same way we obviously also have an idea of ​​what we call matter and structures in relation to what we experience as processes or generally as functions ... We therefore have two different, initially incomparable terms for structures and processes ... So that we are obviously standing in front of a unified world, but with two hereditary separate sensory windows and the connection between them have to construct with difficulty. "He sees in this cognitive dualism the explanation of the Monism-dualism problem as well as the reality problem , likewise the idealism-materialism problem and the induction- deduction debate, but above all the human dualistic two-dimensionally shaped causality - finality problem with its if-then systematics based on an old stimulus -Reaction-pattern- based cause-and-effect chains that humans un makes it possible to understand complex relationships directly (example: environment). In his opinion, this also explains the numerous difficulties of an increasingly complex modern world, because: “Our hereditary forms of perception are thus adaptations for yesterday and the day before yesterday, seen in phylogenetic dimensions, and today no longer fit into the world that we are so complicated have established ”so that necessarily“ the ability to deal with complex systems apparently has nothing to do with intelligence ”. And he concludes from this: "We have to merge our divided view windows and, as it were, begin on a trial basis with a synthesis, a merging, of our worldview, which has been divided for so long," in order to avoid the rational mistakes that we commit due to our inherited dualistic view system.

Also Konrad Lorenz represents this point of view, if it was devoid of any value with reference to the pronounced in Western culture think everything naturally explainable, in On Aggression by an exaggeration of Kant speaks Values Philosophy, "is in turn a consequence of the idealistic division of the world ".

John Carew Eccles, on the other hand, has specified this cognitive dualism from the point of view of the brain researcher and at the same time defused it somewhat with his hypothesis of the interaction of the self-conscious mind with the neural centers of the brain, whereby he grants the mind the active role: “The self-conscious mind selects from these centers accordingly attention and integrates its choice from moment to moment ... In addition, self-conscious mind acts on these neural centers by modifying the dynamic spatio-temporal patterns of neural events. "

Ken Wilber , one of the leading exponents of New Psychology and Integral Theory , also pointed out the problems and imperfections of the dualistic world interpretation and dualistic cognition . He also warns of the dangers of primary dualism, which only leads to the world becoming a threat to us because it allows the conflict of being-not-being to break open, with the result that man suppresses death for a lifetime against it Fight against the world and always try to create the greatest possible distance, called "security", between oneself and one's environment. Each of these dualisms also destroy a wholeness, suppress its non-duality and project it as apparent pairs of opposites, so practically "halve" the human being and also generate his unconscious . “Nothing in itself is neither good nor bad; thinking makes it so ” ( Hamlet 2, 2) , says Shakespeare . “Duality and opposition are therefore relational or thought concepts, but not givens to be found in reality.” Daniel Dennett says: “In my opinion, the fundamentally anti-scientific stance of dualism is the most disqualifying feature [...] I don't even have an argument at hand that would fundamentally refute him. But I think that the scientific approach to consciousness is abandoned if one accepts dualism. "

Main dualism groups

In the context of a specific system of thought and order, which is based on a comprehensive concept of philosophy that pervades all areas , there are various, sometimes overlapping, sometimes primarily historically defined dualisms, which are based on their main pairs of opposites in several groups can be summarized.

  1. a group that deals with the explanation of world, being, cosmos and nature as a dualistic complement to the world and that already forms a transition to the next group,
  2. a group in which the person, his thinking and his cognitive ability, his ethics and religion as well as his language interprets dualistically, the latter in turn representing the transition zone to the social dualisms,
  3. the group of dualism phenomena related to societies and their social, legal, economic, cultural and political functions and conditions, some of which can be derived from the dualisms of the human explanation,
  4. the group of no longer primarily philosophical dualisms in methodology .

The fields of art in the broadest sense complete this group.

Dualisms of the explanation of the world

In this group, being and non-being, this world and the hereafter, life and death, becoming and passing away, matter and spirit, spirit and nature, experienced and unexperienced are fundamentally considered separate. The spiritual mechanism for overcoming the opposites is called transcendence . The empiricism and especially the positivism and materialism are methods this from idealism propagated and by a system of a priori / a posteriori , thing in itself trying to overcome and similar concepts from Rationalism negated epistemological breaking point by emphasizing yes absolutisation pure To circumvent empirical values, but with the limitation and even the hypothecation of the primary cognitive dualism with its phylogenetically predetermined dualistic systems of order assumed by evolutionary epistemology . Since the idealistic rationalism of Plato and the empiricism of Aristotle , this dualism has dominated the Western discussion in philosophy.

Metaphysical dualism

Scheme for Fichte's metaphysics

The metaphysics made in the classical philosophical mapping systems as "science of the ultimate grounds of being" also the generic term for ontology , cosmology and theology (see religious dualism). The history of philosophy (and especially the history of religion) has developed a number of models in this context, for example in Kant's , Fichtes , Hegel and Schelling's idealism , which are partly monistic, partly dualistic and here again antagonistic or polar, with the main problem being up to in modern times represents a strong entanglement of the sub-areas, which makes an all-pervasive, uniformly dualistic or monistic, coherent theory extremely difficult, especially linguistically, as Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein discovered. Accordingly, Edmund Husserl has already completely moved away from this metaphysical mode of interpretation and developed phenomenology as a system of world interpretation in order to completely avoid such unprovable and thus purely speculative metaphysical premises and the dualistic or monistic-oriented categories that are necessarily associated with them. Hans Albert formulated a fundamental criticism of the problem of a modern metaphysical dualism, for example with Jürgen Habermas .

Since the turn of the 20th century at the latest, metaphysics as such has fallen into a serious crisis, especially since its dualisms, which are often simple and only viewed as historically relevant, form an ever stronger contrast to modern natural science, whose worldview was no longer purely monistic or dualistic .

Ontological dualism

The essence of being (Greek on = being) as such, which was already illustrated by Plato with his famous allegory of the cave under the premise of being and appearance , is the focus of the considerations of ontology with the central pair of opposites being and nothing (the main title of Jean-Paul Sartre's main philosophical work: L'être et le Néant , 1943). It is mainly about the world of this world, existence and its components, mostly understood as dualistic (cf. Martin Heidegger: Sein und Zeit. 1927), less about the metaphysical, although in the 17th and 18th centuries the ontology was at times entirely metaphysical was attributed. Ernst Bloch also pursues a dualistic, here Marxist dialectical approach in The Principle of Hope , where he places hope as a mediating human utopian transcendence function between being and not-yet-being and thus interprets it epistemologically: "Being, which conditions consciousness, like the consciousness that processes being, is ultimately only understood from and in that, from where and towards what it tends ”.

As the example of René Descartes shows, ontological dualism has numerous points of contact with metaphysical, anthropological and epistemological dualism, the latter mainly because the essence of knowledge plays a central role here, mostly in the dualistic sense as subject-object dualism (such as Karl Jaspers and Ken Wilber ). Wilber also points out that it is only through the process of dualistic thinking that an illusory duality with its distinctions emerges and that we thus create two worlds from one , so that any ontology is ultimately the product of the human psyche, the world and thus also fragment man. Creation is thus the creation of dualisms. In particular, modern physics, as in the case of metaphysics, has also opened up new aspects and perspectives for ontology. The analytic philosophy tries to approach the problem primarily linguistically.

There are also transitions to religious and ethical dualism, especially in the ontological, even cosmic foundation of the good-bad dualism, for example in Manichaeism and the Christian teachings influenced by it. Above all, religions, especially the Abrahamic ones , seek to trace good and bad back to such foundations of being and sometimes develop very different solutions to the theodicy problem.

Cosmological dualism

Camille Flammarion : L'Atmosphere: Météorologie Populaire (Paris, 1888). The woodcut symbolically shows the attempt of humans, who here in the transition from the 2nd to the 3rd cosmological phase looks out of the earthly atmosphere in order to see and understand the inner working principle of the universe like through a curtain.

The development of cosmology can be historically divided into three phases, the first of which was still strongly religious and philosophical due to the lack of suitable instruments:

  1. From ancient Greece of the Pythagoreans in the 6th century BC to the geocentric worldview of Aristotle and Ptolemy to Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, when the Aristotelian worldview was adapted to Christian requirements.
  2. From the Copernican turn in the 16th century to Isaac Newton with his infinite but mechanistic universe to Thomas Wright and William Herschel at the beginning of the 19th century, who recognized the solar system as the peripheral part of the galaxy and not as the center of the universe as it is now at Copernicus .
  3. From the 20th century, the research of Albert Einstein and Edwin Hubble began to develop today's cosmological view of the world, right up to Stephen Hawking's modern cosmological theories .

However, dualistic principles and thought patterns tried in all these phases to explain the essence of the cosmos as a whole. Cosmic models of explanation of the world ( cosmogony ) are also found in most religions, often in connection with human creation and a good-bad dualism. The pairs of opposites light - dark, male - female, hot - cold, solid - liquid, order - chaos, nature - culture (e.g. raw and cooked food) etc. usually play a central role. The interactions of such opposites also form a basic pattern of myths , as noted not least by French structuralists such as Claude Lévi-Strauss , and a contrast arises, for example, in the sense that the current state is understood as the opposite of the state of things at the beginning. If this dualism is already in place from the start, it usually also masters the interpretations of the secondary phenomena of creation or, as in the Mesoamerican religions, for example, leads to cyclical world models. According to this view, myths present in a veiled form the contradictions inherent in existence, which the conscious person does not want to face. Mythical thinking is therefore usually dualistic thinking and progresses from recognizing the contradictions to resolving them.

Myths such as those compiled in the cosmogony of Hesiod , the Vedas or the Popol Vuh of the Mayas, but also in the Hebrew Bible , especially according to Mesopotamian traditions, are the primary sources here. The transitions to ethical (e.g. in Zoroastrianism ), religious or theological as well as to anthropological dualism are naturally very narrow.

Natural philosophical dualism

Isaac Newton: Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("The mathematical foundations of natural philosophy"), 1st edition 1687 (inside title)

Originally, natural philosophy was identical to natural science, i.e. the physics of Aristotle , which is located on this side of metaphysics and, moreover, was mostly closely linked to religious perspectives in all cultures. Since Kant, the term natural philosophy has stood for a metaphysics of nature that is separate from natural science and, like Hegel or Schelling, deductive , thus speculatively starting from a basically metaphysical system that precedes experience. In contrast, Isaac Newton understood natural philosophy, and so until today in English usage, but only as the theoretical and mathematical foundation of the natural sciences (see figure) .

The central pairs of opposites in natural philosophy are nature - man and nature - spirit, each of which can be interpreted as dualistic or monistic. Especially in the Chinese and other Eastern systems of philosophy, for example, a monistic or polar conception of nature dominates, in the western, however, an antagonistic form-substance dichotomy , which extends through classical Newtonian physics to a dualistic conception of the universe , which nature as from Looks at people through culture to be overcome and dominated system. Even the biblical “ Subjugate the earth ” points in this direction.

The more recent natural philosophy is increasingly taking the inductive path, dispensing with a derivation of nature from the terms and trying to combine the world and its phenomena into a coherent scientific worldview, can therefore often hardly be called dualistic, especially since it tends to follow modern epistemological paths.

Dualisms of the human explanation

The focus is on people, their behavior and their thinking. As in the area of ​​metaphysical / ontological / cosmic dualism, there are also strong overlaps here, depending on how soul, spirit etc. are defined. And ontological, epistemological and anthropological dualism overlap in the philosophy of spirit .

Anthropological dualism

The anthropological dualism is in part also a psychological and epistemological one with transitions to ontological dualism.

In Greek thought, for example, there was a great dialectic between the ideal of reliability on the one hand and the world of variability, impermanence, and instability on the other . Plato sees the concept of mutable, irrational components of our ego very negatively. In contrast to Aristotle, who rather emphasizes the complementary character of both components. David Hume, in turn, saw reason as the slave of passion, while Claude Adrien Helvétius emphasized the importance of passion. This controversy runs through the entire history of philosophy and is also of great importance for epistemological dualism. With the concept of animal spirits created by John Maynard Keynes , it has also achieved great importance in modern economics.

Philosophical dualism tries to answer the basic questions of philosophical anthropology in a dualistic way, that is, it deals with the questions of human self-interpretation and the position of humans in the cosmos (e.g. in Max Scheler 's work of the same name from 1947), but also with the relationship between humans and humans. Animal and man - God, the latter in turn already part of the religious dualism, as well as with the relationship between spirit and language. Kant had already asked the central questions here in his logic lecture: What can I know? What should I do? What can I hope for? what is the human? Arnold Gehlen in particular tried to overcome dualistic concepts.

Since the end of the 19th century, philosophical anthropology has been closely intertwined with psychology, epistemology, philosophy of language and linguistics, and since Husserl also with phenomenology , and since Heidegger and Sartre with existential philosophy . Modern anthropologists still ask themselves the fundamental question: Are being or consciousness, matter or spirit the original? This question, answered by Marxism in favor of matter, but rejected as illusory by Erwin Schrödinger and Max Planck , is today seen more anthropologically and cognitive-psychologically in connection with the continuous, but also discontinuous operation of evolutionary feedback mechanisms , i.e. more as a polar, interactive dualism with a strong temporal dimension. In doing so, many also commit the fundamental methodological error of comparing humans and animals in their current stage and not in their phylogenetic contexts, e.g. today's great apes with modern humans. Ethological and neurobiological studies have also shown the effect of psychological processes, for example as preliminary stages of human consciousness, even in animals, even with pre-forms of what we see as purely human, such as morality, only on a simpler level that is adapted to other environmental constraints. But there is also a non-dualistic, discontinuous answer to the question of consciousness in animals and humans, as well as to the epistemological question of body and mind. The same applies to the development of human societies compared to animal ones.

In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir introduced a gender-specific anthropological dualism based on Sartre's categories into the discussion by identifying women as the man’s object and deriving the demand that women must reject this male-defined object status through self-alienation. On the problem of free will , which is an essential human characteristic, see under epistemological dualism, since free will also includes the knowledge of good and bad, true and false, useful and harmful (e.g. in utilitarianism ), both subjectively and objectively , individually as well as socially (see “Social dualisms”).

Epistemological dualism

Dualism of perception and intellectual processing or association

At the beginning of the epistemological dualism there is perhaps the biblical myth of the tree of knowledge , which, like the tree of life, comes from the ancient concept of the world tree , the knowledge of the ethical duality of good and bad, together with the consequences that eating its fruits for the People had. This originally cosmological, but in its further development epistemological dualism, which has existed since the Sumerians (still more social-anthropological as city versus nature and the associated world interpretations in the Gilgamesh epic ), but especially in antiquity, for example, as a Platonic-Aristotelian contrast between Empiricism and rationalism presented, is a central form of dualism in the scientific discussion to this day. It structures the problems of epistemology , the questions of consciousness, the relationship between knowledge and ignorance and the belief that bridges the gap between them, the path of the senses and reason to knowledge between subject and object, mind and brain, dualistic. The statements of theorists such as Kant and John Locke on this subject were largely suppressed by empiricism and positivism , especially in the 19th and 20th centuries , and reformulated as the philosophy of science .

The transitions to psychology and its dualisms cannot be clearly delimited, as they are in turn determined by subjectivity - objectivity - and by realism - idealism - dualism. Carl Gustav Jung , but above all Sigmund Freud, for example, conceived such a psychological dualism in their partly antagonistic, partly complementary ego-id dualism with a superego as the antagonist of the id and controller of the ego, with Freud again having two types of instinct in the id , Eros and Thanatos , fight with each other, whereas in Jung the collective unconscious with its representative, the archetype , is rather integrative and concretized in myth . Wilber goes so far as to call the unconscious as the deep gulf that separates our dualistic perception and thought system from each other and effectively dualism is because a dualism always separate a whole and then projiziere them as the two sides of a pair of opposites, therefore belong for every dualism there is also a projection . Karl R. Popper , like Lorenz a proponent of evolutionary epistemology, and John C. Eccles discuss this here as spirit vs. The brain formalized dualism in “The I and its brain” from the point of view of the philosopher and the neurologist ( see above ).

Another significant variant is the dualism of reason and instinct , which Bertrand Russell referred to as a sham opposition, even a deception, since both are closely linked and related to one another in the human thought process, i.e. complementary. The same applies to the opposition between mind and feelings, with only the latter having dualistic couples such as love and hate, whereas a relationship of confirmed recursiveness that is controlled by perception develops between ratio and emotion . And if an antagonistic conflict does arise, it is one that is based on an unconfirmed, emotionally configured input of perception and a confirmed conflict of reason.

Gerhard Roth points out in this regard indicated that one here classic or radical dualism as him about Leibniz with the pre-established harmony (represented Watches parable ) from a interactionist dualism has to be distinguished as propagate it Popper and Eccles, to give it further variants, depending on how one defines mind and brain and their relationship to one another (which is the primary of both), whether they are understood separately or as two aspects of the same thing (two-aspect theory), whereby one also has an agnostic one Parallelism can be assumed if one regards a connection between brain and spirit as not provable.

Another modern example is the subject-object split , an expression coined by Karl Jaspers for a specific complex of problems in modern epistemology. Jaspers notes in this context: "All knowledge is interpretation ". In doing so, he draws a link with ontology and philosophy of language, a logical and sometimes inevitable procedure in epistemology, when he notes: “Because we only have all being in the meaning. When we say it, we have it in the meaning of what is spoken; and only what is found in language have we grasped on the level of knowability ... Being and knowing and being, beings and our language of beings are therefore a network of manifold meanings. All being for us is being interpreted. "

Of particular importance in epistemology and its dualisms is the so-called body-soul problem , which already existed in Orphics , Manichaeism and the Pythagoreans as well as Plato and Aristotle , in its Christian religious variant in Gnosis , Patristicism and Scholasticism appears where it was at the center of great debates together with the likewise dualistic, very similarly structured universal dispute. William Ockham, as a representative of nominalism , took the view that only the individual, the individual is real, the general, the essence of which is accessible only to God, exists in humans only as a name for the intellect. In a modern sense, this corresponds primarily to a psychological dualism.

In this context, the philosophy of the mind has coined the term qualia , which is understood to mean the subjective experience content of mental states, which is contrasted here in an extremely dualistic manner with the objectively real in order to explain the essence of consciousness , but above all its basic dichotomy , a problem , which Douglas Hofstadter tried to solve based on Kurt Gödel with the concept of the "self-referential loop" (" strange loop ") as a non-dualistic principle of consciousness.

One focus of epistemology in the Anglo-Saxon area is the primarily linguistic-linguistic and formal-logic-oriented analytical philosophy, as opposed to the more phenomenological and cultural-philosophical traditionally-oriented so-called continental philosophy , both of which are rather unspecific collective terms for directions, with dualistic categories especially in analytical philosophy play a role e.g. B. true / false. In addition, a dualism of schools has developed here, some of which has antagonistic features.

A central, but also ontologically and anthropologically relevant question of epistemology is that of the dualistic relationship between knowledge and ignorance. The faith as a bridging element of this antagonistic dualism is also subject, yes basis of religion, especially in its relation to reason .

The same applies to the problem of will and free will as a possibility to freely choose between alternatives, whereby the term “free” in turn represents part of a highly variable dualism of free / unfree. Schopenhauer absolutely absolutized this will in Die Welt as will and idea . In the predestination doctrines of various religions, especially in certain currents of Islam ( Jabrians ) and Protestantism ( Calvinism ), it is completely negated and placed under the absolute will of a god. Buddhism and Hinduism include him in the karma doctrine; of Zoroastrianism was the first religion that zubilligte man a completely free will. Since the freedom of the will also consists of choosing between good and bad, there are also close connections to ethical dualism, which, if it transitions into religious dualism, also has to offer a wide range of variation between good and bad.

Ethical dualism

Description of the CSR model (Corporate Social Responsibility) according to Carroll and Schwartz. It shows the inevitable overlap of ethical behavior and its aspects.

The dualism in ethics is shaped by the conflicts inherent in it . Good and bad are the central pair of terms here, the wrong and right action also plays a corresponding role, especially in connection with practical morality and the so-called virtues , as defined by Aristotle in his mesotes theory as the middle between two polar extremes , but ultimately also in the formalization and codification through norms, i.e. laws that initially recorded customary law , which then became the right to rule and gradually received a useful religious and ethical impetus in the sense of maintaining power. Overall, practical ethics in particular is characterized by a whole series of interest factors, which are also typical for political and economic behavior and which each develop their own dualisms that can interact and overlap in a way that is barely manageable ( see figure ).

With Descartes , after the relatively strong Aristotelian - Thomistic Middle Ages, the ancient dualistic representation of the polarity of matter and spirit, body and soul finds its way back into the world, with the soul being replaced to a certain extent by the mind. This new dualism was thus less ethical than epistemological in nature.

Ethical dualisms have massively shaped human history, have been instrumentalized, are acute in politics and society to this day and are intensively discussed. Thomas Zoglauer has presented the most important of them. Such ethical conflicts are z. B.

  • in the social environment: animal experiments, animal rights, genetic engineering, just war, right of resistance, justifying torture, final rescue shot, shooting down terrorist aircraft, state emergency, environmental protection vs. economic interests, individual morality and political function (e.g. case z. G.) etc .;
  • in the individual environment: abortion, pre-implantation diagnosis (PGD), stem cell research, euthanasia, right to life of embryos, right to life of the individual vs. Group interests, etc.
  • He names the underlying patterns and mechanisms : weighing up interests, emergency aid and emergency, averting danger, risk of dam rupture, principle of dual action, law and morality, human rights, individual vs. Law of Society, Humanitarian Intervention.
  • Options for compensation and solutions outside of doctrinal, ideological or religious systems with their fixed norms of behavior can be: moral intuitionism , proportionality, equilibrium of thought, coherence and minimal morality.

The Islamism in turn set up here very own, completely different from the Western principles, aggressive instrumentalized politically categories that are incompatible determined strictly religious and often western with the mostly secular. The same applies to fundamentalism in other religions.

Max Weber analyzed another, albeit by no means new, form of complementary ethical dualism in his 1919 lecture on the subject of “ Politics as a Profession ”, the opposition between the ethics of responsibility and ethics of convictions , i.e. an ethics that primarily takes into account the consequences of action and in this Sense can also act unethically, and an ethic that only pays attention to the disposition, ideologically, religiously, etc. and does not care about the consequences of the action. However, both are not absolute opposites, "but additions that together make up the real person, the one who can have a" job in politics " ".

Religious dualism

The best-known religious dualism, not only in Christianity, is that of paradise and hell, here a winged altar by Hieronymus Bosch : the last judgment with heaven (left), judgment (center) and hell (right). Around 1482.

Religious dualism is closely linked to epistemological, but above all to ethical dualism as a special case of ideology in this sense, especially in connection with the theodicy problem (e.g. Schelling's internal dualism of God as an attempted solution) and the dualism forms of religious anthropology ( e.g. holy vs. profane) and the history of religion ( Manichaeism , Gnosis etc.), where it is expressed primarily as the contrast between light and darkness and in eschatology and the forms of the judgment of the dead with the concepts of heaven and hell and thus contains a theologically partly very differently determined good-bad dualism.

Development, forms and phenomena: Based on (speculative) comparisons with recent animistic or shamanic primary religions , it is assumed that cosmologically dualistic ideas of the world already existed in the earliest demonstrable forms of religious thought ; However, not antagonistic - as is the case with younger religions - but often polar within the framework of a three-level cosmic model: the ancestral world was connected to this world and exchanged ideas with it.

In the Neolithic , with the settling down and the emergence of the gods, this religious and cosmological dualism continued with the existence-determining phenomena of growth and decay, which now naturally assumed an ever more chthonic character and gave rise to an underworld that was then increasingly stratified in societies of the early advanced civilizations finally assumed the character of punishment or at least represented a completely separate sphere in the context of the life-death antagonism such as in Mesopotamia and Judaism, which was not antagonistic, but also not polar, but neutral and completely hopeless, a psychologically unstable one Condition that was soon replaced by the expectation of salvation, as it then became typical for Christianity and Islam, but also for late Judaism.

Based on Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism , the antagonism of virtue and punishment played an important role in Christian theology (and later in Islamic), an antagonism that Augustine and later Martin Luther tried to balance out polarized with the doctrine of justification through the concept of grace . In Parsism there is a double dualism: mind and matter such as good and bad are in opposition to one another. Indian philosophy, which always has a religious foundation, distinguishes between matter ( Prakriti ) and spirit ( Purusha ) in the Samkhya philosophy . The biblical antitheses of God and world, flesh and spirit, purity and sin, on the other hand, only have a seemingly dualistic character, since they are canceled by God in the OT and Jesus Christ in the NT . In late antique Christianity (above all Gnosis , Marcion , Manichaeans), an originally antithetical dualism with the idea of ​​a fundamentally corrupt world that must be destroyed by a creator and redeemer god and was not created by him, but by a demiurge . Such movements, which the Church fiercely opposed, can be found well into the Middle Ages, for example among the Cathars and Bogomils, and partly in monasticism. In Islam, on the other hand, the good-bad dualism is resolved by portraying evil as a test of Allah.

In modern times , religious good-bad dualisms in the form of a heaven-hell dualism hardly play a role theologically and are largely understood symbolically, but no longer as concrete places such as in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy with its highly scholastic positioning of such metaphysical institutions or even in the indulgence trade that drove Martin Luther to his resistance. For the modern attitude, Jean-Paul Sartre formulated this best in his existentialist drama Huis clos , which ends with the anthropological-dualistic sentence: "Hell is the others", a point of view that, in view of the 21 The apocalyptic of the 20th century, which continued in the 20th century with two world wars, Auschwitz, Gulags, genocides, terrorism, etc., has quite theological qualities and, for example, in the Catholic Church to which the political dualism of the official church vs. Theology of Liberation . With the Engelwerk , a dualistic movement emerged within the Roman Catholic Church in the 20th century .

Linguistic dualism

Concept formation according to Aristotle. The inherent epistemological dualism is clear.

Problem: In language and its functional as well as phenomenological interpretation, primarily linguistic-philosophical and philological-linguistic methods of interpretation intersect. The approaches to interpretation are also diverse and range from epistemological, ontological, political-social, ethical and aesthetic considerations to theological and evolutionary explanations. One therefore has to consider a situation that is similarly complex as it appears below in connection with the political and cultural-philosophical dualism aspect. Due to its communicative character, language also represents a transition to socially defined phenomena of dualism, particularly striking in the political instrument of propaganda with its antithetically simplified structure, which, as Victor Klemperer noted, led to a radical linguistic impoverishment in the Nazi language by within the framework of a strictly Manichean view of the world, she positively absolutized one side, demonized the other (national comrade - enemy of the people, master race - sub-human, etc.)

Grammar and linguistics: The dualism (male vs. female, singular vs. plural, my / your etc.), which is particularly strong in the old Indo-European languages, is often viewed as a representation of a cognitive dualism. As a term used in philology and linguistics , it may reflect certain intellectual concepts and thus partly belong to the epistemological dualism. However, this dualistic formal principle is by no means common in all language families ; the class languages , for example, have different systems of order. The extent to which such dualisms actually express a correspondence between the logical-metaphysical and the grammatical, an approach that long formed the foundation of the philosophy of language (up to Noam Chomsky's Generative Grammar ) and the extent to which specific states of consciousness can be derived from it, is controversial, especially since regional influences The same applies to the structural influence of sensory data, which produce language competence, or the influence of ethological and psychological factors.

A special dualistic phenomenon, especially in the grammar of older Indo-European languages, is the dual , which denotes the duality between singular and plural (especially in Sanskrit , ancient Greek , ancient Church Slavonic , the ancient Germanic dialects such as ancient English and Gothic ), both naturally occurring in pairs Things as well as objects or people arranged in pairs. The dual is mainly preserved in the pronouns in Sorbian , Baltic and Slovenian as well as in Icelandic . Remnants in German are terms like parents, spouses, we both, we two . The forms of the personal and possessive pronouns have also received dual forms in most Indo-European languages ​​(I / you, we / you, my / yours, etc.). Outside of the Indo-European language family, the dual is still found in the Semitic language family in Amharic and isolated in the Finno-Ugric language family and on the Melanesian island of Anatom, where there is even a "trial".

Other formal criteria of language are evidently designed in a dualistic manner, at least in parts: active and passive, singular and plural (as an unnamed plural), the times with the present - past on one side and present - future on the other, indicative and subjunctive , in the syntax of subject and predicate, main and subordinate clauses, in word formation stem and ending ( morpheme ), reduplication , in semantics , form and meaning, etc.

Dualisms related to societies

The most extreme form of social internal dualism is the revolution, here the phase before the Russian October Revolution . The scene shows a street demonstration on Nevsky Prospect in Petrograd on July 4, 1917, just after the provincial governor's troops with machine guns opened fire on the demonstrators.

This form of dualism naturally interferes strongly with pluralistic phenomena and can contain polar as well as antagonistic forms, or antagonistic systems can transform into polar ones and vice versa. Since societies are usually structured heterogeneously depending on their size and also automatically contain a dualism of the individual - society, which in this context represents a special problem in the philosophy of state and law (e.g. in the law of resistance ), the concept of dualism applies here primarily to larger structures such as classes, estates, occupational groups, economic and religious groups, etc., often also in the sense of an antagonism, such as Karl Marx postulated in his social theory. If a polar dualism is effective, internal balancing is called reform , and antagonistic dualism is called revolution if it is confrontationally discharged within a society. If this happens between societies, one speaks of war , whereby the justification of such wars as just war is a separate and highly relativistic problem. Social groups and social change in the event of social inequality play a central role within society in a dualistic way; between societies there are usually national, economic-political, ethnic, religious and other interests (see political dualism). Max Weber uses the concept of dualism only once in business and society, however, as a religious dualism in the context of his sociology of religion .

Overall, political, socio-economic and political dualism form a corresponding system of dualistically effective forces, which in their antagonism can extend to military and / or terrorist confrontation and which are mutually dependent, also depending on the perspective of the observer, above all through the respective dominant main component differentiate, i.e. state-systemic, socio-economic or through political action, so that the transitions between the individual areas are relatively fluid. With the exception of the philosophical theory of the state and its dualisms, their respective driving forces are less theoretical and philosophical.Instead, despite the often advanced philosophical justifications, they sometimes follow very old anthropological behavior patterns, as described by ethology and sociobiology .

Dualism in State Philosophy

Medieval manuscript of Plato's “The State”, the ancient basic work of the philosophy of the state, which has retained its importance into modern times, for example in socialism and its hierarchy of functionaries, Latin, 1401

The central pairs of terms here are human and society, state and people, individual and state authority, power / violence and freedom, right and wrong. In addition, there may be other specific dualisms that have special political qualities, under National Socialism and primarily historically in South Africa and the USA, e.g. B. racial dualism, religious dualism in Islamic countries (Sunnis vs. Shiites, Muslims vs. Hindus, Muslims vs. Christians or followers of ethnic religions ), historical religious dualisms such as Catholics vs. Protestants, until today in Ibero America the dualism between the descendants of the colonizers and the Indians as well as the descendants of the African slaves etc.

Strong dualistic elements can already be found in the ancient foundational works of state philosophy , Plato's Politeia and the politics of Aristotle . In late Christian antiquity ( patristic ) and in the Middle Ages, the dualism of state philosophy was usually religiously pronounced, as in Augustine or in scholasticism . Niccolò Machiavelli then took him to extremes in Der Fürst (and somewhat relativized in the Discorsi ) with his utilitarian ethic of absolute retention of power, which recommends the prince to act good or bad depending on the requirements for maintaining power (25th chapter) and him as represents a figure completely divorced from the people. Likewise, utopians like Thomas More , Francis Bacon and Tommaso Campanella, as in their example Plato, designed a state-philosophical dualism under the auspices of the election of a state system determined by rigorous ethical principles and led by particularly wise men (" philosopher kings "), in which one such State is in a privileged relationship to other, "ordinary" ones.

The separation of powers theoretically conceived by Charles de Montesquieu ( Vom Geist der Gesetz , 1748) is a purely dualistic concept with three components ( legislative , executive , judicial ) that first appeared under constitutional law in the United States' Declaration of Independence in 1776 as Checks and Balances and since then as The basis of democratically constituted states applies. The Marxism in turn has reduced the dualism of the class antagonisms.

Central was mostly the relationship between justice and power, freedom of the individual and claims of the community, whereby the latter found its expression in communism (workers and peasants, working people), but above all in National Socialism in the concept of the national community , which here has a racist character had a class-specific one in communism. Hannah Arendt examined the resulting total domination primarily using this example and in connection with anti-Semitism , which in turn is a dualistic phenomenon in connection with racism and, as a master - human-sub-human dualism among the Nazis, an anthropological primitive version of Friedrich Representing Nietzsche's superman concept.

Dualism in law

The pairs of opposites are roughly the same here as in the philosophy of the state, the normative expression of which is law , especially since norms appear in a dualistic form, especially legal norms . The concept of justice , however, has a special meaning that is also politically dualistic. Aristotle's mesotes concept already points in this direction.

In this context, dualistic systems can be found above all, albeit in historically different forms and in different concepts such as natural law , right of resistance , constitutional law , criminal law , civil law , international law , etc., in legal philosophy and especially in law itself, which in its codified form, be it apodictic (“you shouldn't ...” as in the Decalogue ) or conditional (“if ... then”, as in modern legislation), usually occurs as a form of reduction of ethical dualism, which is determined by social and personal power interests, where for example the radical empiricist David Hume completely eliminated the difference between right and wrong and assigned it not to reason but to feeling. The antagonism of subjective and objective law also represents a dualism, although here it is structured in a polar manner.

In his discussion of the concept of justice, Hans Kelsen even states that the theories of justice have been reduced to two basic types since the earliest times: “A metaphysical-religious and a rationalist or, more correctly, a pseudo-rationalist.” And he continues in the following from the fact that these two basic types have repeatedly faced antagonistic-dualistic opposition in the course of history, whereby both absolute poles have ultimately failed, so that one would have to be content with a relative justice that contained certain criteria such as tolerance, peace and democracy must. John Rawls proceeds in a very similar way in his work A Theory of Justice , in which he declares fairness and the principle of difference as the basis and thus takes a standpoint of liberalism in the obvious attempt to reconcile the utilitarian duality between freedom and power, the interests of the individual , which is inherent in the concept of justice and to dissolve the interests of the community, a standpoint that was in turn strongly criticized by communitarianism , which replaced the individual freedom emphasized by Rawls with communal structures and their norms, as Aristotle had already called for in his virtue ethics . Here, too, the old dualism between community and individual breaks up again in relation to the problem of justice and turns into a political and ethical dualism.

Cultural-philosophical dualism

Cultural-historical dualism: Indians as cannibals. Depiction of “primitive” natives from 1621, quasi as a counter-image to one's own “cultural height”. At that time, the Thirty Years' War and its horrors had just begun in Europe.

Cultural philosophy is a relatively late appearance in philosophy and is closely related to the development of the concept of culture. As a material and philosophical anthropology, cultural philosophy is the science of the human living and cultural world; it is also cultural criticism and therefore, due to the critical distance of the viewer, is epistemologically preconfigured within the framework of a dialectical system, because in this sense it is a partially conservative one , in part progressive transgression of the respectively developed historical status of modern societies and is often tinged with culture pessimism , especially when it occurs in connection with cultural cycle theories .

In the modern era , alongside Arnold J. Toynbee and Leo Frobenius , Oswald Spengler in particular examined the cultural-philosophical aspect more closely. When looking at different cultures in their relationship to spirit and soul, he ascribes magical qualities to them in some cultures and places them next to the Apollonian-Dionysian and Faustian soul, which is also dualistic , whereby he even assumes a "primitive dualism". A modern interpretation in the antagonistic sense offers Samuel P. Huntington , who writes: "The most dangerous conflicts ... are those at the fault lines of cultures".

Altogether, in such cultural-philosophical approaches, there are already strong elements of an anthropological and social dualism, which in the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, especially at the time of colonialism, were also characterized by a Western feeling of superiority over the so-called primitive peoples (even more so the Marxist ethnologist SA Tokarew ) and still partially are today (so-called Third World ). This attitude was promoted by the relative vagueness and linguistic divergence of the concept of culture, because culture is translated as "civilization" in English and French, while "culture" only refers to regional cultures, but not the generic term. The separation of culture and civilization seen as inferior is a German language peculiarity. Culture was also used by Samuel Pufendorf to delimit the civilizational state ( status culturalis ) from a raw state of nature ( status naturalis ) and was thus per se part of an evaluative dualism , i.e. in this primarily dualistic sense it was primarily a contrast to raw and simply understood nature. Herder and Nietzsche then used the concept of culture in a more differentiated manner and in connection with specific forms of culture.

The Ethnology brought here with their new insights into the often complex mechanisms called. Native cultures a turn and saw culture no longer primarily dualistic, but in each case as a complex self-regulatory phenomena (so especially Spengler and the culture theory ) that especially in dualism were to be explained with the surrounding nature, social influences, political-religious needs etc. in their specific forms and no longer as a positive contrast to it or as a negative counter-image to western civilization, although native cultures in particular often have strong dualistic phenomena such as moiety , which are based on the oppositional duality of the environment and the resulting dualistic worldview of such peoples. Accordingly, a cultural philosophy of its own began to develop as a branch of the philosophy of history in this sense.

Socio-economic dualisms

Karl Marx : Das Kapital , Critique of Political Economy, 1st volume inside title of the first edition from 1867

The best-known dualism of the purely economic area is that of debit and credit . Other terms that can be assigned to this type are expenditure and income, loss and profit or, in a more macroeconomic sense, slump and bull market , recession and boom , inflation and deflation , etc. Already the multitude of these dualistic economic term pairs shows that there must be close connections to social conditions because they can only function on the basis of socio-economic conditions.

As a basic work of this dualism type also can because Capital of Karl Marx apply. In his main work, Marx describes the dualism of wage labor and capital on which his earliest studies were based . According to Marx's theory, there is an irresolvable conflict of interests between their social supporters, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie - Marx speaks of an “inevitable antagonism between the exploiter and the raw material of his exploitation”. At the beginning of the Communist Party's manifesto , Marx and Engels put the sentence that the class struggle was the driving factor in the history of all society up to now .

Recourse to social dualisms played a decisive role in the socialist ideologies of Leninism , Stalinism and Maoism , which refer to Marx's theory . Instead of dealing with the complexity of the class antagonism developed by Marx in his Critique of Political Economy , new dualisms were handed down in the state socialist systems for the purpose of agitation and propaganda , such as that between the party and the class enemy , between “socialist Soviet power” and “imperialist” Powers ”.

Socio-economic dualisms are generally closely related to the philosophical and sociological factors, but here they are determined by economic factors or, as in Max Weber in “ Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism ” or even by religious factors in liberation theology , and sometimes not only result in socialist ideologies , where they often manifest themselves as political antagonisms (z. B. Marxism-Leninism with its dualism of the classes ), but they also play in the modern development policy a role as well in the globalization , where they form an extreme financial and economic dualism especially developed industrial countries called. high financial potential of a more agrarian and determined by natural resources developing countries cut (so-called. Lewis model ). Jean Ziegler , among others, was critical of this and spoke of an “unbearable contradiction between demography and power” in this context. Accordingly, there are also dualistic systems in companies and in international law . Starting in 2007, the international financial crisis has dramatically intensified this dualism between capital market speculation on the one hand and social social conditions on the other, even within the European Union (so-called PIIGS states).

Political and historical dualism: interests and conflicts

In this central area, anthropological, psychological, epistemological, ethical, religious, socio-economic, even cultural-philosophical and, if world views are involved, also metaphysical dualisms are bundled into a large complex that is generally called politics , as "action within a community with the goal a certain formation of will or the change or confirmation of a certain order ”and is characterized by correspondingly heterogeneous, hardly calculable and / or controlled interactions , the larger and more differentiated the societies concerned and their specific interests, the less. According to Otfried Höffe , the political dualism is based on an anthropological one, where one encounters two fundamental driving forces in this context that are sometimes viewed as competing, but actually complement each other: cooperation and conflict . According to Höffe, these two driving forces result in the “multidimensional grammar of politics, the totality of idiosyncrasies that are widely shared by the various political terms” and generate the dimensions of political order and processes, such as law and people, as well as the interplay of consent and power with their relationship to violence and its discipline through justifications.

The concept of dualism thus also plays a major role in practical politics , where it usually appears extra-philosophical, namely in terms of power politics and is defined as a conflict, according to the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research, a "conflict of interests (so-called position difference ) around national, ethnic, economic, religious etc. values ​​of some duration and range between at least two parties (organized groups, states, groups of states, state organizations) that are determined to decide these in their favor ”. However, behavior and arguments in conflicts of interest are not usually characterized by “reasonableness”, as Hannah Arendt observes: “Unfortunately, nothing has been refuted by reality with such persistent persistence as the credo of 'enlightened self-interest' ... experience combined with a little reflection says it is clear that there is hardly anything that can be 'explained' so badly as self-interest ”. But violence in politics becomes a natural part of this antagonism, especially since it has always played an important role in people's relationships with one another. In “Forms of Power”, Bertrand Russell emphasizes the polar coupling between the high level of civilization and low moral standards, as was observed in the Renaissance , but also in ancient Greece, where this fact was already mentioned by Thrasymachus in the first book is notified by Plato's “state” ( I, 338 b – e ), when he notes there that justice is simply the interests of the strong and rulers are no longer subject to moral concerns, a position that Niccolò Machiavelli takes in a similar way.

The Douaumont ossuary near Verdun, a symbol of the former Franco-German hereditary enmity, a historically antagonistic dualism that shaped the fate of Central Europe for several centuries

Historically , such conflicts can already be found in antiquity and run like a red thread along historical events as permanent dualisms that apparently follow a fundamental historical-antagonistic dualism , which above all fascinated the philosophers of history of the modern age and sometimes like Francis Fukuyama after the fall of the Soviet Union gave hope for an end to history . In the European Middle Ages, major conflicts such as the investiture dispute and dynastic conflicts determined the structure of entire centuries. Similar historical conflict constellations also existed in modern times, for example the German dualism in the 18th and 19th centuries, which long shaped the Austro-Prussian relationship in the dispute over supremacy in Germany. Other great historical dualisms of the Middle Ages and the early modern period, some of which continue to this day, were that between Europe and the Arab-Islamic world ( Crusades ), between Catholicism and Protestantism after the Reformation ( Thirty Years War ), between England and France during the Hundred Years War and between England and Spain at the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Outside Europe, for example, the conflict between Japan and China lasts for centuries and basically lasts until today. Arnold J. Toynbee , among others, points out the increasing importance of such conflicts in modern times, especially in connection with his increasing technical power and the increasing burden on the biosphere .

The philosophy of history tried to derive general legalities from this, some of which, as in Marxism-Communism or modern with Samuel P. Huntington, also follow dualistic-antagonistic patterns. Hegel in particular and Karl Marx , who referred to him, developed a dialectical philosophy of history, Hegel, assuming that history proceeds in stages, with each of these stages already carrying the core of its own destruction and negating itself, the world spirit as primary movens of history, as it were, “at war with itself”, Marx, in that he retained the teleological development of stages, but turned it around and declared not the spirit but the material as the basis, whereby the inner dynamics of history arise through conflicts caused by A change in the means of production and in social control and organization would be triggered and thereby secondary to new ideal constructs.

Structural dualisms of the modern age were and are the class dualism of communism or the racist dualism of the National Socialists . They are expressively antagonistic forms of dualism in the increasingly secularized and ideologically shaped politics, which in this form already tends towards antagonistic dualisms. Such conflict dualisms often present themselves as nationalism , which, however, since it is determined more emotionally than rationally, can also come across as completely non-ideological, as the example of the Franco-German dualism shows, which European politics from 1640 onwards as “ hereditary enmity ” since the reign of Louis XIV and later Napoleon I for a good three centuries.

Political dualisms , as described by political philosophy, can be found up to the present day, for example, as so-called coexistence during the Cold War , which, however, represents a euphemism here , because the East-West relationship of the various power blocs at that time was strictly military-antagonistic structured, just like the German-German relationship between GDR and FRG with the respective right to sole representation . Another dualism that dominates politics is the north-south conflict between industrialized countries and the so-called developing countries, which usually presents itself primarily as a socio-economic dualism and has since replaced the east-west conflict .

Even today, the antagonistic form dominates , as it was discussed by Samuel P. Huntington in Clash of Cultures . Also of Islamism is designed in such a politically dualistic. The ethical dualism can also take political forms, also in the form of an ethnic to racist dualism (for example in Yugoslavia), which often and not only since the times of the slave trade and colonialism , e. B. as in Rwanda also impressed as economic dualism . In addition, the artificial boundaries drawn by the former colonial powers in Africa ensure a constantly antagonistic flare-up potential of conflicts, which are additionally fueled by ethnic, religious and economic factors or interests, such as the example of North Sudan vs. South Sudan shows that all three components are virulent (Islam vs. Christianity, Arabs vs. Black Africans, oil deposits), while in the West-East Sudanese Darfur conflict , for example, only the racial-ethnic and, to a certain extent, an economic factor triggered by the aridization in the context of climate change is effective, which is also increasingly causing conflict situations in other areas of the world, as they openly and sometimes even antagonistically revealed in the various climate conferences .

In 20th century Europe there were also a number of smaller dualistic conflicts, mostly on a nationalistic or ethnic basis, such as the Northern Ireland conflict and the Basque-Spanish conflict ( ETA ) as well as the Yugoslavia conflict with the Kosovo war , in which ethnic, religious and nationalistic-historical ( battle on the Amselfeld (1389) ) antagonisms mixed. Other internal conflicts in which different interests are antagonistic are the so-called civil wars , for example that in Spain in the 1930s and above all in the so-called Third World .

Ultimately, all of this is based on an evolutionary, ethologically expressed anthropological dualism , such as Konrad Lorenz describes it in The so-called Böse and which manifests itself primarily in the sociobiological phenomenon of competition and aggression , and usually only secondarily a pseudo-political, pseudo-religious or even pseudo-religious It is given a pseudophilosophical paintwork, which is primarily intended to represent various interests to the outside world, although it is often only about participation in power and thus in economic resources, so that here there is definitely an evolutionary stable strategy , which, however, is extremely fatal under modern circumstances .

Konrad Lorenz says resignedly: “That is the Janus head of man: the being that is alone able to enthusiastically dedicate itself to the service of the highest needs a behavioral psychological organization whose animal characteristics bring with it the danger of its brothers kills, and in the conviction that he must do this in the service of this highest. Ecce homo ! ”And this statement, in turn, is absolutely philosophical.

Mainly extra-philosophical dualisms

Although all these forms of dualism are clearly effective in areas that are no longer philosophical, they often have a philosophical component to a large extent (particularly noticeable in cosmology, particle physics, genetics and evolutionary biology as well as in art), especially dualism with its categories and mechanisms represents an essentially philosophical system of thought and knowledge that remains philosophical as a method, even if it is applied to other areas, but is "represented in principle in all areas and on very different levels". Areas such as linguistics, economics, politics or law are non-philosophical per se, but their connection with people and society is so close that they can also be considered philosophical interpretations with their phenomena of dualism. The concept of complementarity plays a central role in art, a cultural pair that represents two opposing but equal aspects of the worldview, two types of truths, that of the rational and that of the irrational or emotional.

Problem time

The complex person and action constellations in the Antigone of Sophocles , which result from the existing basic dualism of the initial situation: violation of divine command by Creon versus violation of royal command by Antigone in the course of the five stages of action of the tragedy and the dramatically modulated time dimension develop this dualism demonstrate.

In art in particular, the dualism is also supplemented by a not only secondary historical, but also specific small-scale time factor , since it is mostly about processes within their own time-relatedness, which are here in a close and non-resolvable context of action with the observed phenomenon . The static, merely mutually interacting dualism of philosophy thus becomes a dynamic, procedural dualism within the framework of methodological rules. This time-modified dualism receives a time-progressive quality through the action of the time vector , which differs from the static dualism of yin and yang , for example , in which the parts are exclusively related to one another, also in terms of quality through the intrinsic entelechy and also qualitatively in the context of individual perception how quantitatively variable is. In addition, the progress of time can also have a modulating effect on the quality of the dualisms. All forms of theater, opera and film have this effect as a prerequisite for their effect. The classic form of drama is an example of this, because it develops a basic constellation, usually determined by fate, over several steps, which are already given in Chapter 6 of the Poetics of Aristotle and in the course of which the hero with his opposition to fate / gods and man The resulting hubris passes through five temporal stages modulating the dualism: exposure, 1st climax (1st climax), peripetia , anticlimax, catastrophe or catharsis .

But this creates a connection to perhaps the most delicate area of ​​human consciousness, that of time perception , which ultimately represents nothing more than an evolutionarily conditioned sensory window that must be constantly coordinated by the consciousness with the spatial window and results in such a determined causality of the perceptions, so that temporally defined dynamisms, as offered by some forms of art, can possibly only be viewed to a limited extent as dualistic in the actual sense of an antagonistic or complementary, but essentially static counterpart, unless one differentiates a dualism without from one with a time vector. Anthropologists like Wolfgang Schleidt define consciousness as follows: “Consciousness is a special dynamic state in the more general state of wakefulness of the individual, in which selected contents of perception in an expanded space (compared to the directly perceptible space) and time (compared to the attention span ) can be cognitively manipulated. "

Methodological dualism

The methodological dualism, based on Descartes ' dualism, is reflected in modern philosophy and philosophy of science primarily in the principle of the antithetical dialectic , as it was methodologically used by Plato and later by Hegel and Karl Marx .

Dualisms in art

Above all, the contents and forms of any art reflect the dualistic split in human perception and its intellectual processing, as postulated by evolutionary epistemology (see above). In this sense, dualism is not only a reaction to this split, but also provides the tools to deal with it, as the Viennese biologist and epistemologist Rupert Riedl demonstrates. He quotes from a text by the Austrian painter and representative of fantastic realism Robert Ederer from 1982:

"All of these ambiguities described arise only to a limited extent from a purely subjective condition, because: what in them has a share in the general basic situation of man, what is the expression of that fundamental dualism, of 'life' and 'spirit', of 'feeling' and ' Understanding ‹[...] this happens of course as an adventure of becoming conscious to all people - in some this dialogue degenerates. The productive, inclined person will (but) [...] master this dialectic and use it to try to find himself. "

Basics, statics and dynamics

There is a crucial difference between dualism in art and that in philosophy: philosophy contains dualism conceptually and abstractly or as a phenomenon. Art, on the other hand , actively shows and uses dualism, which is part of its inner, communicative and individualistic nature, and depending on the type of art, both static and dynamic.

Picasso's monumental anti-war picture Guernica , here as a tapestry, shows the virtuoso use of surface, graphics and perspective to create a tension that is appropriate to the anti-war theme of the painting.
Architectural dualism: the wave and sail structure of the Sydney Opera House corresponds to the sea and the ships surrounding it.
Formal and black-and-white contrasting dualistic expressivity in the staircase scene from Eisenstein's 1925 film Battleship Potemkin
Modern dance with strongly dualistic elements in color, dance and constellation

The difference between static and dynamic effects in art has already Gotthold Ephraim Lessing in his famous essay Laocoon analyzed and highlighted the importance of time in this context. Art is full of static and dynamic dualism effects and techniques, which are usually used to create a certain dramatic or expressive tension (hence the name of the art movement Expressionism ).

Painting, photography, sculpture and architecture

Static dualism effects are particularly evident, for example in the dualism of outline and surface, space and form in the fine arts, the dualism of perspectives that is common in Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí , for example, or the dualism of primary colors in Vincent van Gogh or Emil Nolde and Franz Marc . In sculpture and architecture , dualisms that are not time-dependent are also common, and not only in earlier epochs such as particularly evident in Gothic architecture, which is said to be characterized by the "unity of the whole in constant disintegration and rebuilding from partial elements to be experienced “( Hans Sedlmayr ), but above all in the modern age, for example in the tension between natural form and artistically alienated form (e.g. Alberto Giacometti ) or between building structure and environment or material and function.

Of the modern techniques, photography should be mentioned above all (for example with Helmut Newton ), insofar as it has artistic intentions.

Music, opera, ballet

In music , which one could also call "dissolved architecture", uniformity and diversity, symmetry and alternation, repetition and contrast, tension and relaxation are the aesthetic principles. All of its elements, be it melody, rhythm or harmony, meter , tempo or tonality , are subject to them. It has a rich repertoire of dualistic, here mostly (except in the chords with their polar dualism or in syncopation ) of dynamic and temporal effective forms both rhythmically as well as tonally and instrumentally and has even developed a theoretical concept in the harmonic dualism of music theory the mirror image of major and minor chords, which in themselves already represent a bipolar system. But even the polyphony with the canon or the fugue and sonata, which has then been further developed into a symphony, follow this pattern with their dualistic counterpoint , but the same applies to Gregorian chant . Harmonious means such as the organ point , narrowing or the general pause are further examples of a pronounced musical dualism.

Rhythms and other musical dynamic elements have an equally dualistic effect, not only in modern classical works such as Igor Stravinsky's Sacre du printemps or Carl Orff's Carmina Burana , but also with the great symphonic orchestras, most clearly with Anton Bruckner with the enormous arcs (so-called “terrace dynamics “), In the music of the baroque and even in the minnesong of the Middle Ages and up to jazz , techno and beat music of the modern age, but especially in the film music that reinforces the dramatic processes .

The opera also uses all these musical means and adds to them the dramatic ones of the theater as well as painting and sculpture within the framework of the art of staging, which is reinforced by the means of light direction, probably beginning above all in the fifties of the 20th century with Wieland Wagner in Bayreuth.

The same applies to ballet , which, especially in the second half of the 20th century, also turned to modern forms that had a much more dualistic character than the traditional ballet russe and mit based on the dualism corps de ballet and dancer / ballerina entered into a close connection with modern dance , e.g. B. with Pina Bausch or Mary Wigman .


Occurrence and function: Particularly in romanticism , which also saw itself as a countermovement to enlightened rationality , the world was preferably captured in polarities such as day and night, mind and feeling, general and individual, visible and invisible, or thinking and dreaming. The conscious / unconscious couple, which would later play such a central role for Sigmund Freud and CG Jung , also belongs in this cultural-historical context. However, other arts such as painting were also shaped by similar polarities. The increasing departure from the representational has its roots here, so that Pablo Picasso was finally able to say: “I don't paint what I see, I paint what I think”.

However, dualisms can be found at all times and in all genres of literature, from epic and lyric to theater to film and television, and even to modern computer games such as strategy games . Preference is given to using temporally dynamic dualisms in film and related modern media , analogous to classical theater, but more effective due to the possible techniques of perspective, editing, dissolving, etc., which no longer make temporal synchronicity with continuous sequences of action inevitable as in theater and in the case of computer games, they are also supplemented by targeted actions by the viewer, which in turn have a formally dualistic character as an interaction effect within the framework of previously established algorithms . Such techniques are the most essential element in film as a tension generator to be interpreted in a dualistic manner. Outstanding and artistically significant examples are, for example, the expressionist films of the 1920s or the films by Eisenstein , Ingmar Bergman , Fritz Lang , Jean Cocteau and Luis Buñuel . But such formal techniques can be found in practically all films (on the content-related, especially ethical dualisms, see below).

In actual literature in the classical sense of the three genres of epic, lyric and drama, dynamic dualism is therefore not only formally, but above all also in terms of content a frequently used, often also called dialectical , active principle, in particular what human characters (one speaks of Antagonists , i.e. opponents such as Othello and Jago, Penthesilea and Achilles, Karl and Franz Moor), conflicts and dramatic arcs of tension (see above "Problem time"). Also stylistic devices are often designed dualistic, but for example also jokes . The entire metric is based on the formal dualism long / short, stressed / unstressed. Arcs of tension also usually arise due to dualistic starting points and are again only a reflex of the fundamental psychological and anthropological dualism. William Shakespeare, for example, used this technique masterfully (for example in the gravedigger scene in Hamlet or alternating between prose and blank verse , comedy and drama).

One of the best-known dualistic pairs of figures in poetry is Faust / Mephisto, which can also be understood as metaphysical dualism; Another decidedly antagonistic couple is Robinson / Friday (culturally high-standing Christian and barbaric pagan to be educated). In general, literature is full of such partly antagonistic, partly complementary dualistic pairings, such as Romeo and Juliet (as representatives of two warring families), Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (dreamy idealist and down-to-earth realist), Captain Ahab and Moby Dick (as representatives of two opposing families World concepts) etc.

Structural elements: A strictly dualistic concept was followed by the ancient Greek tragedy, which in any case emerged as a religious dualism . But the epic ego in Bert Brecht and Thornton Wilder , for example, also follows this principle, especially in the didactic pieces (see below). Peter Szondi notes in his “Theory of Modern Drama” on the relationship between classical and modern drama with reference to Hegel's dialectical concept of the form-content relationship: “The form-content dialectic now appears as a dialectic between formal and content-related statements. However, this already creates the possibility that the content-related statement contradicts the formal one ”. Georg Lukács argues in a similar way in his “Theory of the Novel”: “The unbridgeable gap between reality that is being and the ideal that is supposed to be must therefore ... constitute the essence of the outside world. This difference shows itself most clearly in the negativity of the ideal ”. Here too, then, a justification of literary principles that can be called ontological and epistemological. The narrative perspective also follows dualistic patterns, for example in the authorial novel as a tension between the omniscient narrator and the novel, in the Stream of Consiousness novel as a tension between the inner, imagined and real outer world, in the frame narration as a tension between frames, which sometimes even chronically makes its claim to truth transfers to the narrated content. In the personal narrative situation, for example the first-person narration or in a dialogical novel, the dualism finally arises through the antagonism of reader vs. First-person narrator, also by means of indirect narrative techniques such as inner monologue or experienced speech .

A few examples: Jonathan Swift , for example, directly addressed the issue of anthropological dualism in Book 4 of Gulliver's Travels , where he satirically opposed the dual nature of man in the form of the creaturally primitive Yahoos and the exclusively coldly rational Houyhnhnms. In her first novel Sense and Sensibility , Jane Austen even used the antithetical dualism of mind and feeling as a narrative structural principle. An ethical dualism, on the other hand, is the allegorical subject of Oscar Wildes : the portrait of Dorian Gray . The most famous antithetical, here also ontological dualism of literature is connected with William Shakespeare's "To be or not to be, that is the question" (To be or not to be ..., Hamlet , III, 1).

In general, however, the motif of antagonistic as well as complementary dualism runs like a red thread in partly highly differentiated, but partly also relatively simple constellations and resolutions through the entire world literature, both personally, narrative, structural-formal and allegorical, even religious (e.g. B. in the context of the theodicy problem, for example in "Faust" or in the Divine Comedy ) as a small selection of important works of literature shows, in which this dualism is often even included in the titles (abbreviated here):

B. Brecht: Yes-sayers and no-sayers; Pointed heads and round heads. (both textbooks of political theater); Dickens: History of Two Cities. Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment. Freytag: debit and credit. Gotthelf: Money and Spirit. Grabbe: Don Juan and Faust. Grass: cat and mouse. G. Greene: The Power and the Glory. Hemingway: The old man and the sea. as well as having and not having. Hesse: Narcissus and Goldmund. D. H.Lawrence: Sons and Lovers. Sartre: The devil and the good Lord. R. L. Stevenson: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Turgenev: Fathers and Sons. Stendhal: red and black.

In terms of content, dualistic patterns are particularly widespread, especially in trivial literature (including films), usually as an ethical good-bad dualism. In most cases, these are often extremely simplistic patterns and constellations, for example in Karl May style or in the Lore novel , especially in the so-called trash or gossip novels including science fiction (e.g. Perry Rhodan ) and fantasy (e.g. Darkover series). But also works that are to be evaluated as transitional literature between trivial and high-level literature offer these good-bad patterns, albeit often literarily and philosophically far more artistic, especially with regard to the ambivalence of the good-bad complex. The best-known examples here are JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings with the pair of opposites Hobbits / Sauron and Joanne K. Rowling's Harry Potter series with Harry vs. Lord Voldemort, whereby the author here, according to her own admission, was influenced by the literary and philosophical work of CS Lewis and his ethical dualism, which in turn has links to Tolkien.

A concise cinematic example of a personal, often simplistic ethical dualism of the literary-cinematic trivial level, which is structurally central in numerous films (including TV series such as Dallas or the Denver Clan ), can be found in “ War der Sterne ”(“ the dark side of power ”with the ambivalent couple Luke Skywalker / Darth Vader).

"Dualism" in the natural sciences

As the meaning of the term “dualism” became increasingly less pronounced, it was used primarily in philosophical considerations and popular scientific texts on scientific subjects as a generic or substitute term for those terms that describe some sort of dichotomy or contrast. From a scientific point of view, however, there is often no such dichotomy or such a contrast; this comes more from the perception of the viewer.

In physics there is the established term of “wave-particle dualism”. However, this dualism does not occur within physics, but between the ideas that stem from the world of experience and that ultimately proved to be inadequate for describing the behavior of quantum objects.

During the 17th century Christiaan Huygens and Isaac Newton studied the physical phenomenon of light. They developed two opposing theories: Huygens understood light as waves, while Newton described it as rays of corpuscles (particles). Over time, the idea of ​​the wave character of light took hold, which seemed to be experimentally confirmed by the observed diffraction and interference phenomena and theoretically confirmed by the Maxwell equations . Max Planck and Albert Einstein discovered that light can only be absorbed or emitted in certain “portions”, the quanta or photons . This is incompatible with a wave character of light.

Conversely, electrons were initially perceived as particles. Louis de Broglie , on the other hand, postulated that electrons also show wave character under certain conditions. In the Davisson-Germer experiment, it was possible to show that electrons are bent in a similar way to X-rays. The two concepts - wave and particle - are completely opposite and incompatible from the standpoint of classical physics (hence the term wave-particle dualism). However, if you limit yourself to only one of the two concepts, the description inevitably remains incomplete.

The classical description must be replaced by a quantum mechanical description, within which no dualism can be determined. Roughly simplified, it can be summarized as follows: When a photon is absorbed or when an electron hits a detector, they show their particle character. Whether this event occurs, or better: How likely this event is, however, is determined by the wave function .

See also

Literature and Sources

General and special reference works
Metaphysics, ontology, cosmology, natural and cultural philosophy
Anthropology, epistemology, psychology
Ethic religion
State philosophy, law, socio-economics, history, politics
Methodology, art, science

Individual evidence

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