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An event (from Old High German irougen , New High German äugen “to put in front of one's eyes, to show”) is in the general sense a situation that is characterized by dynamism or change. The opposite of an event is a “state”: a situation with no change or dynamism. A classic definition is that an event is the transition from one state to another.

In the original sense of the German word "event" it would be an event that comes before the eyes and is observed (an "observation"), and in many uses of the word it is an important aspect that an event is something that is observed . However, the observation of an event is also spoken of when it is sensually experienced in a different way than just visually.


An astronomical event is a phenomenon that occurs in the sky at a specific point in time . Some astronomical events occur with high regularity, such as the phases of the moon . Other astronomical events are not subject to direct periodicities, such as occultations by planets. Not all astronomical events can be predicted.


The discovery of a chemical reaction in the course of a series of laboratory tests in which chemical bonds produce a previously non-existent, new product .

Computer science

Under one event ( English event ) is understood in the event-oriented programming, an incident that - an event handler program - an action , if necessary, and (as a consequence) triggers a change of state. These events can be user inputs (mouse click, key, voice input, device connection, ...) or system events (time, error, data change, sensor, ...).


In the theory of probability one is random event and event called and with respect to the possible outcomes or results of a random experiment defined. An event is a summary of results that is a subset of the result set and to which a certain probability between 0 and 1 can be assigned.

Example: Let the random experiment be “throwing a regular 6-sided die”. Possible results are about 1 or 6. The result set is composed of all possible results and consists of {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6} here. The subset {1, 3, 5} of this set then forms an event, the "throwing an odd number".


In medicine, the term event is mainly used in connection with an undesirable or disadvantageous event in the context of a treatment: one often speaks of an undesirable event (AE). The English equivalent "adverse event" or "AE" is often found in German-language literature. Adverse events are classified according to the Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC).

The concept of the adverse event is defined differently in two areas of medicine, quality assurance and drug research :

  • In quality assurance, an AE is a harmful event that is based more on the treatment than on the disease. It can be preventable or unavoidable. Avoiding and reducing avoidable adverse events (VUE) is central to improving patient safety . AEs in quality assurance can affect both patients and healthcare workers. In quality assurance in medicine, a critical event is defined as an event that could lead to an adverse event or significantly increase its probability.
  • In drug research, all AEs are recorded during participation in a clinical trial , regardless of their possible causal relationship or the extent of their damage. AEs are only recorded for subjects or patients . The recording period is not limited to the duration of the actual treatment; it also includes any preparation and follow-up periods. The recording includes a. an assessment by the attending physician regarding the connection with the treatment and the severity of the AE. Section 3 (8) of the GCP-V defines what a serious AE is (see also: serious adverse event (SAE)). The legal definition of a serious event in connection with a medical device has been included in Section 2 of the Medical Device Safety Plan Ordinance (MPSV).


In modern philosophy , "event" is mostly used in two different contexts:

  • First in the context of continental philosophy with existentialists and phenomenologists , including z. B. Martin Heidegger and various French philosophers, also in post-structuralism . In this usage means event, eventfulness and the like. Ä. a singular and instantaneous act that is constitutive for being, acting , morality or cognition. In Alain Badiou's work, event is the key concept. Event is understood here as the unpredictable, the unpredictable, that which in no way can be inserted into an already existing order or derived from it. It is not one of the set of elements that make up a given situation; it cannot be named, it cannot be presented. It is a singularity that fundamentally changes the meaning of the respective situation and all subsequent ones.
  • In a second context, the systematic ontology, as it is mainly carried out in connection with the classics of analytical ontology , an object is meant that does not behave like an object, but like a process. Events in this sense are usually not understood as instantaneous, but as extended over time.

Some theorists argue that the entire ontology should not be based on objects, but on events. For example, by arguing that there is mutual reducibility, but that events are required for a functioning ontology anyway and that there are no objects, or by arguing that ontological problems of qualitative change in the case of object persistence can be better treated with them. A classic representative of such an event ontology is, for example, Alfred North Whitehead , a younger classic Donald Davidson .

The philosophical conception of events as a separate kind of entities in the world, especially after Donald Davidson, has had a strong influence on linguistic representations of the semantics of verbs, and led to the emergence of so-called event semantics .


The event in psychology is the experience as the happening, registered in the memory and available from then on, of a situation in which an individual lives. The storage of the event is subjective and therefore the basis for learning processes in memory, as is fundamental for human development in general. This development (see developmental psychology ) is unthinkable or impossible without experience (s) (or events). A human organism is dependent on experience, especially in early childhood; otherwise he will suffer (existence-threatening) damage (see René A. Spitz ).


General regulations

In German civil law , claims can expire because a certain event has occurred. This includes the subsequent condition in accordance with Section 158 (2) of the German Civil Code ( BGB) and the end date in the event of a time specification in the sense of Section 163 BGB.

But even the death of a person in the case of highly personal claims is the legally relevant occurrence of a certain event. These include, for example, the expiry of a legal promise according to § 520 BGB, the termination of a personal service obligation due to the non-transferability of the same, according to § 613 BGB and the termination of a contractual relationship after the dissolution of a company due to the death of a partner .

Insurance law

Under insurance law, the event is the trigger that justifies the insurer 's obligation to provide benefits . Part of the term damage is the event that triggered it; a damaging event triggers the insured event . The event is a random, i.e. unforeseeable occurrence, the negative consequences of which lead to damage. An event is a sequence of events, as a result of which the damage occurred immediately. According to § 1 General Insurance Conditions for Liability Insurance (AHB), an event is a sudden and violent course of events that cannot be objectively foreseen in its entirety. A damaging event within the meaning of § 5 No. 1 AHB is to be understood as the external or internal occurrence prior to the occurrence of the damage, from the beginning of which the occurrence of damage is highly probable. According to Section 7 (2) StVG , the vehicle owner is not liable in the event of an unavoidable event ( force majeure ). This is an incident that cannot be avoided even if the greatest possible care is taken. The concept of due diligence under traffic law thus goes far beyond that of Section 276 of the German Civil Code (BGB). An event is inevitable that is "neither due to a fault in the condition of the vehicle nor to a failure of its activities" (Section 7 (2) sentence 1 StVG). Inevitable can also be due to the behavior of the injured person or an animal. Accident is an external, damaging, sudden event that affects people. The event is always a negative process under insurance law, positive events such as the "happy event" (as a description of an upcoming birth) are not included.

theory of relativity

In the theory of relativity , a point in space- time determined by time and place is called an event. The entire description of reality is based on these events - which for some interpreters favors an event ontology .

Systems theory

In sociological systems theory , an event describes the point-in-time, non-permanent unit of the difference between before / after in autopoietic systems . After the event, something else is possible than before. It is precisely this difference that gives the system elements their operational connectivity over time, despite their lack of durability . For example, verbal utterances exist only at the time of speaking and then immediately disappear. If words spoken one after the other can connect, they result in a coherent sentence. The sentence can only arise if the individual events (here: words) have no permanent existence.


The event is for the millennium in the English version "event" ( event increasingly used). Examples include event managers, event technicians, event safety, event insurance, etc.


Philosophical ontology
Analytical philosophy and event semantics
  • Donald Davidson : The Logical Form of Action Sentences. In: Nicholas Rescher (Ed.): The Logic of Decision and Action. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh 1967.


  • René A. Spitz : Hospitalism I and II. In: Günther Bittner, Edda Harms: Education in early childhood. Munich 1985, pp. 89-122.
  • Dominic E. Delarue, Johann Schulz and Laura Sobez (eds.): The picture as an event. On the legibility of late medieval art with Hans-Georg Gadamer . Winter Verlag, Heidelberg 2012, ISBN 978-3-8253-6036-8

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: event  - meaning explanations, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Lexicon entry: event. In: Duden Dictionary of Origin Etymology of the German Language. ISBN 3-411-20907-0 , pp. ??.
  2. ^ Lawrence Lombard: Events. A Metaphysical Study. Routledge, London 1986, pp. ??.
  3. a b Medical Center for Quality in Medicine: Glossary of Patient Safety. ( Memento of the original from July 13, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. 2006. Accessed September 27, 2008. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.forum-patientensicherheit.de
  4. ^ Council of Europe: Recommendation on management of patient safety and prevention of adverse events in health care. 2006. Accessed September 27, 2008.
  5. http://www.peter-zeillinger.at/download/05_Zeillinger_Badiou+Paulus_Ereignis_als_Norm.pdf
  6. Hansrudolf Hartung, Die Allgemeine Haftpflichtversicherung , 1957, p. 37
  7. Alfred Müringer, liability in road traffic , 1999, p 27
  8. C. Baraldi, G. Corsi, E. Esposito: GLU. Glossary on Niklas Luhmann's theory of social systems. Frankfurt am Main 1997, p. 42f.