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Emanation

(389 words)

Author(s): Veldhuis, Ruurd
“Emanation,” from the Lat. emano (flow out), occurs in certain metaphysical conceptions of the structure and origin of the world. In these systems, reality consists of a hierarchy of being in which lower forms develop out of higher forms, and the multiplicity of the world ultimately derives from the unity of a first principle. The idea occurs only rarely in classical Greek philosophy ¶ (Gk. aporroia, “outflow, emanation”), and then mostly in an epistemological connection (e.g., in Empedocles). Only in Gnosticism does it become significant metaphysically. Here with t…

Deism

(672 words)

Author(s): Veldhuis, Ruurd
Until the 18th century, the term “deism” (from Lat. deus, a god, God) was interchangeable with “theism.” It was used for the first time by the Swiss theologian P. Viret (Geneva, 1564), who spoke with abhorrence of people who called themselves deists to emphasize that, in contrast to atheists, they believed in God, even though they accepted nothing of Christ and his teaching. Some writers (e.g., C. Blount and M. Tindal) explicitly confessed deism, but many deists avoided the term because of its negative connotation for their orthodox opponents. Later, deism increasingly became a ph…

Absolute, The

(562 words)

Author(s): Veldhuis, Ruurd
The word “absolute” comes from the Lat. absolutus (loosed, completed). Taken negatively, it means the unconditioned—in metaphysics, as distinct from the finite and conditioned; in epistemology, as distinct from the indefinite and relative; and in ethics, as distinct from the provisional and only partly valid. ¶ Taken positively, in metaphysics it represents the complete and perfect being on which all that exists depends, the ground that sustains all things, the final goal toward which all reality strives. It may also be understood immanent…

Dialogue

(1,595 words)

Author(s): Veldhuis, Ruurd | Ott, Heinrich
1. Philosophy Deriving from the Gk. dialogos (conversation), the term “dialogue” has become a key term in 20thcentury philosophy, though used in different ways. In the history of philosophy it has played a leading role since Plato (Platonism), mainly as a literary genre. Yet the form Plato chose was connected with his conviction that we can reach true insight only in a conversation that does justice to opposing views and seeks agreement step by step. The term took on philosophical significance only in the 20th century. It did so first, out of anthropological and ontol…