The term spiritual science ( s) in the German intellectual tradition is a collective term for currently around 40 different individual sciences ( "disciplines" ), which uses different methods subject areas which cultural, intellectual, media, and partly social or sociological, historical, political and religious phenomena are related to investigate. Most humanities are doing here is thus also to a certain extent anthropology, as in all disciplines of the man and his creations take center stage (→ anthropology ). A common justification for the humanities was sought by Wilhelm Dilthey on the basis of a philosophical theory of meaning and understanding of life expressions ( hermeneutics ).

  • 2.1 Science Outline
  • 2.2 The object of the Humanities
  • 5.1 Overviews
  • 5.2 Reform Debate
  • 5.3 Other specific aspects


Conceptual history

The word " spiritual science " is already in a 1787 anonymously authored pamphlet entitled Who are the spotters? occupied, where it says: " When I say that clerics who carefully in Theology and Humanities 're been taught ... " The author thus refers not to a theory of " pneumatology the Spirit." This is a science meant what explanations out there that do not refer to natural causes, but " spiritual ". In this sense, for example Gottsched speaks of a "ghost theory ".

Fritz van Calker and Friedrich Schlegel use " spiritual science " as a synonym for philosophy in general.

Closer is on today's sense of the word, what David Hume with " moral philosophy " means what Jeremy Bentham defines as " pneumatology " from " somatology " and what amps " Noologie " as opposed to called " cosmology ". John Stuart Mill referred to his system of deductive and inductive logic in 1843 with "moral sciences" the disciplines of psychology, ethology and sociology. Mill refers here the inductive logic to the data collection of historical and social phenomena, so the moral sciences were so inaccurate such as meteorology. Jacob Schiel had in a first translation ( not in the second ) " spiritual science " is set for moral sciences. Although this use is likely to have been influential, but the German expression was not, as previously often assumed marked as calque from Mill, but is, as indicated, to find earlier.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Franz Hillebrand and other German authors speak of a spiritual teaching or spiritual science. Hegel's spirit - term refers not only to individuals but also groups and as an objective mind to the world in general.

Approximately in the modern sense occurs the word " spiritual science " in the otherwise unknown EAE Calinich [* 25 March 1806 in Bautzen - 1824 Leipzig, a member of the Lusatian Preachers Society - 1844 Deputy Director at the seminar in Dresden ] on, in 1847 between the " natural sciences and the humanities " method is different, a duality, of the nonspecifically even as early as 1824 at WJA recruiter is the question.

The term " spiritual science " gets its conciseness significantly by Wilhelm Dilthey ( Introduction to the Human Sciences, 1883 ) and is closely connected with the political and academic conditions in the German language area.

It is distinguished by it, inter alia, the formation of the historical school in the wake of, inter alia, by Friedrich Carl von Savigny, Leopold von Ranke and Johann Gustav Droysen, the deposition of a critical, inter alia, to Hegel an ideal for Closer provisions of the Proper methodological " Humanities" pretending.

Dilthey defined the humanities in sharp opposition to the natural sciences by them own method of understanding how they had become common as hermeneutics since Friedrich Schleiermacher outside of philology. Dilthey sought as " empirical science of mental phenomena " or justified as "the science of the spiritual world ". You should extend an originally conceived " critique of historical reason " empirically.

Dilthey took up the word Education " Humanities" Hegel's concept of spirit. Hegel was referring to the term " spirit " to the " spiritual life " of a group, a people or a culture. The term is therefore strongly tied to the German idealist tradition and Hegel's concept of objective- objectified spirit. Until today this is reason that he can hardly translate. Usual analogues are humanities ( liberal ) arts and human studies. The French analogue is mostly sciences humaines.

Important for the early conception of the humanities, the pairs of opposites - spirit nature, history, science, understanding - explaining were. While the science tried to explain the nature due to eternal laws, you could see it as a task of a historically oriented spiritual science to understand the spiritual life of past peoples in their uniqueness.

At the middle and end of the 19th century, also base many authors Kantian epistemology and va the so-called psychologism. For example defines Wilhelm Wundt, that the humanities start, " where man is as willing and thinking subject is an essential factor of phenomena ". Similarly, the "Southwest German School" of neo-Kantianism ( Wilhelm diaper band, Heinrich Rickert ). For the purposes of psychologism and historical school is postulated here: Humanities are ideographic, not nomothetic ( diaper band); they are individualizing and value- based, not generalizing (H. Rickert ), " historical singularities, not just laws directed ". Rickert called the humanities, as he refers to cultural values ​​, also "Cultural Studies ". Even Max Weber and Ernst Troeltsch are close to this value philosophy.

The Marburg school ( Cohen et al ), however, sees the logic of the humanities in the jurisprudence.

In 1900, the live philosophical concept of spirit, inter alia, Dilthey is then widely influential, such as with philosophers and educators such as Nicolai Hartmann, Otto Friedrich Bollnow, Eduard Spranger, Theodor Litt, Nohl, mixing, Freyer and Rothacker.

In the wake of the usual Left Hegelianism after Hegel and the philosophy of life talk of " Humanities" middle of the 20th century is in the Marxist parlance largely replaced by " social sciences" or " social sciences ".

The term includes the "German language all sciences, the natural sciences are not ( with the exception of mathematics), so all that are maintained in the theological, juridical and philosophical ( di philological- historical ) Faculty ".

Although it is still anticipated in the humanities today believe that alone can not cultural contexts of meaning, semantic structures, understanding and perceiving addressed in the context of a scientific approach, the strong opposition between the disciplines has since disappeared, and an attempt is made through interdisciplinary approaches to combine both access methods.

Social background

But also resulted in political and social intentions to such conclusions about these epistemological discussions addition: The usefulness of technical innovations deceived after the July Revolution of 1830 and the March Revolution of 1848, the failed social consensus across. The emerging natural and engineering sciences were based at least superficially, the restorative power of the late absolutism. Hermeneutics, however, has to do with an always -to-find new and sustaining consensus of observers and evades the empirical detectability in forensic or experiment, which were used with success against older scientific methods. To meet the growing claim to value freedom and objectivity, but also hermeneutics had to increasingly use of trace evidence. This concept of a science appeared Dilthey worth defending.

The rise of the natural sciences since the beginning of the 19th century was gone hand in hand with the emergence of new disciplines in the context of the old Faculty of Arts, which were characterized by rigorous methodology; the old unit was irretrievably lost. This means a large part of the old subjects was questioned. The concept of the humanities helped them to maintain and modernize. So the old sciences faculty have successfully redefined theology and jurisprudence as humanities.

A similar and parallel distinction is between nomothetic ( " rule-making " ) and idiographic ( " descriptive " ) sciences, which sometimes serves to delineate the social sciences as nomothetic. It goes back to Wilhelm diaper band.

Another important factor for the development of the humanities was the relationship between the university and the state: In the 19th century the bourgeois scholars, artists and writers had created a mental nobility and high culture, and this "spirit" it was not least to the leading upper class to say. The nobility, however, did not require any reputation through artistic or scholarly activity. He pulled back and tended rather to popular entertainment.

Whether a historicity of " soul processes " ( Dilthey ) may be something collective, not least a political attitude. Georg Friedrich Hegel regarded the spirit as something individual, not merely subjective. This was at a time when the lack of national unity and the botched emancipation of the bourgeoisie of particularizing interests of the nobility with broad approval. More than in other language areas has been claimed in the German will and action ( " action " ) a Community Spirit. This tradition originated General terms such as Zeitgeist, "the spirit of a nation ", " spirit of an era ". Max Weber spoke of a "spirit" of capitalism ( The Protestant Ethic and the "Spirit " of Capitalism, 1904/ 05).

This concept of the spirit, the institutions, structures and patterns of explanation to make something of himself from the living, not remained undisputed. So there was always the accusation that the traditional authorities had been de facto replaced by technical and bureaucratic apparatus that made the free will to the constraint. A similar view Friedrich Kittler has represented his demand for a " casting out the spirit of the humanities."

In the interdisciplinary action Ritterbusch humanities were involved in the nationalist ideology of National Socialism and the glorification of war.

As a counter movement after the Second World War there was a strong individualization. The scientific appreciation of great men and their works sometimes hidden from their historical contingencies. In literary studies, the work-immanent interpretation was common.

The title of the thesis published in 1959 of the Two Cultures of CP Snow became the slogan: Humanities (English humanities ) and science separate incompatible scientific cultures, the so diametrically opposite to each other that communication seems impossible. In response to this strong rezipierte John Brockman's study was published in 1995, The third culture as a vision of an exchange between the sciences.

Recent determination of the Humanities

Science outline

As the term story illustrates, has the term " spiritual science " learn a convoluted use. Up to the present the diversity of different individual sciences has continued to increase, with different institutional classifications emerged, such as to the different administrative merger to university departments and faculties.

Among the different today used collective terms include, for example, next to " Humanities" designations such as social sciences, natural sciences, human sciences ( sciences, which have some aspect of the people on the subject matter, as in addition to humanities and social sciences, human biology, medicine, and others), cultural sciences, life sciences, etc.. Again is in the details and in borderline cases, especially regards newer interdisciplinary subjects and courses of study, no consensus on the definition or concept of scope, in particular about which factual programs from which kriteriologischen reasons under which this collective terms include.

The theologian Arno Anzenbacher struck in 1981, for example, the following science layout:

  • Real Science Natural sciences, including: physics
  • Chemistry
  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Humanities, including: historical Sciences
  • Study of religion
  • Linguistics
  • Art Research
  • Formal logic
  • Mathematics
  • Structure Sciences

Numerous theorists as well as a variety of institutes expect neither the social and economic sciences nor the humanities (in the narrow sense) to the humanities.

Task of the humanities

Odo Marquard 1986 represented the thesis it was the task of the humanities with continuous circulation and modernization of living conditions in the technical and civilizing society to provide an asylum for culture and tradition and so to make the modernization bearable:

" The humanities help the traditions, so that people can endure modernization; they are [ ... ] of modernization not hostile, but - as compensation for the modernization damage - just enabling modernization. They need the art of Wiedervertrautmachung foreign origin that have become worlds. "

Prominent scientists such as Wolfgang Frühwald, Hans Robert Jauss and Reinhart Koselleck demanded early 1990s enhanced reorientation of the mind sciences, to cultural studies. In her memoir " humanities today " as a result of a research project of the Science Council and the West German Rectors' Conference 1991 they define the mission and future of the humanities as follows:

" The humanities are the on which modern societies gain a knowledge of himself in the form of science. [ ... ] It is their job to do this in such a way that their appearance on the cultural whole, on culture as the epitome of all human work and life forms on the cultural form of the world goes, the natural sciences and including herself. "

On the question of the future of the humanities in an increasingly technological environment replied Norbert Schneider, at the time (2009) threatened with closure head of the Institute of Art History, University of Karlsruhe:

"Anyway, there have been a large faction within the technical and scientific disciplines, which [ ... ] the extremely important function of the humanities [ overlooked ] which preserve to a large extent the historical and cultural heritage, including that of technical and scientific achievements, for example in the history of science, is instrumental in the among others, the history of art. Moreover, keep the Humanities institutionally also a reflection on the self-understanding of society alive in motion, which goes beyond pure efficiency thinking. "


Hans Albert has criticized the methodological autonomy claim of spiritual science as such. He represents the other hand, that from a principle of science is only one uniform method. But He does not deny that the ( sense ) understanding has a specific function for the Humanities; only this is by no methodological Albert, but one of the role of perception in the natural sciences comparable function, a " special case of perception."