In: Philosophia Reformata

This is a study in the philosophy of worldview. It consists of two parts. The first part, which is presented here, is concerned primarily with key elements in the general structure of a worldview. It lays the groundwork for more concrete and differentiated investigations that will be pursued as a sequel to this article. The genius of the worldview notion is that it signifies both an inner conviction and an outlook on the world. Thus it combines the personal and the universal. Moreover, it does so in the context of conflicting convictions and outlooks. Accordingly, the plural worldviews is more adequate than the singular since each reflects the presence of the others. As I try to show, this inherent pluralism is what is missing both in traditional settings as well as under totalitarian regimes. The main body of this article consists of an analysis of four basic functions: ‘orientation’, ‘assent’ (i.e. a channeling of convictions), ‘integration’, and ‘public recognition’ (i.e. attaining recognition for a cause). A preceding section is dedicated to a delineation of worldview with respect to ‘world picture’. Special attention is paid in this connection to ‘embedded´ worldviews: hybrid forms characteristic for our present ‘post-worldview era’.

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