Dissertation Project - Henrik Holm

Topic of the planned dissertation:

Wirklichkeit und Wahrheit. Eine Untersuchung zur Philosophie Josef Piepers (Reality and Truth. An Analysis of Josef Pieper's Philosophy)



Prof. Dr. Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz;

Prof. Dr. Berthold Wald



Technical University of Dresden, Institute of Philosophy, Chair in the Philosophy of Religion and Comparative Religious Studies


Abstract of the project:

In Josef Pieper’s philosophy, the concept of reality plays a central role in respect of theory and practical philosophy. He treats the question on reality mainly in the context of concepts such as “true” and “good,” concepts tying in with the doctrine on the transcendentals by Thomas Aquinas. However, my project does not treat Pieper’s morality. Rather, it wants to explicate the meaning as well as the indispensability of the sentence about the truth of all reality (omne ens est verum) for founding theoretical philosophy under the conditions of modernity. Furthermore, it analyzes how, according to Pieper, man’s historicity can be brought together with his relatedness to reality itself.

This presupposes an analysis of how knowledge is related to reality and how it can become the object of philosophical reflection. Pieper’s theory of the “empirical disclosability” of philosophical knowledge offers criteria of what can be considered real. Since philosophy is supposed to be concerned with an approach to reality that is as basic and as far-reaching as possible, Pieper includes a dialogue with theology—a characteristic of the Platonic concept of philosophy. My thesis on how Pieper’s philosophy in its entirety must be interpreted is that it must be regarded as a philosophy of life sui generis. This also reveals the arguable potential of the concept of creatureliness which Pieper derived from his philosophical discussions with Heidegger, Gadamer and Sartre. In my opinion, Pieper does not avoid the aporia of modern questions, but accepts their challenge with a similar radicalness of thinking. His attempt to phenomenologically connect the philosophical possibilities of perception with the things themselves shows a remarkable affinity to Heidegger’s philosophy. Hence, with regard to my methods, Pieper’s peculiar contribution to the philosophy of the 20th century will be determined by means of his closeness or difference to Heidegger’s position.


Estimated completion:

winter term 2009/2010

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About Pieper:

Josef Pieper (1904-1997) was professor of philosophical anthropology at the University of Münster/Germany; he was a member of several academies and received numerous awards and distinctions, among them the International Balzan Prize for outstanding achievements in the field of humanities. [more...]


Please inform the editorial staff about any publications on Josef Pieper.

:: Bibliography of Primary Lit.

:: Bibliography of Secondary Lit.

:: Monographs

:: Translations

Literature Research:

:: Sources

:: Libraries

Book Order:

Studies of Philosophy

:: Major Fields of Study

:: Final Degrees

:: Courses and Seminars

:: Contact


Philosophical studies are among the main institutional focuses of the Faculty of Theology in Paderborn in cooperation with the University of Paderborn. [more...]