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World view

This article is about the concept. For the WorldView
satellite class, see DigitalGlobe. For the WorldView
near-space flight company, see Paragon Space Development Corporation.

Whorf describes how the syntactic-semantic structure of
a language becomes an underlying structure for the world
view or Weltanschauung of a people through the organization of the causal perception of the world and the
linguistic categorization of entities. As linguistic categorization emerges as a representation of worldview and
causality, it further modifies social perception and thereby
leads to a continual interaction between language and

A comprehensive world view (or worldview) is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society
encompassing the entirety of the individual or society’s
knowledge and point of view. A world view can include
natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and ethics.[1]
The term is a calque of the German word Weltanschauung [ˈvɛlt.ʔanˌʃaʊ.ʊŋ] ( ), composed of Welt ('world')
and Anschauung ('view' or 'outlook').[2]

The hypothesis was well received in the late 1940s, but
declined in prominence after a decade. In the 1990s,
new research gave further support for the linguistic relativity theory, in the works of Stephen Levinson and his
team at the Max Planck institute for psycholinguistics at
It is a concept fundamental to German philosophy and Nijmegen, Netherlands. The theory has also gained atepistemology and refers to a wide world perception. Ad- tention through the work of Lera Boroditsky at Stanford
ditionally, it refers to the framework of ideas and beliefs University.
forming a global description through which an individual,
group or culture watches and interprets the world and interacts with it. The German word is also in use in English, 1.2 Weltanschauung and cognitive philosophy
as well as the translated form world outlook or world view.


One of the most important concepts in cognitive
philosophy and cognitive sciences is the German concept
of Weltanschauung. This expression has often been used
to refer to the “wide worldview” or “wide world perception” of a people, family, or person. The Weltanschauung
of a people originates from the unique world experience
of a people, which they experience over several millennia.
The language of a people reflects the Weltanschauung of
that people in the form of its syntactic structures and untranslatable connotations and its denotations.


The founder of the idea that language and worldview
are inextricable is the Prussian philologist, Wilhelm von
Humboldt (1767–1835). Humboldt argued that language
was part of the creative adventure of mankind. Culture,
language and linguistic communities developed simultaneously, he argued, and could not do so without one another. In stark contrast to linguistic determinism, which
invites us to consider language as a constraint, a framework or a prison house, Humboldt maintained that speech
is inherently and implicitly creative. Human beings take
their place in speech and continue to modify language
and thought by their creative exchanges. Worldview remains a confused and confusing concept in English, used
very differently by linguists and sociologists. It is for this
reason that Underhill suggests five subcategories: worldperceiving, world-conceiving, cultural mindset, personal
world, and perspective (see Underhill 2009, 2011 &

The term 'Weltanschauung' is often wrongly attributed to
Wilhelm von Humboldt the founder of German ethnolinguistics (see Trabant). As Jürgen Trabant points out,
however, and as Underhll reminds us in his 'Humboldt,
Worldview and Language' (2009), Humboldt’s key concept was 'Weltansicht'. 'Weltanschauung', used first by
Kant and later popularized by Hegel, was always used in
German and later used in English to refer more to philosophies, ideologies and cultural or religious perspectives,
than to linguistic communities and their mode of apprehending reality.

'Weltansicht' was used by Humboldt to refer to the overarching conceptual and sensorial apprehension of reality
shared by a linguistic community (Nation). But HumEdward Sapir also gives an account of the relationship boldt maintained that the speaking human being was the
between thinking and speaking in English.
core of language. Speech maintains worldviews. WorldThe linguistic relativity hypothesis of Benjamin Lee views are not prisons which contain and constrain us, they

on mood scales were [8] worldview threat.[8] It is theorised that living up to the ideals of one’s worldview provides a sense of self-esteem which provides a sense of transcending the limits of human life (e.[7] 1. for example.3 Folk-epics See also: List of world folk-epics As natural language becomes manifestations of world perception. to test whether the increase in death thoughts following worldview threat were due to other causes. a worldview is an ontology.[8] Using a test of death-thought accessibility (DTA).of creationism. other writers regard worldviews as operating at a community level. the Silappadhikaram of the Tamil people. the Ramayana and Mahabharata of the Hindus. Thus the extent and commonality between world folk-epics becomes a manifestation of the commonality and extent of a worldview. involving an ambiguous word completion test (e. A futurology.5 Terror management theory Main article: Terror management theory 1. anger at the attack 1. An epistemology. or methodology. Mood was also measured following the worldview threat. the Gilgamesh of the Mesopotamian-Sumerian civilization and the people of the Fertile Crescent at large. and the language family. or theory of knowledge: “What is true and false?" 6.g.[6] (The work of the population geneticist Luigi Luca CavalliSforza aims to show the gene-linguistic co-evolution of people). The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian nights) of the Arab world and the Sundiata epic of the Mandé people. 1. it would also almost coincide with a map of the world drawn on the basis of music across people. or theory of action: “How should we attain our goals?" 5. by one’s language. as in art works or children to live on after one’s death. serves as a buffer against death anxiety. For instance.[5] If it were possible to draw a map of the world on the basis of Weltanschauung. affective. one would have to learn or in.[8] No significant changes found immediately following the While Apostel and his followers clearly hold that indi. and which they use to order their lives. Values. as in religious belief in immortality. A constructed world-view should conIf the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis is correct. It should comprise these Worldview can be expressed as the fundamental cogni.According to Apostel.six elements: tive. the world. who read a similar essay attacking Australian cultural values. However. Examples of such epics include the Nibelungenlied of the Germanic people.[8] Evidence in support of terror management theory includes a series of experiments by Jeff Schimel and colleagues in which a group of Canadians found to score highly on a measure of patriotism were asked to read an essay attacking the dominant Canadian worldview. view.” its orimap of the world would be similar to the linguistic map of gins and construction. Epic poems are shared often by people across political borders and across generations.of religious individuals whose worldview included that vent a new language in order to construct a new world. answering the question “Where are we heading?" 3. “COFF__” could either be completed as either “COFFEE” or “COFFIN”).2 1 ORIGINS are the spaces we develop within. answers to ethical questions: “What should we do?" 4. as according to a strong version of the Schimel et al conducted a similar experiment on a group Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. the literature of a people with common Weltanschauung emerges as holistic representations of the wide world perception of the people. the economic resources available.[6] environmentalclimatic conditions. create and resist cre. the worldview tain an account of its own “building blocks. according to terror management theory (TMT). symbolically. .4 Development on one’s cultural worldview.[8] Participants were asked to read an essay which argued in support of the theory of evolution. literally. the Iliad for the Ancient Greeks and Hellenized societies. it would probably be seen to cross political borders — Weltanschauung is the product of political borders and common experiences of a people from a geographical region. A praxeology. An etiology.g. viduals can construct worldviews. Worldview. if one’s worldview is fixed worldviews other than those of nationalistic Canadians. socio-cultural systems. and evaluative presuppositions a group of people make about the nature of things. or a atively in speaking together. or in contributions to one’s culture). participants who had read the essay attacking their worldview were found to have a significantly higher level of DTA than the control group. or in an To test the generalisability of these findings to groups and unconscious way. descriptive model of the world. An explanation of the world 2.

[8] Religious participants with a creationist worldview were found to have a significantly higher level of death-thought accessibility than those of the control group. such as increasing contact between cultures. perceived outside that unique Weltanschauung. anarchism. With the change of a person’s view towards the world the can be motivated to the serve the world. and systems like democracy. Mathematical logic showed that funmodel for building an understanding of the world. The worldview of a linear and non-linear causality generates various related/conflicting disciplines and approaches in scientific thinking. damental choices of axioms were essential in deductive . politics. that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true.1 Causality A uni-directional view of causality is present in some monotheistic views of the world with a beginning and an end and a single great force with a single end (e.project. cyclic.2 Other aspects following which the same measure of DTA was taken as for the Canadian group. or spiral generates a framework of the world that reflects these systems of causality. which allowed them to act in the name of a supposedly higher ideal[10] Goldenberg et al found that highlighting the similariand in accordance to their theory of the world.2. are thought accessibility. science and ethics.”[13] The commitment mentioned by James W. Sire defines a worldview as “a commitment. Weltanschauungen came to designate the instinctive understanding of complex geo-political problems by the Nazis. and violating human rights.[11] According to Neo-Calvinist David Naugle's World view: The History of a Concept. socialism and communism. such as the rationalist project of attaining all truth ence. such as [9] rather than meaningful qualities of sex. political and economic theories.”[12] The Christian thinker James W.” He suggests that “we should all think in terms of worldviews. seen as an organic unity. For example.[8] 3 2. “Conceiving of Christianity as a worldview has been one of the most significant developments in the recent history of the church.. These ties between humans and other animals increases deathacts. so that we can first understand and then genuinely communicate with others in our pluralistic society. and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being. worldview of causality as uni-directional. Sire can be extended further.g. Weltanschauung serves as a framework for generating various dimensions of human perception and experience like knowledge. The Weltanschauung of the temporal contiguity of act and event leads to underlying diversifications like determinism vs. This serving attitude has been illustrated by Tareq M Zayed as the 'Emancipatory Worldview' in his writing “History of emancipatory worldview of Muslim learners”. 2 Impact The term denotes a comprehensive set of opinions.. Some forms of philosophical naturalism and materialism and the failure of some aspects of the Enlightenment reject the validity of entities inaccessible to natural sci. consistently or inconsistently) about the basic construction of reality. These worldviews of causality not only underlie religious traditions but also other aspects of thought like the purpose of history. as does attention to the physical now commonly perceived as acts of aggression. partially true. openly beginning invasions. while a worldview of determinism generates disciplines that are governed with generative systems and rationalistic in scientific method. economics. Mithraism and Hinduism). The worldview increases the commitment to serve the world. with a consciousness not only of our own way of thought but also that of other people. twisting facts. Zoroastrianism. 3 Religion Nishida Kitaro wrote extensively on “the Religious Worldview” in exploring the philosophical significance of Eastern religions. a fundamental orientation of the heart.g. Christianity and Islam). They view the scientific method as the most reliable by reason alone. religion. capitalism. authoritarianism. while a cyclic worldview of causality is present in religious traditions which are cyclic and seasonal and wherein events and experiences recur in systematic patterns (e. A worldview of free will leads to disciplines that are governed by simple laws that remain constant and are static and empirical in scientific method.2 Other aspects In The Language of the Third Reich. 2. that is. about the world as the medium and exercise of human existence.[14] 4 Philosophy Main article: Belief system The philosophical importance of worldviews became increasingly clear during the 20th Century for a number of reasons. culture. or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously. free will.

[16] Some philosophers believe the problems extend to “the inconsistencies and failures which plagued the Enlightenment attempt to identify universal moral and rational principles".4 reasoning[15] and that.[23][24][25] Additionally. manifest (aka obvious) self-conception is shaken.[21] However their coherence can be explored philosophically and logically.[28] A third alternative sees the worldview approach as only a methodological relativism. particularly small businesses. with its reductionist methodology. and the possibility of real or lived According to Michael Lind. by many. and do so by marketfriendly methods • Social Democratic Liberalism claims an economic safety net.” This is why politicians basic beliefs which are philosophically equivalent to the often seem to talk past one another. because such worldviews start from different presuppositions and cognitive values. which permits its holders to interpret new information in light of 4.”[29] The comparison of religious. subjective: subjective consistency. personal utility. Clashes among worldviews cannot be ended by a simple appeal to facts. • Populist Nationalism tends to favor restriction of legal as well as illegal immigration to protect the core stock of the tribe-state from dilution by different races. Populist nationalism also tends to favor protectionist policies that shield workers and businesses. This is one angle on the ancient philosophical distinction between appearance and reality which is particularly pertinent to everyday contemporary living. or ascribe different axioms of the worldview considered as a logical theory. if different worldviews are held to be basically incommensurate and irreconcilable. religious believers might not wish to see their beliefs relativized into something that is only “true for them”.1 Assessment and comparison of differ.[22] On the other hand. dispassionate study of different religious and secular systems—a process I call worldview analysis. be proven (in often the result of incompatible worldviews. When our immediately given.their preconceptions. classifying them in three broad categories: Philosophers also distinguish the manifest image from the scientific image. For instance. ethnic groups or religions. what is lost for the individual and society? And does it have to be that way?[19] Some questions well worth working on. we will be dehuman3. So. philosophical or scientific worldviews is a delicate endeavor. particularly cognitive neuroscience. This certainly has powerful Nietzschean undertive utility. if not taken for granted.[18] 5 STREAMS IN CONTEMPORARY WESTERN POLITICS laration that there is no global truth. then. Lind has the logical sense) within the worldview precisely because organized American political worldviews into five catethey are axioms. poverty in old age and other disasters. collecized. narrativity tones.[20] the self and individuality. scope the scientific image. many worry that as science advances. intersubjective: intersubjective consistency. the religious philosopher Ninian Smart begins his Worldviews: Cross-cultural Explorations of Human Beliefs with “Exploring Religions and Analysing Worldviews” and argues for “the neutral. coherent understanding of the nature of reality. Clément Vidal[30] has proposed metaphilosophical criteria for the comparison of worldviews. even having chosen axioms not everything that was true in a given logical system could be proven. by definition. is necessary if democratic government is to retain popular support. will undermine our sense of individual freedom and reemotionality sponsibility. Even if rival sides ent worldviews agree on the facts. Indeed. “a worldview is a more or less meaning.[26][27] Subjective logic is a beliefreasoning formalism where beliefs explicitly are subjectively held by individuals but where a consensus between different worldviews can be achieved. and are typically argued from rather than gories: argued for. from foreign competition. These phrases are due to the American 20th century philosopher Wilfrid Sellars. many believe that 1. protecting citizens from unemployment. . as a suspension judgment about the truth of various belief systems but not a dec- • Neoliberal Globalism believes that at home governments should provide only basic public goods like infrastructure and security.[17] although Enlightenment principles such as universal suffrage and the universal declaration of human rights are accepted. objective: objective consistency. sickness. Tribal or national wars are These basic beliefs cannot. people may disagree on conclusions beOne can think of a worldview as comprising a number of cause of their different premises. then the situation is one of cultural relativism and would therefore incur the standard criticisms from philosophical realists. If two different worldviews have sufficient common beliefs it may be possible to have a constructive dialogue between them. are those 5 Streams in contemporary Westconcerning the refinement of the manifest view of such ern politics centrally important concepts such as free will. scientificity. 2. meanings to the same events.

: Technology Press of Massachusetts Institute of & Solomon. J. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. T. J. Cox.mpi.86.. Thought. (ed. John B. and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics [5] Hiebert. Etymonline.[31] • Received view • Religion • Scientific modeling • Scientism • Social justice • Social reality • Socially constructed reality • Subjective logic • Truth 6 See also • Attitude polarization • Belief • Belief networks • Christian worldview • Cognitive bias • Contemplation • Cultural identity • Emancipatory Worldview • Eschatology • Extrospection • Ideology • Life stance • Mental model • Metaknowledge • Metanarrative • Metaphysics • Mindset • Ontology • Organizing principle • Paradigm • Perspective • Philosophy • Psycholinguistics • Reality • Reality tunnel • Umwelt • Value system 7 References [1] Palmer. 2008 [6] Carroll. Mass. Hayes. Benjamin (John Carroll. [7] Whorf.1. Editor) (1956). Williams. S. MIT Press. doi:10. [10] Victor Klemperer. pp. T. and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. (2002). (2007). dismantle most of its military. 92. & Jahrig. C. J. P. Paul G.02a00050. Gary B. Thomas Malthus Not all people will fit neatly into only one category or the other. 310–320.5 • Libertarian Isolationism would abandon foreign alliances. American Anthropologist 86 (1): 65–79. (1984). 2002 . [4] http://www. No. Pyszczynski. 114. [3] Kay. The Language of the Third Reich: A Philologist’s Notebook. trans. ISBN 0-262-73006-5.. 5. J.: Baker Academic. W. JSTOR 679389. R. Is Death Really the Worm at the Core? Converging Evidence that Worldview Threat Increases Death-Thought Accessibility. L. p.. Toward A Theory of Cultural Linguistics. [2] “Online Etymology Dictionary”. Understanding human ambivalence about sex: The effects of stripping sex of meaning. Language. • Green Malthusianism synthesizes mystical versions of environmentalism with alarm about population growth in the tradition of the Rev. Thought.. but Lind argues that their core worldview shapes how they frame their arguments. Cambridge. London: Continuum.1984.. [9] Goldenberg. [8] Schimel. (1996).1525/aa. Mich..) [1956] (1997). Journal of Sex Research. Kempton.. Martin Brady. “What is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis?". 789-803. Greenberg. Transforming Worldviews: an anthropological understanding of how people change. J. ISBN 978-0-292-76569-6. Language. Retrieved 2012-08-13. Grand Rapids. University of Texas Press.. and return to a 19th-century pattern of decentralized government and an economy based on small businesses and small farms. 39.

and has roots in the debates recorded in the New Testament For a discussion of the long history of religious dialogue in India. – The basic book of World Views. Bart de Moor.2012. DNB/Pelckmans. Michael Lind is Policy Director of the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation 8 External links • GLOGO . doi:10.1111/—A documentary project. doi:10. World View.Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy • Cole. • “Studies on World Views Related to Science” (list of suggested books and resources) from the American Scientific Affiliation (a Christian perspective) . Clément (2012). A Jew. of beliefs. and Epistemology PDF (50. Sire The Universe Next Door: A Basic World view Catalog p15–16 (text readable at Amazon.1142/S0218488501000831.1467-9973. Graham A. Relativism. W. 11 Jan 2011 . Fuzziness and Knowledge-Based Systems 9 (3): 279–311. Hubert van Belle & Jan van der Veken (1994) "“World views. see Amartya Sen's The Argumentative Indian [23] Cognitive Relativism. From Fragmentation to Integration" VUB Press. • Apostel. Leo and Van der Veken. 'The five worldviews that define American politics’ Salon Magazine.”US Gov website on democracy [19] see Owen Flanagan’s 'The Problem of the Soul'. In their formulation by the Enlightenment philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries. although widely regarded as correct.. 2002 [31] Lind. Wereldbeelden. Michael. governments are created to protect those freedoms that every individual possesses by virtue of his or her existence.3 KB) [22] In the Christian tradition this goes back at least to Justin Martyr's Dialogues with Trypho.x. of standards. the Central Problem for Faith Today • Worldviews – An Introduction from Project Worldview [28] Jøsang.15 MB) – an essay on current research in linguistic relativity (Lera Boroditsky) [21] see eg Daniel Hill and Randal Rauser Christian Philosophy A–Z Edinburgh University Press (2006) ISBN 978-07486-2152-1 p200 • Cobern. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy • [14] https://www. from the Center Leo Apostel.Global Governance System for Planet Earth at think tank Gold Mercury International • Diederik Aerts. Jan. J. These rights are not destroyed when civil society is created.academia. (1991) • Wikibook:The scientific world view • Wiki Worldview Themes: A Structure for Characterizing and Analyzing Worldviews includes links to nearly 400 Wikipedia articles [20] see especially Daniel Dennett’s 'Freedom Evolves’. Do Christians have a Worldview? A paper examining the concept of worldview as it relates to and has been used by Christianity. Collecting and evaluating answers to “the meaning of life” from around the world. It arises whether truth is relativized to a framework of concepts. Leo emancipatory_worldview_of_Muslim_learners [15] Not just in the obvious sense that you need axioms to prove anything. of practices. Audun (2001). faiths. Metaphilosophy 43 (3): 306– 347. Naugle Worldview: The History of a Concept ISBN 0-8028-4761-7 page 4 [30] Vidal. Staf Hellemans. Contains a helpful annotated bibliography. [16] see Godel’s incompleteness theorem and discussion in eg John Lucas's The Freedom of the Will [17] Thus Alister McGrath in The Science of God p 109 citing in particular Alasdair MacIntyre's Whose Justice? Which Rationality? – he also cites Nicholas Wolterstorff and Paul Feyerabend [18] “Governments in a democracy do not grant the fundamental freedoms enumerated by Jefferson. “Metaphilosophical Criteria for Worldview Comparison”. were in some sense optional. [13] James W. [24] The problem of self-refutation is quite general. Translation of (Apostel and Van der Veken 1991) with some additions. International Journal of Uncertainty. Edel Maex. Metaphysics.6 8 EXTERNAL LINKS [11] Indeed Kitaro’s final book is Last Writings: Nothingness and the Religious Worldview [29] Ninian Smart Worldviews: Crosscultural Explorations of Human Beliefs (3rd Edition) ISBN 0-13-020980-5 p14 [12] David K. • The God Contention—Comparing various worldviews. but the fact that for example the Axiom of choice and Axiom S5. 2003 • You are what you speak PDF (5.01749. and religions through the eyes of their advocates. inalienable rights are God-given natural rights. [25] The Friesian School on Relativism [26] Pope Benedict warns against relativism • World View article on the Principia Cybernetica Project [27] Ratzinger. and neither society nor government can remove or “alienate” them.

MO: University of Missouri Press.asp?id=17087744) .А. 1983. Мироотношение и мировоззрение / И. 2011.7 • Eugene Webb. Беляев // Политематический сетевой электронный научный журнал Кубанского государственного аграрного университета (Научный журнал КубГАУ) [Электронный ресурс]. – Режим доступа: http://ej. Сообщение 1. ISBN 0-387-96526-2.А.ru/item. — 2012. Physics and Philosophy”. – Краснодар: КубГАУ. 1981. 29. Springer Verlag. ISBN 0387-90581-2. • Eduard Pogorskiy World View // Knowledge. • Benjamin Gal-Or. — P. Человек и его мироотношение. “Cosmology. 310 – 319. • Беляев И. — №4. – №09(73). 1987. Worldview and Mind: Religious Thought and Psychological Development.kubagro. 322– 323. 2009. Understanding.pdf (http://elibrary. С. Columbia.

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