What is Grenzbegriff? 2


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I didn’t know about this word until recently. English seems to lack a word that encompasses this concept. Yet, it seems the concept itself is ever-present and worth a word of its own.

Grenzbegriff noun. ['grɛntsbǝgrɪf] 

[German: from Grenze meaning limit, boundary + the word Begriff meaning concept.]

In Kantian philosophy this is a concept that describes the limitation of sense-experience. The word describes a / the concept of limitation and, in general, it describes one’s conception of an unattained ideal…just out of reach.

Something real and yet undefinable because we see (perceive) but a shadow of it is described in grensbegriff. This, which we cannot perceive is somewhere off the map away from what we experience with our senses. Maybe it is even more real than we are.

Let’s have class today. To what things could this word apply?

Love? Art? Hope? What else?

(This means: in your opinion. Please don’t worry about “correctness”. This is just an exercise and I’d love to hear from you.)

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About Sparky

Lisa Colon DeLay is writer, designer, speaker, and teacher with a damp sense of humor. On her website (SPARKY) she explores various topics related to Christian spirituality and human flourishing.

  • Ed Holm

    Like Plato’s shadows on the cave wall, our vision is limited to things known which have relationship to the unseen but limit us to ever seeing reality that causes them. We can intuit perhaps but never experience what is beyond our vision. But there is the possiblity of transendence or mystical experience which reveals that outer, greater truth within the limited world of our understanding.

  • Melvin

    That which is beyond our vision is beyond our imagination, and if our intuition pulls our coats to it’s existence, it is because it is agitating to enter this sphere. And so we investigate, and in doing so, we eventually connect with the unseen. Hopefully it is good. When the comforter,which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Amen.
    John 14:26