Personen Philosophie 2

Ludwig Josef Joh. Wittgenstein

He studied (1912-13) at Cambridge Univ. under Bertrand Russell. In Vienna in the 1920s he came in contact with adherents of Logical positivism; they were profoundly influenced by his first major work, the Tractatus Logico-philosophicus (1921), which posits a close, formal relationship between language, thought, and the world. Language and thought work literally like a picture of the real world, and to understand any sentence one must grasp the reference of its constituents, both to each other and to the real. Language, however, can indicate an area beyond itself; unsayable things (e.g., things not demonstrable) do exist, and sentences whose structure of meaning amounts to nonsense can result in philosophical insight. Thus Wittgenstein, unlike the logical positivists, allowed for the possibility of a metaphysics. He returned to Cambridge in 1929, and his philosophy entered a second phase, represented by Philosophical Investigations (1953). Revising his earlier analysis of language, he now saw language as a response to, as well as a reproduction of, the real. His work greatly influenced what has come to be called ordinary-language philosophy, which maintains that all philosophical problems arise from the illusions created by the ambiguities of language.


Knowledge is in the end based on acknowledgement.
On Certainty, sct. 378 (ed. by Anscombe and von Wright, 1969).

For a large class of cases-though not for all-in which we employ the word "meaning" it can be defined thus: the meaning of a word is its use in the language.
Philosophical Investigations, pt. 1, sct. 43 (1953).

Our greatest stupidities may be very wise.
Culture and Value (ed. by G. H. von Wright and Heikki Nyman, 1980).

Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.
Culture and Value (ed. by G. H. von Wright with Heikki Nyman, 1980), 1938 entry.

Someone who knows too much finds it hard not to lie.
Culture and Value (ed. by G. H. von Wright and Heikki Nyman, 1980).

Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness, but come down into the green valleys of silliness.
Culture and Value (ed. by G. H. von Wright with Heikki Nyman, 1980).

David Hume (1711-76)
Scottish philosopher and historian.
Hume carried the empiricism to the logical extreme of radical skepticism. He repudiated the possibility of certain knowledge, finding in the mind nothing but a series of sensations, and held that cause-and-effect in the natural world derives solely from the conjunction of two impressions. Hume's skepticism is also evident in his writings on religion, in which he rejected any rational or natural theology.

Francis BACON (1561-1626)
speaker in Parliament, a lawyer, lord chancellor of England
As a philosopher and writer, Bacon attempted to explain the principles of acquiring knowledge. He neglected the role of mathematics in science, but advised students of nature to follow the rule that whatever the mind seizes and dwells upon with particular satisfaction is to be held in suspicion." He felt deeply that science held the key to technological progress.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
English philosopher. Hobbes developed a materialist and highly pessimistic philosophy that was denounced in his own day and later, but has had a continuing influence on Western political thought.
His Leviathan (1651) presents a bleak picture of human beings in the state of nature, where life is "nasty, brutish, and short." Fear of violent death is the principal motive that causes people to create a state by contracting to surrender their natural rights and to submit to the absolute authority of a sovereign. Although the power of the sovereign derived originally from the people, Hobbes said the sovereign's power is absolute and not subject to review by either subjects or ecclesiastical powers. Hobbes's concept of the social contract led to investigations by other political theorists, notably LOCKE, SPINOZA, and J.J. ROUSSEAU, who formulated their own radically different theories of the social contract.

Sir Karl Raimund Popper (1902-1992)
taught in secondary schools in Vienna, taught philosophy at Canterbury University College (New Zealand), headed the department of philosophy, logic, and scientific method at the London School of Economics in England.
Popper viewed knowledge as an individual, unpredictable act of genius not limited to verifiable statements. Originator of the theory of falsifiability, Karl Popper is best known for his rejection of the inductive method of reasoning in the empirical sciences. In opposing this viewpoint, Popper insisted that hypotheses must be testable, and that the right test for a scientific hypothesis is to look for some circumstance for which it does not hold. If no such circumstance can be found, then the hypothesis is true.
His studies of the philosophical and political consequences of work in the sciences and what he called the pseudo-sciences (e.g., psychology) and his attacks on historicism (the view that there are historical laws) as a tool of totalitarian thought are presented in The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1931) and The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945). His later works include Objective Knowledge (1972) and The Self and Its Brain (with J.C. Eccles; 1977).

Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911)
German philosopher. A strict proponent of empiricism, Dilthey based what he called his "philosophy of life" on a foundation of descriptive and analytical psychology. He rejected transcendental considerations in his study of all aspects of human activity. His influence on early sociological theory is especially evident in the works of Max Weber. Dilthey's major work is "Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften" (1883).

Max Weber (1864-1920)
German sociologist and political economist who greatly influenced sociological theory. His concept of "ideal types," or generalized models of real situations, provided a basis for comparing societies. Opposing the Marxian view of the pre-eminence of economic causation, he emphasized the role of religious values, ideologies, and charismatic leaders in shaping societies. His famous "Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" (1904-5) related Calvinist ideals to the rise of capitalism. He influenced sociological theory and tried to gain respect for sociology as a discipline by defining a value-free methodology for it.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
He created a link between the idealists those who thought that all reality was in the mindand the materialists those who thought that the only reality lay in the things of the material world. Kant's ideas on the relationship of mind and matter provide the key to understanding the writings of many 20th-century philosophers. He tried to set up the difference between things of the outside world and actions of the mind. He said that things that exist in the world are real, but the human mind is needed to give them order and form and to see the relationships between them. Only the mind can surround them with space and time. For example, we see only one or two walls of a house at any one time. The mind gathers up these sense impressions of individual walls and mentally builds a complete house. Thus the whole house is being created in the mind while our eyes see only a part of the whole. Kant said that thoughts must be based on real things. Pure reason without reference to the outside world is impossible. We know only what we first gather up with our senses. Yet living in the real world does not mean that ideals should be abandoned.
In his Kritik der praktischen Vernunft' (1788) he argued for a stern morality. His basic idea was in the form of a Categorical Imperative. This meant that humans should act so well that their conduct could give rise to a universal law.
More about Kant and his Transcendental Philosophy!

"Aufklärung ist der Ausgang des Menschen aus seiner selbst verschuldeten Unmündigkeit. Unmündigkeit ist das Unvermögen, sich seines Verstandes ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen. Selbstverschuldet ist diese Unmündigkeit, wenn die Ursache derselben nicht am Mangel des Verstandes, sondern der Entschließung und des Mutes liegt, sich seiner ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen. Sapere aude! Habe Mut, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen! ist also der Wahlspruch der Aufklärung". (aus: BEANTWORTUNG DER FRAGE: WAS IST AUFKLÄRUNG?)

Und was tat Kant, wenn er keine Worte fand? Hier Ein Erlebnis Kants von Robert J. Gernhardt ;-)

Konrad Zacharias Lorenz (1903-1989)
zoologist, founder of modern ethology, the study of comparative animal behavior in natural environments. For discoveries in individual and social behavior patterns, Lorenz shared the 1973 Nobel prize for physiology or medicine. His concepts of how behavioral patterns evolve were later applied to humans. He argued that fighting and urban violence were the result of instincts that could be environmentally modified.

© 1996 der Bilder by Brigitte Zaczek (

Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (1727 - 1781)
... was a French economic theorist, provincial administrator, and controller general of finances (1774-76) whose bold reforms of the nearly collapsed financial structure of France were blocked by the forces of privilege. Having abandoned theological studies in 1751 to become a royal magistrate, he held various administrative posts until his appointment as intendant (1761-74) of impoverished Limoges; there he vigorously pursued road building, scientific farming, town planning, and equitable taxation. A friend of the Enlightenment he wrote Reflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses (Reflections on the Function and Distribution of Wealth, 1766), articles in Diderot's Encyclopedie, and other works advocating national prosperity by freeing landed wealth from governmental controls. At the outset of LOUIS XVI's reign, Turgot took over (1774) the controller generalship and reduced the government's massive debt by curbing court and military costs; his conservative slogan was "No bankruptcy, no new taxes, no loans." But his bold freeing of the grain trade from internal tariffs in 1775 was ill-timed because a crop failure drove prices too high and triggered riots. The military was used to restore order, and in 1776, Turgot introduced the even bolder Six Edicts, abolishing guilds and replacing forced peasant road work (the corvee) with a tax on all landowners. Opposition by the privileged clergy and nobility and the Parlement of Paris brought about his project's collapse and his own dismissal.

Marquis de Condorcet (1743 - 1794)
... was a French philosopher and mathematician. He first made his reputation as a mathematician with his essay (1785) on the theory of probability. Later, he engaged in political activity and became a prominent member of the Legislative Assembly during the French Revolution. Condorcet's opposition to the excesses of the Jacobins, however, caused him to be accused of conspiracy. His friend Madame Vernet hid him until he felt he was putting her life in jeopardy. Captured, he later died in his cell, presumably a victim of suicide. While in hiding, he wrote Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (1795).
More than any other writer of the Enlightenment, Condorcet was a prophet of progress. In stating the conditions for realizing the continuity of human progress, he focused on the importance of education, the free exchange of ideas, a republican form of government, a guided economy, the emancipation of women, and a language with one clear meaning for each word.
Rudolf Carnap (1891 - 1970)
... was a Austrian-American philosopher who was one of the members of the Vienna Circle, a group associated with LOGICAL POSITIVISM. After teaching at the universities of Vienna and Prague, he accepted (1935) a position at the University of Chicago. From 1952 he was at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and in the philosophy department of the University of California at Los Angeles.
In many of Carnap's works, he constructs model languages that employ the notation of symbolic LOGIC. In discussing these languages, he claims to be explicating various philosophical concepts and solving certain philosophical problems. He views the latter essentially as problems of syntax and semantics. The metaphysician is seen as a poet who strives to clothe his poetry in the language of reason. In one of his most influential books, The Logical Syntax of Language (1934), he characterizes philosophy as a branch of logic. In Carnap's view, propositions that seem to be about kinds of entities, such as numbers and qualities, are actually linguistic utterances. Thus "Five is not a thing but a number" must be translated as "the word 'five' is not a thing-word but a numerical expression."

Edmund Husserl
The founder of phenomenology, the German philosopher Edmund Husserl, introduced the term in his book Ideas: A General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology (1913).
Husserl intended to develop a philosophical method that was devoid of all presuppositions and that would describe phenomena by focusing exclusively on them, to the exclusion of all questions of their causal origins and their status outside the act of consciousness itself. His aim was to discover the essential structures and relationships of the phenomena as well as the acts of consciousness in which the phenomena appeared, and to do this by as faithful an exploration as possible, uncluttered by scientific or cultural presuppositions.
As formulated by Husserl after 1910, phenomenology is the study of the structures of consciousness that enable consciousness to refer to objects outside itself.

This study requires reflection on the content of the mind to the exclusion of everything else.
Husserl called this type of reflection the phenomenological reduction. Because the mind can be directed toward nonexistent as well as real objects, Husserl noted that phenomenological reflection does not presuppose that anything exists, but rather amounts to a "bracketing of existence,", that is, setting aside the question of the real existence of the contemplated object.
What Husserl discovered when he contemplated the content of his mind were such acts as remembering, desiring, and perceiving and the abstract content of these acts, which Husserl called meanings. These meanings, he claimed, enabled an act to be directed toward an object under a certain aspect; and such directedness, called intentionality, he held to be the essence of consciousness.
All phenomenologists follow Husserl in attempting to use pure description. Thus, they all subscribe to Husserl's slogan "To the things themselves". They differ among themselves, however, as to whether the phenomenological reduction can be performed, and as to what is manifest to the philosopher giving a pure description of experience.
More about Husserl and Phenomenology!

Martin Heidegger
The German philosopher Martin Heidegger, Husserl's colleague and most brilliant critic, claimed that phenomenology should make manifest what is hidden in ordinary, everyday experience. He thus attempted in Being and Time (1927) to describe what he called the structure of everydayness, or being-in-the-world, which he found to be an interconnected system of equipment, social roles, and purposes. Because, for Heidegger, one is what one does in the world, a phenomenological reduction to one's own private experience is impossible; and because human action consists of a direct grasp of objects, it is not necessary to posit a special mental entity called a meaning to account for intentionality.
For Heidegger, being thrown into the world among things in the act of realizing projects is a more fundamental kind of intentionality than that revealed in merely staring at or thinking about objects, and it is this more fundamental intentionality that makes possible the directness analyzed by Husserl. Heidegger argued that humanity finds itself in an incomprehensible, indifferent world. Human beings can never hope to understand why they are here; instead, each individual must choose a goal and follow it with passionate conviction, aware of the certainty of death and the ultimate meaninglessness of one's life.
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