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BERNHARD RUDOLF KONRAD VON LANGENBECK...

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 173 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BERNHARD RUDOLF KONRAD VON LANGENBECK (1810-1887), German surgeon, was born at Horneburg on the 9th of November 181o, and received his medical education at Gottingen, where he took his doctor's degree in 1835 with a thesis on the structure of the retina. After a visit to France and England, he returned to Gottingen as Privatdozent, and in 1842 became professor of surgery and director of the Friedrichs Hospital at Kiel. Six years later he succeeded J. F. Dieffenbach (1794–1847) as director of the Clinical Institute for Surgery and Ophthalmology at Berlin, and remained there till 1882, when failing health obliged him to retire. He died at Wiesbaden on the 30th of September 1887. Langenbeck was a bold and skilful operator, but was disinclined to resort to operation while other means afforded a prospect of success. He devoted particular attention to military surgery, and was a great authority in the treatment of gunshot wounds. Besides acting as general field-surgeon of the army in the war with Denmark in 1848, he saw active service in 1864, 1866, and again in the Franco-German campaign of 1870-71. He was in Orleans at the end of 187o, after the city had been taken by the Prussians, and was unwearied in his attentions, whether as operator or consultant, to wounded men with whom every public building was packed. He also utilized the opportunities for instruction that thus arose, and the " Militar-Aerztiiche Gesellschaft," which met twice a week for some months, and in the discussions of which every surgeon masters to take part in political agitation. Lange then entered on a career of militant journalism in the cause of political and social reform. He was also prominent in the affairs of his town, yet found leisure to write most of his best-known books, Die Leibesitbungen (1863), Die Arbeiterfrage (1865, 5th ed. 1894), Geschichte des Materialismus and Kritik seiner Bedeutung in der Gegenwart (1866; 7th ed. with biographical sketch by H. Cohen, 1902; Eng. trans., E. C. Thomas, 1877), and J. S. Mill's Ansichten fiber die sociale Frage (1866). In 1866, discouraged by affairs in Germany, he moved to Winterthur, near Zurich, to become connected with the democratic newspaper, Wintertlzurer Landbote. In 1869 he was Privatdozent at Zurich, and next year professor. The strong French sympathies of the Swiss in the Franco-German War led to his speedy resignation. Thenceforward he gave up politics. In 1872 he accepted a professorship at Marburg. Unhappily, his vigorous frame was already stricken with disease, and, after a lingering illness, he died at Marburg, on the 23rd of November 1875, diligent to the end. His Logische Studien was published by H. Cohen in 1877 (2nd ed., 1894). His main work, the Geschichte des Materialismus, which is brilliantly written, with wide scientific knowledge and more sympathy with English thought than is usual in Germany, is rather a didactic exposition of principles than a history in the proper sense. Adopting the Kantian standpoint that we can know nothing but phenomena, Lange maintains that neither materialism nor any other metaphysical system has a valid claim to ultimate truth. For empirical phenomenal knowledge, however, which is all that man can look for, materialism with its exact scientific methods has done most valuable service. Ideal metaphysics, though they fail of the inner truth of things, have a value as the embodiment of high aspirations, in the same way as poetry and religion. In Lange's Logische Studien, which attempts a reconstruction of formal logic, the leading idea is that reasoning has validity in so far as it can be represented in terms of space. His Arbeiterfrage advocates an ill-defined form of socialism. It protests against contemporary industrial selfishness, and against the organization of industry on the Darwinian principle of struggle for existence. See O. A. Ellissen, F. A. Lange (Leipzig, 1891), and in Monatsch. d. Comeniusgesell. iii., 1894, 210 ff.; H. Cohen in Preuss. Jahrb. xxvii., 1876, 353 ff. ; Vaihinger, Hartmann, Duhring and Lange (Iserlohn, 1876) ; T. M. Bosch, F. A. Lange and sein Standpunkt d. Ideals (Frauenfeld, 189o) ; H. Braun, F. A. Lange, als Socialokonom (Halle, 1881). (H. ST.)
End of Article: BERNHARD RUDOLF KONRAD VON LANGENBECK (1810-1887)
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