Online Encyclopedia

FRIEDRICH PAULSEN (1846-1908)

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Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 963 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FRIEDRICH PAULSEN (1846-1908), German philosopher and educationalist, was born atLangenhorn (Schleswig) and educated at Erlangen, Bonn and Berlin, where he became extraordinary professor of philosophy and pedagogy in 1878. In 1896 he succeeded Eduard Zeller as professor of moral philosophy at Berlin. He died on the ,4th of August 1908. He was the greatest of the pupils of G. T. Fechner, to whose doctrine of panpsychism he gave great prominence by his Einleitung in die Philosophie (1892; 7th ed., 1900; Eng. trans., 1895). He went, however, considerably beyond Fechner in attempting to give an epistemological account of cur knowledge of the psycho-physical. Admitting Kant's hypothesis that by inner sense we are conscious of mental states only, he holds that this consciousness constitutes a knowledge of the " thing-in-itself " —which Kant denies. Soul is, therefore, a practical reality which Paulsen, with Schopenhauer, regards as known by the act of " will." But this " will" is neither rational desire, unconscious irrational will, nor conscious intelligent will, but an instinct, a " will to live" (Zielstrebigkeit), often subconscious, pursuing ends, indeed, but without reasoning as to means. This conception of will, though consistent and convenient to the main thesis, must be rigidly distinguished from the ordinary significance of will, i.e. rational desire. Paulsen is almost better known for his educational writings than ' as a pure philosopher. His German Education, Past and Present (Eng. trans., by I. Lorenz, 1907) is a work of great value. Among his other works are: Versuch einer Entwickelunggeschichte d. KantischenErkenntnistheorie (Leipzig, 1875) ; Im. Kant (1898, 1899); "Griindung Organization and Lebensordnungen der deutschen Universitaten im Mittelaiter " (in Sybel's Histor. Zeitschr. vol. xlv. 1881) ; Gesch. d. gelehrten Unterrichts auf d. deutschen Schulen and Universitaten (1885, 1896) ; System der Ethik (1889, 1899; Eng. trans. [partial] 1899) ; Das Realgymnasium u. d. humanist. Bildung (1889) ; Kant d. Philos. d. Protestantism= (1899); Schopenhauer, Hamlet u. Mephistopheles (1900); Philosophiamilitans (1900,1901); Parteipolitik u. Moral (1900).
End of Article: FRIEDRICH PAULSEN (1846-1908)
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