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KARL CHRISTIAN PLANCK (1819-188o)

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Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 714 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KARL CHRISTIAN PLANCK (1819-188o), German philosopher, was born at Stuttgart on the 17th of January 1819. He studied at Tubingen, where he became doctor of philosophy in 184o and Privatdozent in 1848. During this period the influence of Reiff led him to oppose the dominant Hegelianism of the time. In 1850—1851 he published his great book, Die Weltalter, in which he developed a complete original system of philosophy, based on the realistic view that thought should proceed from nature to the highest forms of existence in the spiritual life. Not only did Planck oppose the idealism of his confreres; his views were, in another aspect, directly antagonistic to the Darwinian theory of descent, which he specifically attacked in Wahrheit and Flachheit des Darwinismus (Nordlingen, 1872). The natural consequence of this individuality of opinion was that his books were practically disregarded, and Planck was deeply incensed. The ill success of Die Weltalter nerved him to new efforts, and he repeated his views in Katechismus des Rechts (1852), Grundlinen einer Wissenschaft der Natur (1864), Seele and Geist (1871), and numerous other books, which, however, met with no better fate. In the meantime he left Tubingen for Ulm, whence he came finally to the seminary of Maulbronn. He died on the 7th of June 188o in an asylum after a short period of nervous prostration. After his death a summary of his work came into the hands of K. Kostlin (author of Aesthetics, 1869), who published it in 1881 under the title T estament einesDeutschen, Philosophie der Natur and der Menschheit. Planck's views were elaborately developed, but his method of exposition told heavily against their acceptance. He regarded himself as the Messiah of the German people. Beside the works above quoted, he wrote System des reinen Idealismus (1851); Anthropologie and Psychologie auf naturwissenschaftlicher Grundlage (1874); a political treatise, Bismarck : Sliddeutschland and der deutsche Nationalstaat (1872); and Logisches Causalgesetz and natiirliche Zweckmassigkeit (1874). See Umfrid, Karl Planck, dessen Werke and Wirken (Tubingen, 1881) ; and Schmidt, Das Lebensideal Karl Christian Plancks," in the Vortrage der philosophischen Gesellschaft (Berlin, 1896).
End of Article: KARL CHRISTIAN PLANCK (1819-188o)
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