German-speaking Philosophers – Portraits

Niklas Luhmann; © Lorenz Vierecke

Society without a Center – Niklas Luhmann’s Sociological Enlightenment

The work of the great sociologist is in sum a critical enlightenment about the limits of the political sphere.More ...
Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker; © Lorenz Vierecke

A Scientist Faced with “The Ambivalence of Progress” – Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker

First he was a physicist, then a philosopher, and finally a political intellectual: Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker’s path was a long and convoluted one.More ...
Horst-Eberhard Richter; © Lorenz Vierecke

Horst-Eberhard Richter – Philosopher of Peace and Psychotherapist for the Germans

As the standard bearer of the Federal German peace movement psychoanalyst, Horst-Eberhard Richter, was not only highly regarded all over the world, but also way beyond the boundaries of his field.More ...
Günther Anders; © Lorenz Vierecke

Günther Anders – Existential “Occasional Philosophy” with a Critical Approach

Günther Anders was many things: cultural and media theorist, critic of technology, essayist and story-teller, pessimist, moralist, pacifist and a committed and fighting writer.More ...
Johann Gottlieb Fichte; © Lorenz Vierecke

Johann Gottlieb Fichte – German Idealist and Precursor of Romanticism

The career of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, who was born on May 19, 1762, began with a publisher’s trick.More ...
Ingeborg Maus; © Lorenz Vierecke

Ingeborg Maus – Popular Sovereignty or the Democratizing of Democracy

Ingeborg Maus opposes tendencies of government, administration and judiciary to make themselves autonomous with her demand to “democratize democracy”.More ...
Edith Stein; © Lorenz Vierecke

Edith Stein – German Philosopher, Martyr, Jewish Victim

In the biography and the martyrdom of Edith Stein the moral abysses of German history and the untold suffering of so many people become nightmarishly tangible.
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Ernst Cassirer; © Lorenz Vierecke

Ernst Cassirer – Father of Cultural Studies

In his philosophy of symbolic forms, Ernst Cassirer created the epistemological foundation for cultural studies.More ...
Max Weber; © Lorenz Vierecke

Max Weber – The Disenchantment of the World

Max Weber, economist and sociologist (1865-1920), is one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century.More ...
Georg-Simmel; © Lorenz Vierecke

Georg Simmel – Ambivalences of Modern Individuality

We live in a supremely ambivalent age. Hardly any modern classical philosopher has analysed this now commonplace view more incisively than Georg Simmel.More ...
Karl Löwith; © Lorenz Vierecke

German, Jew, Philosopher – Karl Löwith

Karl Löwith was one of the most prolific German philosophers of the twentieth century – and is one of the least known.More ...
Hans Blumenberg; © Lorenz Vierecke

Hans Blumenberg – Portrait of a Man Who Looked

What is man? Is there even any sense in posing so simple and big a question today?More ...
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel; © Lorenz Vierecke

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – Progress in the Consciousness of Freedom

Georg Wilhelm Hegel was one of the main representatives of German Idealism and, continuing Immanuel Kant’s critique of reason, the thinker who consummated Enlightenment rationalism.More ...
Peter Sloterdijk; © Lorenz Vierecke

Peter Sloterdijk – Portrait of an Admonisher

“You must change your life” is the title of a book that Peter Sloterdijk published in March 2009. In it, he develops his doctrine of man. A key text for Sloterdijk’s other work as well.More ...
Norbert Elias; © Lorenz Vierecke

Norbert Elias – “I know only that people have nothing but each other”

In his major work, “The Civilising Process” (1939), Norbert Elias describes the cultural development of certain forms of behaviour, especially the self-control of civilised man.More ...
Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno; © Lorenz Vierecke

Theodor W. Adorno – The Philosophy of Suffering

According to his famous dictum, there is “no right life in falsehood”. This already shows Adorno’s pessimistic view of the world, which assigned to philosophy the task of giving expression to the suffering of man brought about by society.More ...
Max Horkheimer; © Lorenz Vierecke

Max Horkheimer – Longing for the Wholly Other

From philosophy Max Horkheimer demanded not edification but commitment: philosophy should subject to criticism all conditions in which man is oppressed.More ...
Ernst Bloch; © Lorenz Vierecke

Hope and Utopia – The 125th Anniversary of Ernst Bloch’s Birth

Do utopias still have anything to say to us today? Many doubt that they do. The neo-Marxist Ernst Bloch has been forgotten. Rightly?More ...
Hannah Arendt; © Lorenz Vierecke

Hannah Arendt and Her Impact – A Portrait

Hannah Arendt is widely recognized as a political philosopher – but is she really appreciated?More ...
Ernst Tugendhat; © Lorenz Vierecke

Reason and the World. Ernst Tugendhat’s 80th Birthday

Why is there something rather than nothing? Why does the world exist? Ernst Tugendhat has never ceased wondering about such astonishing questions.More ...
Walter Benjamin; © Lorenz Vierecke

Who Was Walter Benjamin? A reading of Jean-Michel Palmier’s monumental biography of Benjamin

Not only the thought of Walter Benjamin was criss-crossed by fractures and changes. His life too was anything but straightforward.More ...
Karl Jaspers; © Lorenz Vierecke

Karl Jaspers – Philosophy as the Illumination of Existence

The truth of philosophy is philosophizing as a radical way of existence and the illumination of existence. Hardly anyone has lived this conviction more sincerely than the German philosopher Karl Jaspers.More ...
Hans-Georg Gadamer; © Lorenz Vierecke

Hans-Georg Gadamer – Truth and Method

Hans-Georg Gadamer had been a more or less unassuming professor of philosophy, then with the publication of his book Truth and Method in 1960, he entered the annals of the history of philosophy.More ...
Lord Ralf Dahrendorf; © Lorenz Vierecke

“We were all striving to discover reality” – In Memoriam Ralf Dahrendorf (1.5.1929–17.6.2009)

Lord Ralf Dahrendorf, the sociologist, was one of the most influential voices of liberalism. An obituary by Hans-Martin Schönherr-Mann.More ...
Axel Honneth; © Lorenz Vierecke

Autonomy, Cooperation and Social Justice – Axel Honneth

Human beings expand their possibilities of action through cooperation with others: this is one of the insights that we owe to Axel Honneth. This summer he turned sixty years old.More ...
Jürgen Habermas; © Lorenz Vierecke

Between National Socialism and the Return of Religion – Jürgen Habermas Turns Eighty

In the 1960s Jürgen Habermas, then head of Max Horkheimer’s Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, appeared to be a main proponent of the allegedly neo-Marxist Frankfurt School. For the student rebels of 1968, however, he was by no means leftist enough. Today he might be called a philosopher of the second German democracy, and its foremost representative from the perspective of a constitutional patriotism.More ...
Max Scheler; © Lorenz Vierecke

“What is Man?” – Max Scheler

Max Scheler, one of the most influential of philosophers of the first third of the last century, is today one of the great forgotten figures. And yet he laid the foundation stones for an ethics of values, a philosophy of feeling, a phenomenology of religion, the sociology of knowledge and philosophical anthropology.More ...
Edmund Husserl; © Lorenz Vierecke

“To the Things Themselves” or “Give Me That in Small Change!” − The 150th anniversary of Edmund Husserl’s birthday

Does philosophy concern the objects of everyday life? One might hardly think so. But precisely that was the secret of the immense effect of the philosopher Edmund Husserl, born on April 8, 1859 in the Moravian town of Proßnitz and the founder of modern phenomenology.More ...
Further articles

Dossier: Kierkegaard 2013

Foto: Søren kierkegaard, drawn by Niels Christian Kierkegaard
With “Kierkegaard 2013”, the world celebrates the 200th birthday of Søren Kierkegaard. The Danish philosopher’s life and work play a big role in Germany, too.

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