Aloys Wenzl

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Aloys Wenzl (born January 25, 1887 in Munich , † July 20, 1967 in Munich) was a full professor of philosophy , dean and rector of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences . He dealt mainly with problems of natural philosophy and is attributed to the critical realism of Oswald Külpe .


Wenzl studied mathematics and physics at the Munich University , where he received his doctorate in 1912 with a dissertation on "The infinitesimal deformation of developable and regular surfaces". After a brief assignment in World War I , he also studied philosophy and psychology in Munich. From 1920 he taught as a teacher at the Luitpoldgymnasium in Munich . In 1925 he got a position as an assistant at the Psychological Institute and in 1926 he completed his habilitation in philosophy with Erich Becher . He then taught philosophy and psychology as a private lecturer at the Philosophical Institute I of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich .

For political and ideological reasons, Wenzl was excluded from teaching in 1938 by the Nazi dictatorship . An additional procedure in 1940, through which he should also be banned from teaching at the school, was set. In March 1946, Wenzl was given back his teaching license and was appointed full professor of philosophy at the University of Munich as successor to Erich Becher , where he served as rector in 1947 and 1948. He retired in February 1955 and represented his chair until 1957.

From 1935 until his death he was a member of the casual society in Munich , from 1960 to 1966 he was the company's managing director.

Five years after his death in 1967 a commemorative volume with the title “Eighteen philosophers see our world” was published in honor of Aloys Wenzl . a. by Helmut Kuhn , Leo Gabriel , Pascual Jordan , Anton Neuhäusler , Reinhard Lauth , Alois Dempf , Fritz Rieger , Hans Reiner , Philipp Lersch and Friedrich Mordstein .

Ideological difficulties

Wenzl, who belonged to the SPD from 1919 to 1933 and was second chairman of the Munich Peace Association until 1931 , joined the Association of Friends of the Bavarian Steel Helmet in June 1933 and became a member of the National Socialist Teachers' Association in 1936 . Despite his earlier membership in the SPD, he became an associate professor in 1933 and a regular professor in school in 1934. Wenzl came under criticism due to accusations made by a former high school student. At the request of the rector, the deputy dean of the Philosophical Faculty, Robert Spindler, took the view that he “stands in relentless opposition to today's state, which he fights quietly and unobtrusively but tenaciously”. Wenzl commented on the allegations as follows:

“I find it outrageous that, from a scientific point of view, I would have seen my task in propaganda for Jewish 'philosophy', the theory of relativity and pacifism. The accusation can only be based on ignorance of my work. My teaching activities and my publications, which are available and to which I expressly refer, related to before and after the upheaval
  1. on psychological questions (publications on color phenomena with intermittent light, Weber-Fechner's law, initial and final emphasis on memory, difficult word finding, scope of awareness for meaningful presentations, talent and special talent, writing development and comparison, publication of 'Aloys Höfler's psychology')
  2. in the philosophical field, where I tried to continue the work of my teacher Erich Becher,
    • to the exposition and justification of critical realism,
    • on the mechanism vitalism problem, whereby I represent the latter,
    • on the mind-body problem, taking the standpoint of a refined theory of interaction,
    • to the explanations of the philosophical requirements and interpretations of so-called modern physics, i.e. the theory of relativity and quantum theory,
    • to purely metaphysical questions, above all the problem of God, the problem of free will, which I affirm, and the so-called theodicy problem. "

Claudie Schorcht points out that these statements were risky because a review of Wenzl's work would have shown that he had never included aspects of National Socialist ideology in his writings. The allegations on the part of the NSD lecturers' association also included the fact that he was the chairman of the Munich branch of the Kant Society ,

"Which can be described as a collecting tank for older opposing currents and apparently pursues the goal of recently pushing through the teaching staff and the student body of the university with liberalist ideas under the guise of scientificity."


Wenzl was mainly through its well known Moritz Schlick , Ernst von Aster, Max von Laue , and Albert Einstein 1924 award-winning magazine: "with special reference to the philosophy of the as-if the ratio of Einstein's relativity theory to philosophy of the present" be Standard work “Wissenschaft und Weltanschauung” published in 1936 and his main work from 1947 “Philosophers of Freedom” .

Wenzl mainly worked on questions of natural philosophy , including parapsychology . With regard to the theory of relativity , in the sense of Hans Driesch's vitalism , he tried to hold on to a limitation of the theory of relativity to the physical, but to deny it for the psychological; the real world is absolute, the appearing world is subject to the principle of relativity. Wenzl's other reflections on this matter "had little more in common with RT - the style all in all dubiously approached the fantasies of an August Vetter about the demonic era ".

With reference to the ontology of Aristotle, Wenzl took the view that light quanta and electrons always exist depending on an observer: "The intervention associated with the observation itself decides on the actualization of one of several possibilities."

Works (selection)

  • Philosophical borderline questions in the natural sciences , 1956.
  • Immortality , A. Francke, Bern 1951.
  • Metaphysics of Today's Physics , 1935
  • The mind-body problem , 1933.
  • The relationship between Einstein's theory of relativity and contemporary philosophy: with special regard to the philosophy of the as-if , 1924


  • Klaus Hentschel : Interpretations and misinterpretations of the special and general relativity theory by Albert Einstein's contemporaries. Science Networks Historical Studies 6. Birkhäuser, Basel 1990, ISBN 3-7643-2438-4 , pp. 249-252.
  • Helene Pleasants (Ed.): Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology. Helix Press, New York 1964.
  • Anton Neuhäusler (Ed.): Eighteen philosophers see our world - Aloys Wenzl in memory, 1973
  • Claudia Schorcht: Philosophy at the Bavarian Universities 1933–1945 . Harald Fischer, Erlangen 1990

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Biographical information from Claudia Schorcht, p. 207
  2. Informal Society: One Hundred and Fifty Years Informal Society Munich 1837–1987 , University Printing and Publishing House Dr. C. Wolf and Son KG, Munich 1987, 159 pages
  3. Quoted from Claudia Schorcht: p. 210
  4. Quoted from Claudia Schorcht, p. 211
  5. Quoted from Claudia Schorcht, p. 212
  6. Detailed curriculum vitae in the memorial volume by Alois Neuhäusler, p. 240 ff
  7. Hentschel 1990, 252
  8. ^ Wenzl: Science and Weltanschauung . quoted in: We ask Aristotle again. , Die Zeit , No. 38/1952 (accessed on March 24, 2011)