Franz Brentano

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Franz Brentano

Franz Clemens Honoratus Hermann Josef Brentano (born January 16, 1838 in the then already dissolved Marienberg Monastery near Boppard on the Rhine ; † March 17, 1917 in Zurich ) was a German philosopher , psychologist and founder of nude psychology . Originally a Catholic priest, Brentano left the Church to protest against the proclamation of the dogma of the Pope's infallibility and then, as an unaffiliated professor in Vienna, had a lasting impact on the young generation of philosophers. Among his listeners were Edmund Husserl , Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Sigmund Freud .


The Brentano family originally came from Lombardy , but had lived in Germany for several generations. Franz Brentano's parents were the writer Christian Brentano and his wife Emilie Brentano nee Genger. One brother was the economist and social reformer Lujo Brentano . Clemens Brentano and Bettina von Arnim , who are counted among the most important personalities of German Romanticism , were uncle and aunt on their father's side.


Bust of Brentano by Theodor Georgii in the arcade courtyard of the University of Vienna .

Franz Brentano grew up in Aschaffenburg and studied in Munich , Würzburg , Berlin and Münster . He presented his dissertation on the concept of “ beings ” to Aristotle in Tübingen .

After his habilitation in Würzburg in 1866, Brentano taught philosophy there . In addition to philosophy, he had also studied theology and was ordained a priest in 1864 . In the run-up to the First Vatican Council , he campaigned at the highest ecclesiastical level against the canonization of papal infallibility ; but he had given up the Christian faith as early as 1870 because of the problem of the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation as well as the absolute requirement to believe. After long hesitation, also out of consideration for his pious mother, he drew the conclusions and in 1873 resigned from his priesthood. He also ended his teaching activities in Würzburg and was appointed professor of philosophy in Vienna in 1874. Since he could not marry under Austrian law as a result of his ordination, he became a Saxon citizen in Leipzig in order to be able to get married. Nevertheless, he had to give up the professorship. In 1879 he resigned from the church. This had only recently been made possible in Austria, namely by the law of May 25, 1868. In 1880 he resigned from the professorship. However, he remained in Vienna as a private lecturer until 1895 .

His son Johann Michael (Giovanni) was born on June 27, 1888 (died 1969). After the death of his wife Ida Lieben (May 17, 1852 to March 13, 1894) from the Austrian banking family Ignatz Lieben (1809–1877), he moved from the Palais Todesco in Vienna, Ringstrasse, and in 1895 moved to Florence . In 1897 he married Emilie Rueprecht for the second time . From 1903 he slowly lost his sight . He acquired the monastery tavern of Schönbühel Castle in the Wachau as a temporary holiday home. After Italy entered the First World War , he fled to Zurich in 1915 , where he went blind after two eye operations and died on March 17, 1917 of an appendix infection. Initially buried in Zurich, his bones were exhumed and cremated at the request of the family in 1953 and his urn was buried in the family crypt in the old town cemetery in Aschaffenburg ( Lower Franconia ).

From 1914 he was a corresponding member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences .


Brentano closely linked philosophy with psychology , which for him was the basic science par excellence. He was the founder of nude psychology , which also influenced Edmund Husserl , Alexius Meinong , William McDougall , Sigmund Freud and Carl Stumpf , among others . They belong to the so-called Brentano School . In Prague in particular, his teachings were passed on by the lecturers at Charles University and discussed in clubs such as Café Arco and in the Louvre circle by many supporters such as Emil Utitz . Like other philosophers z. B. Felix Weltsch , a close friend of Max Brod and Franz Kafka , was rather critical of Brentano's teachings and represented the views of Christian von Ehrenfels . Likewise, Meinong later turned away from Brentano, since he represented a different view of the psychological term " intentionality ". One of his most important students was Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk . The work of Brentano exerted a strong influence on the young Martin Heidegger .

Selection of works

  • Aristotle and his worldview. (= Philosophical Library. Volume 303). Meiner, Hamburg 1977, ISBN 3-7873-0401-0 .
  • Aristotle and his worldview. Leipzig 1911.
  • Aristotle's doctrine of the origin of the human mind. Leipzig 1911.
  • The genius. Lecture given in the hall of the Association of Engineers and Architects in Vienna. Duncker & Humblot Publishing House, Leipzig 1892.
  • The bad as an object of poetic representation. Lecture given in the Society of Literature Friends in Vienna. Duncker & Humblot Publishing House, Leipzig 1892.
  • Turning away from the unreal. Letters and treatises from the estate. (= Philosophical Library. Volume 314). Meiner, Hamburg 1966, ISBN 3-7873-0432-0 .
  • The psychology of Aristotle, especially his doctrine of the nous poietikos. Publisher Franz Kirchheim, Mainz 1867.
  • The four phases of philosophy and their current status. Stuttgart 1895.
  • History of Greek Philosophy. Edited by Franziska Meyer-Hillebrand. 2nd, improved edition. (= Philosophical Library. Volume 313). Meiner, Hamburg 1988, ISBN 3-7873-0694-3 .
  • History of Modern Philosophy. Edited by Klaus Hedwig. (= Philosophical Library. Volume 359). Meiner, Hamburg 1987, ISBN 3-7873-0678-1 .
  • Basic aesthetics. Edited by Franziska Mayer-Hillebrand. 2nd Edition. (= Philosophical Library. Volume 312). Meiner, Hamburg 1988, ISBN 3-7873-0738-9 .
  • Category theory. Edited by Alfred Kastil. (= Philosophical Library. Volume 203). Meiner, Hamburg 1985, ISBN 3-7873-0011-2 .
  • My last wishes for Austria. In: New Free Press. 2nd / 5th / 8th December 1894.
  • New riddles. Verlag von Gerold's Sohn, Vienna 1879. (published under the pseudonym Aenigmatias)
  • Philosophical investigations into space, time and continuum. Edited and introduced by Stephan Körner and Roderick M. Chisholm. (= Philosophical Library. Volume 293). Meiner, Hamburg 1976, ISBN 3-7873-0356-1 .
  • Psychology from an empirical point of view. Leipzig 1874, new edition 1911. (Reprint: Ontos, ISBN 978-3-938793-41-1 )
  • About Aristotle. Edited by Rolf George. (= Philosophical Library. Volume 378). Meiner, Hamburg 1986, ISBN 3-7873-0631-5 .
  • About the future of philosophy. Hölder Verlag, Vienna 1893.
  • On the reasons for discouragement in the field of philosophy. A lecture was given at the beginning of the philosophical professorship at the kk Hochschule zu Wien. Braumüller publishing house, Vienna 1874.
  • Research on sensory physiology. Edited by Roderick M. Chisholm and Reinhard Fabian. 2nd Edition. (= Philosophical Library. Volume 315). Meiner, Hamburg 1979, ISBN 3-7873-0444-4 .
  • Research on sensory psychology. Leipzig 1907.
  • Of the existence of God. With introduction and notes ed. by Alfred Kastil. (= Philosophical Library. Volume 210). Meiner, Hamburg 1929. (Reprint: 1968)
  • From the origin of moral knowledge. Duncker & Humblot Publishing House, Leipzig 1889.
  • On the manifold meanings of beings according to Aristotle. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1862.
  • Truth and evidence. Meiner, Hamburg 1974.
  • What a philosopher sometimes makes an era. Vienna / Pest / Leipzig 1876.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Members of the previous academies. Franz Clemens von Brentano. Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences , accessed on March 2, 2015 .

Web links

Commons : Franz Brentano  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Franz Brentano  - Sources and full texts