Friedrich Kirchner (philosopher)

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Friedrich Kirchner (born May 1, 1848 in Spandau ; † March 6, 1900 in Berlin ) was a German philosopher , philosophy and literary historian , theologian and high school professor .


Kirchner was the son of a military chaplain and grew up in Berlin-Spandau . After graduating from the Joachimsthalschen Gymnasium in Berlin , Kirchner studied theology and philosophy at the University of Halle from 1867 and from 1869 at the Berlin Friedrich Wilhelms University . At the same time he joined the student convict "Johanneum", which he directed from 1870 to 1872. He also worked as an educator in Manchester , where he stayed for two years.

From here, he received his doctorate in 1873 at the University of Halle for Dr. phil. with the philosophical text De Deo omnipraesenti eodemque personali, Halis Saxonum and in 1874 in Berlin as Dr. theol. with the theological text Leibniz ’s position on the Catholic Church: with special consideration of his so-called “systema theologicum”. In 1875 Kirchner got a job as a teacher at the Royal Realgymnasium in Berlin. Here he worked until his early death - from 1893 as a senior teacher with the rank of high school professor. Since 1882 he also worked as a lecturer in philosophy and literary history at the Humboldt Academy and as a speaker.

After he had a severe heart attack suffered a few weeks earlier, Friedrich Kirchner died on the night of March 6, 1900 at the age of 51 years in Berlin to a heart attack . A few hours before his death he had taken part in a meeting of the literary association "Die Klause", which he founded in 1891. In an obituary, the Berliner Tageblatt wrote : "Friedrich Kirchner's basic trait was a lovable, cosmopolitan optimism, which he had acquired through penetrating studies and a life full of serious, high-minded aspirations." Kirchner was buried in Dreifaltigkeitskirchhof II on Bergmannstrasse . The grave has not been preserved.

His younger brother was the doctor Martin Kirchner (1854–1925). Friedrich Kirchner was married and had two daughters who had already reached adulthood at the time of his death.


In addition to philosophy, Kirchner's publications also concerned the history of philosophy, various sub-disciplines of philosophy, and the history of the church and literature. He also published a collection of poems. Popular scientific presentations on the history of philosophy, church history, logic , ethics , psychology , pedagogy and on the history of pedagogy found widespread use in Weber's illustrated catechisms . Today Kirchner is best known for his dictionary of basic philosophical terms (Heidelberg 1886/1890 / Berlin 1897 / revision by Carl Michaëlis: Leipzig 1903 and other new editions). In the several complete revisions that have been carried out since then under the direction of various editors (most recently in 1998), the dictionary of philosophical terms of the concept developed by it has remained obliged to present the philosophical topic in a "history of ideas and concepts", not a "history of problems" perspective.

Publications (selection)

  • 1874: About freedom of will. Hall
  • 1883: Spiritism. The folly of our age. Berlin (German time and dispute issues. Issue 186/187)
  • 1883: Catechism of Psychology. Leipzig: Publishing bookstore by JJ Weber
  • 1884: Dietetics of the Mind. A guide to self-education. Berlin / Leipzig (2nd possibly and linked edition, Berlin 1886)
  • 1886: Dictionary of Basic Philosophical Terms. Philosophical library or collection of the major works of philosophy, ancient and modern. Weiss, Heidelberg
    • 2nd revised and enlarged edition, Heidelberg 1890
    • 3rd improved and enlarged edition, Berlin 1897
    • 4th revised edition by Carl Michaëlis (Philosophical Library. Volume 67), Leipzig 1903
    • New title: Kirchner's Dictionary of Basic Philosophical Concepts. 5th edition, revised by Carl Michaëlis, Leipzig 1907
    • 6th edition. Third revision by Carl Michaëlis, Leipzig 1911
    • Dictionary of Philosophical Terms. Founded by Friedrich Kirchner and Carl Michaëlis. Completely revised edited by Johannes Hoffmeister , Meiner, Leipzig 1944
    • Dictionary of Philosophical Terms. Edited by Johannes Hoffmeister. Second edition, Meiner, Hamburg 1955
    • Dictionary of Philosophical Terms. Founded by Friedrich Kirchner and Carl Michaëlis, continued by Johannes Hoffmeister, completely reissued by Arnim Regenbogen and Uwe Meyer. Meiner, Hamburg 1998


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Friedrich Kirchner † . In: Berliner Tageblatt , March 7, 1900, General-Anzeiger, p. 3.
  2. ^ Hans-Jürgen Mende : Lexicon of Berlin burial places . Pharus-Plan, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-86514-206-1 , p. 253.
  3. Berliner Tageblatt , March 7, 1900, General-Anzeiger, p. 3.
  4. Arnim Regenbogen / Uwe Meyer: Preface, in: Dictionary of philosophical terms . Completely reissued, Hamburg 1998, pp. VII – X, here p. VII.