Julius Ebbinghaus

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Julius Ebbinghaus (born November 9, 1885 in Berlin ; † June 16, 1981 in Marburg ) was a German philosopher .


Julius Ebbinghaus was the son of the psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus . His father was appointed professor of psychology in Breslau in 1894 . Julius Ebbinghaus attended the Maria-Magdalenen-Gymnasium here from 1897 . After graduating from high school in 1904, he studied philosophy, physics , mathematics and art history at the universities of Lausanne , Grenoble , Berlin , Halle and Heidelberg . Here took place under Wilhelm Windelband 1909 Promotion to Dr. phil. The title of the dissertation was historical-systematic study of the path from Kant to Hegel . After a year of military service and a stay in England , while preparing for his habilitation in Freiburg, he met the private lecturer Richard Kroner , whom he knew from the Magdalenaeum in Breslau. The deployment as a soldier in the First World War followed . It was not until 1919 that Ebbinghaus returned to the service of science. He married in 1922. After the early death of his wife, he went to Rostock in 1930 with his seven-year-old son Carl-Hermann .

After Julius Ebbinghaus had received his habilitation in February 1921 under Edmund Husserl with the book The Basics of Hegelian Philosophy 1793-1803 , he then worked as a private lecturer at the University of Freiburg . During this time his friendship with Martin Heidegger began . In the “Philosophical Circle”, which he joined in Freiburg, friendships were also established with the philologist Ludwig Deubner and the archaeologist Hans Dragendorff . In 1926 Ebbinghaus was appointed as an adj. Associate Professor of Philosophy in Freiburg. The self-confessed DNVP member appeared as a speaker at a student rally against the "Versailles dictate" in Freiburg in 1929. In 1930 he followed a call supported by Wilhelm Burkamp as full professor for historical and systematic philosophy at the University of Rostock. In 1940, at the beginning of the Second World War , Ebbinghaus - with the support of the philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer - became a professor at the Philipps University of Marburg , but at the same time had to be available as an army psychologist . During this time he made friends with the mathematician Kurt Reidemeister , the Germanist Max Kommerell and the theologian Rudolf Bultmann in the so-called "Marburg Circle". In 1942, together with Kommerell and others, he successfully campaigned for the death penalty writer Werner Krauss . After the war ended, in October 1945, the Americans appointed him rector of the University of Marburg, which counts him among their great and most important philosophers.

His students included Klaus Reich , Georg Geismann , Manfred Baum , Friedrich Tenbruck and also the aphorist and former Capital editor Johannes Gross .


Ebbinghaus, who, according to his own words, had been driven deeply into the arms of Hegelian philosophy by Neo-Kantianism, turned intensely to Kantian philosophy only after his habilitation. He then tried to come to an understanding of the Kantian doctrine itself free of all misunderstandings of Neo-Kantianism. He was not only interested in reproducing the Kantian idea as precisely as possible, he was of the opinion that the Kantian philosophy was still up to date. He has attempted to explain this in a series of both astute and stylistically brilliant essays. Most powerful were his theses on Kant's doctrine of law. His main concern was to prove the independence of legal theory from the ideality of space and time.

Ebbinghaus published important works on Kant and on legal , political and social philosophy . The main works and important publications by Julius Ebbinghaus include Kant's Doctrine of Eternal Peace and the War Guilt Question (1929, as an indictment against the Young Plan ), On Germany's turning point (1946/1947) and The punishments for killing a person and principles of a legal philosophy Freedom (1968). Ebbinghaus retired in 1954 , but held lectures until 1966. He was editor of the “Archive for Philosophy” and the “Revue internationale de la philosophie”. The Julius Ebbinghaus archive is located at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal .

Works (selection)

  • Collected essays, lectures and speeches . Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1968 (eight essays on Kant, five on the history of philosophy and one on legal philosophy)

Collected writings (edited by Bouvier by Hariolf Oberer and Georg Geismann or Karlfriedrich Herb (Volume 4)):

  • Vol. 1: Morality and Law, Practical Philosophy 1929–1954 , Bonn 1986;
  • Vol. 2: Philosophy of Freedom, Practical Philosophy 1955–1972 , Bonn 1988;
  • Vol. 3: Interpretation and Critique, Writings on Theoretical Philosophy and the History of Philosophy 1924–1972 , Bonn 1990;
  • Vol. 4: Studies on German Idealism, Writings 1909–1924 , Bonn 1994
  • Philosophical studies from the estate, Würzburg 2013
  • The atomic bomb and the future of humans (on the work of the same name by Karl Jaspers ), in: Studium generale: Journal for interdisciplinary studies 10/3 (1957), pp. 144–153.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Christian Weber: Max Kommerell: Eine intellectual Biographie, de Gruyter, Berlin 2011, 253


  • Julius Ebbinghaus: Self-Presentation , in: Ludwig J. Pongratz (Hrsg.): Philosophy in Self-Presentation, Vol. 3 , Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg 1977, ISBN 3-7873-0342-1 , pp. 1-59.
  • Otmar Eitner (Ed.): The St. Maria-Magdalenen-Gymnasium zu Breslau: From the 13th to the 20th century , self-published, Bad Honnef 2003.
  • Karlfriedrich Herb: The Julius Ebbinghaus Archive: Research Report on a Project of the German Research Foundation , in: Kant Studies 80 (1989), pp. 345–353.
  • Walther Killy (Ed.): Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopädie , Vol. 2 , Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-598-23162-8 .
  • Christian Tilitzki : The University Philosophy in the Weimar Republic and National Socialism , Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-05-003647-8 .

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