Richard Avenarius

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Richard Avenarius

Richard Avenarius (born November 19, 1843 in Paris , † August 18, 1896 in Zurich ), actually Richard Habermann , was a German philosopher . He called his teaching empirical criticism .


The son of the bookseller and publisher Eduard Habermann studied philosophy , philology and psychology at the universities of Zurich , Leipzig and Berlin from 1865 to 1868 . When he latinized his family name to “Avenarius”, he linked it to an ancestor in the paternal line who had also translated “Habermann” (from “oats”, Latin: “avena”) into Latin. He received his doctorate in Leipzig in 1868 and qualified as a professor in 1876. In 1877 he accepted a call as a full professor of philosophy, psychology and education at the University of Zurich.


In the core of his philosophy he wants to eliminate everything that is not pure experience, that is, everything that does not correspond to the content of the statement (E-value) is conditioned by the environment itself, so there is no difference between the inner and outer experience of an individual gives. He justifies his statements with the fact that the individual found is represented in system C (= cerebrum). According to this, philosophy is "the striving that has become scientific ... to think the totality of what is given in experience with the least amount of effort". Avenarius has analyzed the importance of the economic principle for psychic life and cognition.

Effect and reception

Numerous thinkers and poets were influenced by Avenarius, including Friedrich Carstanjen , Joseph Petzoldt , Richard Wahle , Rudolf Willy , Carl Hauptmann , Rudolf Wlassak , Alf Nyman , Franz Blei , Ernst Mach , Rudolf Maria Holzapfel , Alexander Alexandrowitsch Bogdanow , Ber Borochov and Heinrich Gomperz . Vladimir Ilyich Lenin , who read Avenarius work in Zurich, wrote his most important work on philosophy, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (1908), dealing with A's basic concept. In addition, he exerted a considerable influence on Edmund Husserl and Theodor Draw . Erwin Schrödinger also dealt extensively with the work of Avenarius during his participation in the war. Richard Avenarius inspired the character of Professor Avenarius in the novel Immortality by Milan Kundera .



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Manfred Sommer : Husserl and early positivism. Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt 1985, p. 18 ff.
  2. Uwe Jens Gerhardt, Bernhard Blanz: Theodor pull, MD, Ph.D., 1862-1950. In: The American Journal of Psychiatry. Vol. 161, 2004, p. 1369.
  3. ^ Walter J. Moore: Schrödinger: Life and Thought. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1992, p. 43 f.