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Rudolf Hermann Lotze

Lotze, Rudolf Hermann (rōˈdôlf hĕrˈmän lōˈtsə) [key], 1817–81, German philosopher and psychologist. After studying medicine and philosophy at Leipzig, he was lecturer in both departments and professor after 1842. He succeeded Herbart as professor at Göttingen (1844–81) and in 1881 was appointed professor at Berlin. Among his works, which include medical and biological discussions, are Allgemeine Physiologie des körperlichen Lebens (1851), Medizinische Psychologie oder Physiologie der Seele (1852), and Mikrokosmus (1856–64, tr. 1885). The first parts of his projected, though never completed, System der Philosophie appeared as Logik (1874, tr. 1884) and Metaphysik (1879, tr. 1888). Lotze sought to reconcile the views of mechanistic science with the principles of romantic idealism. He started from the idea that all phenomena are determined by the interaction of atoms. He saw the atoms as centers of force operating in a matrix of a more basic substance. By analogy from the immediate knowledge of spiritual existence in the self, Lotze argued that the centers of force are stages of development within the underlying substance of the world mind. He held that being ( Sein ) is the proper domain of science and that metaphysical speculation, although it cannot add to scientific knowledge, has the important function of ordering it according to a value system ( Geltung ) that reflects an ethical ideal—an understanding not of what is but of what ought to be. His theory of space perception was an important contribution to philosophy.

See studies by E. E. Thomas (1921) and G. Santayana (new ed. 1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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