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Christian Freiherr von Ehrenfels (June 2, 1859 in Rodaun near Vienna - September 8, 1932 in Lichtenau) was an Austrian philosopher, and is known as one of the founders and precursors of Gestalt psychology.

Although Max Wertheimer is to be credited as the founder of the movement of Gestalt psychology, the concept of Gestalt itself was first introduced in contemporary philosophy and psychology by Ehrenfels in his famous work Über Gestaltqualitäten ("On the Qualities of Form", 1890). The idea of Gestalt has its roots in theories by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Ernst Mach. Both he and Edmund Husserl seem to have been inspired by Mach's work Beiträge zur Analyse der Empfindungen ("Contributions to the Analysis of the Sensations", 1886) to formulate their very similar concepts of Gestalt and Figural Moment respectively.

Ehrenfels studied philosophy at the University of Vienna with Franz Brentano and Alexius Meinong, promoted under supervision of Meinong, after the latter's move to the University of Graz, in 1885 on the topic of Größenrelationen und Zahlen. Eine psychologische Studie ("Relations of magnitude and numbers. A psychological study"). He obtained his habilitiation in 1888 in Vienna with the work: Über Fühlen und Wollen ("On feeling and willing"). From 1896 to 1929 he was professor of philosophy at the German university of Prague.

Contents

Writings

  • Über Gestaltqualitäten. In: Vierteljahrsschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie, 14 (1890), S. 249-292
  • Werttheorie und Ethik. In: Vierteljahrsschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie, 17 (1893), S. 26-110, 200-266, 321-363, 413-425; 18 (1894), S. 22-97
  • System der Werttheorie. 2 Bände. Leipzig: O. Reisland 1897, 1898
  • Sexuales, Ober- und Unterbewusstsein. In: Politisch-Anthropologische Revue, 2 (1903-4), S. 456-476
  • Die sexuale Reform. In: Politisch-Anthropologische Revue, 2 (1903-4), S. 970-994
  • Sexualethik. Wiesbaden: J.F. Bergmann 1907
  • Leitziele zur Rassenbewertung. In: Archiv für Rassen- und Gesellschaftsbiologie, 8 (1911), S. 59-71
  • Richard Wagner und seine Apostaten. Ein Beitrag zur Jahrhundertfeier. Wien/Leipzig: H. Heller 1913
  • Kosmogonie. Jena: Diederichs 1916
  • Das Primzahlengesetz, entwickelt und dargestellt auf Grund der Gestalttheorie. Leipzig: Reisland 1922
  • Sexualmoral der Zukunft. In: Archiv für Rassen- und Gesellschaftsbiologie, 22 (1930), S. 292-304
  •   
  • Philosophische Schriften in 4 Bänden, hg. von Reinhard Fabian. München, Wien: Philosophia-Verlag 1. Werttheorie. 1982; 2. Ästhetik. 1986; 3. Psychologie, Ethik, Erkenntnistheorie. 1988; 4. Metaphysik. 1990

Notes

Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a title, translated as Baron, not a first or middle name. The female forms are Freifrau and Freiin.

See also

External links


Christian von Ehrenfels
Full name Christian von Ehrenfels
Born June 2, 1859
Rodaun near Vienna, Austria
Died September 8, 1932
Lichtenau, Austria
Era 19th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School School of Brentano

Christian von Ehrenfels (Maria Christian Julius Leopold Freiherr von Ehrenfels) (June 2, 1859 in Rodaun near Vienna - September 8, 1932 in Lichtenau) was an Austrian philosopher, and is known as one of the founders and precursors of Gestalt psychology.

Contents

Life

On June 20, 1859 Christian von Ehrenfels was born in Rodaun near Vienna and grew up at his father's castle Brunn am Walde in Lower Austria. He joined secondary school in Krems and first studied at the Hochschule für Bodenkultur in Vienna and then changed to the Universität Wien.

There he studied philosophy, was a pupil of Franz Brentano and Alexius Meinong, promoted under supervision of Meinong, following him after his move to the Karl-Franzens-Universität (Graz), in 1885 on the topic of Größenrelationen und Zahlen. Eine psychologische Studie ("Relations of magnitude and numbers. A psychological study"). He obtained his habilitiation in 1888 in Vienna with the work Über Fühlen und Wollen ("On feeling and willing"). From 1896 to 1929 he was professor of philosophy at the German university of Prague. Interested in his lectures were among others Max Brod, Franz Kafka and Felix Weltsch.

His daughter was the author Imma von Bodmershof and his son Rolf, a professor of anthropology converted to Islam in 1927. Umar's wife, Elisabeth von Bodmershof, published as a writer, under the pseudonym "Kurban Said" some books together with the convert Essad Bey.

Intellectual contributions

The idea of Gestalt has its roots in theories by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Ernst Mach. Max Wertheimer is to be credited as the founder of the movement of Gestalt psychology. The concept of Gestalt itself was first introduced in contemporary philosophy and psychology by Ehrenfels in his famous work Über Gestaltqualitäten (On the Qualities of Form, 1890). Both he and Edmund Husserl seem to have been inspired by Mach's work Beiträge zur Analyse der Empfindungen (Contributions to the Analysis of the Sensations, 1886) to formulate their very similar concepts of Gestalt and Figural Moment respectively.

Famous became his transition of a melody to another key. Ehrenfels explained that a melody consists of individual sounds, but that it is considerably more than the sum of these notes. The individual notes would be able to join themselves for completely different melodies, while the melody would remain the same, if transposed into another key and containing single tones. This new opinion, that came up to a “perception of the whole” compared to its “parts” Ehrenfels called Gestaltqualitäten (Figure qualities).
(Compare with: Aristoteles - "The whole is more than the sum of its parts").

Ehrenfels argued in numerous culture-scientifical and sexual-political writings against the cultural harmfulness of monogamy and for the utopia of a polygynian social order. He defended the opinion that monogamy would hinder a darwinistic reproduction-logic and procreation-selection, what would have a devastating affect on society in a cultural-biological way and therefore monogamy should be combated. With those theories, Ehrenfels exposed himself to a massive criticism, because he offered with his theories unimaginable thoughts to contemporian conventions.

The Czech Zionist, philosopher and friend of Kafka Felix Weltsch wrote many essays and memos about Ehrenfels, who himself was of partly Jewish descent. [1] He was one of his most important pupils.

Works

Poetry and Fiction

  • 1876 - Hadmar von Kuering (Bourgeois tragedy)
  • 1876 - Brutus (Bourgeois tragedy)
  • 1876 - Richard Löwenherz (Bourgeois tragedy)
  • 1885 - Die Brüder von Hartenstein (Drama) -, Graz 1885
  • 1890 - Der Kampf des Prometheus (Libretto)

Non-fiction books

  • 1886 - Metaphysische Ausführungen im Anschlusse an Emil du Bois-Reymond
  • 1888 - Über Fühlen und Wollen: Eine psychologische Studie -, Carl Gerold & Sohn, Wien 1888
  • 1890 - Über Gestaltqualitäten -, In: Vierteljahrsschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie 14 (1890), (Page 249-292) (English: "On the Qualities of Form", 1890)
  • 1893 - Werttheorie und Ethik -, In: Vierteljahrsschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie 17 (1893), (Page 26-110, 200-266, 321-363, 413-425)
  • 1894 - Werttheorie und Ethik -, In: Vierteljahrsschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie, 18 (1894), (Page 22-97)
  • 1897 - System der Werttheorie -, O. Reisland, Leipzig 1898, (2 volumes)
  • 1904 - Sexuales, Ober- und Unterbewusstsein -, In: Politisch-Anthropologische Revue 2 (1903-4), (Page 456-476)
  • 1904 - Die sexuale Reform -, In: Politisch-Anthropologische Revue 2 (1903-1904) (Page 970-994)
  • 1907 - Sexualethik -, J. F. Bergmann, Wiesbaden 1907
  • 1911 - Leitziele zur Rassenbewertung -, In: Archiv für Rassen- und Gesellschaftsbiologie 8 (1911), (Page 59-71)
  • 1913 - Richard Wagner und seine Apostaten. Ein Beitrag zur Jahrhundertfeier. -, H. Heller Wien & Leipzig 1913
  • 1916 - Kosmogonie, Diederichs, Jena 1916
  • 1922 - Das Primzahlengesetz, entwickelt und dargestellt auf Grund der Gestalttheorie -, Reisland, Leipzig 1922
  • 1930 - Sexualmoral der Zukunft -, In: Archiv für Rassen- und Gesellschaftsbiologie, 22 (1930), (Page 292-304)

Secondary literature

  • Reinhard Fabian (Hg.) - Philosophische Schriften -, Philosophia-Verlag, München & Wien 1990 (4 volumes: 1. Werttheorie. (1982), 2. Ästhetik. (1986), 3. Psychologie, Ethik, Erkenntnistheorie. (1988), 4. Metaphysik. (1990))
  • Reinhard Fabian - Christian von Ehrenfels: Leben und Werk -, Editions Rodopi, Amsterdam 1986, ISBN 978-9-062-03856-5
  • Petra Gehring: Viriler Faktor. Die Sexualwissenschaft des Christian von Ehrenfels. In: Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte (III, 2, page 40-51), 2009
  • Richard Meister - Ehrenfels, Christian Freiherr von. In: Neue Deutsche Biographie, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1959, (Volume 4, page 352f.)
  • Volkmar Sigusch: Geschichte der Sexualwissenschaft -, Campus, Frankfurt / New York 2008, ISBN 978-3-593-38575-4, (Page 327-343)
  • Volkmar Sigusch & Günter Grau (Hg.) - Personenlexikon der Sexualforschung -, Campus Frankfurt / New York: 2009, ISBN 978-3-593-39049-9, (Page 119-125)
  • Ehrenfels Christian Frh. von - In: Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815–1950 , Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien 1957, (Volume 1, page 226f.)

References

  1. ^ Iris Bruce - Kafka and cultural Zionism: Dates in Palestine, page 67

Notes

Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a title, translated as Baron, not a first or middle name. The female forms are Freifrau and Freiin.

See also

External links


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