Arnold Gehlen

Arnold Gehlen (29 January 1904 in Leipzig, German Empire – 30 January 1976 in Hamburg, West Germany) was an influential conservative German philosopher, sociologist, and anthropologist.[1]


His major influences while studying philosophy were Hans Driesch, Nicolai Hartmann and especially Max Scheler.

In 1933 Gehlen signed the Loyalty Oath of German Professors to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist State.

He joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and had a shining career as a member of the 'Leipzig School' under Hans Freyer. He replaced Paul Tillich, who emigrated to the U.S., at the University of Frankfurt. In 1938 he accepted a teaching position at the University of Königsberg (today's Kaliningrad) and then taught at the University of Vienna in 1940 until he was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1943. After his 'denazification' he taught at the administrative college in Speyer. He went on to teach at the Aachen University of Technology between 1962 and 1969. Gehlen became a sharp critic of the protest movements that developed in the late 1960s. Gehlen's philosophy has influenced many contemporary neoconservative German thinkers. Many terms from his work, like Reizüberflutung ("Sensory overload"), deinstitutionalization or post-history, have gained popular currency in Germany.

Selected writings

  • Der Mensch. Seine Natur und seine Stellung in der Welt. (1940) (Translated as "Man, his nature and place in the world")
  • Urmensch und Spätkultur. Philosophische Ergebnisse und Aussagen. (1956)
  • Die Seele im technischen Zeitalter. (1957) (Translated as "Man in the age of technology")
  • Moral und Hypermoral. Eine pluralistische Ethik. (1969)

See also


  1. ^ Berger, Peter L., and Hansfried Kellner (1965)

Further reading

  • Berger, Peter L., and Hansfried Kellner. "Arnold Gehlen and the theory of institutions." Social Research (1965): 110-115. in JSTOR
  • Greiffenhagen, Martin. "The Dilemma of Conservatism in Germany." Journal of Contemporary History (1979): 611-625. in JSTOR
  • Magerski, Christine. "Arnold Gehlen: Modern art as symbol of modern society." ´´Thesis Eleven. Critical Theory and Historical Sociology´´ (8/2012): 81-96.
  • Magerski, Christine, "Arnold Gehlen (1904-1976)." ´´The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology´´, Ed. George Ritzer, online (


1904 in philosophy

1904 in philosophy

1940 in philosophy

1940 in philosophy

Action theory (philosophy)

Action theory (or theory of action) is an area in philosophy concerned with theories about the processes causing willful human bodily movements of a more or less complex kind. This area of thought involves epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, jurisprudence, and philosophy of mind, and has attracted the strong interest of philosophers ever since Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (Third Book). With the advent of psychology and later neuroscience, many theories of action are now subject to empirical testing.

Philosophical action theory, or the philosophy of action, should not be confused with sociological theories of social action, such as the action theory established by Talcott Parsons.

Conservatism in Germany

Conservatism in Germany has encompassed a wide range of theories and ideologies in the last three hundred years, but most historical conservative theories supported the monarchical/hierarchical political structure.

End of history

The end of history is a political and philosophical concept that supposes that a particular political, economic, or social system may develop that would constitute the end-point of humanity's sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government. A variety of authors have argued that a particular system is the "end of history" including Thomas More in Utopia, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Marx, Vladimir Solovyov, Alexandre Kojève and Francis Fukuyama in the 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man.The concept of an end of history differs from ideas of an end of the world as expressed in various religions, which may forecast a complete destruction of the Earth or of life on Earth, and the end of the human race as we know it. The end of history instead proposes a state in which human life continues indefinitely into the future without any further major changes in society, system of governance, or economics.

Gotthard Günther

Gotthard Günther (15 June 1900 – 29 November 1984), was a German (Prussian) philosopher.

Hans Freyer

Hans Freyer (born 31 July 1887 in Leipzig, died 18 January 1969 in Ebersteinburg near Baden-Baden) was a conservative German sociologist and philosopher.

Helmut Schelsky

Helmut Schelsky (14 October 1912 – 24 February 1984), was a German sociologist, the most influential in post-World War II Germany, well into the 1970s.

Joachim Fischer (sociologist)

Joachim Fischer (born 1951 in Hanover) is a German sociologist and social theorist. His reference book on Philosophical anthropology has become the standard reference for the field. From 2011 to 2017, he was president of the Helmuth Plessner Society.

The focus of his work lies in the areas of philosophical anthropology, sociological theory, culture sociology and sociology of architecture. In 2010, he became an honorary professor at the Philosophical Faculty of the Dresden University of Technology. In the summer semester of 2012 he was a visiting professor at the University Viadrina of Frankfurt (Oder) (Sociology / Sociological Theory).

Fischer´s work has focused on reconstructing the paradigm of modern European Philosophical anthropology (Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner, Erich Rothacker, Arnold Gehlen, Adolf Portmann) in the 20th century, explicating its significance for biological, sociological and philosophical debates in the 21st century. As a theoretical background of the modern Philosophical anthropology he researches the Critical ontology of the German philosopher Nicolai Hartmann.

In a series of essays he too developed - with reference to Simmel and Freud - a systematic consideration on the figure of the Third: Triads (sociology) seem for intersubjective relationships and institutions to be just as well constitutive than the Dyad (sociology) or the Other (Alterity).

Joseph Beuys Media Archive

The Joseph Beuys Media Archive (German: Joseph Beuys Medien-Archiv) is an institution affiliated with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin and the Joseph Beuys Estate, Düsseldorf. Its purpose is to collect, archive, digitize, and publicize the work of the German artist Joseph Beuys.

Jürgen Habermas bibliography

The works of the German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas (born June 18, 1929) includes books, papers, contributions to journals, periodicals, newspapers, lectures given at conferences and seminars, reviews of works by other authors, and dialogues and speeches given in various occasions. Working in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. Habermas is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'. His work focuses on the foundations of social theory and epistemology, the analysis of advanced capitalistic societies and democracy, the rule of law in a critical social-evolutionary context, and contemporary politics—particularly German politics. Habermas's theoretical system is devoted to revealing the possibility of reason, emancipation, and rational-critical communication latent in modern institutions and in the human capacity to deliberate and pursue rational interests.

This list is primarily based on Mapping Habermas from German to English: A Bibliography of Primary Literature 1952-1995 edited by Demetrios Douramanis, Jürgen Habermas: A Bibliography by René Görtzen, and Luca Corchia's Jürgen Habermas. A Bibliography: Works and Studies (1952-2013), a bibliography based on direct consultation of the original editions and their translations, with their internal references; as well as research carried out by other scholars.The catalog of Habermas production includes books, collections, interviews, prefaces to later editions of his own books, papers, contributions to journals, periodicals, newspapers, lectures given at conferences and seminars, reviews of works by other authors, dialogues and speeches given in various occasions.

Furthermore, Habermas' publications are often collections of writings which have been taken and reordered chronologically in this bibliography. The chronology is determined by the publication dates of Habermas's German language books. Articles that do not appear in these books are included as works in their own right. Insofar as most of the writings collected in Habermas's books find their origin in journals, newspapers, edited books and magazines, or were delivered as lectures or discussion and occasional papers, information on their origin is given in the footnotes.

Leipzig school (sociology)

The Leipzig school was a branch of sociology developed by a group of academics led by philosopher and sociologist Hans Freyer at the University of Leipzig, Germany in the 1930s.

Freyer saw Nazism as an opportunity; many of his followers were politically active Nazis. They included Arnold Gehlen, Gunter Ipsen, Heinz Maus, Karl Heinz Pfeffer, and Helmut Schelsky.

The National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) did not allow any competing ideologies to develop in universities; however, some of the Leipzig School group remained at the university until 1945. Their numbers declined as some emigrated (Günther) or made a career in the Third Reich (Gehlen, Ipsen, Pfeffer), and before the war ended, Freyer himself left to take up a teaching position at the University of Budapest.

List of Leipzig University people

The following is a list of notable alumni and faculty of the University of Leipzig.

List of RWTH Aachen University people

This is a list of people associated with RWTH Aachen University in Germany.

Merkur (magazine)

Merkur, subtitled Deutsche Zeitschrift für europäisches Denken, is Germany's leading intellectual review, published monthly in Stuttgart by Klett Cotta.

RWTH Aachen Faculty of Arts and Humanities

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is one of nine faculties at the RWTH Aachen University. It was found in 1965 and produced several notable individuals like Arnold Gehlen or Klaus Mehnert. Dean of the Faculty is Prof. Dr. phil. Christine Roll.

As located at a Technical University there are exceptional strong ties between the Humanities and Engineering in research and teaching. Only one example for this is the interdisciplinary academic program "Technical Communication" (in German "Technik-Kommunikation"), which was founded in 1999 and is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Eva-Maria Jakobs. The program is a cooperation of five Faculties at RWTH Aachen University.

Reinhart Maurer

Reinhart Klemens Maurer (born 1935) is a philosopher and professor from Xanten, Germany.

Maurer studied philosophy, German and English at the universities of Münster, Kiel and Vienna. In 1964, he made his Ph.D.. Maurer later wrote his post-doctoral research (Habilitation) in 1969 at the University of Stuttgart under the supervision of Robert Spaemann. Between 1962 and 1975, he was a research assistant and then a lecturer at the Institute for Philosophy and Pedagogy at the University of Stuttgart and from 1975 to 1997, he served as a professor at the Institute for Philosophy (Institut für Philosophie) at the Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin).

Maurer was influenced by Ritter's concept of a practical philosophy that challenges concrete problems, in the tradition of the ancient European and the classical philosophy. This was his approach in his works about Plato, Hobbes, Hegel, Habermas and the critical theory. He applies critical theory on the modern, techno-democratic worldview, and ties it with fundamental critique on the modern society (Nietzsche, Heidegger, Arnold Gehlen and Gómez Dávila).

Sonia Seymour Mikich

Sonia Seymour Mikich (born 13 July 1951 in Oxford) is a German TV journalist.

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