Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt (/ˈhʌmboʊlt/, also US: /ˈhʊmboʊlt/, UK: /ˈhʌmbɒlt/, German: [ˈvɪlhɛlm fɔn ˈhʊmbɔlt]; 22 June 1767 – 8 April 1835) was a Prussian philosopher, linguist, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of the Humboldt University of Berlin, which was named after him in 1949 (and also after his younger brother, Alexander von Humboldt, a naturalist).
He is especially remembered as a linguist who made important contributions to the philosophy of language, ethnolinguistics and to the theory and practice of education. In particular, he is widely recognized as having been the architect of the Humboldtian education ideal, which was used from the beginning in Prussia as a model for its system of education and eventually in countries such as the US and Japan.
Wilhelm von Humboldt
Wilhelm von Humboldt
|Born||22 June 1767|
|Died||8 April 1835 (aged 67)|
|Alma mater||University of Frankfurt (Oder) (no degree)|
University of Göttingen (no degree)
|Spouse(s)||Caroline von Dacheröden|
|Philosophy of language|
|Language as a rule-governed system|
Humboldtian model of higher education
Humboldt was a philosopher; he wrote The Limits of State Action in 1791–1792 (though it was not published until 1850, after Humboldt's death), one of the boldest defences of the liberties of the Enlightenment. It influenced John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty through which von Humboldt's ideas became known in the English-speaking world. Humboldt outlined an early version of what Mill would later call the "harm principle". His house in Rome became a cultural hub, run by Caroline von Humboldt.
The section dealing with education was published in the December 1792 issue of the Berlinische Monatsschrift under the title "On public state education". With this publication, Humboldt took part in the philosophical debate regarding the direction of national education that was in progress in Germany, as elsewhere, after the French Revolution.
Humboldt had been home schooled and never finished his comparably short university studies at the universities of Frankfurt (Oder) and Göttingen. Nevertheless, he became one of the most influential officials in German education. Actually, Humboldt had intended to become Minister of education, but failed to attain that position. The Prussian King asked him to leave Rome in 1809 and to lead the directorate of education under Friedrich Ferdinand Alexander zu Dohna-Schlobitten. Humboldt did not reply to the appointment for several weeks and would have preferred to stay on at the embassy in Rome. His wife did not return with him to Prussia; the couple met again when Humboldt stepped down from the educational post and was appointed head of the Embassy in Vienna.
Humboldt installed a standardized system of public instruction, from basic schools till secondary education, and founded Berlin University. He imposed a standardization of state examinations and inspections and created a special department within the ministry to oversee and design curricula, textbooks and learning aids.
Humboldt's plans for reforming the Prussian school system were not published until long after his death, together with his fragment of a treatise on the 'Theory of Human Education', which he had written in about 1793. Here, Humboldt states that 'the ultimate task of our existence is to give the fullest possible content to the concept of humanity in our own person ... through the impact of actions in our own lives.' This task 'can only be implemented through the links established between ourselves as individuals and the world around us' (GS, I, p. 283).
Humboldt's concept of education does not lend itself solely to individualistic interpretation. It is true that he always recognized the importance of the organization of individual life and the 'development of a wealth of individual forms' (GS, III, p. 358), but he stressed the fact that 'self-education can only be continued ... in the wider context of development of the world' (GS, VII, p. 33). In other words, the individual is not only entitled, but also obliged, to play his part in shaping the world around him.
Humboldt's educational ideal was entirely coloured by social considerations. He never believed that the 'human race could culminate in the attainment of a general perfection conceived in abstract terms'. In 1789, he wrote in his diary that 'the education of the individual requires his incorporation into society and involves his links with society at large' (GS, XIV, p. 155). In his essay on the 'Theory of Human Education', he answered the question as to the 'demands which must be made of a nation, of an age and of the human race'. 'Education, truth and virtue' must be disseminated to such an extent that the 'concept of mankind' takes on a great and dignified form in each individual (GS, I, p. 284). However, this shall be achieved personally by each individual, who must 'absorb the great mass of material offered to him by the world around him and by his inner existence, using all the possibilities of his receptiveness; he must then reshape that material with all the energies of his own activity and appropriate it to himself so as to create an interaction between his own personality and nature in a most general, active and harmonious form' (GS, II, p. 117).
Humboldt educational model goes beyond vocational training. In a letter to the Prussian king, he wrote: "There are undeniably certain kinds of knowledge that must be of a general nature and, more importantly, a certain cultivation of the mind and character that nobody can afford to be without. People obviously cannot be good craftworkers, merchants, soldiers or businessmen unless, regardless of their occupation, they are good, upstanding and – according to their condition – well-informed human beings and citizens. If this basis is laid through schooling, vocational skills are easily acquired later on, and a person is always free to move from one occupation to another, as so often happens in life." The philosopher Julian Nida-Rümelin criticized discrepancies between Humboldt's ideals and the contemporary European education policy, which narrowly understands education as a preparation for the labor market, and argued that we need to decide between McKinsey and Humboldt.
As a successful diplomat between 1802 and 1819, Humboldt was plenipotentiary Prussian minister at Rome from 1802, ambassador at Vienna from 1812 during the closing struggles of the Napoleonic Wars, at the congress of Prague (1813) where he was instrumental in drawing Austria to ally with Prussia and Russia against France, a signer of the peace treaty at Paris and the treaty between Prussia and defeated Saxony (1815), at Frankfurt settling post-Napoleonic Germany, and at the congress at Aachen in 1818. However, the increasingly reactionary policy of the Prussian government made him give up political life in 1819; and from that time forward he devoted himself solely to literature and study.
Humboldt's work as a philologist in Basque has had more extensive impact than his other work. His visit to the Basque country resulted in Researches into the Early Inhabitants of Spain by the help of the Basque language (1821). In this work, Humboldt endeavored to show by examining geographical placenames that at one time a race or races speaking dialects allied to modern Basque extended throughout Spain, southern France and the Balearic Islands; he identified these people with the Iberians of classical writers, and further surmised that they had been allied with the Berbers of northern Africa. Humboldt's pioneering work has been superseded in its details by modern linguistics and archaeology, but is sometimes still uncritically followed even today. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1820, and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1822.
Humboldt died while preparing his greatest work, on the ancient Kawi language of Java, but its introduction was published in 1836 as The Heterogeneity of Language and its Influence on the Intellectual Development of Mankind. His essay on the philosophy of speech
... first clearly laid down that the character and structure of a language expresses the inner life and knowledge of its speakers, and that languages must differ from one another in the same way and to the same degree as those who use them. Sounds do not become words until a meaning has been put into them, and this meaning embodies the thought of a community. What Humboldt terms the inner form of a language is just that mode of denoting the relations between the parts of a sentence which reflects the manner in which a particular body of men regards the world about them. It is the task of the morphology of speech to distinguish the various ways in which languages differ from each other as regards their inner form, and to classify and arrange them accordingly.
He is credited with being the first European linguist to identify human language as a rule-governed system, rather than just a collection of words and phrases paired with meanings. This idea is one of the foundations of Noam Chomsky's theory of language. Chomsky frequently quotes Humboldt's description of language as a system which "makes infinite use of finite means", meaning that an infinite number of sentences can be created using a finite number of grammatical rules. Humboldt scholar Tilman Borsche, however, notes profound differences between von Humboldt's view of language and Chomsky's.
More recently, Humboldt has also been credited as an originator of the linguistic relativity hypothesis (more commonly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis), developed by linguists Edward Sapir or Benjamin Whorf a century later.
The reception of Humboldt's work remains problematic in English-speaking countries, despite the work of Langham Brown, Manchester and James W. Underhill (Humboldt, Worldview & Language, 2009), on account of his concept of what he called Weltansicht, the linguistic worldview, with Weltanschauung being translated simply as 'worldview', a term associated with ideologies and cultural mindsets in both German and English. The centrality of distinction in understanding Humboldt's work was set out by one of the leading contemporary German Humboldt scholars, Jürgen Trabant, in his works in both German and French. Polish linguists at the Lublin School (see Jerzy Bartmiński), in their research of Humboldt, also stress this distinction between the worldviews of a personal or political kind and the worldview that is implicit in language as a conceptual system.
However, little rigorous research in English has gone into exploring the relationship between the linguistic worldview and the transformation and maintenance of this worldview by individual speakers. One notable exception is the work of Underhill, who explores comparative linguistic studies in both Creating Worldviews: Language, Ideology & Metaphor (2011) and in Ethnolinguistics and Cultural Concepts: Truth, Love, Hate & War (2012). In Underhill's work, a distinction is made between five forms of worldview: world-perceiving, world-conceiving, cultural mindset, personal world and perspective, in order to convey the distinctions Humboldt was concerned with preserving in his ethnolinguistics. Probably the best-known linguist working with a truly Humboldtian perspective writing in English today is Anna Wierzbicka, who has published a number of comparative works on semantic universals and conceptual distinctions in language.
The Rouen Ethnolinguistics Project, in France, published online a 7-hour series of lectures on Humboldt's thought on language, with the Berlin specialist Prof. Trabant.
In Charles Taylor's important summative work, The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity, (Taylor, 2016) von Humboldt is given credit, along with Johann Georg Hamann and Johann Gottfried Herder, for inspiring Taylor's "HHH" approach to the philosophy of language, emphasizing the creative power and cultural specificity of language.
Count Friedrich von Schuckmann
| Interior Minister of Prussia
Count Friedrich von Schuckmann
An agglutinative language is a type of synthetic language with morphology that primarily uses agglutination. Words may contain different morphemes to determine their meanings, but all of these morphemes (including stems and affixes) remain, in every aspect, unchanged after their unions. This results in generally more easily deducible word meanings if compared to fusional languages, which allow modifications in either or both the phonetics or spelling of one or more morphemes within a word, usually shortening the word or providing easier pronunciation. Agglutinative languages have generally one grammatical category per affix while fusional languages have multiple. The term was introduced by Wilhelm von Humboldt to classify languages from a morphological point of view. It is derived from the Latin verb agglutinare, which means "to glue together".Non-agglutinative synthetic languages are fusional languages; morphologically, they combine affixes by "squeezing" them together, drastically changing them in the process, and joining several meanings in a single affix (for example, in the Spanish word comí "I ate", the suffix -í carries the meanings of first person, singular number, past tense, perfective aspect, indicative mood, active voice.) The term agglutinative is sometimes incorrectly used as a synonym for synthetic. Used in this way, the term embraces both fusional languages and inflected languages. The agglutinative and fusional languages are two ends of a continuum, with various languages falling more toward one or the other end. For example, Japanese is generally agglutinative, but displays fusion in otōto (弟, younger brother), from oto+hito (originally woto+pito), and in its non-affixing verb conjugations. A synthetic language may use morphological agglutination combined with partial usage of fusional features, for example in its case system (e.g., German, Dutch, and Persian).
Agglutinative languages tend to have a high rate of affixes or morphemes per word, and to be very regular, in particular with very few irregular verbs. For example, Japanese has very few irregular verbs – only two are significantly irregular, and there are only about a dozen others with only minor irregularity; Ganda has only one (or two, depending on how "irregular" is defined); while in the Quechua languages, all the ordinary verbs are regular. In Turkish, there is only one irregular noun (su, meaning water), no irregular verbs other than the copular verbs, and two existential particles. Korean has only ten irregular forms of conjugation except passive and causative conjugations. Georgian is an exception; it is highly agglutinative (with up to eight morphemes per word), but it has a significant number of irregular verbs with varying degrees of irregularity.Die Horen (Schiller)
Not to be confused with die Horen (Morawietz).Die Horen (The Horae) was a monthly German literary journal published from 1795 to 1797. It was printed by the Cotta publishing house in Tübingen and edited and run by Friedrich Schiller. Many and partially antagonistic prominent figures in German culture of the time contributed, among them Johann Jakob Engel, Fichte, Goethe, Herder, Alexander von Humboldt, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Johann Heinrich Meyer, August Wilhelm Schlegel, and Karl Ludwig von Woltmann. The journal formed the cornerstone of Weimar Classicism and exerted a great influence onto German intellectual history.Forstbotanischer Garten Eberswalde
The Forstbotanischer Garten Eberswalde (8 hectares) is a botanical garden and arboretum located at Am Zainhammer 5, Eberswalde, Brandenburg, Germany. It is open daily without charge.
The garden was established in 1830 as part of the Royal Prussian Higher Forestry College by Friedrich Wilhelm Leopold Pfeil (1783-1859) with Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835). By 1835 its plant list included more than 600 types of trees. Between 1868-1874, under the direction of Bernhard Danckelmann (1831-1901), the garden moved to its current location. It was severely damaged during World War II but restored in subsequent years.
Today the garden contains over 1200 native and exotic trees and shrubs, with major sections including perennial flower beds; a root laboratory; alpine garden; African and East Asian gardens; trial garden; systematic garden; herb garden; and a Salicetum containing 230 types of willow trees. A special feature is the garden's geological trail highlighting representative crystalline sedimentary rocks deposited in this location by ice age glaciers.Friedrich Wilhelm Riemer
Friedrich Wilhelm Riemer (19 April 1774 – 19 December 1845) was a German scholar and literary historian. He worked in the households of Wilhelm von Humboldt and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.History of European universities
European universities date from the founding of the University of Bologna in 1088 or the University of Paris (c. 1150–70). In the 19th and 20th centuries, European universities concentrated upon science and research, their structures and philosophies having shaped the contemporary university. The original medieval universities arose from the Roman Catholic Church schools. Their purposes included training professionals, scientific investigation, improving society, and teaching critical thinking and research. External influences, such as Renaissance humanism (c. mid-14th century), the Age of Enlightenment (18th century), the Protestant Reformation (1517), political revolution, and the discovery of the New World (1492) added human rights and international law to the university curricula.
By the 18th century, universities published academic journals; by the 19th century, the German and the French university models were established. The French Ecole Polytechnique was established in 1794 by the mathematician Gaspard Monge during the Revolution, and it became a military academy under Napoleon I in 1804. The German university — the Humboldtian model — established by Wilhelm von Humboldt was based upon Friedrich Schleiermacher’s liberal ideas about the importance of freedom, seminars, and laboratories, which, like the French university model, involved strict discipline and control of every aspect of the university. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the universities concentrated upon science, but were not open to the general populace until after 1914. Moreover, until the end of the 19th century, religion exerted a significant, limiting influence upon academic curricula and research, by when the German university model had become the world standard. Elsewhere, the British also had established universities world-wide, thus making higher education available to the world’s populaces.Humboldt Forum
The Humboldt Forum is a large-scale museum project in Berlin, Germany, which will have its seat in the reconstructed Berlin Palace, located on the Museum Island. It has its roots in the Ancient Prussian Art Chamber, which was also located in the Berlin Palace and which was established in the mid 16th century. The Humboldt Forum will incorporate two of the art chamber's successor institutions, the Ethnological Museum of Berlin and the Museum of Asian Art (originally the Indian Department of the former). The project, named after the brothers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt, aims to be a world centre for culture. The Humboldt Forum has been described as the "German equivalent" of the British Museum. Neil MacGregor, formerly the Director of the British Museum, was appointed as the founding Director of the Humboldt Forum in 2015.Humboldt University of Berlin
Humboldt University of Berlin (German: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, abbreviated HU Berlin) is a university in the central borough of Mitte in Berlin, Germany. It was established by Frederick William III on the initiative of Wilhelm von Humboldt, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher as the University of Berlin (Universität zu Berlin) in 1809, and opened in 1810, making it the oldest of Berlin's four universities. From 1810 until its closure in 1945, it was named Friedrich Wilhelm University (German: Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität). During the Cold War the university found itself in East Berlin and was de facto split in two when the Free University of Berlin opened in West Berlin. The university received its current name in honour of Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt in 1949.The university is divided into nine faculties, including its medical school shared with the Free University of Berlin, has a student enrollment of around 32,000 students, and offers degree programmes in some 189 disciplines from undergraduate to postdoctorate level. Its main campus is located on the Unter den Linden boulevard in central Berlin. The university is known worldwide for pioneering the Humboldtian model of higher education, which has strongly influenced other European and Western universities, and the university has been widely called "the mother of all modern universities."As of 2017, the university has been associated with 55 Nobel Prize winners (including former students, faculty and researchers), and is considered one of the best universities in Europe as well as one of the most prestigious universities in the world for arts and humanities. It was widely regarded as the world's preeminent university for the natural sciences during the 19th and early 20th century, and is linked to major breakthroughs in physics and other sciences by its professors such as Albert Einstein. Former faculty and notable alumni include eminent philosophers, sociologists, artists, lawyers, politicians, mathematicians, scientists, and Heads of State.Humboldtian model of higher education
The Humboldtian model of higher education (German: Humboldtisches Bildungsideal, literally: Humboldtian education ideal) or just Humboldt's Ideal is a concept of academic education that emerged in the early 19th century and whose core idea is a holistic combination of research and studies. Sometimes called simply the Humboldtian model, it integrates the arts and sciences with research to achieve both comprehensive general learning and cultural knowledge, and it is still followed today. This ideal goes back to Wilhelm von Humboldt, who in the time of the Prussian reforms relied on a growing educated middle-class and thereby promoted the claim on general education.
Humboldt's educational model went beyond vocational training in Germany. In a letter to the Prussian king, he wrote:
There are undeniably certain kinds of knowledge that must be of a general nature and, more importantly, a certain cultivation of the mind and character that nobody can afford to be without. People obviously cannot be good craftworkers, merchants, soldiers or businessmen unless, regardless of their occupation, they are good, upstanding and – according to their condition – well-informed human beings and citizens. If this basis is laid through schooling, vocational skills are easily acquired later on, and a person is always free to move from one occupation to another, as so often happens in life.
The philosopher Julian Nida-Rümelin has criticised discrepancies between Humboldt's ideals and the contemporary European education policy, which narrowly understands education as a preparation for the labour market, arguing that we need to decide between McKinsey and Humboldt.The concept of holistic academic education (compare Bildung) was an idea of Wilhelm von Humboldt, a Prussian philosopher, government functionary and diplomat. As a privy councillor in the Interior Ministry, he reformed the Prussian school and university system according to humanist principles. He founded the University of Berlin (now the Humboldt University of Berlin) and appointed distinguished scholars to teach and research there. Several scholars have called him the most influential education official in German history.
Humboldt sought to create an educational system based on unbiased knowledge and analysis, combining research and teaching and allowing students to choose their own course of study. The University of Berlin was later named after him and his brother, the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.Humboldtschule, Bad Homburg
The Humboldtschule (abbreviation: HUS; English: Humboldt School) is one of two Gymnasiums, besides the Kaiserin-Friedrich-Gymnasium (KFG), in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Hesse, Germany.
The eponyms are Alexander (1769–1859) and Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835). Since November 2000 the school is a recognized UNESCO project school (UNESCO-Projektschule). In the school year 2008/2009, the school had 134 teachers and 1,602 students. Starting with school year 2009/2010 the school has 1,750 students. The history of the school goes back to 1900. Founded as Städtische Höhere Mädchenschule in 1900, the school has grown to be one of the largest schools in the Hochtaunuskreis.Kurt Mueller-Vollmer
Kurt Mueller-Vollmer (born June 28, 1928 in Hamburg) is an American philosopher and professor of German Studies & Humanities at Stanford University. Mueller-Vollmer studied in Germany, France, Spain and the United States. He holds a Master’s degree in American Studies from Brown University, Providence (USA) and a doctorate in German Studies and Humanities from Stanford University where he taught for over 40 years. His major publications concentrate in the areas of Hermeneutics, Comparative Literature and the work of Wilhelm von Humboldt.Mueller-Vollmer was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2000. He also was awarded with the Wilhelm-von-Humboldt-Foundation Award presented in a public ceremony at the Humboldt University in Berlin on June 22, 2007.Langue and parole
Langue (French, meaning "language") and parole (meaning "speaking") are linguistic terms distinguished by Ferdinand de Saussure in his Course in General Linguistics. Langue encompasses the abstract, systematic rules and conventions of a signifying system; it is independent of, and pre-exists, individual users. Langue involves the principles of language, without which no meaningful utterance, "parole", would be possible. Parole refers to the concrete instances of the use of langue. This is the individual, personal phenomenon of language as a series of speech acts made by a linguistic subject. Saussure did not concern himself overly with parole; however, the structure of langue is revealed through the study of parole. The distinction is similar to that made about language by Wilhelm von Humboldt, between energeia (active doing) and ergon (the product of that doing), as well as the distinction between language and speech made by Jan Baudouin de Courtenay. Saussure drew an analogy to chess to explain the concept of langue and parole. He compared langue to the rules of chess—the norms for playing the game—and compared the moves that an individual chooses to make—the individual's preferences in playing the game—to the parole.List of philosophers of language
This is a list of philosophers of language.
G. E. M. Anscombe
Saint Thomas Aquinas, OP
J. L. Austin
Alfred Jules Ayer
Archie J. Bahm
F. H. Bradley
Cardinal Thomas Cajetan, OP
Cheung Kam Ching
James F. Conant
William C. Dowling
César Chesneau Dumarsais
S. Morris Engel
Robert Maximilian de Gaynesford
Wilhelm von Humboldt
Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins
David Kellogg Lewis
Ruth Barcan Marcus
John Stuart Mill
Charles W. Morris
William of Ockham
Jesús Padilla Gálvez
Charles Sanders Peirce
Willard Van Orman Quine
Bertrand Russell's views on philosophy
John of St. Thomas, OP (John Poinsot)
P. F. Strawson
Kenneth Allen Taylor
Georg Henrik von Wright
Edward N. Zalta
Dean ZimmermanLitoria humboldtorum
Litoria humboldtorum is a species of frog in the family Pelodryadidae (alternatively in the subfamily Pelodryadinae of Hylidae). It is endemic to the Papua Province of Indonesia, and found on Yapen Island (its type locality) as well as on the foothills of the Foja Mountains in the mainland New Guinea. The specific name refers to Alexander von Humboldt, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Humboldt University of Berlin, and its Museum für Naturkunde.Reinberg Lime
The Reinberg Lime (German: Reinberger Linde) is a roughly 1,000-year-old lime tree by the village church in Reinberg in the German district of Vorpommern-Rügen.
The age of the lime tree, which has been designated as a natural monument is estimated at about 1,000 years old, which makes the tree considerably older than the neighbouring historic village church. The tree has a height of about 19 metres and a crown diameter of about 17 metres. The girth of the trunk at a height of 1.30 metres is 10.80 metres.
From 1782, following a senate resolution, priests were buried beneath the lime tree rather than being interred in front of the altar as had hitherto been the case. In 1795 the lime was mentioned in the travel diaries of Johann Friedrich Zöllner. He wrote:
In 1796 Wilhelm von Humboldt also admired the mighty tree.Schloss Tegel
The Schloss Tegel or Humboldt-Schloss is a country house in Tegel, part of the Reinickendorf district of the German capital Berlin. The brothers Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt spent much of their childhood in a former schloss on the site and on the estate, which extends almost as far as Lake Tegel.
The present building was built between 1820 and 1824 by Wilhelm von Humboldt to designs by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. It still belongs to the Heinz family, descendants of Wilhelm. It houses the private Humboldt-Museum, open to guided tours during the summer.Statue of Wilhelm von Humboldt
The statue of Wilhelm von Humboldt by Martin Paul Otto is located at Humboldt University of Berlin in Berlin-Mitte, Germany.The Limits of State Action
The Limits Of State Action (original German title Ideen zu einem Versuch die Grenzen der Wirksamkeit des Staats zu bestimmen) is a philosophical treatise by Wilhelm von Humboldt, which is a major work of the German Enlightenment. Though written in the early 1790s, it was not published in its entirety until 1852, long after von Humboldt's death in 1835. It was a significant source for the ideas that John Stuart Mill popularized in his 1859 book On Liberty, and is discussed favorably by Mill in the third chapter of that work, "Of Individuality, as One of the Elements of Well-Being." Mill had access to an 1854 English translation under the title The Sphere and Duties of Government.
Humboldt defines the criteria by which the permissible limits of the state's activities may be determined. His basic principle, like that of Mill, is that the only justification for government interference is the prevention of harm to others. He discusses in detail the role and limits of the state's responsibility for the welfare, security and morals of its citizens.
Wilhelm von Humboldt describes his purpose in writing The Limits of State Action as:
"The grand, leading principle, towards which every argument … unfolded in these pages directly converges, is the absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity." Many commentators believe that Humboldt’s discussion of issues of freedom and individual responsibility possesses greater clarity and directness than John Stuart Mill’s. “Germany’s greatest philosopher of freedom,” as F. A. Hayek called him, has an exuberance and attention to principle that make it a valuable introduction to classical liberal political thought. It is also crucial for an understanding of liberalism as it developed in Europe at the turn of the nineteenth century. Humboldt explores the role that liberty plays in individual development, discusses criteria for permitting the state to limit individual actions, and suggests ways of confining the state to its proper bounds. In so doing, he uniquely combines the ancient concern for human excellence and the modern concern for what has come to be known as negative liberty.The Seasons (poem)
The Seasons (Lithuanian: Metai) is the first Lithuanian poem written by Kristijonas Donelaitis around 1765–1775. It is in quantitative dactylic hexameters as often used for Latin and Ancient Greek poetry. It was published as "Das Jahr" in Königsberg, 1818 by Ludwig Rhesa, who also named the poem and selected the arrangement of the parts. The German translation was included in the first edition of the poem. The book was dedicated to Wilhelm von Humboldt. The poem is considered a masterpiece of early Lithuanian literature.World Elephant
The "world-elephants" are mythical animals which appear in Hindu cosmology. The Amarakosha (5th century) lists the names of eight male elephants bearing the world (along with eight unnamed female elephants). The names listed are:
Airavata, Pundarika, Vamana, Kumunda, Anjana, Pushpa-danta, Sarva-bhauma, Supratika. The names of four elephants supporting the earth from the four directions are given in the Ramayana : Viroopaaksha (east), Mahaapadma (south), Saumanasa (west), Bhadra (north).Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable lists Maha-pudma and Chukwa are names from a "popular rendition of a Hindu myth in which the tortoise Chukwa supports the elephant Maha-pudma, which in turn supports the world". The spelling Mahapudma originates as a misprint of Mahapadma in Sri Aurobindo's 1921 retelling of a story of the Mahabharata,
The popular rendition of the World Turtle supporting one or several World Elephants is recorded in 1599 in a letter by Emanual de Veiga. Wilhelm von Humboldt suggested that the idea of a world-elephant was due to a confusion, caused by the Sanskrit noun Nāga having the dual meaning of "serpent" and "elephant" (named for its serpent-like trunk), thus representing a corrupted account of the world-serpent.