Avenarius, Richard (1843–96)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC002-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved January 30, 2023, from

List of works

  • Avenarius, R. (1868) Über die beiden ersten Phasen des Spinozischen Pantheismus und das Verhältniss des zweiten zur dritten Phase (On Both First Phases of Spinoza’s Pantheism and the Relationship between the Second and the Third Phase), Leipzig: E. Avenarius; repr. 1980.

    (Avenarius’ Ph.D. dissertation, concerned with the order and publication time of Spinoza’s earlier writings.)

  • Avenarius, R. (1876) Philosophie als Denken der Welt gemäss dem Prinzip des kleinsten Kraftmasses: Prolegomena zu einer Kritik der reinen Erfahrung (Philosophy as Thinking of the World in Accordance with the Principle of the Least Amount of Energy Expenditure), Leipzig: O.R. Reisland and Berlin: J. Guttentag, 1903, 1917.

    (A short book, yet widely read and cited.)

  • Avenarius, R. (1888–90) Kritik der reinen Erfahrung (The Critique of Pure Experience), Leipzig: O.R. Reisland; 2nd and 3rd edn, ed. J. Petzoldt; repr. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms International, 1980, 2 vols.

    (Avenarius’ masterpiece, almost 800 pages long, very difficult to read. Volume 1 deals with the independent vital series, while volume 2 treats dependent vital series.)

  • Avenarius, R. (1891) Der menschliche Weltbegriff (The Human Concept of the World), Leipzig: O.R. Reisland; 2nd edn, ed. J. Petzoldt, 1905; later editions, 1912, 1917.

    (English translation in progress by A. Riska; much more accessible presentation of Avenarius’ ‘metaphysics’, as he himself called this relatively short work.)

  • Avenarius, R. (1913) Zeitschrift für positivistische Philosophie (Journal of Positivist Philosophy) 1 (4): 34–54.

    (Avenarius’ own summary of his four major works. These summaries were originally published in Vierteljahrsschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie (A Quarterly for Scientific Philosophy) between 1888 and 1892.)

References and further reading

Numerous references to Avenarius’ philosophy can be found in the literature relevant to Ernst Mach and logical positivism as well as to Malinowski’s functional anthropology. A contemporary systematic treatment of Avenarius’ work is sorely lacking.

  • Arens, K. (1989) Structures of Knowing: Psychologies of the Nineteenth Century, Dordrecht: Kluwer.

    (Avenarius is here treated as one among the German conceptual psychologists of the nineteenth century.)

  • Bush, U.T. (1905) Avenarius and the Standpoint of Pure Experience, New York: Science Press.

    (Based on a Ph.D. thesis at Columbia University, New York; one of very few English publications on Avenarius’ work.)

  • Carstanjen, F. (1896) ‘Nachruf an Richard Avenarius’ (In Memory of Richard Avenarius), Vierteljahrsschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie 20 (4): 361–391.

    (An obituary; a comprehensive biography and assessment of Avenarius’ philosophical contribution.)

  • Lenin, V.I. (1909) Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, Moscow: Zveno Publishing House; trans. Moscow: Foreign Language Publishing House, 1952.

    (While attacking his political opponents, Lenin criticized Mach’s and Avenarius’ empiriocriticism.)

  • Mach, E. (1900) Die Analyse der Empfindungen und das Verhältniss des Physischen zum Psychischen, 2nd expanded edn, Jena: Fischer; trans. The Analysis of Sensations, New York: Dover, 1959.

    (The section on pages 35–42, ‘Mein Verhältniss zu R. Avenarius’ (My Relationship to R. Avenarius), clarifies Mach’s critical appreciation of Avenarius’ positions.)

  • Raab, F. (1912) Die Philosophie von R. Avenarius: systematische Darstellung und immanente Kritik (The Philosophy of R. Avenarius), Leipzig: F. Meiner.

    (A systematic exposition and an immanent criticism; a typical, dated attempt to provide a wider view of Avenarius’ philosophy.)

  • Schlick, M. (1925) Allgemeine Erkenntnislehre, Berlin: Springer, 2nd edn; trans. A.E. Blumberg, General Theory of Knowledge, New York: Springer, 1974.

    (Many references to Avenarius show Schlick’s indebtedness to Avenarius’ ideas.)

  • Swoboda, W. and Hobek, F. (1975) ‘Richard Avenarius: mit einer Bibliographie’ (Richard Avenarius: with a bibliography), Conceptus 9 (26): 25–39.

    (A useful bibliographical source.)

Citing this article:
Riska, Augustin. Bibliography. Avenarius, Richard (1843–96), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC002-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2023 Routledge.

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