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Avenarius, Richard (1843–96)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC002-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2020
Retrieved September 30, 2023, from

Article Summary

The German philosopher Richard Avenarius was the founder of ‘empiriocriticism’, a school that aimed at establishing a scientific and purely empirical philosophy. Avenarius’ idea of an energy-saving principle regulating knowledge, and his refusal of the distinction between a psychical inner world and a physical outer world were shared by Ernst Mach, thus the term empiriocriticism was later used to indicate them both. Avenarius elaborated a theory of knowledge based on the advances of physiological and experimental psychology. He was a key figure in the nineteenth-century German debate about the relationship between philosophy and psychology. Even though Avenarius had a great influence on thinkers such as Husserl, Schlick, William James, and others, due to the difficulty of his writings his philosophy is now poorly studied and little known.

Citing this article:
Russo Krauss, Chiara. Avenarius, Richard (1843–96), 2020, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC002-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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