Cohen, Hermann (1842–1918)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-J038-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 10, 2023, from

List of works

  • Cohen, H. (1977–) Werke, ed. Hermann-Cohen-Archiv am Philosophischen Seminar der Universität Zürich unter der Leitung von Helmut Holzhey, Hildesheim, Zurich and New York: Georg Olms, 18 vols.

    (Including one published and six forthcoming volumes of minor writings and a forthcoming new edition of Religion der Vernunft, the Werke constitute the first comprehensive edition of Cohen’s works, with mostly excellent introductions, comparison of editions, notes, and so on.)

  • Cohen, H. (1871) Kants Theorie der Erfahrung (Kant’s Theory of Experience), ed. G. Edel, Berlin: Dümmler; 3rd edn, 1918; 1st and 3rd edns repr. in Werke, vol. 1.1—1.3, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1987.

    (Volume 1.1 of the Werke edition consists of a reprint of the 3rd edition, Berlin, 1918; vol. 1.2 lists the variations between the earlier editions and offers an index; vol. 1.3 is a reprint of the 1st edition. The variations between the volumes indicate the progress from Cohen’s first exposition of Kantian thought to his own mature system of philosophy, masterfully analysed by the editor.)

  • Cohen, H. (1877) Kants Begründung der Ethik nebst ihren Anwendungen auf Recht, Religion und Geschichte (Kant’s Justification of Ethics and its Application to Law, Religion and History), Berlin: Dümmler; 2nd edn, 1910.

    (The 1st edition of this work presented a considerable step beyond a mere exposition of Kantian thought. It is here that Cohen first ‘eliminates’ the Kantian ‘thing-in-itself’ and presents the foundation of his own philosophical approach. The 2nd edition is much revised, especially in its programmatic approach to the relation of ethics to the humanities. This edition is to be reprinted in volume 2 of Werke.)

  • Cohen, H. (1883) Das Prinzip der Infinitesimalmethode und seine Geschichte: Ein Kapitel zur Grundlegung der Erkenntnisskritik (The Principle of the Method of Infinitesimals and its History: A Chapter in the Foundation of the Critique of Cognition), Berlin: Dümmler; 4th edn repr. in Werke, vol. 5.1, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, with an introduction by P. Schulthess, 1984.

    (This study first established the link between the method of scientific validity and the principle of the origin of cognition in thought that became the cornerstone of Cohen (1902).)

  • Cohen, H. (1889) Kants Begründung der Ästhetik (Kant’s Justification of Aesthetics), Berlin: Dümmler.

    (Rounding out the tripartite structure of studies based on Kant’s three critiques, this is Cohen’s foray into the field of aesthetics. The work found little resonance at the time. It is to be reprinted in volume 11 of Werke.)

  • Cohen, H. (1896) ‘Biographisches Vorwort und Einleitung mit kritischem Nachtrag’ (Biographical Preface and Introduction with a Critical Postscript), in F.A. Lange (ed.) Geschichte des Materialismus (History of Materialism), Leipzig: Baedecker, 5th edn; repr. in Werke, vol. 5.2, with an introduction by H. Holzhey, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1984.

    (F.A. Lange had been Cohen’s benefactor in that he was responsible for Cohen’s call to the University of Marburg, where Cohen became Lange’s successor. Cohen was responsible for several subsequent editions of Lange’s best-selling philosophical study of the history of materialism. Yet in his ‘Introduction with a Critical Postscript’, revised in 1914, Cohen also criticized Lange and gave a précis of his own philosophical programme. The edition of 1896 was hailed by Vaihinger as ‘no less than a new foundation of critical idealism’.)

  • Cohen, H. (1902) System der Philosophie, Erster Teil: Logik der reinen Erkenntnis (System of Philosophy Part One: The Logic of Pure Cognition), Berlin: Bruno Cassirer; repr. in Werke, vol. 6, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1977.

    (The first part of the mature philosophical system which is clearly no longer Kantian but original.)

  • Cohen, H. (1904) System der Philosophie, Zweiter Teil: Ethik des reinen Willen (System of Philosophy Part Two: Ethics of Pure Will), Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1904; repr. in Werke, vol. 7, with an English introduction by S.S. Schwarzschild, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1981.

    (A philosophy of the relation between state, community and individuals based on the conceptual tools of jurisprudence. Lays the foundations of a moral philosophy of law and of religion.)

  • Cohen, H. (1912) System der Philosophie, Dritter Teil: Ästhetik des reinen Gefühls (System of Philosophy Part Three: Aesthetics of Pure Feeling), Berlin: Bruno Cassirer; repr. in Werke, vols 8 and 9, with an introduction by G. Wolandt, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1982.

    (Cohen’s aesthetics aims to unite natural and moral aspects in the sentiments of Erhabenheit (sublimeness) and Humor (humour). Walter Benjamin was one of the few appreciative readers of this work. Other contemporaries considered it an unreadable book and a collection of professorial ramblings.)

  • Cohen, H. (1915) Der Begriff der Religion im System der Philosophie (The Concept of Religion in the System of Philosophy), Gießen: Töpelmann; repr. in Werke, vol. 10, ed. H. Holzhey, with an introduction by A. Poma, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1996.

    (In this work, dedicated to the Marburg School’s discussions on religion, Cohen first argued for an integration of religion into the system of philosophy without ‘sublating’ it into ethics.)

  • Cohen, H. (1919) Die Religion der Vernunft aus den Quellen des Judentums, Leipzig: Fock; trans. S. Kaplan with an introduction by L. Strauss, Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism, New York: Frederick Ungar, 1972.

    (The title of the first edition included a definite article before the word ‘religion’ as if to say Judaism was the only religion of reason. Since this seemed contrary to Cohen’s opinion, subsequent editions dropped the definitie article, reading Religion der Vernunft. Hailed by Julius Guttmann as having renewed the discipline of Jewish philosophy, this work nevertheless failed to have a serious impact until its current rediscovery as a serious interpretation of a classical religion in the spirit of humanistic philosophy.)

  • Cohen, H. (1924) Hermann Cohens Jüdische Schriften (Hermann Cohen’s Jewish Writings), ed. B. Straub, with an introduction by F. Rosenzweig, Berlin: Schwetschke; partial English translation by E. Jospe, Reason and Hope: Selections from the Jewish Writings of Hermann Cohen, New York: W.W. Norton, 1971.

    (The forthcoming six volumes of Kleinere Schriften, published as volumes 13 through 17 of Werke, will do away with the unhelpful division between this collection and the one published in 1928. Contains a wealth of material of interest to students of the history of philosophy and religion in Wilhelminian Germany.)

  • Cohen, H. (1928) Schriften zur Philosophie und Zeitgeschichte (Philosophical and Political Writings), eds A. Görland and E. Cassirer, Berlin: Akademieverlag, 2 vols.

    (Contains political and philosophical writings that will be reissued in chronological order and integrated with Cohen (1924) in the Werke edition.)

References and further reading

  • Adelmann, D. (1968) Einheit des Bewußtseins als Grundproblem der Philosophie Hermann Cohens, Inaugural-Dissertation, Heidelberg: Ruprecht-Karl-Universität, 1968.

    (The first attempt to understand Cohen’s philosophy under the aspect of the ‘unity of the cultural consciousness’.)

  • Altmann, A. (1962) ‘Hermann Cohens Begriff der Korrelation’, in H. Tramer (ed.) Zwei Welten: Siegfried Moses zum Fünfundsiebzigsten Geburtstag, Tel Aviv, 366–399.

    (The first challenge to the, until then pervasive, interpretation of Cohen’s Jewish thought associated with Franz Rosenzweig’s ‘Einleitung’ (1924) in Hermann Cohen’s Jüdische Schriften.)

  • Brandt, R. and Orlik, F. (1993) Philosophisches Denken – Politisches Wirken. Hermann-Cohen-Kolloquium Marburg 1992, Hildesheim, Zurich and New York: Georg Olms.

    (A collection of essays representing contemporary European scholarship on various aspects of Cohen’s philosophy.)

  • Brelage, M. (1965) Studien zur Transzendendentalphilosophie, Berlin: de Gruyter.

    (Evaluates Cohen’s theoretical philosophy in the context of the approaches of Husserl, Hartmann, Hönigswald and Heidegger.)

  • Edel, G. (1988) Von der Vernunftkritik zur Erkenntnislogik: Die Entwicklung der theoretischen Philosophie Hermann Cohens, Freiburg: Alber.

    (The most lucid exposition of the development of Cohen’s theoretical philosophy to date. With a bibliography of literature on Cohen.)

  • Holzhey, H. (1986) Cohen und Natorp, vol. 1, Ursprung und Einheit: Die Geschichte der ‘Marburger Schule’ als Auseinandersetzung um die Logik des Denkens, and vol. 2, Der Marburger Neukantianismus in Quellen: Zeugnisse kritischer Lektüre: Briefe der Marburger: Dokumente zur Philosophiepolitik der Schule, Basle and Stuttgart: Schwabe.

    (Written by the founder of the Hermann-Cohen-Archiv at Philosophisches Seminar der Universität Zürich, vol. 1 clarifies the basic differences between the theoretical philosophies of the two ‘heads’ of the Marburg School; vol. 2 contains documents and comprehensive bibliographies.)

  • Köhnke, K.C. (1991) The Rise of Neokantianism: German Academic Philosophy between Idealism and Positivism, trans. R.J. Hollingdale, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

    (Excellent background for the rise of Neo-Kantianism. Weak in its chapter on Cohen.)

  • Orlik, F. (1992) Hermann Cohen (1842–1918): Kantinterpret – Begründer der ‘Marburger Schule’ – Jüdischer Religionsphilosoph, Schriften der Universitätsbibliothek Marburg 63, Marburg: Universitätsbibliothek.

    (Excellent biographical resource.)

  • Poma, A. (1988) Filosofia critica di Hermann Cohen, Milan: Ugo Mursia Editore, 1988; trans. J. Denton, The Critical Philosophy of Hermann Cohen, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997.

    (A well-researched and elegantly written comprehensive introduction to the philosophy of Hermann Cohen.)

  • Schwarzschild, S.S. (1975) ‘The Tenability of Hermann Cohen’s Construction of the Self’, Journal of the History of Philosophy 13: 361–384.

    (The pioneer of US scholarship on Cohen addressing the key problem of Cohen’s philosophy of religion.)

  • Wiedebach, H. (1997) Die Bedeutung der Nationalität für Hermann Cohen, Hildesheim, Zurich and New York: Georg Olms.

    (A masterful pioneering study on the political dimension in Cohen’s thought.)

  • Winter, E. (1980) Ethik und Rechtswissenschaft. Eine historisch-sytematische Untersuchung zur Ethik-Konzeption des Marburger Neukantianismus im Werke Hermann Cohens, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.

    (On Cohen’s ethics, compared to contemporary philosophies of law.)

  • Zank, M. (1994) ‘Reconciling Judaism and “Cultural Consciousness”: The Idea of Versöhnung in Hermann Cohen’s Philosophy of Religion’, Ph.D. dissertation, Waltham, MA: Brandeis University.

    (Analyses the development of Cohen’s religious philosophy; with documents and bibliographies.)

  • Zank, M. (1996) ‘“The Individual as I” in Hermann Cohen’s Jewish Thought’, The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 5: 281–296.

    (A study of the ambiguity of Cohen’s late philosophy of religion, between idealism and existentialism.)

Citing this article:
Zank, Michael. Bibliography. Cohen, Hermann (1842–1918), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-J038-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2023 Routledge.

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