Lotze, Rudolph Hermann (1817–81)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC049-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Lotze was among the pre-eminent figures in German academic philosophy between the demise of Absolute Idealism and the rise of Neo-Kantianism proper. He sought to avoid two extremes: first, that of an idealism which seeks to deduce the world from a single, general principle; and, second, that of a realism which, by divorcing reality from the mind, splits the world into two utterly separate spheres. The search for knowledge should be tempered by a recognition of the results of natural science and sobered by the awareness that reality will, by necessity, always outstrip thought. Furthermore, our mental life cannot be reduced to purely intellectual functions: feelings and evaluations, for example, are also an integral part of human existence. While there can be no a priori deduction of a metaphysical system, a teleological interpretation, which elucidates the ultimate value of man and the world, must supplement purely naturalistic explanation. The universe has the significance of an unfolding plan, where things are subject to the general laws of order, expressing spiritual import. In this way, Lotze combined a kind of respect for the findings of scientific research with his own peculiar idealistic programme.

    Citing this article:
    Sullivan, David. Lotze, Rudolph Hermann (1817–81), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC049-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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