Helmut Plessner

Plessner, Helmut


Born Sept. 4, 1892, in Wiesbaden. German philosopher (Federal Republic of Germany).

Plessner was a university professor at Cologne from 1926 to 1933. He went to the Netherlands in 1934 and from 1939 to 1943 and again from 1945 to 1951 was a professor at Groningen. He was a professor at the University of Göttingen from 1951 to 1963, serving as rector in 1960 and 1961. He was chairman of the German Philosophical Society in 1954.

Together with M. Scheler, Plessner was a founder of philosophical anthropology as a special discipline that interprets the data of the empirical sciences about man. Plessner attempted to elucidate the specifics of human existence in the spirit of the phenomenological method of the German idealist philosopher E. Husserl. He strove to do this through “presuppositionless” description of the structures of the interrelationship of organic beings—plants, animals, man—with the environment, as explained in Stages of the Organic and Man (1928).


Zwischen Philosophie und Gesellschaft. Bern, 1953.
Die verspdtete Nation, 2nd ed. Stuttgart, 1959.
Lachen und Weinen, 3rd ed. Bern-Munich, 1961.
Die Stufen des Organischen und der Mensch, 2nd ed. Berlin, 1965.
Die Einheit der Sinne, reprint. Bonn, 1965.
Diesseits der Utopie. Düsseldorf-Cologne, 1966.
Philosophische Anthropologie. [Frankfurt, 1970.]