Hettner, Alfred

Hettner, Alfred

(äl`frĕt hĕt`nər), 1859–1942, German geographer and teacher; a founder of modern German geography. His methodology and his materialistic philosophy, grounded in the work of Immanuel KantKant, Immanuel
, 1724–1804, German metaphysician, one of the greatest figures in philosophy, b. Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). Early Life and Works
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, have had a great influence on Russian and Soviet geographers. He founded (1895) the journal Geographisches Zeitschrift and published Die Geographie: ihre Geschichte, ihre Wesen und ihre Methoden (1927).

Hettner, Alfred

 

Born Aug. 6, 1859, in Dresden; died Aug. 31, 1941, in Heidelberg. German geographer.

In 1894, Hettner became a professor at Leipzig University, and from 1899 to 1928 he was at Heidelberg University. He traveled in South America (1882-84, 1888-90), Egypt (1908), Algeria and Tunisia (1912), and south and east Asia (1913-14). He worked in many countries of central and eastern Europe, doing research in the studies of countries, geomorphology, climatology, human geography, methods of instruction, and the history and methodology of geography and its essence and status in the system of sciences. In 1895 he founded the magazine Geographische Zeitschrift, which he headed for 40 years.

Hettner’s works on the methodology of geography were greatly influenced by idealistic philosophers. He considered geography to be a spatial (chorographic) science and believed that it should study only the spatial relationships of objects and phenomena on the earth’s surface, without investigating either their development or essence. This antidialectic attitude greatly limits the scientific value and practical use of geography. Being an advocate of unified geography, Hettner reduced it to studies of countries and landscapes, excluding from its content such divisions as general physical geography. Considering man as a component of the natural landscape, Hettner ignored the concept of society and the laws of its development. Some of Hettner’s theories and ideas expressed in his books have had an impact on the geographers of other countries.

WORKS

Die Einheit der Geographie in Wissenschaft und Unterricht. Berlin, 1919.
Die Geographie: Ihre Geschichte, ihr Wesen und ihre Methoden. Breslau, 1927.
Vergleichende Länderkunde, vols. 1-4. Leipzig-Berlin, 1933-35.
Gesetzmässigkeit und Zufall in der Geographie. Berlin, 1935.
Allgemeine Geographie des Menschen, vols. 1-3. Stuttgart, 1947-57. In Russian translation, Geografia, ee istoria, sushchnost’ i metody. Leningrad-Moscow, 1930.
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