Eduard Spranger

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Spranger, Eduard


Born June 27, 1882, in Grosslichter-felde, near Berlin; died Sept. 17, 1963, in Tübingen. German idealist philosopher, psychologist, and educator.

Spranger was a professor at the universities of Leipzig (from 1911), Berlin (1920–46), and Tübingen (from 1946). In 1944 he was arrested and confined in the military prison at Moabit. Spranger’s philosophical ideas reveal the influence of W. Dilthey and the philosophy of life, as well as H. Rickert’s teachings on values. Spranger’s chief philosophical work is Types of Men (1914), in which he develops a typological analysis of personality; it is this “structural” psychology that Spranger, in the spirit of neo-Kantian differentiation of the sciences of the spirit and the sciences of nature, opposes to the “psychology of elements” of natural science. According to Spranger, the psychology of the sciences of the spirit, or “understanding” psychology, should examine the spiritual process as a whole, with all its semantic links—that is, as included in a specific cultural “content.” Spranger considered comprehension of individual spiritual structure to be the only way to know any spiritual forms. Calling for liberation from sociological illusions—the reduction of science, art, morality, and religion to social forces—Spranger acknowledged the unbreakable link between the social form and the cultural content; however, he gave the deciding role not to the forms of social relations, but to the individual human and objective cultural content that develops in these forms and that determines their value.

Spranger also wrote about the theory and history of pedagogy (including works on W. von Humboldt, J. H. Pestalozzi, and F. Froebel), as well as a work entitled The Psychology of Youth (1924; Russian translation in the anthology The Pedagogy of Youth, 1931).


Gesammelte Schriften, vols. 1—. Tübingen, 1969—.


Neu, T. Bibliographie E. Spranger. Tübingen, 1958.
E. Spranger: Sein Werk und sein Leben. Heidelberg, 1964.
Paffrath, F. H. E. Spranger und die Volksschule. Bad Heilbrunn, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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