Eucken, Rudolf

Eucken, Rudolf


Born Jan. 5, 1846, in Aurich, East Fries-land; died Sept. 15,1926, in Jena. German idealist philosopher.

A follower of J. G. Fichte, Eucken formulated the concept of a “metaphysics of the spirit.” He was professor of philosophy in Basel from 1871, and in Jena from 1874.

Eucken opposed the positivist-naturalist world view and called for a revival of idealist metaphysics. Asserting the eternity and unity of the spiritual world and its absolute meaning and value, Eucken worked out a “noological” interpretation of spiritual life whereby the latter was regarded not only as a psychological phenomenon but also as an eternal value. He called for the establishment of a vitalist religious system with a personalized being at its center, and he considered spiritual life to be permeated with moral principles. Although he viewed religion as the absolute basis of spiritual life, he criticized its historical forms and had a negative attitude toward the church.

Eucken was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1908.


Die Einheit des Geisteslebens in Bewusstsein und Tat der Menschheit. Leipzig, 1888.
Der Kampf um einen geistigen Lebensinhalt. Leipzig, 1896.
Der Wahrheitsgehalt der Religion. Leipzig, 1901.
Der Sinn und Wert des Lebens, 9th ed. Leipzig, 1921–22.
Die Lebensanschauungen der grossen Denker, 18th ed. Berlin, 1922.
Geistige Strömungen der Gegenwart, 6th ed. Berlin, 1928.
In Russian translation:
Smysl i tsennost’ zhizni. Kharkov, 1911.


Beliaev, V. A. Filosofiia R. Eikena. St. Petersburg, 1912.
Blonskii, P. P. Sovremennaia filosofiia, parts 1–2. Moscow, 1918–22.
Siebert, O. R. Eucken’s Welt und Lebensanschauung, 4th ed. Langensalza, 1926.
Becher, E. R. Eucken und seine Philosophie. Langensalza, 1927.