Friedrich Albert Lange

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Lange, Friedrich Albert


Born Sept. 28, 1828, in Wald, near the city of Solingen; died Nov. 21, 1875, in Marburg. German philosopher and economist, representative of the Marburg school of neo-Kantianism.

Lange was professor of philosophy at the universities of Zürich (1870) and Marburg (1872). With O. Liebmann, he initiated the slogan “Back to Kant.” His best known work was his historical and philosophical study entitled History of Materialism and Critique of Its Present Significance (vols. 1–2, 1866; 10th ed., 1921; Russian translation, 1881–83; 2nd Russian ed., 1899–1900). In this work, Lange considered materialism valid only within the bounds of research in the natural sciences. He rejected the universal philosophical significance of materialism: according to Lange, metaphysics is possible only as the poetry of ideas and not as a science. In his book The Worker Question (1865; 7th ed., 1910; Russian translation, 1892), Lange defended bourgeois liberalism; this work led to his political persecution. Lange’s views, particularly his application of biological concepts to the social sciences, were criticized by V. I. Lenin (see Poln. sobr. soch, 5th ed. vol. 1, p. 475, and vol. 18, pp. 348–49).


Logische Studien, 2nd ed. Iserlohn, 1894.


Ellissen, O. A. F. A. Lange. Leipzig, 1891.
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Part 2 also contains chapters on Friedrich Albert Lange and the forgotten Jurgen Bona Meyer, whose program Beiser describes as '"the last great hurrah of the psychological interpretation of Kant." And, in an impressive vindication of Liebmann's legacy, Beiser describes Liebmann's critique of psychologicism, foreshadowing the Marburgers, and his incisive critique of positivism.