Georg Simmel

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Simmel, Georg


Born Mar. 1, 1858, in Berlin; died Sept. 26, 1918, in Strasbourg. German idealist philosopher and sociologist. Privat-docent (1885) and professor (1901) at the University of Berlin; professor at the University of Strasbourg (1914).

Simmel’s early thought, marked by the influence of H. Spencer and C. Darwin, was characterized by a biological and utilitarian basis in ethics and the theory of knowledge: morality and truth were viewed as a kind of instinctive purposiveness. In the 1900’s these views changed under the influence of I. Kant, especially his theory of a priority. Simmel subsequently became one of the most important representatives of the “philosophy of life” school, working mainly on the philosophy of culture.

Simmel understood “life” as a process of creative becoming, not exhausted by rational means and comprehended only through inner experience (feelings), intuitively. This experiencing of life is objectified in the varied forms of culture. Simmel’s characteristic attention to the individual forms of the realization of life, to the unique historical forms of culture, was reflected in his monographs on J. W. von Goethe, Rembrandt, I. Kant, A. Schopenhauer, and F. Nietzsche. This aspect of his thought conditioned the unsystematic nature of his numerous essays on philosophy and the history of culture. The vital ardor of life as irrational fate, a common view of the “philosophy of life” school, also permeated the philosophy of Simmel, particularly in the last years of his life in his teachings on the “tragedy of creativity.” This tragedy was caused, in SimmeFs view, by the eternal contradiction between the creative pulsations of life and the congealed, objectified forms of culture.

Simmel was the founder of so-called formal sociology in his works on sociology of the 1890’s and 1900’s. Simmel considered the subject of sociology to be the forms of the social interaction of people that are preserved despite all changes of concrete historical content. In his theory, the social was understood in a one-sided manner, as the totality of relations among individuals. Within the limits of such an approach, Simmel analyzed social differentiation; social forms such as agreement, conflict, competition, authority, obedience, and rank; and relationships arising in small groups. In The Philosophy of Money (1900; 6th ed., 1958), Simmel gave a sociopsychological analysis of the role of money in the development of impersonal relations between people, which he considered a precondition of the development of the personality and of individual freedom. Simmel’s works had a great influence on the subsequent development of bourgeois sociology in Germany (L. von Wiese, W. Sombart, R. Stammler) and in the USA (H. Becker and L. Coser). In Russia, Simmel’s influence was evident in the views of P. B. Struve (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr, soch., 5th ed., vol. l,p.431).


Einleitung in die Moralwissenschaft, 4th ed., vols. 1–2. Aalen, 1964.
Soziologie, 4th ed. Berlin, 1958.
Philosophische Kultur, 3rd ed. Potsdam, 1923.
Lebensanschanung. Munich-Leipzig, 1918.
Zur Philosophie und Kunst. Potsdam, 1922.
Fragmente und Aufsätze. Munich, 1923.
Brüicke und Tür. Stuttgart, 1957.
In Russian translation:
Problemy filosofii istorii. Moscow, 1898.
Religiia. Moscow, 1909.
Sotsial’naia differentsiatsiia. Moscow, 1909.
Konflikt sovremennoi kul’tury. Petrograd, 1923.
Gete. Moscow, 1928.


Istoriia filosofii, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959. Pages 362–64.
Kon, I. S. Pozitivizm v sotsiologii Leningrad, 1964. Pages 106–10.
Gassen, K., and M. Landmann. Buch des Dankes an Georg Simmel. Berlin, 1958.
Georg Simmel, 1858–1918. Columbus (Ohio), 1959.
Weingartner, R. H. Experience and Culture: The Philosophy of Georg Simmel. Middletown (Connecticut), 1962.
Georg Simmel. Edited by L. A. Coser. Englewood Cliffs (New Jersey), 1965.


References in periodicals archive ?
Giants of sociology, like mile Durkheim, Ferdinand Tnnies, and Georg Simmel,worried long ago that the transition from traditional to modern society undermined traditional support structures and left individuals feeling isolated and unhappy.
It explains theories and theorists of sociologyAEs classical age, including [ETH]mile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Thorstein Veblen, George Herbert Mead, and W.
Herbert Frankel and before that Philosophy of Money (1900) by Georg Simmel.
Para dicha problematica nos concentramos en la resignificacion de autores como Georg Simmel, George Herbert Mead, Erving Goffman y, mas recientemente, Nick Crossley.
Auch die Machttheorie von Georg Simmel (1908) steht quer zum partzschen Modell: Simmel stellt fest, dass Uber- und Unterordnung in der Gesellschaft niemals einseitig sind, sondern sich beide gegenseitig bedingen.
The scholarly discourses informing present study encompass a wide range of intellectual endeavours, beginning with the German sociology of the late 19th and early 20th century (Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin), continuing with the arguments and theory-oriented analyses provided by some Anglo-Saxon scholars (Alfred Schutz, Richard Sennett, Peter Brooks, Marshall Berman, Rob Shields).
Orientados pelo trabalho de Georg Simmel, compreendemos sociacao (Vergesellschaftung) como uma relacao social estruturada sobre polarizacoes--objetivacao/subjetivacao, simetria/assimetria, interioridade/exterioridade, mediado/imediato--que, com a sua consequente complexidade, se constitui como engrenagem de processos sociais, reproduzindo padroes (formas) presentes na experiencia coletiva e produzindo, por meio deles, praticas sociais.
Wahrend Figuren wie Ekhof mit der Ideologic des "Verstandesschauspiels" identifqiziert wurden, wurde das Irrationale, Triebhafte, Sinnliche an der Schauspielkunst zunehmend auf Frauen projiziert --ein Prozess, der nach 1900 in der Charakterisierung von Schauspielkunst ais "weiblich" (von Georg Simmel und anderen) mundete (222-23).
Still, elements of his ideas, as Klautke demonstrates, influenced a range of thinkers, including Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung--not to mention French and American anthropologists--even if this influence was seldom acknowledged.
Amberson sets the theoretical foundation for the book with references to Cesare Lombroso, Michel Foucault, Karl Marx and the science of the body; Georg Simmel, Marx Nordau, Walter Benjamin, George Miller Beard, Gustav Le Bon and the sensorial experience of the bodily space in the urban environment; and Henry Bergson, Gilies Deleuze and the conception of time.
28) y, apoyandose en lecturas estimulantes y sugerentes en torno a la ciudad, como por ejemplo en textos de Georg Simmel ("Las grandes urbes y la vida del espiritu") y de Raymond Williams (El campo y la ciudad), de Georges Chabot (Las ciudades), desde luego de Walter Benjamin y sus iluminadores trabajos sobre el Paris de Baudelaire y de los pasajes del arquitecto italiano Aldo Rossi con su concepto de "ciudad analoga" o, mas cercano a su objeto de analisis, los trabajos de Adrian Gorelik sobre "espacio publico y cultura urbana en Buenos Aires".