Keyserling, Hermann Alexander

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Keyserling, Hermann Alexander


Born July 20, 1880, in Konno, present-day Valmiera Raion, Latvian SSR; died Apr. 26, 1946, in Innsbruck. German philosopher and writer.

Keyserling studied the natural sciences in various European universities between 1900 and 1910. He traveled widely and took a trip around the world in 1911 and 1912. In his best-known work, The Travel Diary of a Philosopher (1919), Keyserling strove to intuitively apprehend the diverse forms of culture and life of différent peoples, proceeding from the idea of “self-realization in travel through the world.” Keyserling’s irrationalist philosophy is akin to Lebensphilosophie in its conception of philosophy as “wisdom,” in its idea of an intuitive understanding of the world analogous to artistic creativity, and in its opposition of intellect to soul. He sought through the study of ancient philosophy, especially Eastern (ancient Indian and Chinese) wisdom, a “new synthesis of spirit and soul,” a return to the integrity of being that “European man” had lost as a result of the predominance of reason. In 1920 he founded the School of Wisdom and the Society of Free Philosophy in Darmstadt. The Keyserling Society, established in Wiesbaden in 1947, has published the journal Terra Nova since 1963.


Die gesammelten Werkein 6Bd, vol. 1. Darmstadt-Baden-Baden, 1956.
Das Gefiige der Welt. Munich, 1906.
Philosophie als Kunst 2nd ed. Darmstadt, 1922.
Das Reisetagebuch eines Philosophen, 7th ed., vols. 1–2. Darmstadt, 1923.
Menschen als Sinnbilder. Darmstadt, 1926.
Kritik des Denkens. Innsbruck, 1948.


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