Lange, Friedrich Albert

Lange, Friedrich Albert

(frē`drĭkh äl`bĕrt läng`ə), 1828–75, German neo-Kantian philosopher. He accepted the materialistic method of investigating phenomena but rejected its concept of nature. In his Geschichte des Materialismus und Kritik seiner Bedeutung in der Gegenwart (1866; tr. A History of Materialism, 3d ed. 1950), Lange argued that some truths about nature are unknowable because their verification would involve moving beyond the sphere of any possible human experience. He advocated limiting the categories used in science to those necessary for the mechanistic explanation of nature. He regarded consciousness as subjective experience, not merely the effect of matter.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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