Karl Vogt

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Vogt, Karl


Born July 5, 1817, in Giessen; died May 5, 1895, in Geneva. German natural scientist and philosopher; one of the chief proponents of vulgar materialism.

Vogt fought in the revolution of 1848 and was a member of the Frankfurt National Assembly; he was sentenced to death in absentia and lived in emigration in Switzerland for the rest of his life. He became a professor at the University of Geneva in 1852.

Vogt’s activity contributed to popular acceptance of Darwinism, atheism, and a materialist approach to the natural sciences. Vogt identified consciousness with matter and held that the brain produces thought in the same way that the liver produces bile. His works, translated into many European languages, influenced the development of materialism and atheism in Russia during the 1860’s (as in the case of D. Pisarev). Vogt was hostile toward the working-class movement and socialism. K. Marx, in his Mr. Vogt, was sharply critical of the man as well as of his political position (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 14, pp. 395–691).


Köhlerglaube und Wissenschaft, 4th ed. Giessen, 1856.
Ausmeinem Leben. Stuttgart, 1896.
In Russian translation:
Chelovek i ego mesto v prirode, vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1863–65.
Estestvennaia istoriia mirozdaniia. Moscow, 1863.
Fiziologicheskie pis’ma, 2nd ed., fascs. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1867.


Vogt, W. La Vie d’un homme: Carl Vogt. Paris, 1896.