Hermann Lotze: Innovative philosopher in the context of his time
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Hermann Lotze (1817–81) distinguished himself as both a professor of medicine and of philosophy at the University of Göttingen, where he spent most of his career. A creative and famously wide-ranging thinker (with publications that include a Latin translation of the Antigone), Lotze pioneered scientifically oriented psychology and was instrumental in the emergence of sociology as a discipline. His chief legacy, however, is the formative influence that his ideas exerted on leading philosophical movements of the twentieth century—from British Idealism, neo-Kantianism and life philosophy (Lebensphilosophie) to pragmatism, phenomenology and analytic philosophy. Lotze’s reputation declined precipitately after World War I, however, with the ascendancy of the logical positivist, logical empiricist and linguistic trends in analytic philosophy, and competing currents of continental movement from Heideggerian and existentialist philosophies to structuralist and post-structuralist thought.
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