HEINEMANN, FRITZ


HEINEMANN, FRITZ (1889–1970), German philosopher. Born in Lueneburg, he was a student of Hermann *Cohen and Paul Natorp. He became a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Frankfurt on the Main in 1922 and served as professor there from 1930 to 1933. He was then forced to leave Germany, and taught philosophy at Oxford. His most important earlier works are Der Aufbau von Kants Kritik der reinen Vernunft und das Problem der Zeit (1913), Plotinus (1921), and Titian (1928). Of particular importance was his Neue Wegeder Philosophie: Geist, Leben, Existenz (1929). In it Heinemann presented the first summary of the development of the philosophical schools, including existentialism, which became prominent after World War I. When he left Germany, he wrote Odysseus, oder die Zukunft der Philosophie (1939), and in the same year his book on the foundation of aesthetics appeared. This was followed by David Hume, the Man and his Science of Man (1940) and Existentialism and the Modern Predicament (1953). In Odysseus Heinemann developed a program for present-day philosophy. Contemporary philosophers, he argues, are being tested by experiences unique in the history of mankind. The philosopher has become an Odysseus. Heinemann demands of philosophers that they take advantage of these trials in order to enlarge the range and the tasks of philosophy. Hitherto philosophy has looked backward; now it must look forward. "We are the pioneers of the pioneers." In 1959 Heinemann edited Jenseits des Existentialismus (1957) and Die Philosophie im 20. Jahrhundert (1959), an encyclopaedic survey of contemporary philosophy for which he wrote some of the main articles. Heinemann holds that the various philosophical systems constitute "alternatives," not in the sense that the one negates the other but rather that it complements the other; they are different perspectives of the one truth which is not given to man directly. In remembrance the city of Lueneburg founded the Heinemann Archive in 1972.

[Samuel Hugo Bergman]


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