Heinrich Rickert

Henry John Rickert ( born May 25, 1863 in Gdansk, † July 25, 1936 in Heidelberg ) was a German philosopher and university professor, representatives of Neo-Kantianism and the so-called philosophy of value. He is a major representative of the Southwest German school in neo-Kantianism.


Heinrich Rickert was the son of the editor and politician Heinrich Rickert. He first received private lessons in Gdansk and Berlin, and then attended high school " to horror monastery " in Berlin. He left school before graduating from high school and heard in the years 1884 to 1885 at the Friedrich- Wilhelms-Universität Berlin lectures among others, Herman Grimm ( Art History), Heinrich von Treitschke ( story), Emil Du Bois- Reymond ( physiology ), Wilhelm Scherer ( poetics ) and Friedrich Paulsen ( philosophy). Paulsen's lectures provided the impetus for that Rickert decided for philosophy.

Beginning in 1885 he studied, after he had made ​​up his high school diploma, at the Kaiser -Wilhelms- University of Strasbourg philosophy especially in Wilhelm diaper band, also the minor subjects economics ( at Georg Friedrich Knapp and Lujo Brentano ) and Physiology ( with Friedrich Goltz ).

In 1886, he met privately in Zurich the philosopher Richard Avenarius know. 1888 Rickert was phil with the theme " On the Doctrine of the definition of" Dr. Wilhelm diaper band. doctorate. After he was first returned in 1888 to Berlin, he moved in 1889 for health reasons to Freiburg im Breisgau.

He habilitated in 1891 at Alois Riehl with the writing "the object of knowledge " and then looked at the Albert- Ludwigs- University of Freiburg, first as a lecturer and from 1894 as ao Professor of Philosophy. In 1896 he became full professor in Freiburg. In 1915, Martin Heidegger in his habilitation with a thesis on Duns Scotus, he has reportedly not even read.

1915 Rickert received a professorship at the Ruprecht -Karls- University of Heidelberg as successor to Wilhelm diaper band. His successor in Freiburg was Edmund Husserl. His colleagues in Heidelberg at the time were Hans Driesch, Karl Jaspers, and Heinrich Maier. Rickert was among the opponents of the phenomenology ( Rickert in Freiburg successor Edmund Husserl, Heidegger ), life philosophy ( Henri Bergson ) and existentialism (Karl Jaspers ). In 1932 he became Professor Emeritus.

Rickert's mother accompanied him to his lectures, his private secretary August Faust had the portly professor help on catheter.

Rickert students are Broder Christiansen (1869-1958), Emil Lask (1875-1915), Günter Ralfs ( 1899-1960 ). The two visual artist Franz Rickert ( Goldsmith, 1904-1991 ) and Arnold Rickert (sculptor, 1889-1976 ) are his sons.


The starting point is with Kant objective science with true knowledge both in nature as well as in cultural studies. Rickert replaced diaper bands absolute contrast between nomothetic and idiographic or scientific - historical process by a relative difference between generalizing and individualizing method. In epistemology, he represented a transcendental idealism, which is consistent with the empirical realism of the individual sciences, and the transcendent Shall not see the being of a truth value as an object of knowledge. " The Logical does not exist, but it is true. " The recognition of obligation gives the judgment filing their truth. Judging is always judging and thus values.

The object of philosophy is the whole of the world in the sense of an idea that is to be realized ( " Weltallswissenschaft "). The philosophy as " all-sided theory of the entire cultural life " developed in an objective manner, a " system of values" with regard to the historical contingency of the human being. By following the history of historicism is to be overcome. The Wertheorie aims to overcome Kant's moralism, but maintain the critical principle. Philosophy is not mere " belief " because it is free of random interests. A content filling this cultural theory is Rickert succeeded only in approach.

Rickert's interpretation of Fichte's state socialism (1922 ) moved him between liberalism and communism. This approach was extended by the Nazis August fist after 1933.


  • Knight's Cross of the Order of Zähringerplatz lion in 1906
  • Privy Councilor in 1910
  • Member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences in 1916
  • Corresponding Member of the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences in 1917
  • Knight's Cross of the Order of the First Berthold in 1918
  • Dr. jur. H.C. of laws, regulations and Political Science Faculty of the University of Königsberg in 1924
  • Dr. H.C. of Cultural Studies at the Technical University in Dresden in 1928
  • Member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome in 1931
  • Goethe Medal for Art and Science by the Reich President in 1933
  • Dr. H.C. Theological Faculty of the University of Heidelberg on his 70th birthday in 1933
  • Corresponding member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1934


  • On the Doctrine of the definition, Tübingen 1888
  • The object of knowledge: a contribution to the problem of philosophical transcendence, Freiburg 1892
  • The limits of scientific concept formation, a logical introduction to the historical sciences, Freiburg 1896 Online Archive, 5th ed Tübingen 1929 (reprint Hildesheim 2007)
  • Culture and natural science, Freiburg 1899 online archives; ( Digitized ), reprints: Stuttgart 1986 and Berlin 2013
  • Wilhelm diaper band, Tübingen 1915
  • The philosophy of life, Tübingen 1920, online archives
  • The philosophical foundations of socialism Fichte, in: Logos XI (1922 /23), pp. 148-180
  • About the world of experience, Munich 1927
  • The logic of the predicate and the problem of ontology, Heidelberg 1930
  • The Heidelberg tradition in German philosophy, Tübingen 1931
  • Philosophical Essays, edited by Rainer A. Bast, Tübingen 1999