Hans Vaihinger — was a Neo-Kantian philosopher, who made important contributions to epistemology, philosophy of science and mathematics, and to the historiography of philosophy. As a systematic philosopher, Vaihinger is best remembered as the father of the philosophical theory of fictionalism, which he sets out in his magnum opus Die Philosophie des Als Ob PAO , which translates to The Philosophy of As-If. In , Vaihinger completed his dissertation under the supervision of the logician Christoph von Sigwart with a prize-winning essay, entitled Recent Theories of Consciousness according to their Metaphysical Foundation and their Significance for Psychology. Later in the same year, he reported to Leipzig for compulsory military service, but was excused due to his poor eyesight. Free of his military duties, Vaihinger had the opportunity to attend lectures at the University from, among others, the founder of empirical psychology Wilhelm Wundt. It was during this time that Vaihinger first encountered the work of a figure who, next to Kant, would be his most important and lasting philosophical influence, the Neo-Kantian Friedrich Lange.
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Logical contradictions were simply disregarded. Vaihinger denied that his philosophy was a form of skepticism. Their acceptance is justified as nonrational solutions to problems that have no rational answers. Philosophy of as if. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Hans Vaihinger. See as…. Immanuel Kant , German philosopher whose comprehensive and systematic work in epistemology the theory of knowledge , ethics, and aesthetics greatly influenced all subsequent philosophy, especially the various schools of Kantianism and idealism.
Skepticism , in Western philosophy, the attitude of doubting knowledge claims set forth in various areas. Skeptics have challenged the adequacy or reliability of these claims by asking what principles they are based upon or what they actually establish. They have questioned whether some such claims really are,…. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! Email address. By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox.
The Philosophy of as If
He then became a tutor and later a philosophy professor at the University of Strasbourg , before moving in to the University of Halle , where from he was a full professor. In Die Philosophie des Als Ob , Vaihinger argued that human beings can never really know the underlying reality of the world, and that as a result we construct systems of thought and then assume that these match reality: we behave "as if" the world matches our models. In particular, he used examples from the physical sciences, such as protons , electrons , and electromagnetic waves. None of these phenomena has been observed directly, but science pretends that they exist, and uses observations made on these assumptions to create new and better constructs. Vaihinger acknowledged several precursors, especially Kant,  : pp vii-ix, xxiii-xlviii but had been unaware of Jeremy Bentham 's Theory of Fictions until it was brought to his attention by his translator, C. Ogden, at the very end of his life. Fictions in this sense, however, Vaihinger considers to be only "half-fictions or semi-fictions".
Philosophy of as if
Logical contradictions were simply disregarded. Vaihinger denied that his philosophy was a form of skepticism. Their acceptance is justified as nonrational solutions to problems that have no rational answers. Philosophy of as if. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback.