Wilhelm Windelband

Wilhelm Windelband

Wilhelm Windelband
Wilhelm Windelband, prior to 1905
Born May 11, 1848 (1848-05-11)
Potsdam, Brandenburg, Prussia
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Heidelberg, Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany
Era 19th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Neo-Kantianism
Main interests
Metaphysics, mathematics
Notable ideas
the nomotheticidiographic distinction

Wilhelm Windelband (May 11, 1848 – October 22, 1915) was a German philosopher of the Baden School.

His grave in Heidelberg

Windelband is now mainly remembered for the terms nomothetic and idiographic, which he introduced. These have currency in psychology and other areas, though not necessarily in line with his original meanings. Windelband was a neo-Kantian who protested other neo-Kantians of his time and maintained that "to understand Kant rightly means to go beyond him". Against his positivist contemporaries, Windelband argued that philosophy should engage in humanistic dialogue with the natural sciences rather than uncritically appropriating its methodologies. His interests in psychology and cultural sciences represented an opposition to psychologism and historicism schools by a critical philosophic system.

Windelband relied in his effort to reach beyond Kant on such philosophers as Johann Friedrich Herbart and Hermann Lotze. Closely associated with Windelband was Heinrich Rickert. Windelband's disciples were not only noted philosophers, but sociologists like Max Weber and theologians like Ernst Troeltsch and Albert Schweitzer.


The following works by Windelband are available in English translations:

  • History of Philosophy (1893) (two volumes) reprinted 1901, 1938 and 1979 by Macmillan
  • History of Ancient Philosophy (1899)
  • An Introduction to Philosophy (1895)
  • Theories in Logic (1912)
  • "History and Natural Science" (J. T. Lamiell, transl.). Theory and Psychology 8, 1998, 6–22.

See also

Further reading

External links

  • A History of Philosophy—With especial reference to the formation and development of its problems and conceptions (1901) on archive.org
  • An Introduction to Philosophy on archive.org