Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/139

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By Professor R. M. WENLEY



LOTZE'S (1817-81) career as an author opened in 1841, and his psychological contributions relevant to the present theme came to an end practically in 1852. Thereafter, save for a few articles,[1] he devoted himself to the elaboration of his highly significant philosophical system. He therefore antedated the work of Helmholtz. A prominent figure in the bitter controversy over vitalism and materialism (1817-60), he suffered grave misunderstanding; nevertheless, thanks to lapse of time, his psychological position admits of no doubt.

The son of a physician, Lotze entered the University of Leipzig to prepare for the paternal profession. Under the influence of Weisse he became interested in philosophy, and, upon graduation, qualified as Docent in both the medical and philosophical faculties. Till 1852 the studies proper to the former predominated, philosophy claimed him later, and his system represents more symptomatically than any other the stress resultant upon the cross-currents of modern thought. It is meaningful that he occupied successively Herbart's chair at Göttingen and Hegel's at Berlin.

In 1842 he took a decided stand, or even lead, in the vitalist controversy,[2] and also published his "General Pathology and Therapeutics as Mechanical Sciences." His "General Physiology of the Corporeal Life "appeared in 1851 and, in the next year, the work of importance for us now—"Medical Psychology, or Physiology of the Soul." Viewed in the perspective of cultural development, especially in Germany, his position seems to me quite evident. Here is his own statement of it:

We have two kinds of scientific knowledge. We know, on the one hand, nature, the essence of the object studied; on the other hand, we know only the external relations that are possible between it and other objects. In the first kind of knowledge, there is a possible question of a cognitio rei only when our intelligence apprehends an object, not simply under the form of external being, but in an intuition so immediate that we are able, by our senses and ideas, to
  1. Cf. "Formation de la notion d'espace" in Revue Philosophique, Vol. IV., pp. 345 ff.; appendix to Stumpf's "Ueber den psychologischen Ursprung d. Raumvorstellung" (1873); "Metaphysik," Bk. II., Chap. IV.; "Grundzuge d. Psychologie" (posthumous).
  2. Leben u. Lebenskraft, in Wagner's "Handwörterbuch," 1842.