Ernst Laas

Ernst Laas (June 16, 1837, Fürstenwalde, Brandenburg, Prussia – July 25, 1885, Straßburg, Germany (now Strasbourg, France)) was a German positivist philosopher.


He was born at Fürstenwalde. He studied theology and philosophy under Friedrich Adolf Trendelenburg at Berlin, and eventually became a professor of philosophy at the University of Strasbourg (1872).[1] In his Kants Analogien der Erfahrung ("Kant's Analogies of Experiences", 1876) he keenly criticized Immanuel Kant's transcendentalism, and in his chief work Idealismus und Positivismus ("Idealism and Positivism", 1879–1884, 3 volumes), he drew a clear contrast between Platonism, from which he derived transcendentalism, and positivism, of which he considered Protagoras the founder. Laas in reality was a disciple of David Hume. Throughout his philosophy he endeavours to connect metaphysics with ethics and the theory of education.[2][3]


His chief educational works were Der deutsche Aufsatz in den ersten Gymnasialklassen (1868), and Der deutsche Unterricht auf höhern Lehranstalten (1872; 2nd ed. 1886). He contributed largely to the Vierteljahrsschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie (1880–82); the Literarischer Nachlass, a posthumous collection, was published at Vienna (1887).[4]


  1. Laas, Ernst Eisler: Philosophen-Lexikon
  2. Chisholm 1911, pp. 1-2.
  3. Laas, Ernst In: Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB). Band 13, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1982, ISBN 3-428-00194-X, S. 359 f.
  4. Chisholm 1911, p. 2.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Laas, Ernst". Encyclopædia Britannica. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–2. This work in turn cites:
    • Hanisch, Der Positivismus von Ernst Laas (1902)
    • Gjurits, Die Erkenntnistheorie des Ernst Laas (1903)
    • Falckenberg, Hist. of Mod. Philos. (Eng. trans., 1895)
  • Works by or about Ernst Laas in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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