Heinrich Rickert and Helmuth Plessner on the Question of Validity of Philosophy of Life

Karol Chrobak

The starting point of my paper is a critique of philosophy of life as it has been presented by Heinrich Rickert in his book Die Philosophie des Lebens (1920). Rickert’s critique goes along the line of a dualistic opposition of a subjective and an objective sphere. Life is understood namely, on the one hand, as a subjective experience that by its very nature cannot be conceptualized and, on the other, as an objective natural phenomenon. In the second part of my presentation I focus on a critique that Helmuth Plessner formulated against Rickert’s position as well as I analyze his own proposition of philosophy of life. he crucial question of this part is if the philosophy of life as presented in Die Stufen des Organischen actually avoids the critique posed by Rickert. In his philosophy Plessner follows Dilthey’s hermeneutical method and combines it with a phenomenological approach by Husserl. In result we get a conception that treats life as an autonomous, “third” reality being located in between the subjective and an objective sphere. his solution makes it possible to overcome Rickert’s dualism as well as to propose such a philosophy of life that, irst, is able to meet conceptual requirements of philosophical thinking and, second, to address life directly in its variability and dynamism.


Keywords: Heinrich Rickert · Helmuth Plessner · philosophy of life · intuitionism · biologism · philosophical anthropology

Karol Chrobak – Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Institute of Philosophy at the Faculty of Humanities at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW). Th e interests of the author focus on philosophical anthropology, philosophy of culture and social philosophy. The habilitation that is being prepared concerns the anthropological foundation of philosophy of culture. Besides he works on polish philosophy of the interwar period. He is the author of the monograph dedicated to the philosophy of Leon Chwistek (Niejedna rzeczywistość, Kraków 2004).   »  

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