Georg Simmel  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Georg Simmel (1 March 1858 – 26 September 1918) was a German sociologist, philosopher, and critic.

Simmel was one of the first generation of German sociologists: his neo-Kantian approach laid the foundations for sociological antipositivism, asking 'What is society?' in a direct allusion to Kant's question 'What is nature?', presenting pioneering analyses of social individuality and fragmentation. For Simmel, culture referred to "the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history". Simmel discussed social and cultural phenomena in terms of "forms" and "contents" with a transient relationship; form becoming content, and vice versa, dependent on the context. In this sense he was a forerunner to structuralist styles of reasoning in the social sciences. With his work on the metropolis, Simmel was a precursor of urban sociology, symbolic interactionism and social network analysis.

An acquaintance of Max Weber, Simmel wrote on the topic of personal character in a manner reminiscent of the sociological 'ideal type'. He broadly rejected academic standards, however, philosophically covering topics such as emotion and romantic love. Both Simmel and Weber's nonpositivist theory would inform the eclectic critical theory of the Frankfurt School.

Simmel's most famous works today are The Problems of the Philosophy of History (1892), The Philosophy of Money (1900), The Metropolis and Mental Life (1903), Soziologie (1908, inc. The Stranger, The Social Boundary, The Sociology of the Senses, The Sociology of Space, and On The Spatial Projections of Social Forms), and Fundamental Questions of Sociology (1917). He also wrote extensively on the philosophy of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, as well on art, most notably his book Rembrandt: An Essay in the Philosophy of Art (1916).

Works

Simmel´s major monographic works include, in chronological order:

  • Über sociale Differenzierung, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1890 [On Social Differentiation]
  • Einleitung in die Moralwissenschaft, 2 vols, Berlin: Hertz, 1892–3 [Introduction to the Science of Ethics]
  • Die Probleme der Geschichtphilosophie, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1892, 2nd edn 1905 [The Problems of the Philosophy of History]
  • Philosophie des Geldes, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1900, 2nd edn 1907 [The Philosophy of Money]
  • Die Grosstädte und das Geistesleben, Dresden: Petermann, 1903 [The Metropolis and Mental Life]
  • Kant, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1904, 6th edn 1924
  • Philosophie der Mode, Berlin: Pan-Verlag, 1905
  • Kant und Goethe, Berlin: Marquardt, 1906
  • Die Religion, Frankfurt am Main: Rütten & Loening, 1906, 2nd edn 1912
  • Schopenhauer und Nietzsche, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1907
  • Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, University of Illinois Press, 1991, Template:ISBN
  • Soziologie, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1908 [Sociology : inquiries into the construction of social forms]
  • Hauptprobleme der Philosophie, Leipzig: Göschen, 1910
  • Philosophische Kultur, Leipzig: Kröner, 1911, 2nd edn 1919
  • Goethe, Leipzig: Klinkhardt, 1913
  • Rembrandt, Leipzig: Wolff, 1916
  • Grundfragen der Soziologie, Berlin: Göschen, 1917 [Fundamental Questions of Sociology]
  • Lebensanschauung, München: Duncker & Humblot, 1918 [The View of Life]
  • Zur Philosophie der Kunst, Potsdam: Kiepenheur, 1922
  • Fragmente und Aufsäze aus dem Nachlass, ed G Kantorowicz, München: Drei Masken Verlag, 1923
  • Brücke und Tür, ed M Landmann & M Susman, Stuttgart: Koehler, 1957
Other works
  • Rom, Ein ästhetische Analyse published in the Viennese weekly paper in Die Zeit, Wiener Wochenschrift für Politik, Vollwirtschaft Wissenschaft und Kunst, on May 28, 1898
  • Florenz published in the Berliner magazine Der Tag on 2 March 1906
  • Venedig published in the magazine from Munich Der Kunstwart, Halbmonatsschau über Dichtung, Theater, Musik, bildende und angewandte Kunst. in June 1907

See also





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