Ernst Laas

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Laas during his time in Strasbourg

Ernst Laas (June 16, 1837 – July 25, 1885) was a German positivist philosopher.


Laas was born in Fürstenwalde, Brandenburg, Prussia. He studied theology and philosophy under Friedrich Adolf Trendelenburg at the University of Berlin. In 1859, he completed a doctorate at Berlin with a thesis titled Das Moral-Prinzip des Aristoteles.

He became a professor of philosophy at the University of Strasbourg in 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]

He died in Straßburg, Germany (now Strasbourg, France).


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.
  3. ^ Laas, Ernst. In: Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB). Band 13, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1982, ISBN 3-428-00194-X, p. 359ff.
  4. ^ Chisholm 1911, p. 2.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Laas, Ernst". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 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)