Herbert Spiegelberg

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Herbert Spiegelberg
BornMay 18, 1904 (1904-05-18)
DiedSeptember 6, 1990 (1990-09-07) (aged 86)
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionContinental philosophy
Main interests
Contemporary continental philosophy, history of ideas, ethics, phenomenological psychology
  • Growth of phenomenology in North America in second half of 20th century

Herbert Spiegelberg (May 18, 1904 – September 6, 1990) was an American philosopher who played a prominent role in the advancement of phenomenogical philosophy in the United States.


Spiegelberg was born in Strasbourg, in the Alsatian region of northeastern France. He studied at the universities of Heidelberg, Freiburg, and Munich, where he encountered Edmund Husserl and many others in the vanguard of the European phenomenological movement. He received his Ph.D. in 1928 from the University of Munich. His doctoral dissertation was written under the direction of the phenomenologist Alexander Pfänder and was titled Gesetz und Sittengesetz (Law and Morality).

In 1937 Spiegelberg left the continent and studied for a year in England before emigrating to the United States. In the U. S., he taught first at Swarthmore College and then at Lawrence University, which later awarded him an honorary doctoral degree.

In 1953-54 and 1955-56 he received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation for the preparation of the first edition of his landmark historical survey, The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction.

In 1963, he relocated to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and remained there until his retirement as Emeritus Professor in 1971. He also served as visiting professor at the universities of Michigan and Southern California and as Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Munich.

Spiegelberg conducted five influential workshops in phenomenology, during the summers of 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, and 1972. The first workshop was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation and the second by a grant from the Monsanto Company.

In 1981, Washington University established a series of lectures in phenomenology in his honor.[1] Herbert Spiegelberg died of leukemia, at the age of 86, at his home in St. Louis, Missouri. His collected papers are available in the archives of the Washington University Libraries.


Spiegelberg played a major role in the development of interest in phenomenology in America.

Major works[edit]


  • The Socratic enigma; a collection of testimonies through twenty-four centuries. edited, with an introduction by Herbert Spiegelberg, in collaboration with Bayard Quincy Morgan. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. 1964.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction. The Hague: Nijhoff. 1960. (2 vols)
  • 2nd edition. The Hague: Nijhoff. 1965. (2 vols)
  • 3rd edition. with the collaboration of Karl Schuhmann. The Hague: Nijhoff. 1982.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link) 768 pages. ISBN 90-247-2535-6
  • Phenomenology in psychology and psychiatry; a historical introduction. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. 1972. 411 pages. ISBN 0-8101-0357-5
  • Doing Phenomenology: Essays On And In Phenomenology. The Hague: Nijhoff. 1975. 290 pages. ISBN 90-247-1725-6
  • The Context Of The Phenomenological Movement. The Hague: Nijhoff. 1981. 239 pages.
  • Steppingstones Toward an Ethics for Fellow Existers: Essays 1944-1983. The Hague: Nijhoff. 1986. 337 pages. ISBN 90-247-2963-7


Secondary sources[edit]


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