Harald Høffding

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Harald Høffding
Harald Hoffding c 1915.jpg
Harald Høffding c. 1915
Born11 March 1843
Died2 July 1931

Harald Høffding (11 March 1843 – 2 July 1931) was a Danish philosopher and theologian.

Philosopher person with an extensive knowledge of philosophy

A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy, which involves rational inquiry into areas that are outside either theology or science. The term "philosopher" comes from the Ancient Greek, φιλόσοφος (philosophos), meaning "lover of wisdom". The coining of the term has been attributed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.



Born and educated in Copenhagen, he became a schoolmaster, and ultimately in 1883 a professor at the University of Copenhagen. He was strongly influenced by Søren Kierkegaard in his early development, but later became a positivist, retaining and combining with it the spirit and method of practical psychology and the critical school. The physicist Niels Bohr studied philosophy from and became a friend of Høffding. The philosopher and author Ágúst H. Bjarnason was a student of Høffding.

Copenhagen Capital of Denmark

Copenhagen is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. As of July 2018, the city has a population of 777,218. It forms the core of the wider urban area of Copenhagen and the Copenhagen metropolitan area. Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand; another small portion of the city is located on Amager, and is separated from Malmö, Sweden, by the strait of Øresund. The Øresund Bridge connects the two cities by rail and road.

University of Copenhagen public research university in Copenhagen, Denmark

The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) is the oldest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479 as a studium generale, it is the second oldest institution for higher education in Scandinavia after Uppsala University (1477). The university has 23,473 undergraduate students, 17,398 postgraduate students, 2,968 doctoral students and over 9,000 employees. The university has four campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the headquarters located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has several thousands of foreign students, about half of whom come from Nordic countries.

Søren Kierkegaard Danish philosopher and theologian, precursor of Existentialism

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He wrote critical texts on organized religion, Christendom, morality, ethics, psychology, and the philosophy of religion, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and parables. Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a "single individual", giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment. He was against literary critics who defined idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, and thought that Swedenborg, Hegel, Fichte, Schelling, Schlegel and Hans Christian Andersen were all "understood" far too quickly by "scholars".

Høffding's great-nephew was the statistician Wassily Hoeffding.

Wassily Hoeffding was a Finnish statistician and probabilist. Hoeffding was one of the founders of nonparametric statistics, in which Hoeffding contributed the idea and basic results on U-statistics.

Høffding died in Copenhagen.


His best-known work is perhaps his Den nyere Filosofis Historie (1894), translated into English from the German edition (1895) by B.E. Meyer as History of Modern Philosophy (2 vols., 1900), a work intended by him to supplement and correct that of Hans Brøchner, to whom it is dedicated. His Psychology, the Problems of Philosophy (1905) and Philosophy of Religion (1906) also have appeared in English.

Among Høffding's other writings, most of which have been translated into German, are: Den engelske Filosofi i vor Tid (1874); Etik (1876); Psychologi i Omrids paa Grundlag af Erfaring (ed. 1892); Psykologiske Undersøgelser (1889); Charles Darwin (1889); Kontinuiteten i Kants filosofiske Udviklingsgang (1893); Det psykologiske Grundlag for logiske Domme (1899); Rousseau und seine Philosophie (1901); Mindre Arbejder (1899).

Charles Darwin British naturalist, author of "On the origin of species, by means of natural selection"

Charles Robert Darwin, was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. His proposition that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors is now widely accepted, and considered a foundational concept in science. In a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, he introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.

Selected publications


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