Eugen Dühring

AZL flag holder TransparentEugen Karl Dühring (12th January 1833, Berlin – 21st September 1921, Nowawes in modern-day Potsdam-Babelsberg) was a German philosopher, economist, socialist and strong critic of Marxism. Dühring was born in January 1833 in Berlin, Germany. After a legal education he practised at Berlin as a lawyer until 1859. A weakness of the eyes, ending in total blindness, occasioned his taking up the studies with which his name is now connected. In 1864 Dühring became docent of the University of Berlin, but, in consequence of a quarrel with the professoriate, was deprived of his licence to teach in 1874. Among his works are Kapital und Arbeit (1865), Kursus der National und Sozialokonomie (1873) and Die Judenfrage als Frage der Racenschaedlichkeit (1881, The Parties and the Jewish Question). He published his autobiography in 1882 under the title Sache, Leben und Feinde; the mention of Feinde (enemies) is characteristic. Dühring’s philosophy claims to be emphatically the philosophy of reality. He is passionate in his denunciation of everything which, like mysticism, tries to veil reality. Dühring’s economic views are said to derive largely from those of Friedrich List’s theory of “national economics”. List asserted that economists should realise that since the human race is divided into independent states, “a nation would act unwisely to endeavour to promote the welfare of the whole human race at the expense of its particular strength, welfare, and independence. It is a dictate of the law of self-preservation to make its particular advancement in power and strength the first principles of its policy”. On other matters – particularly their attitude to Jews – the two men held very different opinions. Dühring’s attacked capitalism, Marxism, organized Christianity and Judaism. Thus Theodor Herzl used the writings of the German social scientist Dr. Eugen Dühring in the 1890s as the genealogy of modern, ‘racistanti-semitism in Germany and Austria and continued to assert this over and over in his diaries and correspondence: “I will fight anti-Semitism in the place it originated – in Germany and in Austria,” As to Dühring, his patriotism was fervent, but narrow and exclusive. He idolized Frederick the Great and quite rightfully denounced the Jews but also dismissed Goethe as “cosmopolitan”.

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