Philosophy of as if, the system espoused by Hans Vaihinger in his major philosophical work Die Philosophie des Als Ob (; The Philosophy of “As If”), which. The Philosophy of ‘as If ‘ has 32 ratings and 4 reviews. Elena said: Vaihinger provides here, I think, the clearest exposition of the thread that runs fr. ‘As if’ r\ S.l’stcut of tlrc :rl, Itr’:r.’ti.’ liietiotts.,rl’ I\’l;rnkin.l lly. H . VAIHINGER. ‘fr:rrrslrk’d lry. C. K. OGDEN. NEW YORK. HARCOURT, BRACIi.

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He then became a tutor and philosophyy a philosophy professor at the University of Strasbourgbefore moving in to the University of Hallewhere from he was a full professor. In Die Philosophie des Als ObVaihinger argued that human beings can never really know the underlying reality of the world, and that as a result we construct systems of thought and then assume that these match reality: In particular, he used examples from the physical sciences, such as protonselectronsand electromagnetic waves.

None of these phenomena has been observed directly, but science vaihingee that they exist, and uses observations made on these assumptions to create new and better constructs.

Philosophy of as if

Vaihinger acknowledged several precursors, especially Kant, [3]: Ogden, at the very end of his life. Hanx in this sense, however, Vaihinger considers to be only “half-fictions or semi-fictions”.

Rather, “real fictions” are those that “are not only in contradiction with reality but self-contradictory in themselves; the concept of the atom, for example, or the ‘Ding an sich’. Thought pholosophy with slight initial deviations from reality half-fictionsand, becoming bolder and bolder, ends by operating with constructs that are not only opposed to the facts but are self-contradictory.


Hans Vaihinger – Wikipedia

This philosophy, though, is wider than just science. One can never be sure that the world will still exist tomorrow, but we usually assume that it does. Alfred Adlerthe founder of Individual Psychology, vaiginger profoundly influenced by Vaihinger’s theory of useful fictions, incorporating the idea of psychological fictions into his personality construct of a fictional final goal.

Kelly credited Vaihinger with influencing his theory, especially the idea that our constructions are better viewed as useful hypotheses rather than representations of objective reality. Vaihinger began to develop a system of philosophy he called the “philosophy of ‘as if’ “.

The Philosophy of ‘as If’: A System of the Theoretical, Practical and Religious Fictions of Mankind

In it he offered a system of thought in which God and reality might best be represented as paradigms. Frank Kermode ‘s The Sense of an Ending was an early mention of Vaihinger as a useful methodologist of narrativity.

Later, James Hillman developed both Vaihinger and Adler’s work with psychological fictions into a core theme of his work Healing Fiction in which he makes one of his more accessible cases for identifying the tendency to literalize, rather than “see through our meanings”, with neurosis and madness. During his own lifetime Vaihinger’s works were generally well received both in Germany and abroad, especially in America.


When, inhis Philosophy of As If was published in English, the original book was already in its sixth edition. However, the American journalist Mencken was scathing in his criticism of the book, which he dismissed as an unimportant “foot-note to all existing systems”. After his death, and the intellectual sea change that followed the Second World War, Vaihinger’s vaihinged received little attention from philosophers.

However, the interest of literary scholars has continued modestly with the publication of some recent “Vaihinger-inflected critical literature”. From Off, the free encyclopedia. HalleProvince of Saxony.

Spirwhich I started immediately to study diligently.

Philosophy of as if | philosophy |

The book produced immediately a great impression. The Philosophy of ‘As if’: Bentham’s Theory of Fictions. The chief defect of Vaihinger’s monumental work was its failure to lay stress on the linguistic factor in the creation of fictions.

Journal of Individual Psychology. The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction with a New Epilogue. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 1: Philosophical Essays on Modelling and Idealisation”. Retrieved from ” https: Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. This page was last edited on 10 Septemberat By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.