Wilhelm Windelband, prior to 1905
|Died||22 October 1915 (aged 67)|
|Alma mater||University of Jena|
University of Berlin
University of Göttingen (Dr. phil., 1870)
|School||Neo-Kantianism (Baden School)|
|Thesis||Die Lehren vom Zufall (The Theories of Chance) (1870)|
|Doctoral advisor||Hermann Lotze|
|Doctoral students||Heinrich Rickert|
|Metaphysics, philosophical logic|
|The nomothetic–idiographic distinction|
Wilhelm Windelband (//; German: [ˈvɪndl̩bant]; 11 May 1848 – 22 October 1915) was a German philosopher of the Baden School.
Windelband was born the son of a Prussian official in Potsdam. He studied at Jena, Berlin, and Göttingen.
Windelband is now mainly remembered for the terms nomothetic and idiographic, which he introduced. These have currency in psychology and other areas, though not necessarily in line with his original meanings. Windelband was a neo-Kantian who argued against other contemporary neo-Kantians, maintaining that "to understand Kant rightly means to go beyond him". Against his positivist contemporaries, Windelband argued that philosophy should engage in humanistic dialogue with the natural sciences rather than uncritically appropriating its methodologies. His interests in psychology and cultural sciences represented an opposition to psychologism and historicism schools by a critical philosophic system.
Windelband relied in his effort to reach beyond Kant on such philosophers as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Johann Friedrich Herbart and Hermann Lotze. Closely associated with Windelband was Heinrich Rickert. Windelband's disciples were not only noted philosophers, but sociologists like Max Weber and theologians like Ernst Troeltsch and Albert Schweitzer.
The following works by Windelband are available in English translations: