1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Laas, Ernst

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LAAS, ERNST (1837-1885), German philosopher, was born on the 16th of June 1837 at Fürstenwalde. He studied theology and philosophy under Trendelenburg at Berlin, and eventually became professor of philosophy in the new university of Strassburg. In Kant's Analogien der Erfahrung (1876) he keenly criticized Kant's transcendentalism, and in his chief work Idealismus und Positivismus (3 vols., 1879-1884), he drew a clear contrast between Platonism, from which he derived transcendentalism, and positivism, of which he considered Protagoras the founder. Laas in reality was a disciple of Hume. Throughout his philosophy he endeavours to connect metaphysics with ethics and the theory of education.

His chief educational works were Der deutsche Aufsatz in den obern Gymnasialklassen (1868; 3rd ed., part i., 1898, part ii., 1894), and Der deutsche Unterricht auf höhern Lehranstalten (1872; 2nd ed. 1886). He contributed largely to the Vierteljahrsschr. f. wiss. Philos. (1880-1882); the Litterarischer Nachlass, a posthumous collection, was published at Vienna (1887). See Hanisch, Der Positivismus von Ernst Laas (1902); Gjurits, Die Erkenntnistheorie des Ernst Laas (1903); Falckenberg, Hist. of Mod. Philos. (Eng. trans., 1895).