1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Prel, Karl, Freiherr von

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PREL, KARL, Freiherr von (1839–1899), German philosopher, was born at Landshut on the 3rd of April 1839. After studying at the university of Munich he served in the Bavarian army from 1859 to 1872, when he retired with the rank of captain. He then gave himself up to philosophical work, especially in connexion with the phenomena of hypnotism and occultism from the modern psychological standpoint. He attempted to deduce the existence of spirit, apart from, and yet entering from time to time into connexion with, the phenomena of the senses, by an examination of the relation between the ego of thought and the age of sensible experience as understood by Kant. In 1868 he received the degree of doctor from the university of Tübingen in recognition of a treatise on the psychology of Dreams (Oneirokritikon. Der Traum vom Standpnnkt des transcendental en Idealismus) .

Subsequently, he published numerous works on various psychological and scientific subjects, of which the more important are: Der gesunde Mensehenverstand vor den Problemen der Wissensehaft (1872); Der Kampf ums Dasein am Himmel (1874), republished in 1882 under the title Entwiekelungsgeschichte des Weltalls Die Planetenbewohner und die Nebularhypothese (1880); Die Philosophie der Mystik (1885); Justinus Kerner und die Seherin von Prevorst (1886); Die monistische Seelenlehre (1888); Die Mystik der alten Griechen (1888); Kants mystische Weltanschauung (1889); Studien aus dem Gebiete der Geheimwissenschaften (1890); Der Spiritismus (1893); Die Entdeekung der Seele durch die Geheimwissenschaften (1894-1895). In Der Kampf ums Dasein am Himmel von Prel endeavoured to apply the Darwinian doctrine of organic evolution not only to the sphere of consciousness but also even more widely as the philosophical principle of the world. He was one of a large number of German thinkers who during the latter half of the 19th century endeavoured to treat the mind as a mechanism. He died on the 4th of August 1899.

See Evolution; in Philosophy.