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Ernst Tugendhat Edit Profile

educator , Philosopher

Ernst Tugendhat, philosopher, educator. Member of American Academy Arts & Sciences (foreign honorary).


Tugendhat, Ernst was born on March 8, 1930 in Brzo, Czechoslovakia. Arrived in Switzerland, 1938, arrived in Venezuela, 1941.


Student, Stanford University, 1944—1949. Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy, University Freiburg, 1956.


Postdoctoral researcher University Münster, 1956—1958. Assistant professor, department philosphy University Tübingen, 1958—1964, professor, since 1966, currently honorary professor. Professor University Heidelberg, 1966—1975. Emeritus professor philosphy Free University, Berlin. Retired, 1992 Lecturer University Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1965. Visiting professor Pontificia University Católica de Chile, Santiago, 1992, University Prague, 1997—1998. Researcher Institute Human Sciences, Vienna, 1996.



The writings of Ernst Tugendhat have done much to familiarize the German-speaking world with Anglo-American philosophy. Although convinced of its methodological fruitfulness he maintained that analytic/linguistic philosophy had lost sight of its roots and of fundamental metaphysical issues. On the other hand, he argued that while continental philosophy had remained in touch with such issues, it stood in need of the superior analytic tools possessed by Englishspeaking philosophers.

After studying classical philology at Stanford Tugendhat transferred to Freiburg in order to hear Heidegger. In 1966 a stay at the University of Michigan oriented him to linguistic analysis.

One major theme in Tugendhat’s work has been to stress the centrality of language and of the merits of a semantics based on the sentence as opposed to the name/object relation. Frege he interpreted accordingly.

Similarly, in his important book on the twin concepts of self-consciousness and self-determination, selfknowledge is treated as propositional, while self-determination is seen to depend upon the communicative use of language and the availability of social roles. Tugendhat regards the contribution of Heidegger as indispensable although giving insufficient weight to language and the social dimension. While Habermas was influenced by Selbstbewusstsein und Selbsbestimmung, Tugendhat has in recent years been a prominent critic of the former's discourse ethics.

Sources: Who's Who in Europe 1985. Wer 25, 1986/7; brief letter from Tugendhat.


Member of American Academy Arts & Sciences (foreign honorary).


  • Other Interests

    Philosophy of language. Phenomenology; metaphysics. Ethics; ancient philosophy.