25 September 1875|
Wadowitz, Austria-Hungary (now Wadowice, Poland)
26 May 1915|
Lask was made lecturer at Heidelberg in 1905, and he was elected professor there just before the outbreak of The Great War. When war began in 1914 Lask immediately volunteered. Since, as a Heidelberg professor, he would have been regarded as indispensable on the home front, he did not have to enlist. But, conscientious and idealistic, Lask believed that he had an obligation to serve his country. Lask was made a sergeant and sent to Galicia on the Eastern front, despite a frail constitution and severe myopia — which also meant that he could not shoot, but he still felt obliged to remain at the front. Lask died during the war, not far from the city of his birth, in the Galician Campaign. Wilhelm Windelband refused to request his return to Heidelberg as indispensable to philosophy. Lask was a Jew.
Lask was an important and original thinker whose rewarding work is little known, due to his early death, but also because of the decline of Neo-Kantianism. He is no easy read. His published and some unpublished writings were collected in a three volume edition by his pupil Eugen Herrigel with a notice by Lask's former teacher Rickert in 1923 and 1924. Emil Lask is of interest to philosophers because of his uncompromising attitude and to historians of philosophy because of his influence on the young Martin Heidegger, and also on Georg Lukács. His ideas were also influential in Japan, due to Eugen Herrigel, who lived and taught there for several years.
His sister was the communist poet Berta Lask.
- Fichtes Idealismus und die Geschichte Tübingen, 1902.
- Rechtsphilosophie in: "Die Philosophie im Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Festschrift für Kuno Fischer" Edited by Wilhelm Windelband, Heidelberg, 1907.
- Die Logik der Philosophie und die Kategorienlehre Tübingen, J.C.B. Mohr, 1911.
- Gesammelte Schriften edited by Eugen Herrigel, Tübingen: Mohr, 1923-24 (3 volumes); reprint: Jena, Scheglmann, 2002.
- English translations
- The Logic of Philosophy and the Doctrine of Categories translated by Christian Braun, Free Association Books, 1999.
- French translations
- La logique de la philosophie et la doctrine des catégories. Etude sur la forme logique et sa souveraineté Paris, Vrin, 2002.
- Friedbert Holz (1982), "Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in Deutsch) 13, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 648–649",
- Borda, Mara, Knowledge Science Religion: Philosophy as a Critical Alternative to Metaphysics (Wurzburg: Konighausen & Neumann, 2006) [contains very extensive discussion of Lask with comparisons to Simmel and Heidegger]
- Jewish Virtual Library Article on Lask
- "Emil Lask and Kantianism" by Frederick Beiser
- "Two Idealisms: Lask and Husserl" by Karl Schuhmann and Barry Smith, Kant-Studien, 83 (1993), 448–466.
- “Neo-Kantianism and Phenomenology: The Case of Emil Lask and Johannes Daubert”, by Karl Schuhmann and Barry Smith, Kant-Studien, 82 (1991), 303–318.
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