Nineteenth Century Philosophy

Sociology and Philosophy

Who was Georg Simmel?

Georg Simmel (1858–1918) was a philosopher and early sociologist. He was born in Berlin and lived most of his life there. Simmel wrote about a wide range of subjects, including ethics, philosophy of history, education, religion, art, and money. His writing style was digressive rather than tightly analytic, as was expected in German philosophy at that time.

Overall, as a Lebensphilosphe, or philosopher of life, Simmel saw life as more than itself—in other words, more than the human biological organism and its processes—because it was productive, particularly in cultural creativity. Perhaps Simmel’s most distinctive work was his Philosophy of Money (1900), a subject that few philosophers have directly addressed, then or since. He also wrote about fashion.


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