I am currently evaluating several editions of the “Philosophisches Wörterbuch” from Kröner Verlag. The current edition is, I think, the 23rd. The edition I am mainly using here is the 1957 14th edition edited by Georgi Schischkoff. It contains a lot of hints on the philosophical schools and currents I am interested in here.
Most of this material has been removed in later editions, so the current edition, while containing lots of stuff on current developments in philosophy, does not show the chapter of the history of philosophy I am currently researching. What is remaining (I think there is an article on Oswald Spengler still inside the current edition) appears as isolated fragments whose context is missing.
I am planning to write a series of short research notes based on articles in that dictionary. I am going to add material from other sources as well. In doing so, I am going to use this blog as a kind of public research notebook. At the moment, I don’t expect much interest in these articles but I prefer to make my results public, however preliminary they might be. As far as my time allows, the materials collected in these research notes might then form the basis for some extended articles or essays.
It is interesting to compare subsequent editions of the dictionary. The dictionary was established by Heinrich Schmidt. Schmidt was the director of the Ernst Haeckel-Archiv in Jena. He edited the dictionary from the first to the 9th edition. The earliest edition I currently have is the 8th, from 1931. This is the last edition Schmidt did alone. A lot of the material I am interested in here is not yet contained in it. The 9th edition (1934) was done with the help of one Dr. Friedrich Blaschke. In the preface, Schmidt seems to distance himself slightly from Blaschke, he writes that Blaschke was helpful “with the articles about the newest philosophy and the history of ideas […] A certain contrariness of our views forced me again and again to deepen and broaden the basis of the epistemic foundations and to a more pregnant version of the presentation.” It is possible that Blaschke was forced upon Schmidt by the Nazi authorities. Influences of Nazi ideology start to appear in the 9th edition. Schmidt died in 1935.
The 10th edition was prepared, in 1943, by Werner Schingnitz and Joachim Schondorff. A lot of material was removed, a lot was added and a lot was totally rewritten. This 10th edition is completely steeped in Nazi ideology.
I do not currently have the 11th to 13th edition, edited by Justus Streller. I am going to try to get these editions as well as earlier editions before the 8th.
The 14th edition I have seems to be based on the editions prepared by Streller, which in turn is based on the 9th edition. Most of the ideological material has been removed (although some things have slipped through, obviously unintentionally (for example, there is an article for “Degeneration” that just points to an article “Entartung” which, however, no longer exists in the 14th edition. In the 9th edition that article is still present, with racist content. It also exists in the 8th edition. It must be noted here that Schmidt was a follower of Haeckel who was not only a Darwinist but also a racist). There are some articles that are interesting for my current research that where not there yet in the 9th edition, so this edition is a particularly rich source. However, I do not know if this material was added by Schischkoff or by Streller.
It would be interesting to find out when this material (like, for example, articles about Breysig or Frobenius) was removed from the dictionary. There seems to have been a paradigm shift, perhaps at the end of the 1960s or in the early 1970s. I have not yet found out when these articles were removed from the dictionary. Using a current edition would give a rather impoverished or depleted view of the history of 20th century philosophy. One could also say: it is a cleaned view. But I think removing this material from such a dictionary is a mistake. While it might be irrelevant for current philosophy it should be there as part of the history of philosophy, especially since a lot of these thoughts – although they have been removed from the academic environments of philosophy, history, social sciences and cultural anthropology, are still out there in the public and are strongly resurfacing in recent times in right-wing movements.
I think this is the current edition: https://www.amazon.de/Philosophisches-W%C3%B6rterbuch-Martin-Gessmann/dp/3520013231/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481474288&sr=1-1&keywords=philosophisches+w%C3%B6rterbuch+kr%C3%B6ner