Wilhelm von Humboldt

Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt (/ˈhʌmblt/,[6] also US: /ˈhʊmblt/,[7] UK: /ˈhʌmbɒlt/;[8] German: [ˈvɪlhɛlm fɔn ˈhʊmbɔlt];[9][10][11] 22 June 1767 – 8 April 1835) was a Prussian philosopher, linguist, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of the Humboldt University of Berlin, which was named after him in 1949 (and also after his younger brother, Alexander von Humboldt, a naturalist).

Wilhelm von Humboldt
Portrait by Thomas Lawrence
Born(1767-06-22)22 June 1767
Died8 April 1835(1835-04-08) (aged 67)
Tegel, Prussia
EducationUniversity of Frankfurt (Oder) (no degree)
University of Göttingen (no degree)
SpouseCaroline von Dacheröden
Era19th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolBerlin Romanticism[1]
Romantic linguistics[2]
Classical liberalism
InstitutionsUniversity of Berlin
Main interests
Philosophy of language
Notable ideas
Language as a rule-governed system ("the inner form of language")
Humboldtian model of higher education

He is especially remembered as a linguist who made important contributions to the philosophy of language, ethnolinguistics and to the theory and practice of education. He made a major contribution to the development of liberalism by envisioning education as a means of realizing individual possibility rather than a way of drilling traditional ideas into youth to suit them for an already established occupation or social role.[12] In particular, he was the architect of the Humboldtian education ideal, which was used from the beginning in Prussia as a model for its system of public education, as well as in the United States and Japan. He was elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1822.[13]

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