Max Bense

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Born 1910 in Strasbourg. Died 1990 in Stuttgart. German philosopher, writer, and publicist, known for his work in philosophy of science, logic, aesthetics, and semiotics. His thoughts combine natural sciences, art, and philosophy under a collective perspective and follow a definition of reality, which – under the term existential rationalism – is able to remove the separation between humanities and natural sciences.

In 1918 his family was deported from Alsace-Lorraine as a consequence of WWI. After 1930 he studied physics, chemistry, mathematics, geology, and philosophy at the University of Bonn. 1937 he doctor's degree (Quantum Mechanics and Relativity of Dasein) - used the term Relativity of Dasein (adopted from Max Scheler) for explaining that novel theories do not have to contradict classical science. As declared opponent of national socialism knowingly opposed the Deutsche Physik of the Nazi regime, which rejected the theory of relativity due to Einstein's Jewish origin. Therefore he did not receive his postdoctoral qualification. 1938 worked as a physicist at the Bayer AG in Leverkusen. Then soldier in WWII, firstly as a meteorologist, then as a medical technician in Berlin and Georgenthal, where he was mayor for a short time after the end of the war. In 1945 the University of Jena appointed him to curator (Chancellor of the University) and offered him the possibility of habilitation at the Social-Pedagogic Faculty. 1948 fled from the political development of the Soviet occupation zone to Boppard; 1949 appointed as a guest professor in philosophy and theory of science by University of Stuttgart; 1950 as associate professor. Raised a controversy concerning mythologizing tendencies of German postwar culture. Thereupon he became the target of public polemics, resulting in a postponement of his appointment to full professor until 1963. 1953-58 also worked at the adult education centre and at the College of Design in Ulm; 1958-60 and 1966/67 also guest professor at the Hamburg College for Visual Arts.