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The Science of Character

Author(s): Ludwig Klages

In his masterful treatise The Science of Character, Ludwig Klages surpasses the traditional study of character by moving away from the assumption of rigid character traits and the old doctrine of the four temperaments. Instead, he describes the traits in their dynamic course. Klages distinguishes between the talents and the character in the narrower sense, and meticulously lays out the individual qualities and the structure of the character. The quantity aspects of the talents are to be determined by comparison between different persons. The driving forces, or interests, decide the general direction of our lives and are to be judged by comparison between the expressions of the different interests of a single individual.

Klages is opposed to egalitarianism and continually emphasizes that we are born with different gifts and talents. With our nature being based on our interests, he describes the structure of the character in a phenomenological-psychological way, based on his own experience, through introspection and reflection, but also based on observations of expression, as well as literary and other cultural phenomena. He emphasizes the psychological meaning of words and the richness of psychological knowledge captured in language. Klages is able to analyze not just individuals, but entire races, epochs and even buildings. His work anticipates postmodernism.

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Foreword to the Seventh and Eighth Editions

Foreword to the Fifth and Sixth Editions

Foreword to the Fourth Edition

I. Conditions Governing the Discovery of Character

II. Problems and Methods

III. Nature, Structure, and Material of Character

IV. On Memory and the Capacity for Recollection

V. Faculties for Impressions and Directions of Apprehension

VI. The Articulation of Character

VII. On the Nature of Hysteria

VIII. Of the Metaphysics of Distinctions of Personality

IX. Outline of the System of Driving Forces

Appendix I

Appendix II


Ludwig Klages









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Arktos Media Ltd


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