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Dilthey, Wilhelm

  1. Rudolf A. Makkreel

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee264

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Makkreel, R. A. 2013. Dilthey, Wilhelm. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


Wilhelm Dilthey (1833–1911) is mainly known for his philosophical contributions to the human sciences, hermeneutics, and the understanding of history. But his positions in these areas are informed by views on ethics that he developed early in his life. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on Schleiermacher's ethics and his inaugural dissertation of 1864 was published as an essay entitled “An Attempt at an Analysis of Moral Consciousness.” In this essay, which inaugurated his university teaching career, Dilthey proposes that the analysis of what is valid in moral consciousness be brought into relation with what actually motivates us to engage ethically with the world. Ultimately, we need an ethics that will have a reformative influence on human life.


  • ethics;
  • history of philosophy;
  • normative ethics;
  • philosophy;
  • practical (applied) ethics