Leipzig, Fues's Verlag, 1876. 8vo. Original printed wrappers. Minor soiling to wrappers. Right-bottom corner on frontwrapper slightly bumped. Otherwise fine and clean. XIII, (1), 82 pp.
The very scarce first printing of Avenarius' Habilitationsschrift, his first publication, a work that greatly influenced contemporary philosophy, both in Europe and beyond, and was read by the greatest philosophers of the era, e.g. Nietzsche.
The German philosopher Richard Avenarius (1843-1896) is most famous for his formulation of the radical positivist doctrine of "empirical criticism" or "empirio-criticism".
He was not only read and studied in France and Germany but also greatly influenced Russian philosophy; he and was severely criticized by Lenin in his Materialism and Empirio-criticism (1909).
In his first publication "Philosophie als Denken der Welt gemäss dem Princip des kleinsten Kraftmasses", Avenarius states: "Doubt of the correctness of my way heretofore pursued was induced through the barrenness of theoretical idealism in the field of psychology; and yet cognition and experience should belong to this science as psychological ideas." In general he here argues that it is the task of philosophy to develop a natural concept of the world based on "pure experience" and the principle of "economic thought".
"Nietzsche received Philosophie als Denken der Welt gemäss dem Princip des kleinsten Kraftmasses in 1876, "and we know that he read it for the first or second time in the winter of 1883-84. Nietzsche then excerpted and discussed this reading in several longer notes, and shortly thereafter he wrote to Overbeck on April 7, 1884, stating that he needed to revise his views on epistemology and metaphysics. It is thus possible that this reading was of great importance for his thinking at the time. [...] section 14 and 15 of Beyond Good and Evil, with their critique of positivism and physiologist who emphasized the "smallest possible effort", were written in response to Nietzsche´s reading of Avenarius." (Brobjer Thomas H., Nietzsche's Philosophical Context, University of Illinois Press 2008, 93 pp.)