Brentano, Franz (1838–1917) By Kujundzic, Neb
Born in Marienberg, Germany, and active as a philosophy professor and Privatdozent (unsalaried teacher) at universities in Würzburg (1872–73) and Vienna (1874–1895), Franz Clemens Brentano profoundly influenced nineteenth-century western philosophy and psychology, also leaving an indelible mark on the natural sciences, economics and related disciplines. Incorporating Aristotelian philosophy within the empiricist methods favoured by the early nineteenth-century sciences, Brentano strove to combine the emergent philosophical modes of introspection with scientific exactitude. A precursor of modern phenomenology and Gestalt psychology, whose students included Sigmund Freud, Edmund Husserl and Carl Stumpf, Brentano is best known for concepts developed in his 1874 work Psychologie vom Empirischen Standpunkt (Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint), such as ‘intentionality’, what Brentano sees as a central aspect of mental phenomena; and ‘perception’, what he reads as a ‘misception’ or misperception (Wahrnehmung ist Falschnehmung). For some scholars, the history of modern western philosophy begins with Franz Brentano, although some of the trends associated with his legacy counter modernism’s rejection of realism and the trust in science’s ability to define the nature of reality.