Lorenz von Stein
Lorenz, Konrad Zacharias
LORENZ, KONRAD ZACHARIAS
(b. Vienna, Austria, 7 November 1903; d. Vienna, 27 February 1989),
ethology, animal behavior.
Lorenz was the primary founder of the science of ethology, the biological study of behavior. He was a bold theorist, a charismatic teacher, a successful popularizer, and one of the most colorful and controversial figures of twentieth-century biology. For his contributions to the study of animal behavior he was awarded in 1973 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Karl von Frisch and Nikolaas Tinbergen.
Life and Career . Konrad Lorenz was the son of Dr. Adolf Lorenz (1854–1946), an internationally famous professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Vienna, and Emma Lorenz, née Lecher (1861–1938). He had but one sibling, his brother Albert, who was already eighteen years old at the time Konrad was born.
As a child, Lorenz had a passion for raising pets, an activity in which his parents indulged him. At the family home in the village of Altenberg, a short commute from the city of Vienna, the young boy surrounded himself with ducks, geese, and numerous other birds and animals. Years later, as a mature scientist, he would insist that his scientific practices were continuous with practices he had developed in his youth as an animal lover and raiser. He claimed that being an animal lover was a prerequisite to being a good observer of animal behavior, for without a love of animals in the first place, it was inconceivable that anyone would ever be patient enough to watch an animal over the length of time necessary to come to know its entire behavioral repertoire.
Lorenz attended the elite Schottengymnasium in Vienna, graduating from there in 1922 at the age of eighteen. Although his primary interests at that point were in zoology and especially paleontology, his father insisted that he study medicine instead and sent him to the United States for premedical studies at Columbia University. Lorenz remained there for only one semester. He returned home and enrolled in 1923 as a medical student in the Second Anatomical Institute of the Medical Faculty at the University of Vienna. In 1927 he married his childhood sweetheart, Margarethe Gebhardt (1900–1986). They lived at the Lorenz family home in Altenberg. They had three children: Thomas, born in 1928; Agnes, born in 1930; and Dagmar, born in 1941.
Lorenz earned his doctorate in medicine in 1928. He thereupon enrolled in the university’s Zoological Institute, from which he earned a PhD in 1933 for a comparative study of the mechanisms of flight and the adaptations of wing form in birds. From 1931 to 1935 he served as a paid assistant at the Second Anatomical Institute, directed by the comparative anatomist Ferdinand Hochstetter. Hochstetter allowed Lorenz to pursue his own comparative studies of bird behavior and to begin preparing for the habilitation exam that would entitle him to be a privatdozent (lecturer) in zoology and animal psychology. Upon Hochstetter’s retirement in 1935, Lorenz moved to another institute at the university, the Psychological Institute directed by Karl Bühler. He passed his exam in 1936.
In the 1930s Lorenz rose quickly to prominence in the fields of ornithology and animal psychology as the result of his pathbreaking studies on instinctive behavior in birds. In addition to the support he received at the University of Vienna from Hochstetter and Bühler, he was greatly aided by the encouragement and mentorship of the leading German ornithologists of his day, Oskar Heinroth and Erwin Stresemann. His growing recognition as an important contributor to science was not immediately accompanied, however, by remunerative employment. As of 1937 his only post was that of an unpaid Dozent in Bühler’s Psychological Institute. He believed his chances for employment were hindered by the fact that he was a Protestant in a country ruled by Catholics and because his ideas about the biological foundations of human social behavior ran contrary to the views of the Catholic educational establishment. He began to seek research funding from Germany. His most cherished hope was that Germany’s primary institution for the support of scientific research, the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft (KWG), would establish for him in Altenberg an institute devoted to comparative behavior studies.
Lorenz’s expectations were raised in March 1938 when the Anschluss incorporated Austria into Germany. He welcomed the Anschluss with great enthusiasm, as did many Austrians. He did so in part because his family regarded itself as culturally German, but he also clearly believed that the incorporation of Austria into Germany would improve his career opportunities. In May 1938 the KWG Senate reviewed favorably the idea of an institute for Lorenz. In June Lorenz applied for membership in the Nazi Party. His application was accepted. At scientific meetings and in scientific journals he began presenting papers in which he claimed that evidence from the study of animal behavior had a bearing on questions about racial degeneration in humans.
To Lorenz’s disappointment, the funds that the KWG needed to establish an institute for him failed to materialize. However, he was eventually awarded a new Dozent’s position in zoology, with stipend, at the University of Vienna. Then in 1940 he was chosen for the chair of psychology at the University of Königsberg. On 1 January 1941 he was officially named professor of psychology and director of a new institute for comparative psychology at the university.
Lorenz’s tenure as a professor at Königsberg was brief. He was drafted for military service in October 1941. He was sent to Posen (now Poznan), Poland, where he served as a military psychologist until May 1942 and then as a neurologist and psychiatrist treating hysteria and other neuroses. In April 1944 he was made a troop physician and transferred to the eastern front. He was taken prisoner by Russian forces on 26 June 1944 in Vitebsk (now Vitsyebsk, Belarus). For the next three and a half years he served as a camp doctor in a series of Soviet prisoner-ofwar camps. He did not return home to Austria until February 1948.
Upon his return, Lorenz once again experienced difficulties finding an academic position or research support. In 1949, his private research station at Altenberg was officially designated an institute for “Comparative Behavior Study under the Direction of the Austrian Academy of Sciences,” but the financial support that came with this impressive title was minimal. He wrote popular books in an attempt to make ends meet. When, in 1950, political and ideological considerations combined to undermine his candidacy for the professorship of zoology at the University of Graz, he decided the time had come for him to find a job outside Austria. He asked friends in Great Britain if they could line up a position for him there. The danger of losing another top German scientist to a foreign country inspired the new Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG) to do what its predecessor, the KWG, had never accomplished: it founded an institute for Lorenz. The institute was set up in Buldern, Westphalia, under the auspices of Erich von Holst’s Max Planck Institute for Marine Biology in Wilhelmshaven.
Lorenz worked at Buldern until 1956, when he moved to a new Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology that the MPG established for him and Holst at Seewiesen, near Starnberg, in Bavaria. Holst was named director of the institute and Lorenz was named deputy director. Lorenz became director in 1961 when Holst relinquished that post due to illness. Lorenz remained at Seewiesen until his retirement in 1973, after which he returned home to Altenberg. There he received institutional support once again from the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In the 1970s and 1980s he joined forces with the new Austrian Green Party in opposing the construction of nuclear power plants in Austria.
Over the course of his career Lorenz received a great many awards, including numerous honorary doctoral degrees, and in 1973, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He died in Vienna on 27 February 1989. He was preceded in death by his wife and his son.
Early Scientific Development and Professional Contacts . Lorenz was already a firm believer in evolution when he entered the University of Vienna as a student. It was there, however, that he learned from his professor of comparative anatomy, Hochstetter, how to study evolution through the comparative method. Comparative anatomists seek to identify homologous structures, that is, parts whose position or relation to a general pattern are indicative of common ancestry. The horse’s foreleg, the bird’s wing, and the whale’s flipper, for example, are understood by comparative anatomists to be homologous structures. With Hochstetter’s encouragement, Lorenz concluded that the methods of comparative anatomy could be applied to the instinctive behavior patterns of animals just as instructively as they could be applied to animal structures. In other words, behavior patterns could be used just like organs to reconstruct phylogenies (evolutionary lineages). Charles Otis Whitman in the United States and Heinroth in Germany had already promoted this idea. Lorenz would later characterize this discovery as the “Archimedean point” from which modern ethology took its origin.
Lorenz continued to collect and raise animals even while he was a medical student. An acquisition that proved of special importance to him was his purchase in the summer of 1926 of a young jackdaw (Corvus monedula). After a few days, the jackdaw had developed such an attraction for him that he could allow the bird to fly freely after him when he went outdoors. Constrained neither by fear nor the limits of a cage, the bird performed in Lorenz’s presence many of the natural behavior patterns of the species. The bird’s behavior became the subject of Lorenz’s first published scientific paper, the production of which brought him into contact with the ornithologists Heinroth and Stresemann.
Lorenz found watching the behavior of a single jackdaw to be highly instructive, but he also appreciated that one bird’s actions were not sufficient to illuminate how a normal jackdaw colony functioned. He supposed that certain of the bird’s seemingly instinctive and “ceremonial” behavior patterns were actions that in the normal life of a jackdaw would elicit appropriate reactions from other jackdaws. In order to study this, he converted the attic of the family home in 1927 into an aviary for fourteen young, hand-reared jackdaws. He marked the birds for identification and proceeded to observe their behavior closely over the course of the next several years. His successes with jackdaws led him in 1931 to undertake a study of the social behavior of the night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). The following year he began raising greylag geese (Anser anser), the species with which his name is today most frequently associated. His studies of tame, free-flying birds, conducted at his home research station in Altenberg, provided the empirical basis for a good deal of his subsequent theorizing.
Lorenz received valuable encouragement in these early studies from Heinroth and Stresemann. Although Heinroth held the post of director of the aquarium at the Berlin Zoo, birds and the “finer details” of their behavior were the primary focus of his research. As early as 1910 he had promoted the view that “species-specific instinctive actions” could be used like anatomical structures to determine the genetic affinities of species, genera, and subfamilies of birds. He also studied the way that instinctive behavior patterns function in the family lives of the ducks, geese, and swans (the birds that were his favorite subjects). As of 1930, by which time Lorenz was actively corresponding with him, Heinroth and his wife Magdalena had published the first three volumes of their elaborate, four-volume study of the behavior of the birds of central Europe. Their research featured raising baby birds in isolation from other birds and then studying their characteristic behavior patterns. Their aim was to distinguish species-specific actions that were innate from those that were acquired.
Lorenz was thrilled to find in Heinroth an authority whose views and practices were very much like his own. He praised Heinroth for undertaking to establish animal psychology as a branch of biology. He was also excited by remarks Heinroth had made about the continuity between the social instincts of animals and humans. Heinroth himself, however, was temperamentally indisposed to constructing broad theories or building a new discipline. As Lorenz’s work became increasingly theoretical, he was inclined to try out his writings first on Stresemann, the editor of the Journal für Ornithologie, and only show them to Heinroth after he could claim Stresemann’s support. Heinroth in effect left it to Lorenz to take the lead in developing the study of animal behavior in an energetic, programmatic way.
In order to establish animal psychology as a branch of biology, Lorenz believed, there was a proper order and a proper method to follow in doing so. Fundamental to his thinking throughout his entire career was the notion that instinctive and learned behavior were fundamentally distinct from one another. They represented discrete units, he insisted, even when they were “intercalated” in complex behavior chains. In his view, the proper way to study the behavior of any species of animal was to raise individuals of the species under conditions of semifreedom where one could observe the full range of their natural behavior patterns. The investigator’s first task was to recognize which of the animal’s behavior patterns were instinctive. Lorenz did not deny the importance of learning in animal life, but he insisted that one could never really gauge an animal’s abilities to learn without a prior knowledge of what it did instinctively.
Lorenz felt that anyone with extensive experience raising animals would be able to recognize intuitively which behavior patterns are instinctive and which are not. Nonetheless, he did have a list of criteria that could be used to make the distinction. He was disposed to judge that a behavior pattern was instinctive, he wrote in 1932, if it satisfied one or more of the following five conditions:
- if a young animal reared in isolation from members of its own species displayed the species-specific behavior pattern in question without having had any models from which to learn;
- if all the individuals of a species performed the same behavior pattern in the same, behavior pattern in the same, stereotyped way;
- if there was a conspicuous incongruity between the normal intelligent abilities of an animal (as seen in other situations) and the abilities that would be necessary for the animal to perform the behavior in question by insight;
- if the behavior pattern was performed incompletely or in a situation when the appropriate biological goal was not present, thus making it clear that the animal was not conscious of the biological purpose of the action;
- if the rigidity of the behavior pattern and its resistance to environmental influences continued to be displayed under conditions far different from those under which the pattern originally evolved.
Lorenz’s reputation as a pathbreaking researcher and theoretician was firmly established by his monumental work of 1935, “Der Kumpan in der Umwelt des Vogels: Der Artgenosse als auslösendes Moment sozialer Verhaltungsweisen” (The companion in the bird’s world: Fellow members of the species as releasers of social behavior). It represented his attempt to organize into a coherent framework the knowledge and insights he had gleaned from raising and observing as many as 350 individual birds representing nearly thirty different species. His goal in this case was to elaborate concepts on which a continuing program of research could be built. He dedicated the study to the German biologist Jakob von Uexküll, who
had developed the Umwelt concept, identifying an animal’s effective environment as the sum total of factors that the animal perceives and to which it responds. Uexküll had also introduced the notions of releasers and companions in animal life. These were the key concepts of Lorenz’s 1935 monograph, exemplified and developed through an extended discussion of the social life of birds.
Following Uexküll, Lorenz explained that humans tend to recognize objects in their environment as things, on the basis of a compilation of multiple stimuli impinging upon their sense organs. It is the successful integration of stimuli emanating from objects in the environment that allows humans to build up a knowledge of the causal relationships of things in their environment, which in turn allows them to survive in the environment. In contrast, lower animals such as birds are adapted to their environments primarily through highly differentiated instinctive behavior patterns. These animals act not according to insight but according to instinctively determined responses that have been built up through evolution by virtue of their survival value. To be effective, they need only be elicited or released by one or at most a very few of the stimuli emanating from the objects in their environment. As Lorenz envisioned it, the proper combination of stimuli triggers an “innate schema” (this would later be called an “innate releasing mechanism”), thereby allowing the associated instinctive action to be performed. For this to be of service to the organism the stimuli triggering the innate schema needed to characterize the object sufficiently closely so that stimuli from other, inappropriate, objects did not accidentally elicit the animal’s instinctive response.
Lorenz explained that the fine-tuning of this relation by adaptive evolution could only go so far when it involved foreign objects in the animal’s environment. On the other hand, it could continue almost indefinitely when the object of the instinctive reaction was a fellow member of the same species. In that case, both the receiving and the issuing of stimuli were subject to evolutionary modification, leading to combinations of such general improbability as to make certain that the instinctive reactions were not elicited by stimuli from the “wrong” sources. Lorenz used the term releasers to designate the stimuli that serve within the species to activate the innate releasing mechanisms of fellow members of the species, thereby bringing forth the performance of appropriate chains of instinctive behavior patterns. Releasers, Lorenz explained, could be either morphological structures or conspicuous behavior patterns or a combination of both.
The overall claim of Lorenz’s “Kumpan” monograph was that the complex, intraspecific social relations of birds depend largely on releasers. The highly organized social life of jackdaws, for example, is built upon a remarkably small number of simple, innate responses to the releasers provided by conspecifics. According to Lorenz, each jack-daw has a number of different social drives with respect to which other jackdaws play the role of “companion.” These companions provide the individual with the particular stimuli necessary to release the instinctive behavior patterns appropriate to its respective drives.
One of the most intriguing phenomena Lorenz described in his “Kumpan” monograph was that which he called imprinting (Prägung). He was not the first to observe the phenomenon. It had been well known to Whitman. Heinroth for his part had reported that newly hatched greylag goslings do not instinctively recognize adult greylag geese as conspecifics. If exposed to a human being before they are exposed to a mother goose, goslings will follow that human as if he or she were their parent and will direct toward this foster parent the innate responses that they would under normal circumstances direct toward their own kind. Lorenz had encountered imprinting with his jackdaws, his geese, and most of his other hand-reared birds. As he represented the process, a young bird, at a very brief stage of its early development, has irreversibly imprinted upon it the object that will then serve to release certain of its instinctive behavior patterns, and this process, furthermore, is irreversible. Imprinting, he insisted, is quite distinct from true learning. To him it appeared more like the process of induction in embryological development.
Comprehensive Theory of Instinctive Behavior . In his “Kumpan” monograph Lorenz set forth his general understanding of how instinctive behavior patterns function in avian social life. He had not yet arrived, however, at a general physiological explanation of how instincts work. Up through the publication of his 1935 monograph, he was inclined to think of instinctive actions as chains of reflexes. This view appealed to him because of its nonvitalistic character and because it fit most of the major facts of animal behavior as he knew them: in particular, the stereotyped, species-typical nature of instinctive behavior patterns; the automatic way that an animal performs its different instinctive behavior patterns upon being presented with the appropriate stimuli; and the animal’s apparent unawareness of the biological purposes of its instinctive acts. However, in the period 1935–1937, profiting especially from interactions with the American psychologist Wallace Craig and the German physiologist Erich von Holst, Lorenz became convinced that the chain-reflex theory of instinct was inadequate and needed to be replaced.
Craig, in a paper of 1918, had distinguished between the “appetitive behavior” that begins an instinctive behavior cycle and the “consummatory act” that brings the cycle to an end. Lorenz valued this distinction. At the same time, he found it inconsistent with the way Craig identified the whole behavior cycle as instinctive. As Lorenz saw it, each behavior cycle needed to be broken down into its component parts. Some of these parts were purposive and modifiable. Others, those that were truly instinctive, were nonpurposive and nonmodifiable. Benefiting from an extended conversation on the subject with Craig, Lorenz wrote a paper arguing that the failure to separate these distinct components of behavior was what had led earlier writers such as Herbert Spencer, Conwy Lloyd Morgan, and William McDougall to think that animals had insight into their instinctive behavior and that animal instincts were modifiable by experience. He delivered the paper, titled “The Formation of the Instinct Concept,” in Berlin in 1936 at Harnackhaus, the special new conference site of the KWG.
Lorenz at this point continued to endorse the chain-reflex theory of instincts, but he acknowledged there was a significant difference between instincts and reflexes: animals strive to secure the release of their instinctive behavior patterns, they do not strive to secure the performance of their simple reflexes. For this reason, he said, the instinctive behavior pattern should be regarded as a special category of reflex, namely, “a striven-after reflex action.”
Years later Lorenz liked to tell how one of the auditors of his 1936 lecture was the young physiologist Erich von Holst. By Lorenz’s account, it took Holst only a matter of minutes after the lecture to persuade Lorenz that instinctive behavior patterns were better interpreted as the result of internally generated and coordinated impulses than as chains of reflexes set in motion by external stimuli. Lorenz’s recollection in this case was inaccurate. His correspondence shows that the conversion in question did not take place until the following spring. Nevertheless, the essence of the conversion was as Lorenz reported it. It shifted his attention away from external stimuli to the animal’s internal state. The newer view made sense of appetitive behavior, where an animal, evidently motivated by its own internal condition, seeks out particular external stimuli. It also made sense of two apparently related sets of phenomena that the chain-reflex theory had not been able to handle satisfactorily. Lorenz referred to these as threshold lowering and vacuum activities (“Leerlaufreaktion”).
In threshold lowering, an instinctive motor pattern became easier to release the longer it had been since the pattern was last performed. A vacuum activity was when the threshold for eliciting a behavior pattern was reduced to such a point that the behavior pattern “went off” without serving its proper function, like an engine running in neutral. Threshold lowering and vacuum activities suggested to Lorenz that inner stimuli increased in intensity in an animal in proportion to the amount of time since an instinctive action had last been released. This led him to envision a kind of “damming up” of a “reaction-specific energy.” In his Berlin lecture of 1936 he compared this to a gas being continually pumped into a container, causing an increase in pressure until under very specific conditions it was discharged. What eventually excited Lorenz about Holst’s work was that Holst’s findings on the endogenous generation and central coordination of nervous impulses appeared to support the idea of some kind of “action-specific energy” building up internally in an organism to the point that the corresponding instinctive action would erupt spontaneously if it were not released.
Lorenz and Tinbergen . In November 1936 Lorenz traveled to the Netherlands to the University of Leiden to participate in a conference on instinct. There he met the young Dutch zoologist Niko Tinbergen. Their collaboration proved critical for ethology’s development over the next three or more decades. The two men quickly recognized that their talents were complementary. Lorenz was the bold, intuitive theorist. Tinbergen was the more critical and careful analyst who would demand and devise observational and experimental methods to test Lorenz’s theorizing. Whereas Lorenz was primarily an animal raiser, Tinbergen was primarily a field naturalist who preferred to watch animals in their natural settings. But Tinbergen had also conducted laboratory experiments on animal behavior. Lorenz was delighted to learn of the experiments Tinbergen and his students at Leiden had conducted on the reproductive behavior of a fish, the three-spined stickleback. Lorenz felt that this work was just what was needed to advance his emerging science of animal behavior. Tinbergen arranged a leave from the University of Leiden to travel to Altenberg in March 1937. He spent the next three-and-a-half months working with Lorenz. It was there that they conducted among other experiments their classic study of the egg-rolling behavior of the greylag goose.
The experiments on the egg-rolling behavior of the greylag showed that the motor sequence employed by a goose in returning a stray egg to its nest involves two separate components: an instinctive motor pattern and a taxis. The instinctive component of the motor sequence was released by the visual stimulus of an egg or egglike object outside the nest. It involved a bending downward of the goose’s head and neck, so that the egg rested against the lower side of the bird’s beak, and then a pushing of the egg toward the nest. The taxis component of the motor sequence, in contrast, consisted of lateral balancing movements that kept the egg rolling in the direction of the nest.
Together, the two components combined to produce a unified and adaptive behavioral sequence.
The form of the instinctive motor pattern proved invariable. It was not influenced either by the shape of the object that was rolled or the pathway on which the object was rolled. What is more, this motor pattern, once begun, would continue all the way to the nest even if the egg were removed along the way. The ethologists interpreted these results as being consistent with the hypothesis that an instinctive behavior pattern, once released, maintains its form independently of external stimuli because it depends upon internal processes in the central nervous system coordinating the impulses sent to the muscles.
The value of Tinbergen’s stay with Lorenz in Altenberg amounted to much more than the generation of experimental results. Tinbergen had found in Lorenz a man with an immense knowledge of animal behavior and the theoretical talents to match. Lorenz had found in Tinbergen a fellow scientist who was prepared to devote himself to helping develop a new, self-consciously “objectivistic” approach to the study of animal instincts and who had experimental skills that Lorenz lacked. The two men established a lifelong friendship. In the years that followed, Tinbergen would be the greatest champion of Lorenz’s accomplishment as the founder of the new science of ethology. This was so even despite the way Tinbergen and his country suffered at the hands of the Germans and Austrians during World War II, and despite Tinbergen’s awareness that Lorenz had at least for a time developed an enthusiasm for National Socialism.
Linking “Domestication” Phenomena and Racial Degeneration . As indicated above, Lorenz welcomed the Anschluss, the incorporation of Austria into the Third Reich in March 1938. Soon thereafter, his writings began to reflect his new political surroundings. Earlier, in his “Kumpan” paper of 1935, he had noted that domesticated animals are not good subjects for the study of innate behavior patterns because their innate behavior patterns, like those of animals in poor health, showed pathological breakdown. The conditions of domestication, he said, lead to the disintegration of the complex, well-integrated behavior patterns that allow animals to survive in the wild. After the Anschluss, and after he joined the Nazi Party, he began writing about the parallels between the deleterious effects domestication had on the behavior of animals and the degenerative effects civilization had on the behavior of humans.
At the 1938 meeting of the German Society for Psychology, Lorenz delivered an address titled “Über Ausfallserscheinungen im Instinktverhalten von Haustieren und ihre sozialpsychologische Bedeutung” (Breakdowns in the instinctive behavior of domestic animals and their social-psychological meaning). There he argued that the breakdowns in the instinctive behavior of domestic animals are strictly analogous to the “signs of decay” in the behavior of human beings in civilization. The cause in both cases, he asserted, was the relaxation of selection. He went on to claim that the essence of racial health was to be found in the value placed on innate social behavior patterns. The nonde-generate individual, he explained, has an instinctive, intuitive ability to recognize the good or bad ethical (and genetic) character of the social behavior of others, and this instinctive response is truer (and more important for the future of the race) than any reasoned response.
The great danger, he warned, lay in the undesirable types that proliferated under the conditions of civilization and spread through the race like cancer cells in a body. Degeneration within the race led to the additional deleterious problem of race mixing, because the racially degenerate organism (whether a barnyard animal or a human) was inclined to be insufficiently discriminating in choosing a mate. In this paper and others Lorenz argued that dangerous defectives had to be rigorously weeded out of the population if the cascading consequences of degeneration were to be held in check.
Lorenz’s support of Nazi racial purity laws did not go unnoticed by some of his critics in the postwar period. Another wartime publication that proved embarrassing to him after the war was a piece he published in 1940 in the Nazi biology teachers’ journal, Der Biologe (The biologist). There he challenged the views of two Nazi authorities who were critical of evolutionary theory. His approach in this case was not to cite the wealth of evidence in evolution’s favor but instead to argue that Darwinism and Nazism were fundamentally compatible. He claimed that as soon as one recognized that it was not the whole of humanity but rather the race that was the essential biological unit, it became obvious that Darwinism led not to communism or socialism but to national socialism.
Interpretations of Lorenz’s behavior as a scientist under the Third Reich have varied greatly. The subject is complicated by the fact that National Socialist biology was not a monolithic entity with one, single ideological purpose. Lorenz evidently believed he could advance his career by emphasizing the ways in which his ideas ran in parallel with those who believed that the state should be run according to biological principles. It bears noting that his papers on genetic degeneration never targeted Jews or any other race. Furthermore, after the war, when he disavowed ever having had any genuine Nazi sympathies, he continued to write about the genetic and moral dangers of civilization and domestication.
On the other hand, if he separated himself in his own mind from Nazi ideologues, his use of the rhetoric of “elimination” as a scientist in the Third Reich has made it difficult for subsequent observers to discern this separation so clearly or to feel that Lorenz did not in some measure compromise himself in this period. At the time of his receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1973, in response to questions and criticisms concerning his wartime writings, he expressed his regret for his wartime rhetoric and his naïveté about the Nazis’ aims. He stopped short, however, of recognizing or allowing it was possible that by lending his authority to contemporary discussions of racial hygiene he might have contributed, even in a small, indirect way, to an enterprise that resulted in genocide.
Instinctive Behavior Patterns, Evolution, and Epistemology . Not all of the papers that Lorenz published as a scientist under the Third Reich evidenced political or ideological dimensions. In an important monograph in the Journal für Ornithologie in 1941 he made good on his long-standing claims about the value of studying instinctive behavior patterns for the purpose of determining genealogical affinities. He described in detail the instinctive motor patterns of eighteen different species of ducks. Identifying thirty-three different instinctive motor patterns such as “introductory body-shaking,” the “down-up movement,” “chin-raising,” and “nod-swimming by the female,” he used these together with fifteen different morphological characters to construct a diagram of the phylo-genetic relations among the species in question, adding two goose genera for further comparison. With this study, he felt he had conclusively established that the comparative method and the concept of homologies could be successfully applied to innate behavior patterns.
A newer project for Lorenz in the same period was an exploration of the epistemological implications of biological evolution. When he assumed the professorship of psychology at the University of Königsberg, he took up a position that descended directly from the chair of philosophy occupied in the eighteenth century by Immanuel Kant. Lorenz had developed an interest in Kantian epistemology prior to the appointment. In his new position he pursued the relation between Kant’s teaching and modern science. In a paper of 1941 titled “Kants Lehre vom Apriorischen im Lichte gegenwärtiger Biologie” (Kant’s doctrine of the a priori in the light of contemporary biology), he argued that human reason, just like the human brain itself, has evolved through a continuous interaction with nature—and according to the laws of nature. The categories and forms of intuition of the human mind are nothing less than hereditary differentiations of the central nervous system, characteristic of the species. They have been developed over the course of evolutionary history because of their survival value.
Where Kant had viewed the a priori categories of human thought were part of a God-given, immutable system, Lorenz offered instead a strictly naturalistic interpretation of human reason. He maintained that the apparatus through which the human mind apprehends the external world is the consequence of the long-term operation of heredity and evolution.
The idea of inborn forms of ethical and aesthetic judgment, developed over time as a result of their survival value, was also a central theme of Lorenz’s large monograph of 1943 titled “Die angeborenen Formen möglicher Erfahrung” (The inborn forms of possible experience). There Lorenz offered a synthesis of his ideas on instinctive behavior, race hygiene, the dangers of domestication, the categorical imperative, humanity as the architect of its own destiny, and more. He pursued questions of evolutionary epistemology further in a large manuscript he wrote while imprisoned by the Russians. Although this manuscript was not published in his lifetime, it served as the basis for his book, Behind the Mirror (1977), first published in 1973 as Die Rückseite des Speigels.
Lorenz and Postwar Development of Ethology . Lorenz made his most brilliant and influential contributions to the study of animal behavior in the 1930s and 1940s. In
1949 he rehearsed his major claims at a special symposium on physiological mechanisms in animal behavior, held in Cambridge, England. While insisting on the inductive foundations of his work, he also set forth a qualitative, “hydro-mechanical” or “psycho-hydraulic” model to represent the most salient features of how instincts work. In the diagram he presented, the liquid filling the reservoir corresponds to the hypothesized internal buildup of “action-specific energy,” the spring in the valve and the scale pan attached to it by the string over the pulley correspond to the innate releasing mechanism, the weight on the scale represents the impinging stimuli that serve to trigger the releasing mechanism, and the jet of liquid that comes through the valve represents the instinctive motor reaction itself, with different results produced according to the strength of the reaction.
Lorenz’s psycho-hydraulic model, together with a diagram Tinbergen offered of the hierarchical organization of drives, embodied the ethologists’ basic assessment, as of 1950, of the physiological foundations of instinctive action. Representing what is now referred to as classical ethology, these models had considerable heuristic value. They served to organize a wide range of evidence. At the same time, they became subjects of critical scrutiny.
The ethologists’ models and assumptions came under question both from within the ethological community (from new recruits to the field) and from outside of it. The American psychologist Daniel Lehrman launched the most severe attack. Lehrman’s primary objection was that Lorenz’s dichotomy between innate and learned behavior precluded any serious attention to the problem of how behavior develops in the individual. As Lorenz had originally defined it, “innate” behavior was behavior that developed without any environmental influence. Lehrman was willing to credit Lorenz with the taxonomic use he had made of behavioral characteristics, but he insisted that just because a characteristic was of taxonomic value did not mean that it necessarily developed free from any environmental input. Several ethologists, including Tinbergen and the Cambridge biologist Robert Hinde, came to agree with Lehrman that ethologists had used the word innate too uncritically and had not paid sufficient attention to the process of behavioral development.
Lorenz ultimately acknowledged that the word innate should not have been defined as the opposite of the word learned. He argued, however, that instead of giving up the word innate, one should use it to designate behavior acquired over the course of evolution. There are only two sources, he insisted, of adaptive behavior: It can be acquired phylogenetically, over the course of evolution, or it can be acquired individually, in the course of the individual’s development. He maintained it was legitimate to use the term innate to designate those behavior patterns that had been acquired over the course of evolution through natural selection. Then, as a way of turning the tables on those of his critics who emphasized the importance of learning, he noted that learned behavior itself must have an innate basis, as demonstrated by the fact that animals in their natural environments are genetically predisposed to learn the kinds of information that help them to survive. He jokingly referred to this genetic disposition to learn the right thing as “the innate schoolmarm.”
Lorenz also took exception to the way Hinde had questioned the models of drive that served as the motive force of Lorenz’s and Tinbergen’s respective models of the physiological causation of instinctive behavior. Hinde argued that there were no known mechanisms in the nervous system for the gradual buildup and discharge of action-specific energy that Lorenz’s theory called for, and likewise that experiments failed to show the kind of threshold reduction over time that Lorenz’s theory predicted. Lorenz continued to believe that certain behavioral phenomena like vacuum activities and threshold lowering indicated the existence of something that was very real, that was endogenously produced, and that was consumed or eliminated when the instinctive motor pattern was performed. In the general survey of the field that he published in the late 1970s, The Foundations of Ethology, he made some modifications to his old psycho-hydraulic model but retained the basic idea of a fluid that built up in a reservoir and eventually needed release.
Lorenz was unquestionably better at generating ideas than he was at testing them experimentally. Through the 1950s and 1960s he continued to be a charismatic leader of ethology, attracting new recruits to the field. However, many of the specific elements of his theorizing—action-specific energy, innate releasing mechanisms, and the psycho-hydraulic model—did not hold up to experimental examination. By the 1970s, furthermore, students of animal behavior were paying increasing attention to issues of behavioral ecology, an area of study in which the field naturalist Tinbergen had much more to offer than did the animal raiser Lorenz. Lorenz, who had been content to write about natural selection acting for “the good of the species,” was criticized by biologists who insisted that selection acts at the level of the individual or the gene and not for the good of the species as a whole. Nonetheless, Lorenz’s broad influence in the postwar period should not be undervalued. His insistence on the species-specific nature of much of animal behavior and on the methods by which animal behavior should be studied worked a fundamental transformation in the way animal behavior was studied and understood.
Overall Significance and Influence . Lorenz’s primary and most lasting achievement as a biologist was to bring biological perspectives to bear on the study of animal behavior. He insisted that animal psychology needed to be studied as a biological science and that it needed to embrace a certain methodology and to address certain topics before it went on to others. Opposing the methodological orientation of the behaviorist psychologists, he maintained that an extensive period of general observation of an animal was absolutely necessary before attempting experiments on it, and that a thorough knowledge of an animal’s instinctive behavior patterns was crucial before one studied behavior patterns that involved learning.
He based his claims to scientific authority on the unique character of his practice: The animal raiser had special advantages, he argued, not only over the laboratory biologist or psychologist but also over the field naturalist with regard to what daily experiences allowed him to see. He raised animals under conditions that enabled him to inventory and analyze their behavior patterns and to witness instructive occasions when these “misfired.” While these practices profoundly shaped his understanding of animal behavior, they also had their limitations. Lorenz’s friend Tinbergen, as a field naturalist, proved to be in a better position to develop studies of behavioral function and to examine how selection works in the natural world.
Lorenz promoted the idea that there are innate species differences in behavior that can be identified and examined analytically and that can be used for taxonomic purposes. He likewise insisted that an animal’s genetic composition provides “structural restraints” for its behavioral abilities. Beyond this, he argued that once one recognizes that instinctive behavior patterns are comparable to organs, one can inquire about the similarities of animal and human experience in cases where instinctive behavior patterns in animals have phylogenetic “homologues” in human beings.
Lorenz was a bold, intuitive thinker and charismatic individual. He was the key figure in bringing a conceptual framework to comparative behavior studies, and he attracted many others to the new field that he founded. He was also a pioneer in the area of evolutionary epistemology. His popular books, including King Solomon’s Ring (1952; originally published in 1949 as Er redet mit dem Vieh, den Vögeln und den Fischen), On Aggression (1966; first published in 1963 as Der sogenannte Böse), and Civilized Man’s Eight Deadly Sins (1974; appearing initially in 1973 as Die acht Todsünden der zivilisierten Menschheit), offered the provocative view that developments in modern, civilized society have created settings that are increasingly at odds with the biological endowment of the human species. Though his ideas on the biological basis of human behavior and of aggression in particular have been widely criticized, his general claim that human behavior needs to be understood in the context of biological evolution remains of fundamental importance.
The most significant collection of Lorenz’s manuscript papers and correspondence is held by the Konrad-Lorenz-Institut für Evolutions- und Kognitionsforschung in Altenberg, Austria. Lorenz’s correspondence with the ornithologists Oskar Heinroth and Erwin Stresemann is to be found in the Oskar Heinroth papers and the Erwin Stresemann papers at the Staatsbibliothek Berlin (West), Preuisher kulturBesitz. Additional archival sources for Lorenz papers are identified in Taschwer and Föger, Konrad Lorenz: Biographie, below. For an extended bibliography of Lorenz’s published writings, see Krebs and Sjölander, below.
WORKS BY LORENZ
“Beobachtungen an Dohlen.” Journal für Ornithologie 75 (1927): 511–519.
“Betrachtungen über das Erkennen der arteigenen Triebhandlungen der Vögeln.” Journal für Ornithologie 80 (1932): 50–98.
“Beobachtetes über das Fliegen der Vögel und über die Beziehungen der Flügel- und Steuerform zur Art des Fluges.” Journal für Ornithologie 81 (1933): 107–236.
“Der Kumpan in der Umwelt des Vogels: Der Artgenosse als auslösendes Moment sozialer Verhaltungsweisen” [The companion in the bird’s world: Fellow members of the species as releasers of social behavior]. Journal für
Ornithologie 83 (1935): 137–215, 289–413. The monograph that established Lorenz’s reputation as the leading theorist of avian social behavior.
“Über den Begriff der Instinkthandlung.” Folia Biotheoretica, series B, 2 (1937): 17–50.
“Über die Bildung des Instinktbegriffes” [On the formation of the instinct concept]. Die Naturwissenschaften 25 (1937): 289–300, 307–318, 324–331.
“Über Ausfallserscheinungen im Instinktverhalten von Haustieren und ihre sozialpsychologische Bedeutung.” In 16. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychologie in Bayreuth, 1938. Leipzig: Johan Ambrosius Barth, 1938. Lorenz’s first attempt to show the significance of his work for questions of racial hygiene.
With Nikolaas Tinbergen. “Taxis und Instinkthandlung in der Eirollbewegung der Graugans, I.” Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 2 (1938): 1–29.
“Durch Domestikation verursachte Störungen arteigenen Verhaltens.” Zeitschrift für angewandte Psychologie und Charackterkunde 59 (1940): 1–81.
“Nochmals: Systematik und Entwicklungsgedanke im Unterricht.” Der Biologe 9 (1940): 24–36.
“Kants Lehre vom Apriorischen im Lichte gegenwärtiger Biologie” [Kant’s doctrine of the a priori in the light of contemporary biology]. Blätter für Deutsche Philosophie 15 (1941): 94–125.
“Vergleichende Bewegungsstudien an Anatiden.” Journal für Ornithologie 89, suppl. 3 (1941): 194–293.
s“Die angeborenen Formen möglicher Erfahrung.” Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 5 (1943): 235–409. Lorenz’s major wartime synthesis of his thoughts on instinctive behavior, racial hygiene, and evolutionary epistemology.
“The Comparative Method in Studying Innate Behaviour Patterns.” Symposia of the Society for Experimental Biology 4 (1950): 221–268.
So kam der Mensch auf den Hund. Vienna: Verlag Dr. G. Borotha-Schoeler, 1950.
King Solomon’s Ring. London: Methuen, 1952. English translation of Er redet mit dem Vieh, den Vögeln und den Fischen. Vienna: Verlag Dr. G. Borotha-Schoeler, 1949. A charming, popular account of Lorenz’s experiences as an animal raiser.
“Phylogenetische Anpassung und adaptive Modifikation des Verhaltens.” Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 18 (1961): 139–187.
Evolution and Modification of Behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965. An expanded, English version of the preceding paper, representing Lorenz’s response to the critics of his use of the term innate.
On Aggression. New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1966. English translation of Der sogenannte Böse. Vienna: Verlag Dr. G. Borotha-Schoeler, 1963. Lorenz’s popular and controversial portrayal of aggression as a valuable instinct that builds up internally in the body and in modern society needs to be directed into nondestructive or even productive channels.
Studies in Animal and Human Behaviour. Translated by Robert Martin. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970–1971. A helpful collection of some of Lorenz’s most important papers.
Civilized Man’s Eight Deadly Sins. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1974. Translation of Die acht Todsünden der zivilisierten Menschheit. Munich: Piper, 1973.
“Konrad Lorenz.” Les Prix Nobel en 1973. 1974. See also http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1973/index.html for portrait, autobiography, Nobel lecture, and other information.
Behind the Mirror: A Search for a Natural History of Human Knowledge. London: Methuen, 1977. Translation of Die Rückseite des Speigels. Munich: Piper, 1973.
The Foundations of Ethology. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1981. Translation of Vergleichende Verhaltensforschung: Grundlagen der Ethologie. Vienna: Springer-Verlag, 1978.
“My Family and Other Animals.” In Studying Animal Behavior: Autobiographies of the Founders, edited by Donald A. Dewsbury. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. The most detailed of Lorenz’s autobiographical recollections.
The Natural Science of the Human Species: An Introduction to Comparative Behavioral Research: The “Russian Manuscript” (1944–1948). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996. Translation of Die Naturwissenschaft vom Menschen: Eine Einführung in die vergleichende Verhaltensforschung, edited by A. von Cranach. Munich, Germany: Piper, 1992.
Burkhardt, Richard W., Jr. Patterns of Behavior: Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and the Founding of Ethology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. The most extended discussion of Lorenz’s life and work in the context of the history of ethology.
Craig, Wallace. “Appetites and Aversions as Constituents of Instincts.” Biological Bulletin of the Marine Biological Laboratory 34 (1918): 91–107.
Deichmann, Ute. Biologists under Hitler. Translated by Thomas Dunlap. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996. Translation of Biologen unter Hitler: Vertreibung, Karrieren, Forschungsförderung. Frankfurt, Germany: Campus, 1992.
Föger, Benedikt, and Klaus Taschwer. Die andere Seite des Speigels: Konrad Lorenz und der Nationalsozialismus. Vienna: Czernin Verlag, 2001. The most detailed evaluation to date of Lorenz’s activities as a scientist in the Third Reich.
Heinroth, Oskar. “Beiträge zur Biologie: namentlich Ethologie und Psychologie der Anatiden.” In Verhandlungen des 5. Internationalen Ornithologen-Kongresses in Berlin, 30 Mai bis 4 Juni 1910, edited by Herman Schalow, pp. 589–702.
Kalikow, Theodora J. “Konrad Lorenz’s Ethological Theory: Explanation and Ideology, 1938–1943.” Journal of the History of Biology 16 (1983): 39–73.
Krebs, John R., and S. Sjölander. “Konrad Zacharias Lorenz.”Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 38 (1992): 210–228.
Lehrman, D. S. “A Critique of Konrad Lorenz’s Theory of Instinctive Behavior.” Quarterly Review of Biology 28 (1953): 337–363.
Nisbett, Alec. Konrad Lorenz. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976. The first full-length biography of Lorenz.
Taschwer, Klaus, and Benedikt Föger. Konrad Lorenz: Biographie. Vienna: Paul Zolnay Verlag, 2003. The most recent biography of Lorenz, based on an extensive reading of Lorenz’s manuscript correspondence.
Richard W. Burkhardt Jr.
Stein, Lorenz Von
Stein, Lorenz Von
Lorenz von Stein (1815-1890) is remembered for his attempt to establish a science of society based on Hegelian idealism and his interpretation of the ideas and events of the French Revolution. He played a major role in introducing class conflict and socialism as public topics in Germany and influenced the academic development of public administration and finance.
Stein was born in Schleswig, then under Danish suzerainty; he died near Vienna. His father was Baron von Wasner, his mother a commoner. Stein spent much of his youth in an orphanage, but in 1832 he succeeded in going to the university. He studied philosophy and law at Jena and Kiel, where he received his doctor of law degree in 1840. Subsequently he went to Paris on a travel grant to undertake research in legal history. There he met Victor Consideran!, Étienne Cabet, Louis Blanc, and others, and under their influence his interests shifted to the study of socialist ideas and social movements. With his talent for speedy literary production—which also proved useful for his many newspaper articles—Stein was able to publish his Sozialismus und Kommunismus des heutigen Frank-reich by 1842; eight years later he produced the three-volume Geschichte der sozialen Bewegung in Frankreich (1850a; 1850b). This work established Stein's fame with the politically agitated public of the time.
In 1846 Stein became a professor at Kiel, but in the early 1850s he was dismissed by the Danish authorities for having advocated the independence of Schleswig-Holstein during the revolution of 1848. Since he had also opposed Prussian intervention in his homeland, Prussian authorities forced the Bavarian authorities to withdraw an offer of a professorship at Würzburg. However, with the backing of the Austrian minister of finance, Stein became professor of government (Staatswissenschaften) at Vienna in 1854, a position which he held until his retirement in 1885. In 1868 he was ennobled in recognition of his academic achievements and his public service; he had wanted to merit a patent of nobility on his own rather than take on his father's name and title.
Stein's eminent academic career was not matched by success in politics and business. The Prussian victory of 1866 brought to nought his advocacy of Austrian predominance in Germany; before that, the various proposals for reform that he had made as an adviser to the ministry of finance were ignored, and he lost an election for a seat on the Austrian Reichsrat, for which he had tried to qualify as a “Saint-Simonian industrialist.” He also ruined himself in a series of industrial speculations.
Stein's exposition of his science of society is contained in the long introduction to his History, “The Concept of Society and Its Dynamic Laws.” His approach combined the social and socialist theories of Saint-Simon and his followers and of Blanc, on the one hand, with Hegelian views of the individual and the state, on the other. Thus, Stein posited a basic difference between society and the state: society is governed by social laws, the crucial factors determining its functioning being economic interest and class struggle; the state is man's instrument for bringing about personal autonomy and self-realization. Economically dominant groups in pursuit of their material interests always attempt to capture the state, thus provoking class conflicts. It is a “social law” that such groups first strive for economic privileges, then tend to develop into classes, and, finally, become estates and castes. Historically, these phenomena have occurred sequentially, but they may also exist concurrently. Stein believed that the history of France, and of Europe following French precedent, would be a history of class struggles as long as the ruling class—whether aristocratic or bourgeois—refused to accord political rights to that stratum of the subject class that had acquired the education and wealth necessary for social and political independence. He argued that a monarchy, because of its relative independence from the class structure, would be more likely to succeed in social reforms than a bourgeois republic.
Stein and Marx developed their ideas contemporaneously, but Stein wrote and published his work on the class struggle in France before Marx did. Marx read Stein's work and reacted in his customary negative manner; there is no evidence that he was influenced by it. To Marxists (e.g., Marcuse 1954), Stein's juxtaposition of determinist and voluntarist viewpoints and of dialectic and positivist elements has appeared typical of “idealist aberration” and to pragmatists (e.g., Weiss 1963), typical of “dialectic obscurantism,” but this theoretical dualism permitted Stein to be sociologically more perceptive and historically more nearly correct than Marx.
Stein not only believed that social reforms could control the dynamics of class conflict, but he also recognized that unless the workers acquired more education and wealth, a proletarian revolution would necessarily result in a dictatorship over the proletariat. To forestall such an empty victory, it was necessary for the proletariat to be socially mobile, and Stein saw education and a rising standard of living as the main avenues of social mobility. It was the responsibility of the state to safeguard these avenues. However, Stein did not actually advocate major welfare legislation, and for this reason he later opposed the German academic social reformers.
As early as 1852, Stein repudiated the economic determinism of his own History. Henceforth he devoted himself to the systematic study of public administration and finance in France, England, and Germany, and in the academic circles of his time this part of his work became more influential than his History. Today, however, his earlier insights into the sources of class conflict and the preconditions of political stability appear as an impressive contribution to the study of industrialization and democratization.
(1842) 1848 Der Sozialismus und Kommunismus des heutigen Frankreich: Ein Beitrag zur Zeitgeschichte. 2d ed., 2 vols. Leipzig: Wigand.
(1850a) 1959 Geschichte der sozialen Bewegung in Frank-reich von 1789 bis auf unsere Tage. 3 vols. Edited by Gottfried Salomon. Hildesheim: Olms. → Volume 1: Der Begriff der Gesellschaft und die soziale Geschichte der Franzosischen Revolution bis zum Jahre 1830. Volume 2: Die industrielle Gesellschaft, der Sozialismus und Kommunismus Frankreichs von 1830 bis 1848. Volume 3: Das Königtum, die Republik, und die Souveränität der französischen Gesellschaft seit der Februarrevolution 1848.
(1850b) 1964 The History of the Social Movement in France: 1789-1850. Introduced, edited, and translated by Kaethe Mengelberg. Totowa, N.J.: Bedminster Press. → An abridged version of Stein 1850a.
1852-1856 System der Staatswissenschaft. 2 vols. Leipzig: Brockhaus. → Volume 1: System der Statistik, der Populationistik und der Volkswirtschaftslehre, 1852. Volume 2: Der Begriff der Gesellschaft, 1856.
(1860) 1885-1886 Lehrbuch der Finanzwissenschaft. 5th ed., 4 vols. Leipzig: Brockhaus.
(1865-1868) 1869-1884 Die Verwaltungslehre. 2d ed., 3 vols. Stuttgart: Cotta.
(1870) 1888 Handbuch der Verwaltungslehre und des Verwaltungsrechtes mit Vergleichung der Literatur und Gesetzgebung von Frankreich, England und Deutschland. Stuttgart: Cotta.
Angermann, Erich 1962 Zwei Typen des Ausgleichs gesellschaftlicher Interessen durch die Staatsgewalt: Ein Vergleich der Lehren Lorenz von Steins und Robert Mohls. Pages 173-205 in Werner Conze (editor), Staat und Gesellschaft im deutschen Vormarz. Stuttgart: Klett.
Grünfeld, Ernst 1908 Die Gesellschaftslehre von Lorenz von Stein. Halle: Kaemmerer.
Marcuse, Herbert 1954 The Transformation of the Dialectic Into Sociology: Lorenz von Stein. Pages 374– 388 in Herbert Marcuse, Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory. 2d ed. New York: Humanities Press.
Weiss, John 1963 Dialectical Idealism and the Work of Lorenz von Stein. International Review of Social History 8, no. 1:1-19.
Lorenz, Konrad Zacharias