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Geiger, Lazarus


GEIGER, LAZARUS (Eliezer Solomon ; 1829–1870), German philosopher and philologist. Geiger, who was born in Frankfurt, was a nephew of Abraham *Geiger. He studied classical philology at the Universities of Marburg, Heidelberg, and Bonn. Unlike his uncle, he belonged to the Orthodox religious group of German Jewry. From 1861 until his death he was a teacher at the Jewish educational institute Philanthropin in Frankfurt. He saw in language the source of human reason. Language, according to Geiger, was formed from meaningless expressions – the reactions of early man to his visual impressions. These expressions became fixed and stabilized into permanent concepts. Geiger's research won a certain amount of contemporary approval, but his conclusions were rejected by subsequent scholarship. His main works are Ursprung und Entwicklung der menschlichen Sprache und Vernunft (2 vols., 1868–72; the second volume was published after his death by his brother Alfred Geiger) and Der Ursprung der Sprache (1864).


G. Peschier, Lazarus Geiger, sein Leben und Denken (1871); L.A. Rosenthal, Lazarus Geiger (Ger., 1883). add. bibliography: B. Mueller, Ohr der Seele – Lazarus Geiger und die sprachphilsophischen Reflexionen der Kosmiker (2000).

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