Karl Bühler (1879-1963)

Source of the picture:
Uni Wien (Archiv)


  • semiotics and contemporary cognitive linguistics

Research Interests

  • language and creativity

Notable Ideas

  • made a decisive contribution to the development of Psychology in the first half of the 20th Century.
  • the organon model

Academic Life

Karl Bühler had a doctorate in Medicine at the University of Freiburg and also carried out parallel studies in Psychology and Philosophy in Strasbourg. He was appointed Professor of Philosophy by the University of Vienna Philosophy.

An important early focus of Bühler's work and collaboration with Charlotte Bühler was developmental psychology. Bühler wrote the most read German textbook on the issue (at least until Piaget became available in the German speaking world) titled "Die geistige Entwicklung des Kindes" (1918).

Bühler's treatment of the mental development of the child shows a strong concern for the cognitive questions of representation and language. The study of language under a cognitive perspective eventually developed into one of Bühler's most important interests which culminated in his monumental "Sprachtheorie" (1934). In this respect Bühler is certainly one of the most important forerunners of semiotics and contemporary cognitive linguistics (see, in particular, works of Fillmore and Lakoff).

Main Publications

  • Bühler, Karl (1913): Die Gestaltwahrnehmungen. Experimentelle Untersuchungen zur psychologischen und ästhetischen Analyse der Raum- und Zeitanschauung, Stuttgart: Spemann 1913.
  • Bühler, Karl (1927): Die Krise der Psychologie, Verlag Gustav Fischer 1927.
  • Bühler, Karl (1931): Phonetik und Phonologie. Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague, 4, 1931, S. 22–53.
  • Bühler, Karl (1933): Axiomatik der Sprachwissenschaften. Frankfurt: Klostermann 1933.
  • Bühler, Karl (1933): Ausdruckstheorie Verlag Gustav Fischer, Jena 1933.
  • Bühler, Karl (1934): Sprachtheorie. Die Darstellungsfunktion der Sprache. [Das Organon-Modell], Verlag von Gustav Fischer, Jena 1934.
  • Bühler, Karl (1963): Das Gestaltprinzip im Leben des Menschen und der Tiere. Verlag Hans Huber, Bern 1963.
  • Bühler, Karl (1990): Aspekte des Leib-Seele-Problems. Verlag Dr. Johannes Königshausen, Würzburg 1990.

Categories: People