Gerda Walther
  • Philosopher's Profile

    Gerda Walther was born on 18 March 1897, in Nordrach, Germany. She was the daughter of Otto Walther and Ragnhild Bajer. At a young age, Walther became interested in Marxism and socialism, following the interests of her father, who was a well-known social democrat. Walther enrolled at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in WS 1915/16 to study politics and sociology. During her first year in Munich, Walther came under the influence of Alexander Pfänder and her attention shifted to philosophy and psychology. Early in her studies, Pfänder introduced Walther to the work of Edmund Husserl.

    In 1917, Walther transferred from Munich to the University of Freiburg to study with Husserl. There she took courses not only with Husserl, but with Martin Heidegger and Edith Stein. In WS 1918/19, Walther gave the inaugural lecture of the Freiburg Circle – “Zur Problematik von Husserls reinem Ich” – and established herself as a voice to be taken seriously within the phenomenological movement. During her time in Freiburg, Walther also underwent what we might a spiritual encounter that played a role in shaping her future interests in religious experience, mysticism, and abnormal psychology. In the fall of 1919, Walther returned to Munich to complete her dissertation under the direction of Pfänder, and enrolled in courses with Mortiz Geiger and Max Weber as well. On 10 March, 1921. Walther defended her dissertation, Ein Beitrag zur Ontologie der sozialen Gemeinschaften, and was awarded her doctorate summa cum laude. This work was published in Husserl’s Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung in 1923.

    In October 1922, she moved to Heidelberg to begin work on her habilitation under the supervision of Karl Jaspers. However, this project was abandoned due to personal financial troubles. Nevertheless, in 1923 Walther published her magnum opus Zur Phänomenologie der Mystik. In the years that followed, Walther took a series of jobs, including one at a state mental hospital. Her experiences in this position led to the authoring of the essay “Zur innen psychischen Struktur der Schizophrenie”, published in 1927. Walther enjoyed some notoriety based on this piece, which led to her obtaining positions first as an assistant to Hanz Prinzhorn, and then to the psychiatrist and parapsychologist Albert von Schrenck-Notzing. From then on, Walther’s work focused almost exclusively on parapsychology. Throughout her life, she worked on an autobiography, which was finally published in 1960 under the title Zum anderen Ufer: Vom Marxismus und Atheismus zum Christentum. Walther died on 6 January 1977.

  • Select Bibliography

    Walther, Gerda 1923. Ausführliches Sachregister zu Edmund Husserls “Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie” Bd. 1. Halle: Niemeyer.

    Walther, Gerda 1923. Zur Ontologie der sozialen Gemeinschaften. Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung 6, 1-138.

    Walther, Gerda 1923. Zur Phänomenologie der Mystik. Halle: Niemeyer.

    Walther, Gerda 1925. Zur Psychologie der sogenannten “moral insanity”. Japanisch-deutsche Zeitschrift für Wissenschaft und Technik 3, 174-184

    Walther, Gerda 1927. Zur innenpsychischen Struktur der Schizophrenie. Zeitschrift für die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie 108, 56-85.

    Walther, Gerda 1928. Ludwig Klages und sein Kampf gegen den “Geist”. Philosophischer Anzeiger 3(1), 48-90.

    Walther, Gerda 1928. Sören Kierkegaards Psychologie der Verzweiflung. Zeitschrift für Menschenkunde, Blätter für Charakterologie und angewandte Psychologie 4 (4), 208-219, 336.

    Walther, Gerda 1955. Die Bedeutung der phänomenologischen Methode Edmund Husserls für die Parapsychologie. Psychophysikalische Zeitschrift 1 (2), 22-29; (3), 37-40.

    Walther, Gerda 1960. Zum anderen Ufer: Vom Marxismus und Atheismus zum Christentum. Remagen: Reichl.

  • Media
    Dr. Susi Ferrarello (University of San Francisco) presents two talks with our researchers Dr. Rodney Parker and Julia Mühl:

    Phenomenology of Mystical Experience – Mühl on Gerda Walther’s Philosophy

    “A beautiful overview of Walther’s phenomenology.What’s a soul and how does it differ from spirit? How can we experience God? Is there just one God? These and more questions will be addressed in this talk.”

     

    Parker & Mühl in Dialogue on Walther’s Phenomenology of Mysticism

     

  • Philosopher's Profile

    Gerda Walther was born on 18 March 1897, in Nordrach, Germany. She was the daughter of Otto Walther and Ragnhild Bajer. At a young age, Walther became interested in Marxism and socialism, following the interests of her father, who was a well-known social democrat. Walther enrolled at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in WS 1915/16 to study politics and sociology. During her first year in Munich, Walther came under the influence of Alexander Pfänder and her attention shifted to philosophy and psychology. Early in her studies, Pfänder introduced Walther to the work of Edmund Husserl.

    In 1917, Walther transferred from Munich to the University of Freiburg to study with Husserl. There she took courses not only with Husserl, but with Martin Heidegger and Edith Stein. In WS 1918/19, Walther gave the inaugural lecture of the Freiburg Circle – “Zur Problematik von Husserls reinem Ich” – and established herself as a voice to be taken seriously within the phenomenological movement. During her time in Freiburg, Walther also underwent what we might a spiritual encounter that played a role in shaping her future interests in religious experience, mysticism, and abnormal psychology. In the fall of 1919, Walther returned to Munich to complete her dissertation under the direction of Pfänder, and enrolled in courses with Mortiz Geiger and Max Weber as well. On 10 March, 1921. Walther defended her dissertation, Ein Beitrag zur Ontologie der sozialen Gemeinschaften, and was awarded her doctorate summa cum laude. This work was published in Husserl’s Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung in 1923.

    In October 1922, she moved to Heidelberg to begin work on her habilitation under the supervision of Karl Jaspers. However, this project was abandoned due to personal financial troubles. Nevertheless, in 1923 Walther published her magnum opus Zur Phänomenologie der Mystik. In the years that followed, Walther took a series of jobs, including one at a state mental hospital. Her experiences in this position led to the authoring of the essay “Zur innen psychischen Struktur der Schizophrenie”, published in 1927. Walther enjoyed some notoriety based on this piece, which led to her obtaining positions first as an assistant to Hanz Prinzhorn, and then to the psychiatrist and parapsychologist Albert von Schrenck-Notzing. From then on, Walther’s work focused almost exclusively on parapsychology. Throughout her life, she worked on an autobiography, which was finally published in 1960 under the title Zum anderen Ufer: Vom Marxismus und Atheismus zum Christentum. Walther died on 6 January 1977.

  • Select Bibliography

    Walther, Gerda 1923. Ausführliches Sachregister zu Edmund Husserls “Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie” Bd. 1. Halle: Niemeyer.

    Walther, Gerda 1923. Zur Ontologie der sozialen Gemeinschaften. Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung 6, 1-138.

    Walther, Gerda 1923. Zur Phänomenologie der Mystik. Halle: Niemeyer.

    Walther, Gerda 1925. Zur Psychologie der sogenannten “moral insanity”. Japanisch-deutsche Zeitschrift für Wissenschaft und Technik 3, 174-184

    Walther, Gerda 1927. Zur innenpsychischen Struktur der Schizophrenie. Zeitschrift für die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie 108, 56-85.

    Walther, Gerda 1928. Ludwig Klages und sein Kampf gegen den “Geist”. Philosophischer Anzeiger 3(1), 48-90.

    Walther, Gerda 1928. Sören Kierkegaards Psychologie der Verzweiflung. Zeitschrift für Menschenkunde, Blätter für Charakterologie und angewandte Psychologie 4 (4), 208-219, 336.

    Walther, Gerda 1955. Die Bedeutung der phänomenologischen Methode Edmund Husserls für die Parapsychologie. Psychophysikalische Zeitschrift 1 (2), 22-29; (3), 37-40.

    Walther, Gerda 1960. Zum anderen Ufer: Vom Marxismus und Atheismus zum Christentum. Remagen: Reichl.

  • Media
    Dr. Susi Ferrarello (University of San Francisco) presents two talks with our researchers Dr. Rodney Parker and Julia Mühl:

    Phenomenology of Mystical Experience – Mühl on Gerda Walther’s Philosophy

    “A beautiful overview of Walther’s phenomenology.What’s a soul and how does it differ from spirit? How can we experience God? Is there just one God? These and more questions will be addressed in this talk.”

     

    Parker & Mühl in Dialogue on Walther’s Phenomenology of Mysticism

     

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