Vaihinger, Hans (häns fĪˈhĭng-ər) [key], 1852–1933, German philosopher. Educated at Tübingen, Leipzig, and Berlin, he served at Strasbourg first as tutor and then as professor of philosophy. One of the great Kant scholars, in 1884 he went to Halle, where he became full professor in 1892. His studies of Kant culminated in Kant—ein Metaphysiker? (1899). His own system was set forth in 1911 and was translated into English as The Philosophy of "As If" (1924). He argued that since reality cannot be truly known, human beings construct systems of thought to satisfy their needs and then assume that actuality agrees with their constructions; i.e., people act "as if" the real were what they assume it to be.
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