German philosopher; born in Coswig, Anhalt, Germany, July 4, 1842. He early began to study philosophy, and soon became known as a profound student of Kant. He was educated at the gymnasium at Dessau, at the Jewish theological seminary at Breslau, and at the universities of Breslau, Berlin, and Halle. In 1873 he became privat-docent in the philosophical faculty of Marburg University, the thesis with which he obtained the "venia legendi" being "Die Systematischen Begriffe in Kant's Vorkritischen Schriften nach Ihrem Verhältniss zum Kritischen Idealismus." In 1875 he was appointed assistant professor, and in the following year professor. He was one of the founders of the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaft des Judenthums, which held its first meeting in Berlin in Nov., 1902.
Cohen is generally acknowledged to be one of the ablest representatives and exponents of the neo-Kantian school. The more important of his works are: "Die Platonische Ideenlehre Psychologisch Entwickelt," in "Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie," 1866, iv.; "Mythologische Vorstellungen von Gott und Seele," ib. 1869; "Die Dichterische Phantasie und der Mechanismus des Bewusstseins," ib.; "Zur Controverse Zwischen Trendelenburg und Kuno Fischer," ib. 1871; "Kant's Theorie der Erfahrung," Berlin, 1871; 2d ed., 1885; "Platon's Ideenlehre und die Mathematik," Marburg, 1878; "Kant's Begründung der Ethik," Berlin, 1877; "Das Prinzip der Infinitesimalmethode und Seine Geschichte: ein Kapitel zur Grundlegung der Erkenntnisskritik," Berlin, 1883; "Von Kant's Einfluss auf die Deutsche Kultur," Berlin, 1883; "Kant's Begründung der Aesthetik," Berlin, 1889; "Zur Orientirung in den Losen Blättern aus Kant's Nachlass," in "Philosophische Monatshefte," 1890, xx.; and "Leopold Schmidt," in "Neue Jahrbücher für Philologie und Pädagogik," 1896, cliv.
Cohen edited and published also the last philosophical essays ("Logische Studien," Leipsic, 1894) of F. A. Lange, and his "Geschichte des Materialismus," with a long introduction and critical supplement (2d enlarged edition based on the 7th edition of the original, 1902, I.). His writings relating more especially to Judaism include several pamphlets, among them "Die Kulturgeschichtliche Bedeutung des Sabbat," 1881; "Ein Bekenntniss in der Judenfrage," Berlin, 1880; as well as the following articles: "Das Problem der Jüdischen Sittenlehre," in the "Monatsschrift," xliii. (1899), pp. 385-400, 433-449; "Liebe und Gerechtigkeit in den Begriffen Gott und Mensch." in "Jahrbuch für Jüdische Geschichte und Litteratur," III. (1900), pp. 75-132; "Autonomie und Freiheit," in the "Gedenkbuch für David Kaufmann," 1900. His essay "Die Nächstenliebe im Talmud" was written at the request of the Marburg Königliches Landgericht (3d ed., Marburg, 1888). His latest publication is "Logik der Reinen Erkenntniss," comprising the first part of his "System der Philosophie," ix. 520, Berlin, 1902.
- Franz Lindheimer, Hermann Cohen, in Berner Studien zur Philosophie und lhrer Geschichte, xxi., Bern. 1900;
- A. de Gubernatis, Dictionnaire International des Ecrivains du Jour, i. Florence, 1888;
- Otto Siebert, Gesch. der Neueren Deutschen, Philosophie Seit Hegel, pp. 341-342, Göttingen, 1898;
- Karl Vorländer, Geschichte der Philosophie, ii. 461-466, Leipsic, 1902.