Hans Adolf Eduard Driesch (1867-1941)
AuthorSunderland, Mary E.
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Although educated as a scientist who studied with both August Weismann and Ernst Heinrich Haeckel, Hans Adolf Eduard Driesch was first employed as a professor of philosophy and became a strong proponent of vitalism. Driesch was born on 28 October 1867, the only child of Josefine Raudenkolb and Paul Driesch. He grew up in a wealthy merchant family in Hamburg, Germany, where he was educated at the humanistic Gymnasium Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums that had been founded by a friend of Martin Luther. In 1886 he spent two summers studying with Weismann at the University of Freiburg and then entered the University of Jena, where he received his doctorate in 1889 with a study of hydroid colonies. By 1890 Driesch had lost interest in Haeckel's popular phylogenetic approach to zoology and instead focused on experimental embryology.