His major influences while studying philosophy were Hans Driesch, Nicolai Hartmann and especially Max Scheler.
In 1933 Gehlen signed the Vow of allegiance of the Professors of the German Universities and High-Schools to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialistic State.
He joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and had a shining career as a member of the 'Leipzig School' under Hans Freyer. He replaced Paul Tillich, who emigrated to the U.S., at the University of Frankfurt. In 1938 he accepted a teaching position at the University of Königsberg (today's Kaliningrad) and then taught at the University of Vienna in 1940 until he was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1943. After his 'denazification' he taught at the administrative college in Speyer. He went on to teach at the Aachen University of Technology between 1962 and 1969. Gehlen became a sharp critic of the protest movements that developed in the late 1960s. Gehlen's philosophy has influenced many contemporary neoconservative German thinkers. Many terms from his work, like Reizüberflutung ("Sensory overload"), deinstitutionalization or post-history, have gained popular currency in Germany.
- Der Mensch. Seine Natur und seine Stellung in der Welt. (1940) (Translated as "Man, his nature and place in the world")
- Urmensch und Spätkultur. Philosophische Ergebnisse und Aussagen. (1956)
- Die Seele im technischen Zeitalter. (1957) (Translated as "Man in the age of technology")
- Moral und Hypermoral. Eine pluralistische Ethik. (1969)
- Berger, Peter L., and Hansfried Kellner (1965)
- Berger, Peter L., and Hansfried Kellner. "Arnold Gehlen and the theory of institutions." Social Research (1965): 110-115. in JSTOR
- Greiffenhagen, Martin. "The Dilemma of Conservatism in Germany." Journal of Contemporary History (1979): 611-625. in JSTOR
- Magerski, Christine. "Arnold Gehlen: Modern art as symbol of modern society." ´´Thesis Eleven. Critical Theory and Historical Sociology´´ (8/2012): 81-96.
- Magerski, Christine, "Arnold Gehlen (1904-1976)." ´´The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology´´, Ed. George Ritzer, online (http://www.blackwellreference.com/public/uid=3/tocnode?id=g9781405124331_yr2016_chunk_g97814051[dead link]
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