[Index of Professors at German-Speaking Universities]

Professors at Altdorf [history]

Mayer, Johann Tobias, Jr. (1752-1830)

1780-86: Full Prof. of Mathematics and Physics (Altdorf).

See Göttingen.

Semler, Johann Salomo (1725-1791)

1750: Professor of History and Poetry (Altdorf).

1753: Dr. of Theology (Altdorf).

See Halle.

Will, Georg Andreas (1727-1798)

Will lectured on Kant’s philosophy, eventually publishing this as Vorlesungen über die Kantische Philosophie (Altdorf, 1788), 203 pp.; rprt. Brussels 1968; summarized in Hausius [1793, xxiii].

Professors at Dorpat/Tartu [history]

Jäsche, Gottlob Benjamin (1762-1842)

 1802: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Dorpat).

See Königsberg.

Morgenstern, Johann Simon Karl (1770-1852)

1788: Matriculation (Halle).

1794: Dr. of Philosophy; lecturer in classical philology (Halle).

1797: Assoc. Professor (Halle).

1798: Teaching at the Athaneum (Danzig).

1802: Prof. of Aesthetics and Classical Philology (Dorpat).

1833: Retired as a professor, but continued to give lectures until 1836.

1839: Retired from the library.

Born (Aug 28) in Madgeburg, died (Sep 3) in Dorpat; the son of a physician. Studied philosophy with Eberhard, and philology with A. Wolff while at Halle. Morgenstern was a successful lecturer at Halle (his lectures on history of philosophy reportedly drew over 200 students). Called to the newly-founded university at Dorpat to teach aesthetics and philology, he also developed the university library into an excellent collection. Königsberg offered him a position in 1817, which he declined. The older Jäsche, who had also been called to Dorpat in 1802, passed on his collection of Kantiana to Morgenstern. [letters: 662, 674] [Sources: ADB]

Professors at Duisburg [history]

Plessing, Friedrich Victor Lebrecht (1749-1806)

1768: Matriculation (Göttingen).

1774 (Oct 20): Matriculation (Halle).

1779 (Oct 22): Matriculation (Königsberg).

1780 (May): Matriculation (Leipzig).

1783: Magister in absentia (Königsberg).

1788: Professor of Philosophy (Duisburg).

Also: Friedrich Wilhelm. Born on 20 December 1749 in Beleben (in the Mansfelder Seekreise), and died 8 February 1806 in Duisburg. He was the son of Johann Friedrich Plessing (1720-1793), 1st court chaplain in Wernigerode. Plessing studied political science in Göttingen, theology at Wittenberg, Halle, and Leipzig, but was an uncommitted student, plagued by hypochondria. He met Goethe, who immortalized him in his Harzreise im Winter (1779; pp. 33, 208 Weimar ed.), and several years later moved to Königsberg to study ancient history and philosophy, where he met Kant and Hamann. He later assumed a professorship at Duisburg, where Goethe visited him again in 1792. Kant worked on Plessing’s behalf several times, urging the philosophy faculty to suspend certain rules to allow him to graduate (Letter to the philosophy faculty, 20 April 1783), and then later helping him with child support payments to a woman in Königsberg.[Sources: ALZ 1806; APB; ADB]

Professors at Erfurt [history]

Breithaupt, Joachim Justus (1658-1732)

1687: Professor of Philosophy (Erfurt).

See Halle.

Hermann, Christian Gotthilf Martin (1764-1823)

1789: Catechist at a girls' school, and begins lecturing at the university (Erfurt).

1790: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (both gymnasium and university) (Erfurt).

1791: Deacon of the Reglerkirche (Erfurt).

1792: Full Prof. at the Gymnasium (Erfurt).

1798: Deacon of the Kaufmannkirche (Erfurt).

1803: Consistory advisor and Superintendant (Heiligenstadt).

1816: Consistory advisor and Superintendant (Erfurt).

Christian Gotthilf Martin Herrmann (also: Hermann), born 8 February 1765 in Erfurt, was the youngest child of a merchant; he died suddenly on 26 August 1823 while on church business at Weissensee. He was a minor theologian and pedagogue, and an early admirer of Kant's aesthetics.

Herrmann attended the Raths-Gymnasium in Erfurt, and then studied theology for several years at the university in Erfurt before transferring to Göttingen. He served as a catechist at the girl's school in Erfurt (1789), but began offering private lectures on aesthetics the following year at the university after receiving his magister’s degree. These lectures were the first of their kind at Erfurt and were quite popular, leading to his promotion to associate professor of philosophy that same year (1790) at both the university and at his old gymnasium. In 1791 he was made deacon of the Reglerkirche in Erfurt, and was promoted to full professor at the gymnasium in 1792. Since 1798 he served instead as deacon of the Kaufmannkirche (Erfurt), but was called to Heiligenstadt in 1803 or 1805 as consistory advisor and general superintendent of the schools there, assuming those same offices in Erfurt when he returned in 1816.

In a pamphlet advertising his lectures on aesthetics at the university of Erfurt (1791), Herrmann compared the aesthetic doctrine in Kant's Critique of Judgment with that found in Frans Hemsterhuis's Letter on Sculpture (1769). Hemsterhuis (1721-90) was a Leiden philosopher whose letter was receiving considerable attention in Germany (for instance, Moses Mendelssohn, J. H. Merck, and Christian Garve all discussed it in print). Herrmann found the two positions similar on many points, but he defended Kant's definition of beauty over Hemsterhuis's, and sent a copy of this pamphlet to Kant (with an accompanying letter dated 10 February 1791). Hemsterhuis had developed an interesting, empirically-based definition of beauty as that which evokes or allows us to grasp the greatest number of ideas in the shortest period of time, but Herrmann noted that this definition concerned a non-aesthetic effect of beauty, rather than the nature of beauty itself, and thus that Hemsterhuis had said nothing about the actual content of aesthetic ideas. Herrmann argued that a thing is beautiful just if it evokes aesthetic ideas, not merely if it enables a swift comprehension of ideas in general. He also published a critical study of Christianity (1792), and later a well-received textbook for religious instruction in secondary schools (1796). [Sources: Hamberger 3:264, 9:574, 14:117, 18:145, 22:714; Neuer Nekrolog, 1:623-31; Döring 1831, 1:697-701]

Select Publications:

Kant und Hemsterhuis in Rücksicht ihren Definitionen der Schönheit, nebst einigen Einwürfen gegen Leztern. Eine Einladungschrift zu seinem Vorlesungen (Erfurt, 1791). Reprint: Aetas Kantiana (Brussels, 1968), vol. 92.

Versuch einer philosophischen und kritischen Einleitung in die christliche Religion (Göttingen, 1792).

Lehrbuch der christlichen Religion zum Gebrauch in Gymnasien und mittlern Schulen (Erfurt, 1796; 2nd edn, Erfurt, 1799).

Schorch, Heinrich (1777-1822)

Professor of Humanities (Erfurt). [Letter: 742/706]

Schwarz (d. 1837?)

Prof. of Medicine (Erfurt). [Letter: 742]

Wieland, Christoph Martin (1733-1813)

1769-72: Prof. at Erfurt.

1786 (Dec 7): Member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Born (Sep 5) in Bieberach, died (Jan 20) in Weimar. A poet, classicist, and man of letters. His teaching career at Erfurt was brief. Closely associated with the court at Weimar. Founded and edited the important journal of literature, Der Teutsche Merkur (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1773-1789). Published the first German translations of many of Shakespeare’s plays (1762-6). His daughter Susanna married Karl Reinhold [bio] in 1785, not long after Reinhold’s arrival in Weimar. When Purgstall visited Kant in 1795, he thought Kant resembled Wieland: “You will be amazed who I think Kant resembles; in his wide-ranging speech, in his long parenthetical remarks, sometimes even in his language — with — the crazy Wieland!”[1] Kant and Wieland were inducted into the Berlin Academy of Sciences on the same day. [Letters: 73, 73A, 74, ++++] [Sources: ADB]


[1] [Hugelman 1879, 611]

Professors at Erlangen [history]

Abicht, Johann Heinrich (1762-1816)

1781: Matriculation (Erlangen).

1784: Private tutor (at von Schall’s).

1786: Magister (Erlangen).

1790: Dr. of Philosophy; Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy.[1]

1796: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Erlangen).

1804: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Vilnius/Lithuania).

Born (May 4) in Volkstedt (near Rudolfstadt), died (Apr 28) in Vilnius; the son of a school teacher. Attended the gymnasium in Rudolfstadt; studied at Erlangen; worked as a private tutor; lectured at Erlangen; then was called to the newly founded university at Vilnius (Wilna). A voluminous author. See his letter to Kant (April 22, 1789), where he notes that he hopes to continue Kant’s system “in a systematic moral philosophy and ethic” to serve as a textbook (publ. 1790; discussed in Hausius 1793, lxxv). With F. G. Born (Leipzig; see) he published the Neues philosophisches Magazin, Erläuterungen und Anwendungen des Kantischen Systems bestimmt, 2 volumes (each with four issues; Leipzig 1789-90). [Sources: ADB; Klemme]

Select Publications:

Versuch einer Metaphysik des Vergnügens nach Kantischen Grundsätzen zur Grundlegung einer systematischen Thelematologie und Moral (Leipzig 1789). [Copy in Kant’s library: Warda 1922, 45]

Versuch einer kritischen Untersuchung über das Willensgeschäfte und einer darauf gegründeten Beantwortung der Frage: Warum gehn die moralischen Lehren bei den Menschen so wenig in gute Gesinnungen und Handlungen über? (Frankfurt a. Main, 1788). [Copy in Kant's library: Warda 1922, 45]

Neues System einer philosophischen Tugendlehre, aus der Natur des Menschen entwickelt (Leipzig 1790).


[1] Falckenberg [1902] dates the habilitation at 1789, assumption of full professorship in 1799.

Ammon, Christoph Friedrich (1766-1849)

1789: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Erlangen).

1790: Assoc. Prof. of Theology (Erlangen).

1792: Full Prof. of Theology; 2nd university chaplain (Erlangen).

See Göttingen.

Breyer, Johann Friedrich (1738-1826)

1770: Full Prof. of Logic and Metaphysics.

Breyer (of Stuttgart) was given the chair of Philosophy that was offered Kant in a letter of November 23, 1769. He was apparently called from Tübingen, where he had been teaching. [Sources: Krafft 1770; Falckenberg 1902]

Mayer, Johann Tobias (1752-1830)

1786: Professor of Philosophy (Erlangen).

See Göttingen.

Mehmel, Gottlieb Ernst August (1761-1840)

1792: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy.

1793: Trip to Königsberg. [Malter 424]

1799: Full Prof. of Philosophy.

Mehmel taught Hardenburg’s sons, and was the first to lecture on Kant's philosophy at Erlangen. [Sources: ADB]

Rudolph, Johann Christoph (1723-1792)

????: Matriculation (Marburg).

1743: Studying law at Halle.

1755: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy and Law (Erlangen).

1756: Dr. of Law

1758: 4th Prof. of Law.

1760: 3rd Prof. of Law.

1762: Member of the faculty.

1778: 1st Prof. of Law

Born (Nov 3) in Marburg, died (Feb 28) in Erlangen; the son of the director of the Elisabeth-Hospital. (ADB lists his middle name as Christian.) Matriculated at Marburg to study theology, then to Halle to study law. Edited the Erlangen Gelehrten Anzeigen while working on his law studies. Most of his time was devoted to teaching, rather than writing. [Letter: 45/42] [Sources: ADB]

Seiler, Georg Friedrich (1733-1807)

Prof. of Theology. [Letter: 659, 675][Sources: Doering 1830, 422-33; ADB]

Suckow, Simon Gabriel (1721-1786)

Prof. of Mathematics and Physics. [Letter: 41a, 44, 46, 47] [Sources: ADB]

Ziegler, C. F.?

See his Jan. 3, 1770, letter to Kant wherein he hopes to entice Kant into accepting the position there.

Professors at Frankfurt an der Oder [history]

Abbt, Thomas (1738-1766)

1756: Matriculates at Halle.

1758: Magister (Halle).

1760: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Frankfurt/Oder).

1761 (May-Oct): In Berlin with Nicolai and Mendelssohn.

1761 (Nov): Full Prof. of Mathematics (Rinteln).

Thomas Abbt was born (25 Nov 1738) in Ulm, and died (3 Nov 1766) in Bückeburg as court counselor to Count von Schaumburg-Lippe (Abbt’s successor to this post would be Johann Gottfried Herder — who both profited from and promoted Abbt’s work).[1] Abbt was an historical and popular author, and a friend of Moses Mendelssohn, who dedicated his Phädon to Abbt’s memory.

Abbt taught briefly as a lecturer, and then associate professor, at Frankfurt/Oder, before leaving for a position at Bückeburg, also holding a professorship of mathematics at nearby Rinteln — roughly midway between Hannover and Bielefeld, and a good 350 km. west of Berlin, where his heart and mind longed to be. Gottlieb Schlegel [bio] recalls how Abbt, presumably while still at Frankfurt, would present his history lectures as speeches, delivering them from memory with his hat under his arm. 

Abbt received early recognition for his Death for the Fatherland (1761), written in the context of the many deaths suffered by Prussian soldiers during the Seven Years War, although his best known publication is Vom Verdienste (1765).[2] Abbt was Lessing’s successor as reviewer for Nicolai’s Briefe, die neueste Literatur betreffend (Germany's most important journal for literary criticism during its six year span between 1759 and 1765), and also wrote essays for the Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek. In July 1764 Nicolai published in his Briefe an exchange between Abbt and Mendelssohn on Spalding’s famous Betrachtung über die Bestimmung des Menschen (1748, and at the time in its 7th edition). Mendelssohn took Spalding’s position that the imbalance between virtue and happiness strongly supports the existence of an afterlife in which the virtuous receive their reward and the vicious their punishment. Abbt, for his part, saw the record of human history as suggesting anything but a providential God and a rectifying afterlife, and (in a manner reminiscent of Hume) argued that only revelation could give us grounds for such a belief; reason points in the opposite direction.

Abbt also wrote a brief biography of Alexander Baumgarten, from whose textbooks Kant lectured. [Sources: Schlegel 1790, 239; Meusel; ADB; Zaremba 1998; Zammito 2002, 163-71] [last update: 30 Jan 2007]

Select Publications:

Vom Tode fürs Vaterland (Berlin: Fr. Nicolai, 1761), 99 pp.

Vom Verdienste (Berlin: Fr. Nicolai, 1765), 316 pp.

Alexander Gottlieb Baumgartens leben und character beschrieben (Halle: C. H. Hemmerde, 1765), 32 p.


[1] Herder [bio] wrote of Abbt that “one can justly call him a writer for mankind, and a philosopher of the common man: a title which is quite rare and in my eyes worthy of honor” (qtd. in Zammito 2002, 165).

[2] Kant mentions this work in his anthropology lectures (Collins 1,WS 1772/73, Ak. 25:118): "Man hat Bücher von einem großen Man überhaupt Z. B. Abbts Buch vom Verdienst."

Baumgarten, Alexander Gottlieb (1714-1762)

1727: Student at Francke’s Latin School (Halle).

1730: Matriculates at the university as a theology student (Halle).

1735 (Feb 26): Magister (Halle).

1735: Lecturer (Halle).

1737: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Halle).

1740-62: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Frankfurt)

Alexander Gottlieb Barmgarten was born (17 Jul 1714) in Berlin and died (26 May 1762) in Frankfurt/Oder, where he was a professor of philosophy. He was the fifth of seven sons; the oldest brother was Siegmund Jacob Baumgarten (Halle; see), under whom he studied Latin and Wolffian philosophy at Halle. He married twice, the second to Justina Elisabeth Albinus, in 1748. In August 1751 he became ill with tuberculosis, which eventually killed him at the age of 48.

Baumgarten is often referred to as the most Leibnizian of Christian Wolff’s disciples,[1] and is best known for his work on aesthetics (1750-58). Kant used his highly successful textbook on metaphysics (Metaphysica, 11739, 71779) for most of his teaching career, as well as the Ethica philosophica and Initia philosophiae practicae primae texts in his moral philosophy lectures.

In the New Elucidation (1755) Kant characterized “the penetrating Baumgarten” [Ak. 1:397] as the “chief of the metaphysicians” [Ak. 1:408]; in his lecture announcement for WS 1765/66, Kant praised Baumgarten’s metaphysics text for “the richness of its contents and the precision of its method” [Ak. 2:308]; in a letter to Herz (24 Nov 1776) Kant counted Baumgarten among “our greatest analysts” alongside Mendelssohn and Garve (Ak. 10:198); in the an-Pölitz 3.1 (logic; dated c.1780), Kant said of Baumgarten that “Wolff’s logic was distilled by Baumgarten, a man who has contributed much here” (Ak. 24:509); and in an-Starke 1 (anthropology; dated 1781/82), Baumgarten is characterised as “a man quite rich in material and succinct in its execution” (Ak. 25:859).

G. F. Meier (1718-1777), a former student of Baumgarten’s, translated his Metaphysica into German (1763), a task that an early death prevented Baumgarten from doing himself. [Sources: ADB; NDB; Niggli 1999; see also Mirbach’s Baumgarten website] [last update: 31 Jan 2014]

Select Publications:

Metaphysica (Halle: Carl Hemmerde, 1739). 7th ed: 1779.

Ethica philosophica (Halle, 1740). 2nd ed.: 1751; 3rd ed.: 1763.

Aesthetica, 2 vol. (Frankfurt/Oder, 1750, 1758).

Initia philosophiae practicae primae, 3rd ed. (Halle: 1760).

Acroasis logica in Chr. Wolff (Halle: 1761).


[1] Unlike Wolff, Baumgarten endorsed Leibniz’s doctrine of pre-established harmony (and not just as a conjecture, as Leibniz viewed it, but as a proven theorem). Baumgarten also adopted the Leibnizian doctrine of monads. For a fuller discussion, see Baumgarten [2013, 13-22].

Berends, Karl August Wilhelm (1759-1826)

1780: Dr. of Medicine (Frankfurt/Oder).

1788: Professor of Medicine (Frankfurt).

1811: Moved (with the university) to Breslau.

1815: Professor of Medicine (Berlin).

Born (Apr 19) in Anklam, died (Dec 1) in Berlin. [Sources: ADB]

Darjes, Joachim Georg (1714-1791)

1728: Matriculation (Rostock).

1731: Matriculation (Jena).

1735: Magister (Jena).

1738: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Jena).

1739: Dr. of Law (Jena).

1744: Full Prof. of Moral Philosophy and Politics (Jena).

1763: Full Prof. of Law (Frankfurt).

1772: 1st Prof. of Law (Frankfurt).

Born 23 Jun 1714 in Güstrow (in Mecklenburg), and died 17 Jul 1791 in Frankfurt/Oder. Studied theology and philosophy in Rostock, then Jena . After graduation he preached in Güstrow, then returned to Jena to lecture on philosophy, mathematics and, after 1737, on jurisprudence. Special money set aside by the king allowed Frankfurt/Oder to hire him away from Jena. A highly popular lecturer, said to have been heard by more than 10,000 students during his 27 years of teaching at Frankfurt.[1] Published Via ad veritatem (Jena, 1755), a work cited in Herder’s notes from Kant’s metaphysics lectures (Ak. 28: 54). [Sources: ADB; Bornhak 1900, 106]


[1] This seems unlikely, given the low enrollments at Frankfurt.

Hausen, Karl Renatus (1740-1805)

1765: Assoc. Prof. (Halle).

1766: Prof. (Frankfurt).

1772: Prof. of History (Frankfurt).

Also served as the university librarian. [See letter 42/40][Sources: ADB]

Krug, Wilhelm Traugott (1770-1842)

1801: Professor of Philosophy (Frankfurt).

1805-9: Full Prof. of Logic and Metaphysics (Königsberg).

1809-34: Professor at Leipzig.

He succeeded Kant, then left for Leipzig and was replaced by Herbert. [letter: 648/613][Sources: ADB; Gause 1996, ii.301, 346; Dietzsch 2002]

Madihn, Georg Samuel (1729-1784)

Professor of Law (Frankfurt).

Karl Georg Gottfried Glave (Hofgerichtsrat in Königsberg, later imprisoned for breach of duty) sent Kant three books of Madihn’s on natural law (along with a book by the Becmann’s, two brothers teaching at Göttingen); see his letter of 1779(?) (Ak. 10: 260). [Sources: ADB]

Steinbart, Gotthelf Samuel (1738-1809)

Prof. of Philosophy and Theology (Frankfurt). [Letter: 170][Sources: ADB]

Strimesius, Johann Samuel (1648-1730)

1667: Studying in Frankfurt/Oder.

1671: Disputation at Frankfurt; travels in England.

1672: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy, then Full Prof. of Physics and Magister (Frankfurt).

1679: Assoc. Prof. of Theology, and 1st Pastor at St. Nikolai (reformed) in Frankfurt.

1709: Promoted to Dr. by Oxford.

Born in Königsberg, died in Frankfurt/Oder. Studied and was promoted (Magister?) at Frankfurt, then traveled to England, studying at Cambridge and Oxford, returning to Frankfurt to teach, then to Königsberg. His son Johann Samuel Strimesius (1684-1744) was a professor of Rhetoric and History at Königsberg. [Sources: APB; ADB]

Töllner, Johann Gottlieb (1724-1774)

1749: Feldprediger

1756: Assoc. Prof. of Theology (Frankfurt).

1760: Prof. of Philosophy (Frankfurt).

Protestant theologian, dogmatist, moral-theologian, supernaturalist. [Sources: ADB]

Professors at Giessen [history]

Boehm, Andreas (1720-1790)

Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy.

Schaumann, Johann Christian Gottlieb (1768-1821)

1794: Professor of Philosophy (Giessen).

Schaumann’s 1789 publication was meant to answer Feder’s 1787 attack on Kant. [Letter: 687][Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Ueber die transcendentale Aesthetik; ein kritischer Versuch. Nebst einem Schreiben an Herrn Hofrath Feder über den transcendentalen Idealismus (Leipzig: In der Weidmannischen Buchhandlung, 1789).

Psyche; oder, Unterhaltungen über die seele, für leser und leserinnen (Halle: Waisenhaus Buchhandlung, 1791).

Ideen zu einer Kriminalpsychologie (Halle: Johann Jacob Gebauer, 1792).

Philosophie der Religion überhaupt und des christlichen Glaubens insbesondre (Halle: J.J. Gebauer, 1793).

Kritische abhandlungen zur philosophischen Rechtslehre (Halle: Johann Jacob Gebauer, 1795).

Versuch eines neuen Systems des natürlichen Rechts (Halle: J.J. Gebauer, 1796).

Geschichte der Republik Frankreich unter der Directorialregierung. Bis zum Definitivfrieden mit Oestreich. Mit historisch-diplomatischen Urkunden (Halle: J.J. Gebauer, 1798).

Erklärung über Fichte’s Appellation und über die Anklagen gegen die philosophie, eine Beylage zu der genannten Fichteschen Schrift (Giessen: H.G. Stamm, 1799).

Schmid, Karl Christian Erhard (1761-1812)

1791: Prof. of Philosophy (Gießen).

See Jena.

Schlettwein, Johann August (1731-1802)

1763 (Jun 6): Advisor in the Baden government.

1773: Moved to Vienna.

1775: Married.

1776/77: Professor (Basel).

1777-85: Professor of Cameral and Financial Sciences (Gießen).

1790: Professor (Greifswald).

Johann August Schlettwein was born (8 Aug 1731) in Weimar, and died (24 Apr 1802) in Dahlen (Mecklenburg). Schlettwein was Germany's foremost physiocrat, a school founded by François Quesnay on the principles of laissez-faire economic transactions and an understanding of wealth based on land. Schlettwein earned a minor footnote in Kant circles for his hope to overthrow the Kantian system in a public exchange of letters. [writings]

Schlettwein attended the Gymnasium in Weimar before studying law and political economy at Jena, where he received a Magister degree. His early writings ranged from logic and metaphysics to theology and the natural sciences (see ADB). He received a government post in Baden in 1763 as Kammer- und Polizeirath (and later as Hofrat). The Markgraf of Baden was a strong proponent of physiocracy and founded a society in 1765 to promote its principles in Baden. 

Schlettwein fell out of favor with the Baden court in 1775 and moved to Vienna, then taught briefly at Basel before beginning an eight-year career as a professor of political economy at Giessen, where a new economics faculty had been formed. In 1785 he moved to the estate of his wife’s family in Mecklenburg and taught at the university at Greifswald. [Sources: ADB, DBE] [last update: 7 May 2007]

Select Publications:

Die wichtigste Angelegenheit für das ganze Publicum (Karlsruhe, 1772).

Grundfeste der Staaten, oder die politische Oekonomie (Gießen, 1778).

Snell, Friedrich Wilhelm Daniel (1755-1834)

Assistant professor of philosophy at Gießen [as of 1791]. Wrote a popularization of Kant’s aesthetics (1791).

Select Publications:

Darstellung und Erläuterung der kantischen Kritik der ästhetischen Urtheilskraft (Mannheim, 1791).

Professors at Göttingen [history]

Kant’s former amanuensis, J. H. I. Lehmann, sent a long letter to Kant from Göttingen (13 November 1799), reporting on the university and various professors.

Achenwall, Gottfried (1719-1772)

1738: Matriculation (Jena).

1743-46: Private tutor to the sons of Chancellor von Gersdorff (Dresden).

1746 (Feb 16): Magister (Leipzig).

1746-48: Lecturer on history, statistics, natural and international law (Marburg).

1748: Lecturer, then Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Göttingen).

1753 (Apr 10): Assoc. Prof. of Jurisprudence and (Sep 4) Full Prof. of Philosophy (Göttingen).

1761: Full Prof. of Natural Law and Political Science (Göttingen).

1762: Dr. of Law (Göttingen).

Born (Oct 20) in Elbing, died (May 1) in Göttingen; the son of a merchant. Attended (from 1726) the gymnasium in Elbing, then studied in Jena, Halle, Jena again, and Leipzig (1742). Served as a private tutor in Dresden, then returned to received his Magister, taught two years in Marburg, then a semester in Göttingen before receiving an associate professorship there. Called the father of statistics, also an important forerunner of the historical method in economics. Achenwall collaborated with Johann Stephan Pütter on the first two editions of their Natural Law (1st: 1750; 2nd: 1753). The 3rd edition was the work of Achenwall alone. Kant used this as a text for his lectures on natural law. Achenwall met with Benjamin Franklin during the latter's visit to Göttingen (July 1766), publishing their conversation on the political future of the American colonies. [Sources: APB; ADB; Gundlach 1927, 445-6]

Ammon, Christoph Friedrich (1766-1849)

1789: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Erlangen).

1790: Assoc. Prof. of Theology (Erlangen).

1792: Full Prof. of Theology; 2nd university chaplain (Erlangen).

1794: Prof. of Theology; 1st university chaplain; director of the theology seminar (Göttingen).

1803: Consistory advisor.

1804: Full Prof. of Theology (Erlangen), and consistory advisor and superintendant at Ansbach.

Born (Jan 16) and died (May 21) in Bayreuth. Studied in Erlangen, and began and ended his teaching career there, separated by ten years at Göttingen. See Ammon’s letters to Kant (March 8, 1794; April 28, 1795; April 9, 1796; Aug. 4, 1798: “The victory of the critical philosophy, even at our academy, is becoming ever more conclusive”). [Sources: ADB]

Blumenbach, Johann Friedrich (1752-1840)

1776: Professor of Medicine (Göttingen).

1812 (Jul 16): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Born (May 11) in Gotha, died (Jan 22) in Göttingen. Studied at Jena and Göttingen. Considered the founder of physical anthropology. Kant had J. B. Jachmann (1765-1832) deliver a letter to Blumenbach during his travels (5 Aug 1790) to which Blumenbach responded (Sep 25). Kant praised Blumenbach’s book On the Formative Drive (1789) in his Critique of Judgment (Ak. 5:424); Blumenbach viewed Kant as his teacher. See Jachmann’s letter to Kant, in which he reports of his meeting with Blumenbach (Oct. 14, 1790). [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Über den Bildungstrieb (1789)

Buhle, Johann Gottlieb Gerhard (1763-1821)

1786: Private tutor to three English princes.

1787: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Göttingen).

1794: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Göttingen).

1804: Full Prof. of Philosopy (Moscow).

1814: Returned to Germany.

1815: Full Prof. of Philosophy and Law (Kassel).

Born (Sep 29) and died (Aug 11) in Braunschweig; the son of a well-known surgeon. Studied at Helmstedt and Göttingen (philosophy and philology); served time as a private tutor before securing a teaching position, lecturing on logic, metaphysics, and history. Spent ten years in Moscow during the Napoleonic troubles. “An enlightened disciple and defender of [Kant’s] philosophical principles” (J. B. Jachmann’s letter to Kant, 14 Oct. 1990). [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Einleitung in die allgemeine Logik und die Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Göttingen 1795).

Büsching, Anton Friedrich (1724-1793)

1730: Enters the Latin School in Stadthagen.

1743 (Apr 21): Leaves Stadthagen and matriculates into the Orphanage school in Halle.

1744: Matriculates at the university (Halle).

1747 (Sep 27): Magister, and begins lecturing (Halle).

1748: Hofmeister (Köstritz).

1749: To St. Petersburg with his student.

1752 (Oct 3): Ends service as Hofmeister.

1754 (May 12): Lecturer (Halle).

1754 (Aug 7): Assoc. professor (Göttingen).

1756: Doctorate in theology (Göttingen).

1759: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Göttingen).

1761 (Jul 24): Arrival in St. Petersburg, where he serves as 2nd pastor of the Lutheran congregation.

1765: Moves to Altona where he works as a private instructor.

1766 (Oct 25): Arrival in Berlin, where he is Oberkonsistorialrat and director of the Grauen Kloster Gymnasium.

Born (Sep 27) in Stadthagen (Schaumburg-Lippe) as the son of a lawyer; died (May 28) in Berlin. He was best known for his writings on geography and his work in education.

Büsching attended the Orphanage School in Halle for one year, matriculated at the university there to study theology, primarily under Siegmund Jakob Baumgarten, receiving his magister degree in 1747 and lecturing for at least one semester at Halle. In 1748 he entered the service of a Danish diplomat as a Hofmeister to his son, Friedrich Ulrich Graf zu Lynar beginning in 1748, traveling with him to St. Petersburg in 1749, but soon returned to Germany and began collecting materials for his work on geography. He taught briefly again at Halle, then at Göttingen where he had been given a professorship, then returned to St Petersburg to pastor the Lutheran congregation there, and eventually settled in Berlin, where he worked as a goverment administrator in education.

Büsching was a prolific author of remarkably wide interests, but it was in political geography that he made his most lasting contribution. [Sources: ABD; Hoffmann 2000]

Select Publications:

Neue Erdbeschreibung, 11 vols. (1754-92). English transl.: A New System of Geography (1762).

(ed.), Magazin für die Historie und Geographie der neueren Zeit, 23 vols. (1767-88).

Diederichs, Johann Christian Wilhelm (1750-1781)

????: Magister (Göttingen).

1775: Lecturer (Göttingen).

See Königsberg.

Erxleben, Johann Christian Polykarp (1744-1777)

1767: Dr. of Philosophy (Göttingen).

1771: Assoc. Prof. of Physics (Göttingen).

1775: Full Prof. of Physics (Göttingen).

Born (Jun 22) in Quedlinburg, died (Aug 19) in Göttingen; the son of a Deacon. Studied in Göttingen. Kant used Erxleben’s Anfangsgründe der Naturlehre (Göttingen: 1772) during the 70s and much of the 80s in his physics lectures. [Sources: ADB]

Feder, Johann Georg Heinrich (1740-1821)

1757: Matriculation (Erlangen).

1760: Private tutor.

1764: Accompanied his charge to Erlangen; received his Magister, and habilitated.

1767: Prof. of Metaphysics & Hebrew, later of Metaphysics & Logic, at the Casimirianum (Coburg). [ADB: 1765]

1768-97: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Göttingen).

1796: Director of the Pageninstitute and of the Royal Library (Hannover).

Johann Georg Heinrich Feder was born (15 May 1740) in Schornweißach (near Neustadt) and died (22 May 1821) in Hannover. His father was a pastor. Feder was a professor of philosophy at the university of Göttingen and a founder of the German Popularphilosophie; he was influenced by British empiricism and was a forceful critic of Wolffian rationalism. Along with Kraus in Königsberg, Feder helped introduced Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776) to a German audience. His New Emile (1768-71) was based on his time as a private tutor (and referring, of course, to Rousseau’s Émile, 1762), as well as his Grundriß (1767), which brought him the recommendation of Prof. Ernesti (Leipzig; see) for a professorship at Göttingen. Feder wrote two other highly successful textbooks, besides the Grundriß (which Kant used in his lectures on Philosophical Enzyclopedia during the late 60s-early 80s): a text on ethics (1770) and on logic and metaphysics (1769), which Kant’s colleague Buck used at Königsberg. Feder also edited the Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen. The only correspondence between Feder and Kant occurred in early 1779, when Kant was apparently looking for a teaching position for his student C. J. Kraus.[1]

Perhaps the most significant event connecting Kant and Feder was the unfortunate review of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, written primarily by Garve but edited and published by Feder in the Göttingen Gelehrten Anzeigen (1782).[2] This caused a rift between Kant and Feder that never healed. Feder replied to Kant’s Prolegomena (1783) with On Space and Causality (1787), and with Christoph Meiners published four volumes of the anti-Kantian Philosophische Bibliothek (1788-91). [Sources: ADB; Beiser 1987, ch. 6]

Select Publications:

Grundriß der Philosophischen Wissenschaften nebst der nöthigen Geschichte (Coburg, 1767).

Der neue Emil oder von der Erziehung nach bewährten Grundsätzen [The New Emil, or Education according to tested principles] (Erlangen, 1768-71).

Lehrbuch der Logic und Metaphysik (Göttingen, 11769, 81794).

Lehrbuch der praktischen Philosophy (Göttingen, 1770).

Institutiones logicae et metaphysicae (Frankfurt, 1777).

Über Raum und Causalität, zur Prüfung der kantische Philosophie (Göttingen, 1787).


[1] Kant’s letter is missing; Feder’s letter offers little hope of a position for him: “Mein Ansehn in Göttingen ist in Absicht auf solche Empfelung in einer so manchfaltigen ehrwürdigen Concurrenz, daß sich nicht viel darauft rechnen läßt” (28 March 1779; Ak. 10:253). See also Kraus’ letter to Kant (2 March 1779). Kant had shared this letter with Hamann (see Hamann’s letter to Herder, 17 May 1779; repr. in Malter 1990, 157).

[2] Years earlier, Feder had also reviewed Kant's Observations on the Beautiful and the Sublime (1764) in the Erlangen Gelehrten Zeitung.

Gatterer, Johann Christoph (1727-1799)

1747: Enrolls as a theology student (Altdorf).

1752: Magister and habilitation (Altdorf).

1759: Prof. of History (Göttingen).

1776: Member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences.

Gatterer was born into modest circumstances (Jul 13) in Lichentau (by Ansbach) and died (Apr 5) in Göttingen, where he had taught for forty years as a professor of history. With his collague A. L. Schlözer (1735-1809), Gatterer developed a modern hermeneutical approach to historical knowledge that viewed cultural and individual perspectives as unavoidable. Rather than offering a merely chronological ordering of events, Gatterer aimed to write history 'pragmatically', meaning that events were to be systematized by describing their causal relations and thus by representing the 'universal connection of things in the world' (nexus rerum universalis) (1767, 85). With this he hoped to bring the past before the understanding as though it were part of the intuited present. In all, Gatterer attempted six universal histories, although his most enduring contribution was his developing into modern sciences several historical ancillary disciplines: genealogy, heraldry, diplomacy, and physical geography. A longer biography of Gatterer is also available. [Sources: ADB; NDB; Wegele 1885, 757-66, 786-91; Selle 1937, 132-5; Reill 1973, 24-51; Reill 1975]

Select Publications:

Handbuch der Universalhistorie nach ihrem gesamtem Unfange von Erschaffung der Welt bis zum Ursprunge der meisten heutigen Reichen und Staaten, 2 vols. (Göttingen, 1761-4; 2nd expanded edn, 1765).

Abriß der Universalhistorie nach ihrem gesamten Umfange (Göttingen, 1765; 2nd ed. 1773).

Synopsis historiae universalis sex tabulis comprehensa (Göttingen, 1766; 2nd ed. 1769).

“Vom historischen Plan” in Allgemeine historische Bibliothek, vol. 1 (1767), pp. 15-89.

Einleitung in die synchronistische Universalhistorie, 2 vols. (Göttingen, 1771).

Kurzer Begriff der Geographie (Göttingen, 1789; 2nd, expanded ed. 1793).

Versuch einer allgemeinen Weltgeschichte bis zur Entdeckung Amerikens (Göttingen, 1792).

Praktische Diplomatik (Göttingen, 1799).

Gesner, Johann Matthias (1691-1761)

1710: Matriculation (Jena).

1715-29: Librarian and conrector of the Gymnasium (Weimar).

1729: Rector (Ansbach).

1730: Rector of the Thomasschule (Leipzig).

1734: Prof. of Poetry and Rhetoric, and University Librarian (Göttingen).

1740 (Dec 14): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Also: Geßner. Born (Apr 9) in Roth (near Nürnberg), died (Aug 3) in Göttingen; the son of a pastor. An impoverished student at Jena, Prof. Buddeus took him into his house in 1712 to serve as a private tutor for his son. After serving in several schools, Gesner received calls to Prussia (to serve as an inspector of the schools) and to the newly founded Göttingen as professor of poetry and rhetoric; he accepted the latter. He helped develop the historical sciences at Göttingen, and was also a highly visible figure for the university. [see Letters, x.118/113] [Sources: ADB]

Girtanner, Christoph (1760-1800)

1780: Matriculates at the university (Göttingen).

1783: Doctorate in medicine (Göttingen).

1789: Visits Edinburgh.

Born (Nov 7) in St. Gallen, died (May 17) in Göttingen. He was the son of a merchant. Girtanner studied medicine at Göttingen, and after receiving his degree (1783), made a study-tour through Switzerland and France, and studied more chemistry in Edinburgh (where he became acquainted with Brown's system), returning to Göttingen, where he began a medical practice. He introduced Brownianismus into Germany as though it were his own, and then later accused Brown of plagiarism.

Girtanner was a friend of Kant's former student, J. B. Jachmann, and in one of Jachmann's letters to Kant (14 October 1790,#452; Ak. 11:218) we find a description of their travels through revolutionary France. Kant refers to Girtanner's book on natural history (1796) in his Anthropology (Ak. 7:320) and his Physical Geography (Ak. 9:314). [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Historischen Nachrichten und politischen Betrachtungen, über die französische Revolution (1791).

Anfangsgründe der antiphlogistischen Theorie (Berlin 1792).

Über das Kantische Princip für die Naturgeschichte (Göttingen 1796).

Göschen, Johann Friedrich Ludwig (1778-1837)

[see Ak. index] [Sources: ADB]

Haller, Albrecht von (1708-1777)

1724 (Jan)-1725 (Apr): Studies at the university in Tübïngen.

1725: Travels to Leiden to complete his medical studies under Boerhaave and Albinus.

1727 (May 23): Doctorate of Medicine (Leiden).

1728: Tours England and France.

1728/29: Lecturer at Basel.

1729: Returns to Bern to practice medicine.

1736: Professor of Medicine, Anatomy, Botany, and Surgery (Göttingen).

1749 (Sep 4): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

1750: Member, German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina.

1753: Resigns position in Göttingen and returns to Bern.

1754: Member of the Paris Academy of Sciences.

1758-64: Director of the Bern salt works.

Born (Oct 16) and died (Dec 12) in Bern.  Haller gained notoriety first as a poet, publishing a volume of poetry when he was 24 that saw eleven editions in his lifetime. In the life sciences he was an early proponent of the experimental method, and was famous for basing his claims on multiply-repeated observations. He published prolifically on anatomy, botany, embryology, and scientific bibliography, and was an early founder of modern physiology.

Haller built on Boerhaave’s view that fibers were the basic structural units of living bodies, and published an early work on tela cullulosa, or cell tissue (1748). Haller was the first to recognize the autonomous function of the heart, arguing against Stahl that its actions cannot be caused by the soul, since it continues to beat even when removed from the body. Haller explained this in terms of irritability: the heart has an inordinate amount of this property, and therefore is able, at least for a time, to stimulate itself into continued action. He also observed the effects of respiration on blood flow through the heart, and later provided the first proper description of the diaphragm (1744). On the basis of his numerous experiments, Haller demonstrated irritability as a property unique to muscle tissue (it was virtually identical to the contractability of muscle fibers), and sensibility as a property unique to nerves (see his 1752 treatise). Manipulating a nerve might cause no outward change to it, yet can cause an attached muscle to contract violently — it senses the stimulus, without responding to it.  This work, although flawed in many ways, formed the foundation of modern neurology.

Haller’s studies of gonads quickly led him into researching embryological development. The central controversy of his day was whether the individual resulted primarily from the egg (ovism) or the sperm (animalculism). Cutting across this debate was the question of whether a pre-formed individual already existed (in either the sperm or the egg) and merely had to grow (evolutionism or preformationism) or whether all the parts of the embryo had to be formed anew (epigeneticism). Partly due to his poor eyesight, and partly due to various difficulties with his preparation of chick embryos, Haller felt he had evidence for a preformed individual within the egg, which then needed merely the stimulation of the sperm to begin its growth. While he came down on the wrong side of this controversy, he did make some contributions of more lasting value. By a careful study of the rate of fetal growth, both of the body as a whole and of the various parts, he was able to demonstrate the early rapid growth and gradual tapering off. In the last years of his life, Haller prepared a massive bibliography of medical literature. [Sources: Baldinger 1773, 58-75; Börner 1749-53, i.172-214, 913-15, ii.429-33, 751-60, iii.382-85, 653-77; Jöcher/Adelung 1787, 2:1742-54; ADB; DSB; NDB]

Select Publications:

Versuch schweizerischer Gedichten (Bern, 1732).

Primae lineae physiologiae (1747).

De telae cellulosae in fabrica corporis humani dignitate (Göttingen, 1748).

De partibus corporis humani sensilibus et irritabilibus (1752).

Elementa physiologiae corporis humani, 8 vol. (Lausanne 1757-65).

Bibliothecae Medicinae Practicae, 4 vol. (1776-88).

Heeren, Arnold (1760-1842)

1776: Attended the Cathedral School (Bremen).

1779: Matriculation (Göttingen).

1784: Dr. of Philosophy; Lecturer of Philosophy.

1787: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy.

1794: Full Prof. of Philosophy.

1801: Full Prof. of History.

Born (Oct 25) in Arbergen (near Bremen), died (Mar 6) in Göttingen; the son of a pastor. Studied history with Spittler and philology with Heyne (whose daughter he married in 1796). His main work, Ideen über Politik, den Verkehr und den Handel der vornehmsten Völker der Alten Welt, brought him fame. [Sources: ADB]

Heyne, Christian Gottlob (1729-1812)

1763-1809: Professor of Rhetoric.

1786 (Nov 21): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Also: Gottlieb. Born (Jul 14) in Chemnitz, died (Jul 14) in Göttingen. Served as the university librarian; editor of the Göttingischen Anzeigen. [Sources: ADB]

Kästner, Abraham Gotthelf (1719-1800)

????: Professor of Mathematics (Leipzig).

1746: Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics and Physics (Göttingen).

1749: Member of the Academy of Sciences.

1750 (Feb 5): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

1756: Full Prof. of Mathematics and Physics.

1765: Hofrat.

Born (Sep 27) in Leipzig, died (Jun 20) in Göttingen. Mathematician and astronomer; director of the Göttingen observatory. In a letter of 26 April 1794 to Lazarus Bendavid (1762-1832; Wien), he writes: “It is not good that Kant, whose person deserves much respect, appears to enjoy the devotion of young people too much. The founders of sects are eventually harmed by the overblown honor of their disciples: Thus it was with Aristotle, Descartes, Wolff; and the Kantians who, without understanding, say with words like ‘intuition’ and ‘categories’ what is already long known — this is not philosophy, but rather what the English call cant.”[1] [Letters: 439 (xiii.278), 451/429, 572/539, ++] [Sources: ADB, 15: 439]

Select Publications:

Mathematische Anfangsgründe (Göttingen, 1759).


[1] Original: Es ist nicht gut daß Kant, der für seine Person viel Achtung verdient, an der Anhänglichkeit junger Leute zuviel Gefallen zu finden scheint. Den Sectenstiftern hat allemahl die übertriebene Verehrung ihrer Secti geschadet: So ist es dem Aristoteles, Cartesius, Wolfen gegangen, u. der Kantianer Anschauung, Categorien u.d.g. Wörter, die unverständlich sagen, was man schon lange wusste, sind keine Philosophie, sondern so was, was die Engländer cant nennen.

Koehler, Johann Bernard (1742-1802)

????: Professor (Göttingen).

See Königsberg.

Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph (1742-1799)

1763: Lecturer. [?]

1769: Assoc. Prof. of Physics

1775: Full Prof. of Physics

[letters: 439a, 495, 573, 810, 828, ++] [Sources: ADB] [mention catalog, and recently published letters]

Mayer, Johann Tobias, Jr. (1752-1830)

1773-80: Lecturer (Göttingen).

1780-86: Full Prof. of Mathematics and Physics (Altdorf).

1786: Professor of Philosophy (Erlangen).

1799: Professor of Philosophy (Göttingen; replaced the historian Gatterer).

Born (May 5) and died (Nov 30) in Göttingen; the son of Tobias Mayer, the famous astronomer (see below). Studied in Göttingen and began his lecturing there; moved to Altdorf, then Erlangen, before returning to Göttingen. [Sources: ADB]

Mayer, (Johann) Tobias, Sr. (1723-1762)

1751: Full Prof. of Economics and Mathematics (Göttingen).

1753: Member of the Scientific Society [??]

1754: Supervisor of the observatory.

Born (Feb 17) in Marbach, died (Feb 20) in Göttingen; the son of a poor wagonner. A celebrated astronomer, and father to Johann Tobias Mayer (see above). [Sources: ADB]

Meiners, Christoph (1747-1810)

1767-70: Matriculation (Göttingen).

1772: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Göttingen).

1775: Full Prof. of Philosophy.

Born (Jul 31) in Warstade (near Oterndorf), died (May 1) in Göttingen; the son of a postmaster. Attended the gymnasium at Bremen (1763-7) before studying at Göttingen. With his colleague Feder, published the anti-Kantian Philosophische Bibliothek (1788-91). [is he related to Joh. Georg Meiners at Frankfurt??] [see mentions in letters?] [Sources: ADB]

Michaelis, Johann David (1717-1791)

1733: Matriculation (Halle).

1730: Magister; Lecturer (Halle).

1741: Trip to London.

1742-45: Lecturer at Halle, alongside preaching.

1746: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Göttingen).

1750: Full Prof. of Philosophy.

1761-70: Director of the Göttingen Society of Sciences (replacing M. Gesner).

1787: Geh. Justizrat.

1789: Member of the Academies of Science (Paris, London).

Born (Feb 27) in Halle, died (Aug 22) in Göttingen; the son of Christian Benedikt Michaelis (1680-1764), the professor of theology, philosophy, and oriential languages at Halle, who was in turn the son of Johann Heinrich Michaelis (1668-1738), professor of theology and oriental languages at Halle. Studied at Halle under his father and S. J. Baumgarten; takes a trip to London, meeting the famous orientalist Prof. Schulten (colleague to Kant’s childhood friend Ruhnken) at Leyden along the way. Called to Göttingen to teach oriental languages, and replaced Haller as editor of the Göttingische Anzeigen von gelehrten Sachen in 1753 (until 1770). Michaelis opened his home to Benjamin Franklin during his celebrated visit to Göttingen (July 1766). [Sources: ADB; NDB]

Planck, Gottlieb Jakob (1751-1833)

Prof. of Theology. [Letters: comments]

Pütter, Johann Stephan (1725-1807)

1787 (Sep 26): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Born (Jun 25) in Iserlohn, died (Aug 12) in Göttingen. Professor of political science. Collaborated with G. Achenwall on the first two editions of their Natural Law; Pütter abandoned the project on the 3rd edition. [Sources: ADB, 26:749]

Schlözer, August Ludwig (1735-1809)

1751: Matriculated as a theology student (Wittenberg).

1754: Matricuated at the university at Göttingen to study history.

1755: Tutor in Stockholm.

1759: Returns to Göttingen to study medicine.

1765: Member of the Academy, and Prof. of Russian History (St. Petersburg).

1769: Prof. of History (Göttingen).

Born (Jul 5) in Gaggstatt (Württemberg), the son of a pastor, died (Sep 9) in Göttingen. Initially aimed toward a career in the ministry, he quickly moved in other directions. He was so effective in developing the research of Russian history that he was raised to the Russian nobility by Tsar Alexander I in 1804. Schlözer was the best known of the social scientists flourishing at Göttingen in the 18th century. Edited the highly influential Staatsanzeigen (1782-93; 18 vols.).[Sources: ADB]

Schmalz, Theodor Anton Heinrich (1760-1831).

1777-80: Studied Theology and Law (Göttingen).

1785: Lecturer (Göttingen).

See Königsberg.

Schulze, Gottlob Ernst (1761-1833)

1788: Prof. of Philosophy (Helmstedt).

1810: Prof. of Philosophy (Göttingen).

Born on 23 August 1761 (Heldrungen/Thuringia), died on 14 January 1833 (Berlin), he was also known as Aenesidemus, taken from the anonymously written 1792 book in which he criticized Kant’s Critical Philosophy (as presented by Kant as well as its Reinholdian incarnation), in particular the notion of the thing-in-itself as the cause of our sensations. He studied at Schulpforta, where Fichte was a classmate, and then attended the university at Wittenberg, where Crusius was one of his professors.

Hausius praises his Sketch of the Philosophical Sciences (1788) as an even-handed treatment of Kant’s philosophy [1793, xxviii]. Schopenhauer studied under him while at Göttingen. [Letters: references at xii.134, 143.] [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Grundriß der philosophischen Wissenschaften (1788).

Aenesidemus oder über die Fundamente der von Herrn Prof. Reinhold in Jena gelieferten Elementarphilosophie, nebst einer Vertheidigung des Scepticismus gegen die Anmaaßungen der Vernunftcritik (1792).

Selchow, Johann Heinrich Christian von (1732-1795)

1755: Dr. Law and Lecturer.

1757: Assoc. Prof. of Law.

1762-83: Full Prof. of Law.

See Marburg.

Spittler, Ludwig Timotheus, Freiherr von (1752-1810)

1771-75: Studies at the Tübingen Stift.

1776: Meets Lessing.

1778: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Göttingen).

1797: Left academia for government service (Württemberg).

Born (Nov 11) and died (Mar 14) in Stuttgart; the son of a pastor. A gifted lecturer (on history of Christianity; later political history), although laboring under the shadow of his older colleagues Gatterer [bio], Schlözer [bio], and Pütter [bio]. [Sources: ADB]

Stäudlin, Carl Friedrich (1761-1826)

1779-84: Studies at the Tübingen Stift.

1789: Prof. of Theology (Göttingen).

Born (Jul 25) in Stuttgart, died (Jul 5) in Göttingen. He was the son of a government advisor. After finishing his studies at Tübingen, Stäudlin began a prolific career of preaching and writing (on religious and moral subjects, as well as church history). Eventually called to Göttingen to teach (replacing J. P. Miller). Closely associated with the Göttingen professor G. J. Planck [bio], and a promoter of Kant’s critical philosophy, publishing Ideas on the Critique of the System of Christian Religion (1791) and On the Value of the Critical Philosophy (1797), among others. Kant dedicated his Conflict of the Faculties (1798) to Stäudlin, and Borowski claims that Stäudlin was more valued by Kant than any other of his promoters in Germany. [Letters: 498, 574, 629, 644, 651, 695, 736, 811, 829 +++] [Sources: Reicke 1860, 32; ADB, 35: 516]

Professors at Greifswald [history]

Ahlward, Peter A. (1710-1791)

1727: Matriculation (Greifswald).

1732: Dr. of Philosophy and Magister.

1733: Lecturer of Philosophy and Mathematics.

1743: Adjunct Professor.

1752: Full Prof. of Logic and Metaphysics.

Born (Feb 14) and died (Mar 1) in Greifswald; a member of an old local family, many of whom had taught at the university. A Wolffian, primarily interested in natural theology. Known as a gifted lecturer, sometimes lecturing in Low German. [Sources: ADB]

Hahn, Johann Bernhard, Sr. (1685-1755)

1717: Dr. of Theology in absentia (Greifswald).

See Königsberg.

Möller, J. G. P. (1729-1807)

1765: Professor of Rhetoric and History (Greifswald).

Editor of the annual Neueste Kritische Nachrichten (1779-1807).

Muhrbeck, Johann Christoph (1734-1805)

Prof. of Moral Philosophy. [Sources: ADB]

Schlegel, Gottlieb (1739-1810)

1790: 1st Full Prof. of Theology (Greifswald) & Generalsuperintendent.

See Königsberg.

Schlettwein, Johann August (1731-1802)

1790: Professor (Greifswald).

See Gießen.

Professors at Halle [history]

Alberti, Michael (1682-1757)

1704: Dr. of Medicine; lecturer in philosophy and medicine.

1706: Practicus (Nurnberg).

1710: Assoc. Prof.

1716: Full Prof. of Medicine (replacing Stahl).

1717: Royal advisor.

1726 (Jun 19): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Michael Alberti was born (13 Nov 1682) in Nuremberg (German: Nürnberg), and died (17 May 1757) in Halle, where he taught medicine and was a follower of Stahl. A prolific author. In August 30, 1743, Christian Wolff complained that Alberti had turned his medicinal garden into nothing but a vegetable garden. This may be the same Michael Alberti as gave a disputation at Königsberg in 1739 on “de succini solutione ferme radicali.” A longer biography of Alberti is also available. [Sources: Meusel; ADB]

Baumgarten, Alexander Gottlieb (1714-1762)

1735: Lecturer.

1737: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy.

See Frankfurt/Oder.

Baumgarten, Siegmund Jacob (1706-1757)

1730: Lecturer in theology (Halle).

1743: Prof. of Theology.

1748 (Jul 4): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Born (Mar 14) in Ballenstädt, died (Jul 4) in Halle; the son of the inspector of the orphanage school in Halle, and older brother to Alexander Gottlieb (above). Attended the Gymanasium, then the university at Halle. A Wolffian theologian. Voltaire once called him the “crown of the German intellectuals.” He was well-read in English literature. [Sources: ADB; NDB]

Breithaupt, Joachim Justus (1658-1732)

1676: Studied at Helmstedt.

1680-81: Conrector of the Fürstenschule (Wolfenbüttel).

1681: Lecturer, then Professor of Homiletics (Kiel).

1685: Court chaplain and consistory advisor (Meiningen).

1687: Professor of Philosophy (Erfurt).

1691: Professor (Halle).

Born (Feb 17) in Nordheim, died (Mar 16) in Cloister Bergen (near Madgeburg); the son of a teacher and pastor in Nordheim. One of the first to be called to teach at the newly founded university at Halle. A friend of A. H. Francke’s (Halle; see). [Sources: NDB]

Buddeus, Johann Franz (1667-1729)

1685: Matriculation (Wittenberg).

1687: Magister; Lecturer in Philosophy (Wittenberg).

1689: Lecturer (Jena).

1692: Prof. of Greek and Latin at the Casimirianum (Coburg).

1693: Prof. of Moral Philosophy (Halle).

1705: Dr. of Theology; 2nd Prof. of Theology (Halle).

1715: 1st Prof. of Theology (Halle).

Also: Budde. Born (Jun 25) in Anklam, died (Nov 19) in Gotha. A friend of Zinzendorf and the Pietists, opposed Wolff in writing (who responded in kind). [Information on Buddeus is widely available.] [Sources: NDB]

Eberhard, Johann August (1739-1809)

1756: Matriculation (Halle).

1759: Private tutor (Halberstadt).

1763: Pastor (Halberstadt).

1774: Pastor (Charlottenburg).

1778: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Halle).

1786 (Nov 21): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

1805: Privy Advisor.

Johann August Eberhard was born (Aug 31) in Halberstadt, and died (Jan 5-6) in Halle, where he had studied theology under J. S. Semler and S. J. Baumgarten, and later taught as a full professor of philosophy. He was the son of a cantor and teacher. 

Eberhard’s Allgemeine Theorie des Denkens und Empfindens was awarded the prize of the Berlin Academy in 1776, and in 1778 assumed the chair of philosophy at Halle that had been vacated by G. F. Meier’s death, and it was here that he wrote several textbooks, including the Vorbereitung zur natürlichen Theologie (1781) that Kant used in his courses on rational theology. Eberhard later entered a dispute with Kant on the relationship between the critical philosophy and Leibnizian rationalism: see Kant’s “On a Discovery, according to which any new Critique of Pure Reason is made Superfluous through an Older” (1790)[writings]. With J. G. E. Maas, Eberhard published the Philosophisches Magazin (4 vols., 1788-92), an organ for Wolffian philosophy, and see Kant’s sketch of a review of Eberhard’s Magazine (Ak. 20:381-423). Eberhard's other texts were often used in Königsberg, for instance, Kant's friend Pörschke made constant use of his aesthetics text (1783) as well as his history of philosophy (1788). [Sources: ADB; O/P] [last update: 5 Mar 2013]

Select Publications:

Allgemeine Theorie des Denkens und Empfindens, 2nd ed. (Berlin: C. F. Voss, 1786).

Allgemeine Geschichte der Philosophie (Halle 1788).

Vorbereitung zur natürlichen Theologie (Halle 1781).

Sittenlehre der Vernunft (Berlin 1781).

Theorie der schönen Wissenschaften (Halle 1783).

Eberhard, Johann Peter (1727-1779)

1749: Lecturer (Halle).

1753: Assoc. Prof. of Pharamaceutical Sciences.

1756: Full Prof. of Pharamaceutical Sciences.

1766: Full Prof. of Mathematics.

1769: Full Prof. of Physics.

Born (Dec 2) in Altona, died in Halle[?] (Dec 17). Kant used his Erste Gründe der Naturlehre (1753) in the 1750s and 60s for his physics lectures. [Sources: ADB]

Ewerbeck, Christian Gottfried (1761-1837)

1778: Matriculation (Königsberg).

1788: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Halle).

1789: Full Prof. of Mathematics (Halle).

1790: Prof. of Philosophy (Danziger Gymnasium).

Christian Gottfried Ewerbeck studied at Könïgsberg and later taught mathematics at Halle. See his letter to Kant (3 April 1787), which he sent with a copy of his disputation [Ak. 10:481; repr. Malter 1990, 291-2].

Forster, Johann Reinhold (1729-1798)

1780: Professor of Natural History and Director of the Botanical Gardens (Halle).

1786 (Nov 21): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Johann Reinhold Forster was born (Oct 22) in Dirschau and died (Dec 9) in Halle, where he was a professor. He was the founder of comparative anthropology in Germany. Kraus mentions that Forster’s son, Johann Georg, then a professor at Cassel, was in Berlin and succeeded in procuring this position for his father, which was to pay 500 Rth. (letter to Kant, 2 March 1779). [Sources: ADB]

Francke, August Hermann (1663-1727)

1685: Magister; Lecturer in Theology (Leipzig).

1690: Lecturer (Erfurt).

1692: Prof. of Oriental Languages (Halle).

????: [Ever a prof. of theology here??]

1695: Founded the Orphanage School (Halle).

1701 (Oct 12): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

1713: Founded the Latin school.

August Hermann Francke was born (Mar 22) in Lübeck and died (Jun 8) in Halle. He was the son of a government official. Francke studied for one semester at Erfurt (1679), then at Kiel, moving to Leipzig in 1684 where he received his Magister and began to teach. He began offering his Bible lessons in 1686. Spent a few months with Spener in Dresden (1689), then taught at Erfurt before settling in Halle as a professor and pastor. An important Pietist leader, he helped Friedrich Wilhelm I convert the University of Königsberg to pietism. [Sources: ADB]

Hausen, Karl Renatus (1740-1805)

1765: Assoc. Prof..

See Frankfurt/Oder.

Hofbauer, Johann Christoph (1766-1827)

Prof. of Philosophy. Wrote Analytik der Urtheile und Schlüsse mit Anmerkungen meistens erläuternd Inhalts (Halle 1792) and sent a copy to Kant. In a letter of July 3, 1792, to J. S. Beck, Kant asks Beck to thank Hofbauer for the book (Ak. 11: 348).

Hofmann, Carl Christoph von (1735-1801)

1786: Chancellor.

[See Letters 334/313, 389a/366a, 390/367, 449a/419a, 450/420]

Hoffmann, Friedrich (1660-1742)

1678: Matriculate at the university in Jena.

1681: Doctor of Medicine; begins lecturing on chemistry (Jena).

1682-83: Practices medicine in Minden.

1683-84?: Tours Belgium, Holland, England.

1684: Returns to Minden.

1689 (Dec. 10): Marries Anna Dorothea Herstell.

1693: 1st Prof. of Medicine (Halle).

1696: Member of the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina.

1701 (Apr 1): Member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

1709-12: Personal physician to Friedrich Wilhelm I (Berlin).

1720: Member of the Royal Society of London.

1735: Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg).

Born (Feb 19) and died (Nov 12) in Halle. He was the son of Friedrich Hoffmann the Elder, the respected municipal physician of Halle, and followed in his father's footsteps, eventually winning for himself the titles "Aesculapius Hallensis" and "the second Hippocrates." He was among the most widely read medical authors of the eighteenth century, and is best known for his systematic discussion of the iatromechanincal model of medicine — similar to what Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1738) was developing at Leiden — that views the human body as a hydraulic machine wholly governed by mechanical laws. Hoffmann was was called in 1693 to serve as the first professor of medicine at the newly founded university at Halle, where he was an ally of the pietist A. H. Francke (1663-1727). Here he taught for nearly fifty years, and until 1716 alongside Georg Ernst Stahl (1660-1734), who held the second chair of medicine, and together they transformed Halle into the preeminent medical school among German-speaking universities. A longer biography of Hoffmann is also available. [Sources: ADB; DBE; DSB; NDB; King 1964; King 1969; Rothschuh 1976; Konert 1997]

Select Publications:

De atheo ex artificiosissima corporis humani structura convincendo (Halle, 1693).

Fundamenta medicinae (Halle, 1695; English trans. by Lester King, New York, 1971).

Gründliche Wegweisung, wie ein Mensch vor dem frühzeitigen Tode und allerhand Krankheiten, durch ordentliche Lebens-Art sich verwahren könne, 9 vols. (Halle, 1715-28).

Medicina rationalis systematica, 6 vols. (Halle, 1718-34; English transl.1783).

Medicina consultatoria, worinnen unterschiedliche ueber einige schwehre Casus ausgearbeitete Consilia, auch Responsa Facultatis Medicae enthalten, 12 vols. (Halle, 1721-39).

Opera omnia physico-medica, 6 vols. (Geneva, 1740), plus three supplemental volumes (Geneva, 1749-53).

Jakob, Ludwig Heinrich (1759-1827)

1782: Lecturer, also at the Gymnasium in Halle.

1787: Assist. Prof. (Halle).

1791: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Halle).[1]

Considerable correspondence with Kant, beginning in March 26, 1786. He wrote textbooks on logic and metaphysics with a Kantian slant — his logic text [Halle, 1788] is considered the first based on Kantian principles — and Kant wrote a preface to Jakob’s 1788 book on Mendelssohn. [writings] See also his three-volume translation with commentary of Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (1790-92). J. G. K. Kiesewetter [bio], later a close associate of Kant’s, matriculated at Halle in 1780 to study theology and first learned of Kant’s philosophy in Jakob’s lectures. The Scotsman John Richardson stayed in Jakob’s house while preparing his translation of Kant’s Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science. Jakob’s book on empirical psychology (1791) was used at Königsberg in the anthropology lectures given by K. L. Pörschke (beginning with WS 1797/98) and later by J. F. G. Lehmann (SS 1802). [Sources: ADB; Vorländer 1918, 6; Oberhausen/Pozzo 1999, 660 seq.]

Select Publications:

Prüfung der Mendelssohn’schen Morgenstunden oder aller speculative Beweise für das Daseyn Gottes (Leipzig: J. S. Heinsius, 1786), lx, 334 pp. Reprint: Bruxelles, Culture et civilisation, 1968.

Ueber das moralische Gefühl (Halle 1788).

Grundriß der allgemeinen Logik und kritische Anfangsgründe der allgemeinen Metaphysik (Halle: Hemmerde und Schwetschke, 1788). 2nd ed.: 1791. 4th ed.: 1800 (reprint: Bruxelles, Culture et civilisation, 1981).

David Hume über die menschliche Natur aus dem Englischen, 3 vols. (Halle: Hemmerde und Schwetschke, 1790-92).

Grundriß der Erfahrungsseelenlehre (Halle 1791).

Philosophische Sittenlehre (Halle: Hemmerde und Schwetschke, 1794), 544 pp. Reprint: Bruxelles, Culture et civilisation, 1969.

Philosophische Rechtslehre oder Naturrecht (Halle 1795). 2nd ed.: 1802, xxiv, 446 pp. (reprint:Bruxelles, Culture et civilisation, 1981).


[1] His letter to Kant (May 10, 1791) suggests this. Having been offered a handsome contract to teach at Gießen (filling the chair vacated by Andreas Boehm’s death in 1790), Berlin apparently offered a full professorship to Jakob in Halle, allowing him to give up his teaching at the Gymnasium.

Karsten, Wenceslaus Johann Gustav (1732-1787)

Zedlitz mentions him in a letter to Kant (March 28, 1770) in which he hopes to woo Kant to Halle. Karsten had been at Butzow, but now was teaching at Halle. Kant lectured on Karsten’s Anleitung (1783) for his SS 1785 course on physics. [Letters] [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Anleitung zur gemeinnützlichen Kenntniß der Natur, besonders für angehende Aerzte, Cameralisten und Oeconomen (Halle, 1783).

Klein, Ernst Ferdinand (1744-1810)

1792 (Mar 29): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Born (Sep 3) in Breslau, died (Mar 18) in Berlin. Director of the university, dean of the law faculty [Letters: 356, 366a, 367, 367a, 395, 422, 717, 852, ++] [Sources: ADB]

Klügel, Georg Simon (1739-1812)

1803 (Jan 27): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

????: Prof. of Mathematics and Physics.

Born (Aug 19) in Hamburg, died (Aug 4) in Halle.  [Mentioned often in correspondence.] [Sources: ADB]

Mangelsdorff, Karl Ehregott Andreas (1748-1802)

1777: Lecturer.

See Königsberg.

Meier, Georg Friedrich (1718-1777)

1739: Magister; Lecturer in Philosophy (Halle).

1746: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy.

1748: Full Prof. of Philosophy.

1751 (Jan 14): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Born (Mar 29) in Ammendorf (near Halle), died (Jun 21) in Halle; the son of the village pastor. He attended Francke’s orphanage school in Halle, then later the university at Halle (studying theology and philosophy under the Baumgarten brothers — Siegmund Jacob and Alexander Gottlieb), received his Magister and began lecturing on mathematics and Hebrew Grammer, but then on logic, metaphysics, natural law, and moral philosophy when he assumed responsibility for A. G. Baumgarten’s courses, who left for Frankfurt/Oder. Kant used Meier’s Auszug aus der Vernunftlehre for his logic text. Upon Meier’s death, von Zedlitz (the Cultural Minister in Berlin) wrote to Kant urging him to assume Meier’s old chair in Halle, but Kant declined. [Sources: ADB; Malter 1990, 143, 146]

Morgenstern, Johann Simon Karl (1770-1852)

1794: Dr. of Philosophy; Lecturer in classical philology (Halle).

1797: Assoc. Professor (Halle).

See Dorpat.

Nösselt, Johann August (1734-1807)

1764: Prof. of Theology (Halle).

1779: Director of the Theology Seminar (Halle).

[Sources: ADB]

Peuker, Johann Gottlieb (1764-1830)

1790: Lecturer (of Philosophy?) (Halle).

1791: Assoc. Prof. of (Philosophy?) (Halle).

[Letter: 308/288]

Reil, Johann Christian (1759-1813)

1779 (April): Matriculates (Göttingen).

1780 (Oct 14): Matriculates (Halle).

1782 (spring): Inducted into Freemasonry.

1782 (Nov 9): Dr. of Medicine (Halle).

1782-83: Year in Berlin living with Marcus and Henriette Herz.

1783: Returns to Ostfriesland.

1787 (summer semester): Lecturer in Medicine (Halle).

1787 (winter semester): Assoc. Prof. of Medicine (Halle).

1788: Full Prof. of Medicine (Halle).

1788 (Oct): Marries Johanna Willemina Leveaux.

1793: Member of the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina.

1805 (summer): Attends lecture by F. J. Gall.

1810: Prof. of Medicine at the new university in Berlin.

1813: Director of field hospitals west of the Elbe.

Born (Feb 20) in Rhaude (Ostfriesland), died (Nov 22) in Halle. He was the only son of a Lutheran pastor. Reil became one of the most highly regarded German medical scientists of the late eighteenth century, developing a non-vitalistic physiology, publishing anatomical studies of the nervous system, as well as pioneering work in psychiatry and the reform of mental asylums.  He was strongly influenced by Kant — first in the home of Marcus Herz during a year of study in Berlin, and then from his colleague L. H. Jakob at Halle. A longer biography of Reil is also available. [Sources: ADB]

Semler, Johann Salomo (1725-1791)

1744: Matriculation at the university (Halle).

1750: Professor of History and Poetry (Altdorf).

1752: Professor of Theology (Halle).

1753: Dr. of Theology (Altdorf).

Johann Salomo Semler was born (18 Dec 1725) in Saalfed (Thuringia), and died (14 Mar 1791) in Halle, where he was a professor of theology, and perhaps the leading Enlightenment figure in German theology. He studied at the university of Halle under S. J. Baumgarten [bio], taught at Altdorf for two years before returning to Halle, where he taught theology until his death in 1791. Semler sought to study the scriptures scientifically, from a non-dogmatic and wholly historical perspective. [Sources: ADB] [last update: 7 May 2007]

Stahl, Georg Ernst (1660-1734)

1694: Full Prof. of Medicine, 2nd chair (Halle).

[Sources: ADB]

Thomasius, Christian (1655-1728)

1672: Magister (Leipzig).

1675: Began his studies at Frankfurt/Oder.

1679: Dr. of Law (Frankfurt/Oder).

1684: Prof. of Natural Law (Leipzig).

1690 (May 10): Prohibited from lecturing (Leipzig).

1694: Prof. of Law (Halle).

Christian Thomasius was born (1 Jan 1655) in Leipzig, and died (23 Sep 1728) in Halle. He was an important early Enlightenment educator supporting religious toleration, common sense over scholastic subtleties, and strongly opposed superstition in general and the persecution of witches in particular.  Thomasius also served as a counter-point to Wolffian philosophy, and in this regard his followers would include Johann Budde, C. A. Crusius, A. F. Hoffmann, and Andreas Rüdiger.

Thomasius’ father was Jakob Thomasius, the rector of the Nicolaischule at Leipzig as well as a professor of philosophy at the university, and who had taught Leibniz (the elder Thomasius had succeeded Leibniz’s father at the university in 1652 as the professor of moral philosophy, next moving to the chair of dialectics in 1656, and finally in 1659 to rhetoric, which he held until his death in 1684; Leibniz attended the university there from 1661-66). After studying at Leipzig and Frankfurt/Oder, where he received his doctorate of law, Thomasius began lecturing at Leipzig, eventually receiving a professorship of law.  As a student, he had rejected Pufendorf’s grounding of natural law of divine revelation, but reading Pufendorf's Apologia (1674) amounted to a conversion experience for Thomasius, leading him away from his Orthodox upbringing and setting him onto the path that would come to be called “the German Enlightenment.” In 1688 he began publishing a German-language monthly — the first of its kind, according to Beck — that contained articles and book reviews, and was in general aimed against the scholasticism and religious intolerance — in short, the Lutheran orthodoxy — of his day. His unconventional views and behavior — he was tolerant of mixed marriages between Calvinists and Lutherans, he lectured in German, and he is said to have been the first professor to have worn a sword during his lectures — led to his censure in 1690, causing an escape to Berlin and eventual relocation at Halle to teach at the Ritterakademie, which in 1694 became a new university, with Thomasius being appointed as the 2nd chair in law. He became an eager convert to Pietism (under Francke’s influence), although this quickly cooled (perhaps also due to Francke). Beck quotes one of Thomasius’ criticisms of Francke’s educational practices at the pietist orphanage at Halle, noting that Francke was turning them into “monks, that is, uneducated, melancholy, fantastic, obstinate, recalcitrant, intolerant, and spiteful men.”

Thomasius began giving his lectures in German in 1687 — generally considered the first to do this among the German universities (or, according to Beck, the first to publicly announce that he would lecture in German). [Sources: ADB; Beck 1969, 247-56; Sassen, SEP]

Select Publications:

Institutiones iurisprudentiae divinae (1688).

Introductio ad philosophiam aulicam seu primae lineae libri de prudentia cogitandi et ratiocinandi (1688). [Introduction to Court Philosophy]

Monatsgespräche (1688-90).

Einleitung zu der Vernunft-Lehre (1691).

Ausübung der Vernunft-Lehre (1691).

Einleitung zur Sitten-Lehre (1692).

Historie der Weisheit und Thorheit (1693).

Ausübung der Sitten-Lehre (1694).

Versuch von Wesen des Geistes oder Grund-Lehren sowohl der natürlichen Wissenschaft als der Sittenlehre (1699).

Fundamentum iuris naturae et gentium ex sensu communi deducta (1705) [Foundations of the Law of Nature and Nations, deduced from Common Sense]

Tieftrunk, Johann Heinrich (1760-1837)

1792: Prof. of Philosophy (Halle).

See his “Briefe über das Daseyn Gottes, Freyheit und Unsterblichkeit” (Deutsche Monatsschrift, Sept. 1790 and Feb. 1791). [Letters: 755, 762, 781a, 784, 785, 787, 790, 794a, 797, 805, ++] [Sources: ADB]

Wolff, Christian (1679-1754)

1699: Matriculates at Jena.

1703: Magister and Habilitation (Leipzig).

1704: Lecturer on Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy (Leipzig).

1706 (Nov 2)-1723 (Nov 8): Full Prof. of Mathematics (Halle).

1711 (Jan 8): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

1715 (Nov 25): Prussian court advisor.

1723 (Nov 15): Prof. of Mathematics and Metaphysics (Marburg).

1740: Prof. of Natural and International Law, and of Mathematics (Halle).

1743 (Oct 16): Chancellor (Halle).

1745: Given the title: Freiherr von Wolff.

Christian Wolff was born (24 Jan 1679) in Breslau, and died (9 Apr 1754) in Halle. Through his voluminous writings, in both German and Latin, Wolff developed a workable German philosophical vocabulary, he introduced a “spirit of exactness and rigor” into German philosophy (to quote Kant), and he was instrumental in developing a secularized scholasticism infused with the science of his day. The tremendous popularity of his writings made him a central figure for any 18th century German philosopher — either to emulate, to modify, or to challenge.

Wolff studied theology at the Magdalen Gymnasium in Breslau with the intention of entering the ministry, but also mathematics and philosophy, and although he was Lutheran, the many Jesuits in Breslau gave him considerable exposure to Catholic philosophy. He matriculated at Jena at the age of 20, and it was here that he became interested in applying the methods of mathematics to the problems of theology and philosophy, with the hope of settling conflicts in these disciplines. This led to his Habilitationsschrift (On Applying the General Mathematical Method to Practical Philosophy [De philosophia practica universalis mathematica methodo conscripta]), written at Jena but submitted to the faculty at Leipzig, where he had also received his Magister degree, and where he began offering lectures. This and another mathematical work was sent to Leibniz, beginning a correspondence between the two that lasted until Leibniz's death in 1716, although these letters primarily concern mathematics and the natural sciences. As Leibniz wrote to another correspondent: “Mr. Wolff has agreed with some of my sentiments, but since he is very busy with teaching, especially mathematics, and we have not had much communication concerning philosophy, he can hardly know more of my opinions than those which I have published.” [qtd. in Corr 1975, 248]

With the help of Leibniz, Wolff was appointed to the full professorship of mathematics in 1706 in Halle, lecturing on mathematics, natural science and, after 1709, metaphysics, logic, and ethics. Growing conflicts with the Pietists in Halle led to their insinuating to Friedrich Wilhelm I that Wolff's philosophy was a form of fatalism (with the implication that soldiers might abandon their post without punishment since desertion was beyond their control) — this led to a Royal decree (8 Nov 1723) that Wolff leave Prussia within forty-eight hours or be hanged. Wolff promptly left for Marburg, where he accepted a professorship that had been on offer from the previous summer, and lectured on pure and applied mathematics, experimental physics, and ethics; on logic and metaphysics between 1731-40, on politics between 1733-40, on Grotius from 1732-40. After Frderick the Great assumed control, Wolff was invited back to Halle on July 6, 1740 — after turning down an invitation to help direct the Academy of Sciences in Berlin.

As for his many publications, it can be briefly noted that he wrote a great many textbooks in German during his first tenure at Halle, and then revised and reissued much of this material in Latin form while at Marburg. Consequently, there is a doubling of much of his writing, and the German versions are often referred to as such (e.g., the “German Metaphysics” of 1719, which re-appeared in a revised and Latin form as a separate ontology, cosmology, psychology and natural theology, 1730-37).

Kant used Wolff’s popular mathematics text (Auszug, 1713), and of course the Baumgarten texts used in Kant’s metaphysics, natural theology, and ethics lectures (and to a lesser extent the anthropology lectures) were heavily Wolffian. Kant wrote: “Wolff did great things in philosophy; but he got ahead of himself and extended cognition without securing, altering, and reforming it through a special critique. His works are therefore very useful as a magazine for reason, but not as an architectonic for it. Perhaps it is in the order of nature, although certainly not to be approved of in Wolff, that at least the experiments of the understanding should first multiply without a correct method of knowledge, and be brought under rules only later.” [Refl. #5035, Ak. 18:68, dated 1776-78; transl. Guyer et al. (2005)] Hagelgans [1737] lists him as “Consil. Reg. & Prof. Philos. primar. Acad. Lond. Paris. Berol. & Petropol. Sodalis.” [Sources: ADB; Gundlach 1927, 370; Beck 1969, 256-75; Corr 1975] [last update: 21 April 2007]

Select Publications:

Anfangsgründe aller mathematischen Wissenschaften, 4 vols. (Frankfurt/Leipzig, 1710).

Auszug aus den Anfangsgründe aller mathematischen Wissenschaften, Zu bequemerem Gebrauche der Anfänger, Auf Begehren verfertiget (Halle, 1713).

Elementa matheseos universae, 2 vols. (Halle, 1713-15); later 5 vols. (1730-41).

Vernünftige Gedancken von den Kräften des menschlichen Verstandes [German Logic] (Halle, 1713; 14th ed: 1754).

Der Vernünftigen Gedancken von Gott, Der Welt und der Seele des Menschen, Auch allen Dingen überhaupt [German Metaphysics] (Halle: Regner, 1719; 12th ed: 1752).

Philosophia rationalis sive logica methodo scientifica pertractata et ad usum scientiarum atque vitae aptat [Rational Philosophy, or Logic treated according to the scientific method and suited to the use of the sciences and of life] (Frankfurt, 1728; 3rd ed: 1740 [pdf (Frankfurt/Leipzig, 1740)] [pdf (Verona, 1735)]).

Philosophia prima sive ontologia [First philosophy or ontology] (Frankfurt, 1730).

Cosmologia generalis [Universal cosmology] (Frankfurt, 1731).

Psychologia empirica [Empirical psychology] (Frankfurt, 1732).

Theologia naturalis [Natural theology] (2 vols., Frankfurt, 1736-37).

Philosophia practica universalis [Universal practical philosophy] (2 vols., Frankfurt, 1738-9).

Philosophia moralis sive ethica [Moral philosophy or ethics] (5 vols., Halle, 1750-3).

Professors at Heidelberg [history]

Jung-Stilling, Johann Heinrich (1740-1817)

1784-87: Professor (Halle).

See Marburg.

Pufendorf, Samuel

[Sources: ADB]

Schwarz, Friedrich Heinrich Christian (1766-1837)

1804: Prof. of Theology. 

Son-in-law to Jung-Stilling of Marburg (see). [Letter: 567] [Sources: ADB]

Thibaut, Anton Friedrich Justus (1772-1840)

1806: Prof. of Law (Heidelberg).

See Kiel.

Professors at Helmstedt [history]

Schulze, Gottlob Ernst (1761-1833)

1788: Prof. of Philosophy (Helmstedt).

See Göttingen.

Teller, Wilhelm Abraham (1734-1804)

1749: Matriculation at the university (Leipzig).

1753: Magister (Leipzig).

1761: Dr. of Theology (Leipzig)

1761: Professor of Theology (Helmstedt).

1767: Superior Consistory Advisor in the Berlin Consistory.

1786 (Nov 30): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Wilhelm Abraham Teller was born (9 Jan 1734) in Leipzig and died (9 Dec 1804) in Berlin. He was the son of Leipzig pastor and professor of theology Romanus Teller (d. 1750). Teller’s 1764 textbook on the Christian faith, published while he was a professor at Helmstedt, favored a deistic rationalism over the truths of special revelation, which won him few supporters among the local orthodoxy. He did better in Friedrich II’s Berlin, where Teller served on the Oberkonsistorium, the administrative council of the Lutheran church in Prussia, and he was a founding member of the Berlin Mittwochsgesellschaft, a small secretive group of Enlightenment thinkers that met each Wednesday, and that included many theologians and philosophers — Moses Mendelssohn being the best known. As did others in the group, he came into conflict with Woellner after Friedrich Wilhelm II ascended the throne in 1786 (September 19). [Sources: Doering 1830, 506-14; ADB] [last update: 4 May 2007]

Select Publications:

Lehrbuch des christlichen Glaubens (Helmstedt/Halle: Carl Hermann Hemmerde, 1764), 612, 92 pp.

Professors at Herborn [history]

Coing, Johann Franz (1725-1792)

1749: Lecturer in Philosophy and Mathematics.

1750: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy.

See Marburg.

Professors at Jena[1] [history]

[1] On professors at Jena sympathetic to Kant, see especially Hinske, et al. [1995].

Buddeus, Johann Franz (1667-1729)

1689: Lecturer.

See Halle.

Danovius, Ernst Jakob (1741-1782)

1760: Matriculation (Greifswald).

1763: Matriculation (Göttingen).

1765: Hofmeister in Greifswald; receives Magister.

1766: Rector of the Johannisschule (Danzig).

1768: Professor of Theology (Jena).

Ernst Jakob Danovius was born on 12 March 1741 in Redlau (near Danzig), and died 18 March 1782 in Jena, as a result of throwing himself into the river Saale — he had been lecturing against suicide, the occasion being Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), which Danovius viewed as an overly seductive defense of suicide. Danovius was a professor of theology who sought to introduce Enlightenment reforms, and was also one of Kant’s early supporters at Jena.

Danovius studied under the Wolffian Johan Ernst Schubert and the deist Wilhem August Teller [bio] while at Greifswald, and then under Johann David Michaelis [bio] at Göttingen. Other important influnces were the Leipzig theologian J. A. Ernesti [bio] and the Halle theologian J. S. Semler [bio]

Perhaps his closest colleague at Jena was the Kantian theologian Johann Wilhelm Schmid [bio]; along with Danovius’s brother-in-law, C. G. Schütz [bio], they formed an important circle of early Kant supporters at Jena. K. C. E. Schmid [bio], who later gave lectures at Jena on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, was taking classes with Danovius during his last years. With respect to Kant, see his letter of Jan. 12, 1770 [#49, Ak. 10:87-88], informing Kant of a new chair of philosophy at Jena, and inquiring as to Kant’s interest in accepting it [more]. A longer biography of Danovius is also available. [Sources: ADB]

Darjes, Joachim Georg (1714-1791)

1735: Magister.

1738: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy.

1739: Dr. of Law.

1744: Full Prof. of Moral Philosophy and Politics.

See Frankfurt/Oder.

Fichte, Johann Gottlieb (1762-1814)

1774-80: Attends the Princes’ School (Pforta).

1780: Studies theology at Jena, Wittenberg, Leipzig.

1791: Visits Kant and Königsberg.

1791 (Nov): Tutor in the home of Count Krockow.

1794-99: Professor (Jena).

1799: Berlin.

1805: Lectures for one semester at the university at Erlangen.

1806: Professor at Königsberg (fleeing Napolean’s troops).

1807: Returns to Berlin.

1809: Professor of Philosophy (Berlin).

Johann Gottlieb Fichte was born 19 May 1762 in Rammenau as the son of a village ribbon weaver, and died 27 Jan 1814 in Berlin,[1] having held the first chair in philosophy at the new university there, as well as serving as its first rector. He is generally considered the most significant of the German Idealists following Kant. Because biographical information on Fichte is readily available, a bare minimum will be given here, with any detail stemming from his connections with Kant and Königsberg.

Fichte attended the Fürstenschule at Pforta before matriculating at the university in Jena and then at Leipzig. He worked as a private tutor for nearly a decade. Fichte traveled to Königsberg in the summer of 1791, where he stayed from July to October, in order to meet Kant and to attend his lectures. Fichte's diary indicates that he also became acquainted with Theodore von Schön [bio][2], who was completing his third year at the university, since Fichte borrowed and copied excerpts from von Schön’s notes from Kant’s anthropology lectures [notes]. Through Kant he also became closely acquainted with the mathematics professor, Johann Schultz [bio], and his wife Johanna (née Büttner).[3]

During his time in Königsberg, and in order to impress Kant, he wrote (between July 13 and August 18, 1791) an Essay toward a Critique of All Revelation, which was published anonymously the following year. This work won critical acclaim, and many took Kant to be the author, since he was said to be working on a book on religion. Kant eventually issued a public notice (31 July 1792) [writings] identifying Fichte as the author, and this secured the latter’s fame. He replaced Reinhold [bio] at Jena (at Goethe’s insistence), but was dismissed in 1799 because of conflict with student societies.

There is evidence of seventeen letters between Kant and Fichte (four from Kant) that followed his visit to Königsberg in 1791, and ended with Kant’s public distancing (28 August 1799) from Fichte’s writings. [writings] [Sources: Hartung 1825, 263; ADB; Manthey 2005, 331-36; v.Schön 2006, 69] [last update: 11 Sep 2012]


[1] According to the ADB. Brezeale’s article on Fichte in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy claims January 29.

[2] In his autobiography, von Schön [2006, 67] notes that when Fichte first came to town he ate lunch at the same inn as von Schön, which was frequented by military personnel, bureaucrats, shopkeepers, students, and travellers. Fichte ate silently at the common table until one day someone tried to justify a comment of theirs by appealing to Kant, whereupon Fichte said: “Apparently he hasn’t read Kant!” and after that time Fichte took regular part in the table conversations.

[3] Fichte might well have stayed longer in Königsberg, but for this relationship with Hofprediger Schultz and his wife. As von Schön explains in his autobiography:

“Fichte wanted to accept a Hauslehrer position, and was anxious to get this as soon as possible because of a situation that came up unexpectedly. Namely, Kant had introduced him to a family where he found interesting, philosophical conversation, but where at the same time the woman of the house developed such a burning affection towards him, and which he couldn’t return due to her being married, that he wanted to escape from Königsberg as soon as possible”

Fichte wollte eine Hauslehrerstelle annehmen und war eines unvermuthet eingetretenen ereignisses wegen eifrig bemüht, diese so bald als möglich zu erhalten. Durch Kant war er nämlich in einer Familie bekannt gewoden, wo er interessante, philosophische Unterhaltung fand, wo aber zugleich bei der Frau des Hauses eine so brennende Zuneigung gegen ihn sich inteickelte, daß er, der diese Neigung nicht erwidern konnte, des ehelichen Glücks wegen, so bald as möglich Königsberg verlassen wollte. [v.Schön 2006, 69]

Hasse, Johann Gottfried (1759-1806) 

????: Magister.

1786: Lecturer in Philosophy.

See Königsberg.

Hennings, Justus Christian (1731-1815)

1765: Prof. of Moral Philosophy and Political Science.

Kant was on a list of candidates in 1765 for this professorship that was eventually given to Hennings. Their lives crossed again in 1793 when, as dean of the philosophy faculty, Hennings gave the imprimatur to Kant’s Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason (1793), which had been sent back by the Berlin censor.[1][Sources: ADB]


[1] See Wood/Giovanni [1996, 45n].

Hufeland, Christoph Wilhelm Friedrich (1762-1836)

1780: Begins studies at Jena.

1781: Transfers his studies to Göttingen.

1783 (Jul 24): Dr. of Medicine (Göttingen).

1783: Returns to Weimar to assume his father’s medical practice.

1787: Marries Juliane Amelung, the sixteen-year old daughter of a local pastor.

1793: Professor of Medicine (Jena).

1801: Moves to Berlin as personal physician to Friedrich Wilhelm III, and as supervising physician of the Charité.

1807 (Jan)-1809 (Dec): Leaves his family in Berlin to accompany the Royal Family to Memel and Königsberg.

1808: His wife of 18 years (and mother of seven children) leaves the marriage for a former student of Hufeland’s, Christoph Ernst Heinrich Bischoff.

1810: Prof. of Medicine (Berlin).

1815: Hufeland remarries (Helene Troschel (1777-1862), the daughter of the head pastor of the Berliner Petrikirche).

Christoph Wilhelm Friedrich Hufeland was born 12 August 1762 in Langensalza into a medical family, both his father and grandfather having served as personal physician at the Weimar court. His father, Johann Friedrich Hufeland (1730-87), was called to Weimar when Christoph was only three, and so he was raised in a culturally rich environment, inspired by Herder’s sermons and, as an adult, attending Goethe’s weekly “Friday Society” gatherings. His childhood playmates included the future playwright August von Kotzebue (1761-1819). After studies at Jena and Göttingen, Hufeland kept a private practice in Weimar for ten years (1783-93) before beginning a long teaching career at Jena (1793-1801) and Berlin (1801-36). He was especially well known for his popular writings on health and child rearing. Despite a deepening blindness in old age, Hufeland remained active to the end, sending his Enchiridion medicum (1836) to the printer just days before his death at the age of seventy-four on 25 August 1836.

Hufeland sent Kant a copy of his Macrobiotics: Or the art of prolonging human life (Jena, 1797) — see Kant’s letter acknowledging receipt and thanking him (#740, March 1797). [see also: Kant’s letter to him of April 19, 1797 (#746); as well as Ak. 12: 136, #728; Kant’s letter of Feb. 6, 1798 (#796); Kant’s letter to Nicolovius of May 9, 1798 (#772). But see especially Kant’s open letter to Hufeland that forms the third part of his Conflict of the Faculties (Ak. 7: 97-116). He has been confused in the Kant literature with his cousin, Gottlieb Hufeland (below), who was a professor of law in Jena and co-director of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, and with whom Kant also had dealings. A longer biography of Hufeland is also available. [Sources: ADB; DBE; NDB]

Hufeland, Gottlieb (1760-1817)

Prof. of Law. Cousin to Christoph Wilhelm Friedrich Hufeland (above). While still a lecturer he published Essay on the Principle of Natural Right (1785), which Kant reviewed in the Allgemeinen Litteratur-Zeitung (1786; Ak. 8:127-30) [writings]. Kant mentions him in his lectures: Vigilantius 4/Moral (Ak. 27: 513) [See letters: 247/227, 268/239, ++] [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Versuch über den Grundsatz des Naturrechts (Leipzig: G. J. Göschen, 1785).

Lehrsätze des Naturrechts und der damit verbundenen Wissenschaften (Jena, 1790).

Niethammer, Friedrich Immanuel (1766-1848)

Professor of Philosophy. See his application of Kant’s philosopy to positive religion: Ueber den Versuch einer Kritik aller Offenbahrung (Jena 1792). [see letters, xii.52] [Sources: ADB]

Reinhold, Karl Leonhard (1758-1823)

1787: Prof. of Philosophy.

See Kiel.

Reusch, Johann Peter (1691-1758)

1709: Matriculation (Gießen).

1715: Studying oriental languages (Marburg).

1716: Studying philosophy with Wolff (Halle).

1717: Magister, habilitating in philosophy and mathematics (Jena).

1719: Rector of the Ratschule (Jena).

1733: Assoc. Prof. at the University.

1738: Full Prof. of Logic and Metaphysics.

1755: Full Prof. of Theology.

1758: Dr. of Theology.

Born (Aug 15) in Almersbach (by Eisenach), died (Jun 5) in Jena; the son of a pastor. A Wolffian philosopher and theologian. Kant mentions his logic textbook in the an-Jäsche, Dohna-Wundlacken, and an-Wien logic notes (Ak. 9:21; 24:701, 796), and in his On a Discovery (1790; Ak. 8:245). [Sources: ADB; WBI]

Select Publications:

Systema logicum (Jena 1734).

Introductio in theologiam revelatam (1744).

Theologia polemica (1754).

Schmid, Johann Wilhelm (1744-1798)

1758: Matriculation at the university (Jena).

1764: Private tutor with the family Schlüter (Nienburg a. d. Weser).

1769: Adjunct professor of philosophy (Jena).

1772: Military chaplain, and 3rd pastor at the city church.

1776: 2nd deacon.

1783: 3rd Full Professor of Theology (Jena).

1784: Dr. of Theology (Jena).

1793: 2nd Full Professor of Theology.

Johann Wilhelm Schmid [also: Schmidt] was born (29 Aug 1744) and died (1 Apr 1798) in Jena; his father was the lawer Paul Wilhelm Schmid, later a professor in the faculty of law and a court counselor for Saxon-Coburg. He was an early Kantian theologian who sought to harmonize Kant’s practical philosophy with Christianity.

Schmid attended the gymnasium at Jena before beginning studies at the university at age 14, studying theology under J. G. Walch and J. C. Köcher. As a professor of theology at Jena, he was close friends with E. J. Danovius [bio]. Schmid viewed reason to be the source of morality, with special revelation being merely a means for its more rapid spread. It appears that a daughter of his married the Kantian K. C. E. Schmid (see below), who also edited the third volume of his Christian Morality (1804). [Sources: ADB] [last update: 4 May 2007]

Select Publications:

De consensu principii moralis Kantiani cum ethica christiania (Jena, 1788/89).

Ueber den Geist der Sittenlehre Jesu und seiner Apostel (Jena, 1790).

Theologischen Moral (Jena, 1793/94).

Christliche Moral, 3 vols. (Jena, 1798-1804).

Schmid, Karl Christian Erhard (1761-1812)

1778: Matriculation (Jena).

1781: Hofmeister for Novalis.

1782: Private tutor in Schauberg.

1784: Receives Magister and begins lecturing (Jena).

1785: Holds lectures on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.

1791: Full Prof. of Logic and Metaphysics (Gießen).

1793: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Jena).

1798: 3rd Prof. of Theology (Jena).

1800: Dr. of Theology (Jena).

Karl Christian Erhard Schmid was born (14 Apr 1761) in Heilsberg (near Weimar) and died (10 Apr 1812) in Jena; he was the son of a pastor. Schmid is best known for his early support of Kant’s critical philosophy, and for his widely-used dictionary of Kantian terms (1786).

Schmid was the Hofmeister for Friedrich von Hardenberg (Novalis); and while in Jena married Friedrich Schiller and Charlotte von Lengefeld (22 February 1790). He was called to a professorship in Giessen beginning WS 1791/92, but returned to Jena in the summer of 1793. He wrote a commentary on Kant’s Critik der reinen Vernunft (1786) while lecturing on Kant during WS 1785/86, publishing the book piecemeal during the semester. He sent a copy to Kant on 18 May 1786, once it was fully published (Professor Bering of Marburg also lectured from this book). He also published a Kantian textbook on moral philosophy (1790). A work on physiology (1798) was well-received in the medical community. See L. H. Jakob’s letter to Kant (May 10, 1791). [Letters: 272, 343 + many references] [Sources: Hausius 1793, lxxv; HM 1798, 7:208; HM 1805, 11:673; Broman 1996, 88] [last update: 4 May 2007]

Select Publications:

Critik der reinen Vernunft im Grundrisse zu Vorlesungen, nebst einem Wörterbuche zum leichtern Gebrauch der Kantischen Schriften (Jena: Cröker, 1786), 2nd ed: 1788. 4th ed: 1798.

Versuch einer Moralphilosophie (1790), 2nd ed: 1792.

Grundriß der Moralphilosophie (1793).

Grundriß des Naturrechts (1795).

Empirische Psychologie, 2nd, improved ed. (Jena, 1796).

Physiologie philosophische bearbeitet, 3 vols. (Jena, 1798, 1799, 1801).

Schütz, Christian Gottfried (1747-1832)

1765: Matriculation at the university (Halle).

1768 (Mar 21): Magister (Halle).

1768: Teacher of mathematics at the Ritterakadamie (Brandenburg).

1769: Inspector of the theological seminar (Halle).

1773: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Halle).

1777: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Halle).

1779: Full Prof. of Poetry and Rhetoric (Jena).

1804: Prof. of Rhetoric and Literary History (Halle).

Christian Gottfried Schütz was born (19 May 1747), the son of the local pastor, in Dederstädt (Mansfeld), and died (7 May 1832). He was a philologist and co-founder and editor of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1785-1804).

Christian Gottfried Schütz attended Francke’s orphanage school in Halle, then studied theology, philosophy, history, and ancient languages at the university, where he was mentored by J. S. Semler [bio]. During his early years at Halle he was especially engaged in pedagogical matters, and briefly ran a small instutute that gave students hands-on experience at teaching, and was developing textbooks for use in the grade schools (for instance, a Kinderlogik).

His house in Jena, where he taught for twenty-five years, was an important meeting place for local intellectuals, attracting such guests as Schiller, Goethe, Wilhelm v. Humboldt, Reinhold, and Fichte. He founded at this time, with Gottlieb Hufeland, the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung in 1785, a four page daily newspaper (sometimes with double issues on a day — each four pages, and with its own issue number) featuring book reviews and other brief items; Kant’s review of Herder appeared in the first week (#4, January 6). This quickly became one of the most widely read journals for book reviews.[1] When Schütz returned to Halle in the spring of 1804, he took the journal with him. There is extensive correspondence between Kant and Schütz. [Sources: ADB; Hinske] [last update: 12 May 2007]


[1] At least according to Schütz’s own claims, who wrote in a letter to Kant (23 June 1788; #330, Ak. 10:540-3) that more than 2000 copies of each issue are printed, with an estimated 40,000 readers — “a single copy is read not by 10 or 20 people, but 30, 40, 50.” Cf. Vorländer [1924, i.408].

Thibaut, Anton Friedrich Justus (1772-1840)

1802: Prof. of Law.

See Kiel.

Ulrich, Johann August Heinrich (1746-1813)

A Wolffian Professor of Ethics and Politics at Jena, and an early supporter of Kant's new critical philosophy (“The Critique contains the true and only code of genuine philosophy” — as qtd. in Reinhold’s letter to Kant [#320, 1 March 1788] — this was Ulrich’s position before Reinhold’s arrival in Jena); but after Reinhold's quick rise as a Kant-popularizer, Ulrich soon turned to critic (“Kant, I wll be the thorn in your side, I will be your pestilence.” — again qtd. in a letter from Reinhold [#318, Ak. 10:523]. He was the first at Jena to lecture on Kant, offering a course on logic in WS 1784/85 using his new textbook (1785), and “in particular with reference to the whole of the Kantian doctrine” (qtd. in Hinske et al. 1995, 6).

Ulrich wrote a Wolffian metaphysics textbook with a Kantian slant (Institutiones, 1785), and had hoped Kant would review it for the Allgemeinen Literatur-Zeitung (21 April 1785; #239, Ak. 10:402); Kant’s colleague Johann Schultz [bio] ended up writing the review instead (ALZ, 13 December 1785). In this work, Ulrich tried to reconcile Kant and Leibniz and argued that the Critique should not limit knowledge to objects of possible experience, as well as questioning whether the table of categories was exhaustive. Schultz's sympathetic response to Ulrich (to certain of his doctrinal claims, but also noting that the transcendental deduction, which Schultz views as the heart of the Critical project, is far too obscure) helped motivate Kant to re-write the deduction for his 2nd edition of the Critique (on this, see also Kant’s long note to the preface of the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science [Ak. 4:474-76]).

Ulrich’s Eleutheriologie (1788) argues for a Wolffian compatibilism, holding that human freedom is compatible with the thoroughgoing causal determinism of the physical world because we are still able to act according to our choices, and that our choices can themselves be freely chosen in pursuit of moral ends; this work was briefly mentioned by Kant in the Vigilantius 4 moral philosophy notes [Ak. 27:479] as well as reviewed by Kraus (at Kant’s bidding and with his input in the Allgemeinen Literaturzeitung (25 April 1788; reprinted at Ak. 8:453-60). The heart of the Kraus/Kant reply was that Ulrich’s compatibilism failed to allow for the kind of freedom by which one “could have done otherwise” — the only sort of freedom that is morally relevant. [Sources: ADB; Beiser 1987, 203-10] [last update: 8 May 2007]

Select Publications:

Institutiones Logicae et metaphysicae scholae suae scripsit (Jena: Cröker, 1785).[1]

Eleutheriologie, oder über die Freyheit und Nothwendigkeit (Jena: Cröker, 1788).


[1] In his review of this work, Schultz describes it as a “completely revised textbook,” suggesting that there was an earlier first edition.

Waldin, Johann Gottlieb (1728-1795)

1755: Dr. of Phil and habilitation.

1758: Adjunct in Philosophy.

1765: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy.

See Marburg.

Professors at Kassel (Collegium Carolinum) [history]

Buhle, Johann Gottlieb Gerhard (1763-1821)

1815: Full Prof. of Philosophy and Law.

See Göttingen.

Forster, Johann George Adam (1754-1794)

1772-5: Sailed around the world with Cook.

1778-84: Professor (Kassel).

1784-87: Professor (at the Polish university in Vilnius, Lithuania).

1785: Dr. of Medicine (Halle).

1787: Librarian (Mainz).

1793: Traveled to Paris to negotiate on behalf of Mainz.

Born in a small village near Danzig (27 Nov 1754), died in his home in Paris (10 Jan 1794), Forster was an acclaimed naturalist, writer, and world traveler. His father was Johann Reinhold Forster (Halle; see); together they accompanied Cook on his second voyage around the world (1772-75). He was a professor of natural science at the Carolinum in Kassel (1778-84), than in Vilnius (1784-88), during which time he travelled to Halle (1785) and submitted a work on the plants of the South Pacific for a doctorate in medicine. His friend Johannes von Müller, the university librarian in Mainz, managed to have Forster replace him in 1788. In 1792 Mainz came under control of the French revolutionary army, and Forster was sent to Paris to negotiate Mainz becoming a part of the French Republic, a plan that ended with Mainz falling to the Prussian and Austrian armies, making Forster an outlaw unable to return. He eventually died of an illness in his Paris apartment.

Forster had criticized Kant’s “Concept of Race” (1785)[writings] and “Conjectural Beginning” (1786)[writings] in two essays published in the Teutschen Merkur (October and November, 1786, pp. 57-86, 150-66), to which Kant responded with his “Teleological Principles” (1788)[writings]. [Sources: ADB, NDB]

Select Publications:

A Voyage round the World in His Britannic Majesty's Sloop Resolution (London, 1777).

Müller, Johannes (1752-1809)

Swiss historian.

Piderit, Johann Rudolph Anton (1720-????)

1766: Full Prof. of Oriental Languages.

See Marburg.

Soemmerring, Samuel Thomas

1769-74: Gymnasium (Thorn).

1774 (Oct 14): Matriculation at Göttingen.

1778 (Apr 7): Doctorate in medicine (Göttingen).

1778 (May)-1779 (April): European tour.

1779 (May): Professor of Anatomy and Surgery (Kassel).

1784 (Oct):Professor of Anatomy and Physiology (Mainz).

1792 (Mar 6): Marries Margaretha Elisabetha Grunelius.

1792 (Dec): Moves to Frankfurt/Main.

1805 (Mar): Moves to Munich; member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.

1818 (Aug 19): Member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

1820 (Oct): Returns to Frankfurt/Main.

Samuel Thomas Soemmerring (also: Sömmering), born 28 January 1755 in Thorn (now: Torun, Poland), was the ninth of eleven children of Johann Thomas Soemmerring (1701-81; the city physician and a former student of Boerhaave and Albinus) and Regina Geret (1721-82; the daughter of a prominent pastor). He died on 2 March 1830 in Frankfurt/Main. Soemmerring was the leading German anatomist of his day, serving as professor of anatomy and surgery at Kassel (1779-84), as professor of anatomy and physiology at Mainz (1784-97), and finally as a privy councilor and resident member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in Munich (1805-20). His acquaintances and correspondents included a wide circle of prominent intellectuals, including Georg Forster, J. F. Blumenbach, C. G. Heyne, J. H. Marck, J. G. Herder, Goethe, and Kant (who wrote an afterward for Soemmering's Organ of the Soul, 1796). A longer biography of Soemmerring is also available. [Sources: ADB; DBE; DSB]

Select Publications:

Anatomica de basi encephali et originibus nervorum cranio egredientium (Göttingen, 1778).

Ueber die körperliche Verschiedenheit des Mohren vom Europäer (Mainz, 1784; 2nd edn, Frankfurt/Main and Mainz, 1785 ['Negers' replaces 'Mohren' in the title]).

Vom Bau des menschlichen Körpers, 5 vols. (Frankfurt/Main, 1791-6; Latin trans., Leipzig, 1794-1801).

'Sur le supplice de la guillotine', in Magasin encyclopédique (1795), vol. 3, pp. 463-77. Translated into German as 'Über den Tod durch die Guillotine', in Klio (1795), vol. 9, pp. 61-72.

Über das Organ der Seele (Königsberg, 1796). Photomechanical repr. with ancillary materials in Werke, vol. 9 (Basel, 1999).

Samuel Thomas Soemmerring: Werke, ed. by Gunter Mann, Jost Benedum and Werner F. Kümmel, 20 vols. (Stuttgart and Basel, 1990-).

Tiedemann, Dietrich (1748-1803)

1776: Professor of Latin and Greek (Kassel).

See Marburg.

Professors at Kiel [history]

Breithaupt, Joachim Justus (1658-1732)

1681: Lecturer, then Professor of Homiletics.

See Halle.

Ehlers, Martin (1732-1800)

1760: Rector (Segeberg/Holstein).

1769: Director of a Gymnasium (Oldenburg).

1776: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Kiel).

Born (Jan 6) in Nortorf (Holstein), died (Jan 9) in Kiel[?]. Studied in Kiel, where he received his Magister. Known for his lectures on pedagogy. [Sources: ADB]

Hermes, Hermann Daniel (1734-1807)

1752: Pastor and Teacher at the Realschule (Berlin).

1766: Inspector and Professor of the Magdalena Gymnasium (Breslau).

1771: Probst of the Holy Ghost church (Breslau).

1775: Pastor of the Magdalena church (Breslau).

1787: Superior consistory advisor (Breslau).

1791: Royal Religious Examination Commissioner (Berlin).

1798: Examination Commission disbanded.

1805: Kirchenrat, Prof. of Theology (Kiel).

Born in 1734 in the village of Piasecznik (German: Petznick, in what was then Pomerania, now part of Poland), the son of the local pastor; he died on November 12, 1807, in Kiel. 

Hermes studied first in Wernigrode, then matriculated in theology at the university at Halle. After teaching and pastoring in Berlin and then Breslau, and serving in various ecclesiastical offices, he was called to Berlin by the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, J. S. Wöllner, to be a member of the Royal Religious Examination Commission, working alongside fellow Rosicrucian G. F. Hilmer. As censors, they were responsible for rejecting (in 1792) the second part of Kant’s Religion, and thus delaying its publication by a year. Hermes was likely responsible for getting his boss (Wöllner) demoted by the king for moving too slowly against the forces of Enlightenment (see the cabinet order of 8 March 1794). Not long after this Hermes and Hilmer began a tour of the universities in search of any unorthodoxies among the theology faculties. Their first stop was Halle, where students promptly took to the streets, laid siege to the inn where they were staying, and threw rocks through their bedroom windows. This experience sent them packing back to Berlin, cutting short their inspection tour. This commission was disbanded in 1798 by King Friedrich Wilhelm III, and both Hermes and Hilmer were let go.

H. D. Hermes is not to be confused with his younger brother, the novelist Johann Timotheus Hermes (1738-1821), author of Sophiens Reise von Memel nach Sachsen (1770-72), and who attended Kant’s lectures in Königsberg (matriculating 1 June 1757 — thus overlapping with T. G. Hippel’s [bio] time at the university). [Sources: Doering 1830, 121-23; Vorländer 1924, ii.141-48; Epstein 1766, 363-68; Wood 1996, 43-44] [last update: 23 Nov 2011]

Select Publications:

Schema examinationis candidatorum S.S. Ministerii rite instituendi (Berlin: 1790, 21791).

Koehler, Johann Bernard (1742-1802)

????: Professor of Philosophy.

See Königsberg.

Reinhold, Karl Leonhard (1757-1825)

1778: Lecturer in philosophy at a Barnabite college (Vienna).

1780: Ordained as a priest.

1783: Matriculates as a student (Leipzig).

1787: Prof. of Philosophy (Jena).

1794: Prof. of Philosophy (Kiel).

Karl Leonhard Reinhold was born (26 October 1757) in Vienna, and died (12 April 1823)[1] in Jena. He was one of the first popularizers of Kant’s philosophy. 

Reinhold studed at a local Gymnasium in Vienna, then entered a Jesuit college in 1772 as a novice, which ended the following year with the abolition of the order. In the fall of 1774 he resumed his studies at a Barnabite college, and began teaching there in 1778. He was ordained as a priest in 1780, but left the order, and Austria, in 1783, for Leipzig. An encounter with Petzold encouraged him to matriculate at the university, where he studied for one semester, hearing Platner’s [bio] lectures, and the following year moved to Weimar, where he met and married (18 May 1785) Sophie Katharina Susanna Wieland, the daughter of C. M. Wieland [bio], the editor of the Teutsche Merkur. Reinhold began writing for the journal at this time, including a positive review of Herder’s Ideas on a Philosophy of History.

A reading of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason led him to write his “Letters on the Kantian Philosophy” (installments in the Teutsche Merkur, beginning in August 1786), which popularized and strongly endorsed Kant’s new philosophical project. It was on the strength of these “Letters” that Reinhold was offered a full professorship at Jena, which he assumed in 1787, and his lectures on the Kantian philosophy were so well-received that what became a new generation of philosophers were soon drawn to study and teach at Jena, soon making it the center of German philosophy.

Reinhold and Kant never met, but Kant was always appreciative of Reinhold’s help, and their correspondence is extensive (Reinhold introduces himself to Kant in a letter of 12 October 1787 [#305, Ak. 10:497-500]). By 1790 Reinhold was re-considering his Kantian commitments, and by the end of the 1790s his philosophical views were more closely aligned with Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre. [Sources: ADB] [last update: 9 Oct 2013]

Select Publications:

Versuch einer Theorie des menschlichen Vorstellungsvermögens (Jena, 1789).

Briefe über die Kantische Philosophie (Leipzig, 1790); this includes twelve letters, eight of which were originally published in the Teutsche Merkur, Aug. 1786 - Sept. 1787. An additional volume was published in 1792.


[1] The ADB gives his life-dates as 26 October 1758 and 10 April 1825.

Tetens, Johann Nikolaus (1736-1807)

1760: Professor of Physics (Bützow).

1765: Director of the Pädagogium (the Academy at Bützow).

1776: Professor of Philosophy (Kiel).

1789: Government official in the ministry of finance (Copenhagen).

Born (Sep 16) in Tetenbüll (South Schleswig), died (Aug 15) in Copenhagen. He studied under Johann Christian Eschenbach at Kiel (translator of Berkeley’s Dialogues [Rostock, 1756]), then accepted a teaching position at the new Pietist but short-lived university at Bützow (a splinter of the university at Rostock). [Letters: various references] [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Philosophische Versuche über die menschliche Natur und ihre Entwicklung, 2 vols. (1777).

Thibaut, Anton Friedrich Justus (1772-1840)

1793/94: Study at Königsberg.

1793 (May 31): Magister? Dr. of Law? (Königsberg).

1802: Prof. of Law (Jena).

1806: Prof. of Law (Heidelberg).

Lawyer. Vorländer [1911, 123] quotes Thibaut quoting Kant: “I lecture not for geniuses, as they will by their own nature chart their own course; nor for the stupid, as it isn’t worth the trouble; but rather for those who stand in between, who want to be educated for their future careers....” [Sources: ADB]

Professors at Leipzig[1] [history]

[1] See Jacob Sigismund Beck’s letter to Kant (Aug. 1, 1789): “With that confidence that results from the relationship of a pupil to the teacher, I will write to you my judgment of the lecturers at the Leipzig university. Nowhere is there a stronger stream of students into the philosophy lecture-halls than here, but likewise there can exist nowhere else such a miserable kind of philosophy being taught, to say nothing of its development, or of the introduction to philosophizing. Platner is pitiful. [continue]

Bahrdt, Karl Friedrich (1741-1792)
Born, Friedrich Gottlob (1743-1807)

1785: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Leipzig). [ADB: 1782]

1802: Court Chaplain (Wesenstein).

Born and died (Dec 8) in Leipzig. An early follower of Kant, publishing numerous books in the Kantian philosophy as well as the Neues philosophisches Magazin with J. H. Abicht (Erlangen; see) — not to be confused with J. A. Eberhard’s journal of a similar name. See Born’s various letters to Kant from May 1786 to May 1790 (none of Kant’s letters to Born have been found). [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Versuch über die ersten Gründe des Sinnen Lehre: Zur Prüfung verschiedner, vornämlich der Weishauptischen Zweifel über die Kantischen Begriffe von Raum und Zeit (1788), 154 pp. [Reprint: Bruxelles, 1970; Aetas Kantiana, vol. 38]

Versuch über die ursprünglichen Grundlagen des menschlichen Denkens und die davon abhängigen Schranken unserer Erkenntniss (Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1791), xxviii, 672 pp. [Reprint: Bruxelles, 1969; Aetas Kantiana, vol. 39]

Lexicon Latinum et Theodiscum ad forman kirschiani cornv copiae (Leipzig: Schwickert, 1790), 2263 pp.

(edited with J. H. Abicht), Neues philosophisches Magazin: Erläuterungen und Anwendungen des Kantischen Systems bestimmt (Leipzig: J. A. Barth, 1790), 2 vol. [Reprint: Bruxelles, 1970; Aetas Kantiana, vol. 5]

Immanuelis Kantii Opera ad philosophiam criticam, translated from the German into Latin by F. G. Born (Leipzig: E. B. Schwickert, 1796-98).

Caesar, Karl Adolf (1744-1810)

1769: Magister (Leipzig).

1778: Lecturer in Philosophy. [check date??]

1778: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Leipzig).

1789: Full Prof. of Philosophy.

Born in Dresden, died in Leipzig. Attended the Gymnasium at Görlitz, then the university at Leipzig, where he received his Magister (1770) and habilitated (1770), but then served as a private tutor for Kiesewetter’s sons, eventually accompanying them to Leipzig. See his letter to Kant (Nov. 1, 1787) and J. S. Beck’s letter to Kant (Aug. 1, 1789): “Prof. Caesar should be valued for his good-natured character. He really is making an effort to understand your system. Only I don’t know what I should make of the strange sort of doubts that he has regarding it, for example, he finds light and unity in the Deduction of the Categories, but darkness in the [discussion] of quantity and quality, even contradictions with respect to relation and modality.” [Sources: ADB]

Crusius, Christian August (1715-1775)

1744: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Leipzig).

1750: Full Prof. of Theology (Leipzig).

1755: Canon at Meißen.

1757: 1st Prof. of Theology (Leipzig).

Born 10 Jun 1715 in Leuna (by Merseburg), died 18 Oct 1775 in Leipzig.  He was the son of a pastor. Studied philosophy and theology in Leipzig under the pietists Andreas Rudiger and Rudiger’s pupil Adolf Friedrich Hoffmann, whose views Crusius systematically developed. He became a prominent critic of Leibnizian and Wolffian philosophy (especially their use of the principle of sufficient reason), and his textbooks were taught widely at Königsberg (resulting in a censorship of those professors in 1775).

The early Kant was actively engaged with Crusius’s philosophy. Kant’s habilitation thesis (New Elucidation of the First Principles of Metaphysical Cognition, 1755; Ak. 1:387-416)[writings] takes aim at Crusius, as does the entire fifth section of Kant’s Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime (1764; Ak. 2:207-56)[writings]. [Sources: ADB; Beck 1969, 394-402]

Select Publications:[1]

Dissertatio de usu et limitibus principii rationis determinantis vulgo sufficientis [Dissertation on the Use and Limits of the Principle of Determining Reason, Commonly Called Sufficient Reason] (Leipzig: 1743).

Anweisung, vernünftig zu leben [Guide to living rationally] (Leipzig: 1744).

Entwurf der nothwendigen Vernunft-Wahrheiten, wiefern sie den zufälligen entgegen gesetzet werden [Outline of the necessary truths of reason, insofar as they are opposed to contingent truths] (Leipzig: Johann Friedrich Gleditsch, 1745).

Weg zur Gewißheit und Zuverlässigkeit der menschlichen Erkenntniß [Path towards the certainty and reliability of human cognition] (Leipzig, 1747).

Anleitung, über natürliche Begebenheiten ordentlich und vorsichtig nachzudenken [Guide on how to reflect correctly and carefully on natural events], 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1749).


[1] Of these publications, Kant owned copies of Anweisung, 2nd ed (1751); Entwurf, 2nd ed (1753); and Anleitung (1749).

Ernesti, Johann August (1707-1781)

1742: Prof. of Classical Philology.

1756: Prof. of Rhetoric.

1759 [1758?]: Full Prof. of Theology.

Held chairs of classical philology, rhetoric, and theology at the University of Leipzig. He helped Feder obtain a position at Göttingen (see). According to Borowski, Kant thought little of his work in theology and philology (1912, 79; repr. in Malter 1990, 204). [Sources: ADB]

Francke, August Hermann (1663-1727)

See Halle.

Gellert, Christian Fürchtegott (1715-1769)

1745: Prof. of Moral Philosophy

A writer of fables and poetry, as well as professor, who popularized Crusius’ moral philosophy. Kant often discussed Gellert, and in particular his Moralische Vorlesungen, nach des Verfassers Tode herausgegeben, 2 vol. (Leipzig, 1770) in his lectures on moral philosophy (Collins 1, Ak. 24:340) — and anthropology (Collins 2, Ak. 25:36, 96; an-Parow, Ak. 25:323; an-Friedländer 1/4.3, Ak. 25:583, 629-30; and Mrongovius 1, Ak. 25:1390).

Gottsched, Johann Christoph (1700-1766)

1714 (Mar 19): Matriculation (Königsberg).

1723 (Apr 2): Magister and Lecturer (Königsberg).*

1724: Flees to Leipzig to escape conscription.

1729: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Leipzig).

1729 (Dec 8): Member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

[1730: Prof. of Poetry?]

1734: Full Prof. of Philosophy [Logic and Metaphysics?] (Leipzig).

Also: Gottscheed. Born in Juditten (2 Feb 1700) by Königsberg (not to be confused with Judtschen, where Kant first tutored), died (12 Dec 1766) in Leipzig; he was the son of a pastor. He studied in Königsberg, learning Wolffian metaphysics from Georg Heinrich Rast [bio] and poetry from J. V. Pietsch [bio], and taught there briefly before leaving for Leipzig in 1724.[1] Gottsched opposed Leibniz’s monadology in a dissertation (1722). His Foundations of all Philosophy (1733-34) became a standard Wolffian textbook, and was more enjoyable to read than Wolff’s own texts.

Gottsched was an mportant reformer of German theater and aesthetic theory. In 1745 he founded the journal Neue Büchersaal der schönen Wissenschaften und freien Künste. A literary society in Leipzig that Gottsched took over, reorganized, and renamed as the “Deutsche Gesellschaft” was later attended by J. J. Quandt [bio] and C. C. Flottwell [bio] after which Flottwell created a sister society in Königsberg on Nov. 15, 1741, called the “Königlich Deutsche Gesellschaft.” [Sources: Hagelgans 1737; Arnoldt 1746, ii.433; Pisanski 1886, 536; APB; ADB; Beck 1769, 279-81] [last update: 7 Mar 2013]

Select Publications:

German translation (1726) of Spanenelle’s Entretiens.

Erste Gründe der gesammten Weltweisheit (1733-34).


[1] A traditional account claims that Gottsched’s height made him a desirable commodity for the army of Friedrich Wilhelm I, thus his flight to Leipzig, but Selle [1956, 132] suggests it had more to do with his having made enemies among the pietists in Königsberg.

Heydenreich, Karl Heinrich (1764-1801)

Also: Heidenreich. Professor of Philosophy. A follower of Kant; mentioned in Kant’s correspondence with Born, Beck, Kiesewetter, Reinhold, and Kant’s publisher, Hartknoch. [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Vorbereitung über die Gültigkeit der Gesetze für Werke der Empfindung und Phantasie (Leipzig 1789).

System der Aesthetick (Leipzig 1790).

Betrachtungen über die Philosophie der natürlichen Religion (Leipzig, 1791).

Encyclopädische Einleitung in das Studium der Philosophie (Leipzig, 1793).

Hindenburg, Karl Friedrich (1741-1808)

1786: Full Prof. of Physics.

1806 (Aug 5): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Born (Jul 13) in Dresden, died (Mar 17) in Leipzig. [Sources: ADB]

Hoffmann, Adolf Friedrich (1707-1741)

A student of Rudiger and teacher of Crusius. [Sources: Beck 300-5]

Kästner, Abraham Gotthelf (1719-1800)

????: Professor of Mathematics.

See Göttingen.

Ludovici, Karl Günther (1707-1778)

????: Professor of Philosophy.

1738 (Mar 19): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Born (Aug 7) and died (Jul 5) in Leipzig. Wrote a history of the Leibniz/Wolff School.

Michaelis, Christian Friedrich (1770-1834)

1787: Matriculation (Leipzig).

1790: Magister (Leipzig).

1792: Studies in Jena.

1793: Habilitation; Lecturer in Philosophy (Leipzig).

1801: Private tutor (near Potsdam).

1803: Private tutor (near Dresden).

1804?: Returns to Leipzig.

Born (Sep 3) and died (Aug 1) in Leipzig. He was the son of a physician. Studied at Leipzig (philosophy and law) with Platner and Heydenreich; received the Magister; attended lectures at Jena by Reinhold, Schiller, and K. Chr. Schmid (1792); habilitated at Leipzig and began lecturing on metaphysics and aesthetics. Left after eight years to serve as private tutor, then returned to Leipzig but remained unaffiliated with the university. A longer biography of Michaelis is also available. 

NB: Not to be confused with another Christian Friedrich Michaelis (1754-1814), who served as a “physician to the Hessian Troops in America.”[1] Kant mentions this physician in his Anthropology [Ak. 7:179], and the editors there note that he was also a professor of medicine at Kassel and Marburg. This appears to be the same Michaelis who was studying mastodon fossils while in the New World; see The Academy of Natural Sciences pages on the Thomas Jefferson Fossil Collection. [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

De voluntatis humanae libertate (Leipzig, 1793).

Über die Freyheit des menschlichen Willens (Leipzig, 1794).

Über den Geist der Tonkunst. Mit Rücksicht auf Kants Kritik der ästhetischen Urtheilskraft. Ein ästhetischer Versuch, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1795, 1800). Reprint in Aetas Kantiana (1970), vol. 187, and in Schmidt (Chemnitz, 1997), see below.

'Ein Versuch, das innere Wesen der Tonkunst zu entwickeln' in Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, vol. 8 (1806), pp. 673-83, 691-6. Reprinted in Schmidt (Chemnitz, 1997), pp. 249-59.


[1] Medical Register for the Year 1779 (London: Murray, 1779), p. 195.

Platner, Ernst (1744-1818)

Professor of Medicine and Physiology.

[Cf. his work on anthropology: Anthropologie für Ärzte und Weltweise, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1772), with an emphasis on the mind/body connection. Herz reviewed this work, and Kant comments on the review in relation to his own newly begun lectures on anthropology (Ak. 10: 145).] Platner discusses Kant’s theory of space and time in his Philosophische Aphorismen, nebst einigen Anleitungen zur philosophischen Geschichte (Leipzig 1784). [Sources: ADB]

Pölitz, Karl Heinrich Ludwig (1772-1838)

1793: Magister (Leipzig)

1794: Lecturer in Philosophy (Leipzig).

1795: Prof. of Morality and History at the Ritterakademie (Dresden).

1803: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Leipzig).

1804: Full Prof. of Natural and International Law (Wittenberg).

1815: Full Prof. of History and Statistics (Leipzig).

1820: Full Prof. of Political Science (Leipzig), replaced Arndt.

Pölitz was an avid collector of books (leaving his collection of some 13, 360 books to the Leipzig city library. He also published widely, including two poorly edited compilations of student notes (metaphysics, rational theoogy) from Kant’s lecture hall (see Pölitz 1817, Pölitz 1821). A longer biography of Pölitz is also available. [Sources: ADB]

Schwabe, Johann Joachim (1714-1784)

1764: Prof. of Philosophy.

Studied at Helmstedt and Leipzig. Curator of the University Library. Translated numerous works from French and English. [Sources: ADB]

Thomasius, Christian (1655-1728)

1672: Magister (Leipzig).

1675: Began his studies at Frankfurt/Oder.

1679: Dr. of Law (Frankfurt/Oder).

1684: Prof. of Natural Law (Leipzig).

1690 (May 10): Prohibited from lecturing (Leipzig).

See Halle.

Professors at Leyden

Ruhnken, David (1723-1798)

1741: Left Königsberg for Holland.

1757: Lecturer of Greek (Leyden). [?]

1761: Prof. of History, Rhetoric, and Greek (Leyden).

Born in Stolp (Pomerania). School friend of Kant’s from the Coll. Frid. [and the university at Königsberg — did he attend??]. See H. G. Wielke’s letter to Kant (March 18, 1771), sent from Leyden where Wielke was living with Ruhnken. Among other things, Wielke wrote how he and Ruhnken were hoping to get Kant to visit them and stay at their house, since Kant had indicated a desire to travel to England, and it is only 18 hours from England to Leyden (Kant, of course, made neither of these trips). Wielke notes that there are 17 professors at Leyden; also that Kant may want to visit a man by the name of Schwedenborg, who often visits Leyden from Amsterdam (Kant had published his book on Swedenborg anonymously in 1766, and Wielke and Ruhnken must not have known about Kant’s authorship). See also the correspondence between Kant and Ruhnken: [Letters: 65, 65a, ++] [Sources: ADB

Wyttenbach, Daniel (1746-1820)

1799: Prof. of Rhetoric (replaced Ruhnken).

[Letter: 851] [Sources: ADB]

Professors at Mainz [history]

Soemmerring, Samuel Thomas

1784 (Oct):Professor of Anatomy and Physiology (Mainz).

See Kassel.

Professors at Marburg [history]

Achenwall, Gottfried (1719-1772)

1746-48: Lecturer on history, statistics, natural and international law (Marburg).

See Göttingen.

Bering, Johann (1748-1825)

1768 (Apr 11): Matriculation (Marburg).

1779: Dr. of Philosophy; Lecturer (Marburg).

1785 (Jan 25): Professor of Logic and Metaphysics (replacing Waldin) (Marburg).

Born (Dec 17) in Hofgeismar, died (Jun 3) in Marburg. He studied philosophy at Marburg under Coing, after which he worked as a private tutor until 1779, when he returned to the university to teach, lecturing on the history of philosophy, ethics, psychology, and natural law. He served as dean of the philosophy faculty for 1786, 1795, 1804, 1817, and prorector of the university for 1789.

Bering subscribed to Kant’s Critical Philosophy, although he admitted in a letter to Kant that he didn't understand everything in the Critique and the Prolegomena. His dissertatio pro loco (upon taking the chair of logic and metaphysics in 1785) was in large measure directed against Dietrich Tiedemann’s criticisms of Kant (Tiedemann was teaching at Kassel, but would move to Marburg the following year).

Bering’s first letter to Kant (5 March 1785; #238) asked for a copy of Kant’s metaphysics notes from which he lectured. Kant, of course, lectured not from his own notes, but from Baumgarten’s Metaphysica, and it turned out that Bering was also lecturing from this text (although from Meier’s German translation). A second letter of September 24 accompanied a copy of his dissertation. Kant responded on 7 April 1786 (after his last metaphysics lecture of the winter semester), acknowledging Bering’s good work and suggesting that Tiedemann’s criticisms of his work missed the mark rather badly for lack of proper understanding. In a letter of 21 September 1786, Bering informed Kant of the prohibition to teach Kant’s philosophy at Marburg. This prohibition was especially disconcerting to the young Bering, since he was the only professor there engaged in such activity. A letter to Kant dated 28 May 1787 shows Bering avoiding the prohibition by “lecturing on your Critique to three hopeful boys under the rubric of a Konversatorii.” The ban was lifted in October 1787, a year after a letter signed by eight professors (including Bering) supporting academic freedom in general, and Kant’s philosophy somewhat. For a fuller account of this incident, see Stark [1996].[1] See also J. B. Jachmann’s letter to Kant (14 October 1790) with news of his visit with Bering. [Sources: Gundlach 1927, 285; Stark 1996] [last update: 10 May 2007]

Select Publications:

De regressu successivo (Marburg 1785).


[1] Letter of 21 September 1786:

“About three weeks ago we received a Cabinet-Order here by which we were prohibited from holding lectures on any Kantian textbooks this winter, and that the philosophy faculty is required to report within 1/4 year what there is of value in Kant’s writings, and whether such gives rise to skepticism ....”

The cabinet order and the response by the Marburg philosophy faculty is reprinted at Ak. 13:182-5. Malter claims that the writings Bering sent were unread by Kant, who had Krauß pass them on to Hamann [Briefwechsel, 846]. Bering’s letter of 28 May 1787 reads in part:

“The prohibition to hold lectures on your writings has not yet been lifted. I have nonetheless violated it in the meantime, and am lecturing on your Critique with three hopeful boys under the title of a conversatorii” (Ak. 10:487-8).]

Coing, Johann Franz (1725-1792)

1749: Lecturer in Philosophy and Mathematics (Herborn).

1750: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Herborn).

1753-78: Full Prof. of Logic and Metaphysics (Marburg).

1758: Dr. Philosophy (Marburg).

1778: 4th, then 3rd, Prof. of Theology (Marburg).

1781: Dr. of Theology (Marburg).

1789: 2nd Prof. of Theology (Marburg).

1792: 1st Prof. of Theology (Marburg).

Born (Mar 21) in Siegen, the son of a wealthy merchant, and died (Jul 19) in Marburg. He studied in Herborn (1742), then Halle and Jena. Began lecturing at Herborn before coming to Marburg. Dean of the philosophy faculty for 1761, 1770, and 1777; then of the theology faculty for 1783, 1786, 1788, and 1791; prorector of the university for 1774, 1781, 1784, and 1790. He lectured on logic and metaphysics throughout his tenure at Marburg, but also natural law (1753-74), Institutiones publicae (1758-74), ethics (1754-65, 1774-77). In the 1780s his lecturing activity turned more toward theology. He was the father-in-law to Jung-Stilling (see). An opponent of Kantian philosophy. A set of Kant’s lecture notes on natural theology were acquired by Coing (an-Coing), and quoted in his anonymous 1788 publication [text]. [Sources: ADB; Gundlach 1927, 33-4; Stark 1996, 100-101]

Select Publications:

Institutiones philosophicae de Deo, anima humana, mundo et primis cognitionis humanae principiis (Marburg: C. Müller, 1765). Reprint: Olms, 1998 (Ch. Wolff’s Gesammelte Werke).

(anon.), Die vornehmsten Wahrheiten der natürlichen Religion vorgetragen und gegen die neuern Einwürfe vertheidgt (Leipzig, 1788).

Creuzer, Christoph Andreas Leonhard (1768-1844)

1794: Dr. of Philosophy (Tübingen).

1794: Lecturer (Marburg).

1803: Full Prof. of Practical Philosophy (Marburg).

1822: Consistory advisor.

Born (Nov 20) and died (Mar 3) in Marburg. He studied in Marburg and Jena; served as a Lutheran preacher in Marburg (1801-3) while lecturing at the university (primarily on logic, but also ethics, empirical psychology, and natural law). See his letter to Kant (7 April 1793). [Sources: ADB; Gundlach 1927, 292]

Endemann, Samuel (1727-1789)

1747: Ministerial Candidate (Kassel).

1748: Private tutor (Kassel).

1750-53: Pastor (Jasberg, then Hanau).

1766: Consistory advisor (Hanau).

1767: Professor of Theology and Hebrew (Hanau).

1782: 1st Prof. of Theology (Marburg).

Born (Mar 18) in Carlsdorf, died (May 31) in Marburg. He came to Marburg in 1782 as 1st Professor of Theology, lecturing on the Old Testament, Patoral Theology, and Dogmatics with Polemics and Moral Theology. He was an enemy of Kant’s, and J. B. Jachmann reports how he arranged the prohibition of Kant’s philosophy at Marburg (letter to Kant, Oct. 14, 1790). [Sources: ADB; Gundlach 1927, 35]

Jung-Stilling, Johann Heinrich (1740-1817)

1772: Dr. Medicine (Strasburg).

1772-78: Working as an eye doctor (Elberfeld).

1778: Teaching various subjects at a school in Mannheim.

1784: Professor (Heidelberg).

1786: Dr. Philosophy (Heidelberg).

1787: Full Prof. of Economics and Political Science (Marburg).

1803: Returned to Heidelberg.

Born (Sep 12) in Grund (Nassau-Siegen), died (Apr 2) in Karlsruhe. A Pietist eye-doctor and political scientist. Son-in-law to the theologian J. F. Coing (see) and father-in-law to the theologian F. H. C. Schwarz of Heidelberg (see).

Prof. of Political Science [also at Heidelberg]. [Letters: 288a, 346/324, 347/325+] [Sources: Gundlach 1927, 436-7; ADB]

Piderit, Johann Rudolph Anton (1720-1791)

1737-8: Studying in Jena and Erfurt.

1739: Studying in Marburg.

1745: Magister in philosophy (Marburg).

1746: Licentiate.

1759: Dr. of Theology (Marburg).

1747: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Marburg).

1766: Full Prof. of Oriental Languages (Kassel).

Born (Aug 18) in Pyrmont (but raised in Homberg/Hessen), died (Aug 2) in Kassel; the son of a physician. Heard Wolff’s lectures while a student at Marburg, and was himself an outspoken Wolffian, lecturing on logic, metaphysics, moral philosophy, natural law, and politics, and from 1755, also on exegetics and practical theology. Served as dean of the philosophy faculty in 1750, 1753, 1758; and prorector of the university in 1758, 1759, and 1760. He was eventually chased out by his colleagues in theology. Once in Kassel, he also lectured on theology, until he was forbidden (May 5, 1767). [Sources: Gundlach 1927 289; ADB]

Selchow, Johann Heinrich Christian von (1732-1795)

1746: Matriculated at the university (Göttingen).

1755: Dr. Law and Lecturer (Göttingen).

1757: Assoc. Prof. of Law (Göttingen).

1762: Full Prof. of Law (Göttingen).

1782: Prof. of Law, Vice Chancellor, Privy Councilor (Marburg).

1783: Full Prof. of Law and Chancellor (Marburg).

Johann Heinrich Christian von Selchow was born (26 Jul 1732) in Mark Brandenburg, and died (21 Apr 1795) in Marburg. Selchow — by then, the University Chancellor at Marburg — is briefly mentioned in J. B. Jachmann’s long epistolary report to Kant of his travels (14 Oct 1790; #452, Ak. 11:215-28). [Sources: Gundlach 1927, 116; ADB, 33:670, 36:791] [last update: 27 Jan 2007]

Tiedemann, Dietrich (1748-1803)

1776: Professor of Latin and Greek (Kassel).

1786: Professor of Philosophy (Marburg).

Born in Bremervörde (1748) and died in Marburg (1803). Studied at Göttingen, then taught at Kassel and finally at Marburg. His 1772 work on the origin of language (he claimed children possessed a pre-linguistic knowledge) was severely criticized by Hamann, and his 1785 essay was one of the first close examinations of Kant’s new philosophy. Kant thought little of his criticisms. See Kant’s letter to Johann Bering (7 April 1786), who had just sent Kant a work critical of Tiedemann.

Tiedemann’s eldest son, Friedrich Tiedemann (1781-1861), became a prominent physiologist and anatomist, studying under Cuvier in Paris, and teaching at Heidelberg.

Select Publications:

Versuch einer Erklärung des Ursprunges der Sprache (Riga: Hartknoch, 1772), 256 pp.

System der stoischen Philosophie, 3 vols. (Leipzig: Bey Weidmanns Erben und Reich, 1776).

“Über die Natur der Metaphysick, zur Prüfung von Herrn Prof. Kants Grundsätzen” in Hessische Beiträge zur Gelehrsamkeit und Kunst, vol. 1 (Frankfurt, 1785).

Theätet; oder, Über das menschliche Wissen; ein Beitrag zur Vernunft-Kritik (Frankfurt am Main: Varrentrapp und Wenner, 1794), xx, 515 pp.

Waldin, Johann Gottlieb (1728-1795)

1755: Dr. of Phil and habilitation (Jena).

1758: Adjunct in Philosophy (Jena).

1765: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Jena).

1766: Full Prof. of Philosophy and Mathematics (Marburg).

1781: Full Prof. of Logic and Metaphysics.

1785: Professor of Mathematics and Physics.

Born (Oct 28) in Gera (Reuß), died (Jul 13) in Marburg. Received his doctorate at Jena, and taught philosophy and mathematics there before coming to Marburg. Served as dean of the philosophy faculty in 1768, 1774, 1781, 1790, and as prorector of the university for 1771 and 1781, in which year he was also given the chair of Logic and Metaphysics, which he gave up in 1785 to accept a chair in Mathematics and Physics. 

He attempted to disprove Kant’s arguments against the ontological and cosmological arguments for God’s existence in such books as Untersuchung der Weltreihen und des darauf gegründeten Beweises von der Existenz Gottes (Marburg, 1785) and Die Grundsätze der natürlichen Theologie bewiesen, und aus dem Weltgebäude erläutert, nebst ihren neuesten und wichtigsten Streitigkeiten (Marburg, 1786).  [Sources: Gundlach 1927, 371-2]

Wolff, Christian (1679-1754)

1723-40: Prof. of Mathematics and Metaphysics.

See Halle.

Professors at Rinteln [history]

Abbt, Thomas (1738-1766)

1761: Full Prof. of Mathematics (Rinteln).

See Frankfurt/Oder.

Professors at Rostock [history]

Beck, Jacob Sigismund (1761-1840)

1783 (Oct 8): Matriculation (Königsberg).

1789: Began studies at Halle; teaches at the Gymnasium.

1791: Magister and habilitation; Assoc. Prof. at the university (Halle).

1799 (April): Full Prof. of Metaphysics (Rostock).

1803: Married a daughter of Superintendant J. G. Friedrich.

1809: Inspector of the Convictorium (Rostock).

Born (Aug 6) in Marienburg (West Prussia), died (Aug 29) in Rostock. He was the son of a pastor. A student of Kant’s at Königsberg, and one of his earliest followers, although perhaps influenced equally by Krauß (who helped him with mathematics, as well as finance). He enjoyed much popularity as a professor of metaphysics at Rostock during his forty-one years teaching there.  See the extensive correspondence between Kant and Beck between May 1789 and October 1797. His letter of 19 April 1791 accompanied a copy of his newly accepted dissertation and included remarks about his anticipated teaching career and his debts to Kant. Beck wrote extensively on Kant’s philosophy, but his attempts to correct what Kant did not think in need of correction eventually led to their estrangement. [Sources: ADB; NDB]

Select Publications:

Erläuternder Auszug aus den critischen Schriften des Herrn Prof. Kant, 3 vol. (Riga, 1793-96). [vol. 3 = Einzig möglicher Standpunkt, aus welchem die kritische Philosophie beurteilt werden muß (1796)]

Grundriß der critischen Philosophie (Halle, 1796).

Flemming, Georg August (1768-1813)

1793: Lecturer in Philosophy.

1795: Private tutor (Göttingen).

Flemming published a notice in July of 1796 that Kant was the author of Hippel’s anonymously published book, Lebensläufe in aufsteigender Linie, which precipitated Kant’s public denial in a notice of Dec. 6, 1796 (cf. Ak. 12: 360-1, and the notes at 13: 536-42). [Sources: ADB]

Professors at Tübingen [history]

Abel, Jakob Friedrich (1751-1829)

1770: Magister (Tübingen).

1772: Professor of Philosophy at the Karlschule (Stuttgart).

1790-1811: Full Professor of Philosophy (succeeding Ploucquet)(Tübingen).

Jakob Friedrich Abel was born (9 May 1751) in Vaihingen and died (7 July 1829) while traveling, in Schörndorff. He was a professor of psychology and moral philosophy whose published writings were closely engaged with Kant’s system. Schiller studied under him (at the Karlsschule?). [Sources: Hausius 1793, xxi-xxii; ADB; NDB]

Select Publications:

Ueber die Quellen der menschlichen Vorstellungen (Stuttgart, 1786).

Einleitung in die Seelenlehre (Stuttgart, 1786).

Plan einer systematischen Metaphysik (Stuttgart, 1787).

Versuch über die Natur der speculative Vernunft, zur Prüfung des Kantischen Systems (Frankfurt & Leipzig, 1787).

Bilfinger, Georg Bernhard (1693-1750)

1709: Matriculation (Tübingen Stift).

1719: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy (Tübingen).

1723: Full Prof. of Mathematics and Moral Philosophy (Collegium illustre, Tübingen).

1725-30: Professor of Philosophy (St. Petersburg).

1731: Full Prof. of Theology; superintendant of the Stift (Tübingen).

1749 (Sep 4): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Born (Jan 23) in Cannstatt, died (Feb 18) in Stuttgart; the son of a deacon and government advisor. Discovered his love of mathematics at Tübingen; studied two years with Christian Wolff at Halle; returned to Tübingen and lectured on Leibniz and Wolff, which won him the abuse of the theologians; accepted a position at a nearby academy for local nobility, then left for St. Petersburg for five years, before returning to Tübingen. Served as chancellor of the university.  He wrote the Wolffian Dilucidationes philosophicae de Deo, anima humana, mundo et generalibus rerum affectionibus (Tübingen 1725). [Sources: ADB; NDB]

Canz, Israel Gottlieb (1690-1753)

1709: Magister (Tübingen).

1714: Repetent of the Theology Seminar.

1720-34: Various offices in the church.

1734: Full Prof. of Rhetoric and Poetry (Tübingen).

1739: Full Prof. of Logic and Metaphysics.

1747: Full Prof. of Theology.

Born (Feb 26) in Grünthal, died (Jan 28) in Tübingen. An adherent of Leibniz and Wolff, he is best known for applying them to theology and morality, as in his Usus philosophiae Leibnitianae et Wolfianae in theologia (1728). [Sources: ADB]

Flatt, Johann Friedrich (1759-1821)

1785: Prof. of Philosophy (Tübingen).

1792: Assoc. Professor of Theology.

Born 20 February 1759 and died 24 November 1821, both in Tübingen, where his father had been a pastor. Flatt was the first professor in Tübingen to lecture on Kant’s philosophy (SS 1790).

See his letter to Kant (27 Oct 1793) in which he claims not to have been the author of a brochure satirizing Kantian philosophy. Flatt was an opponent of Kant’s views on moral philosophy and natural religion (attempting, for instance, to defend the cosmological argument against Kant’s criticisms). [Sources: Hausius 1793, xliv-xlv, lxxxiii; ADB]

Select Publications:

Fragmentarische Beyträge zur Bestimmung und Deduction des Begrifs und Grundsatzes der Causalität und zur Grundlegung der natürlichen Theologie in Beziehung auf die kantische Philosophie (Leipzig 1788).

Briefe über den moralischen Erkenntnisgrund der Religion überhaupt, und besonders in Beziehung auf die Kantische Philosophie (Tübingen 1788).

Ploucquet, Gottfried (1716-1790)

????: Prof. of Philology.

1749 (Sep 4): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Also: Ploucket. Born (Aug 25) in Stuttgart, died (Sep 13) in Tübingen. A Wolffian. [Sources: ADB]

Tafinger, Wilhelm Gottlieb (1760-1813) [Cornelius?]

Prof. of Law. [Letter: 515a, 521, 525]

Professors at Vienna [history]

Delling, Johann von (1764-1838)

Born 12 Jan 1764 (Munich), and died in 1838.  His father, Sebastian, served as mayor of Munich. At the age of 17 and while still in Munich, Delling joined the Illuminati (his travails resulting from this membership are recounted in Schaden 1834). The following year he matriculated at Ingolstadt to study law.

See Conrad Stang’s letter to Kant (Oct. 2, 1796), explaining how Delling was forced out of his teaching position at Fünfkirchen (Hungarian: Pécs), one of five academies in Hungary) because he was teaching Kant’s philosophy (Schaden 1834, 23-24). He later taught at Vienna. [Sources: Schaden 1834, 12-27] [7/10]

Professors at Vilnius (Wilna)

Abicht, Johann Heinrich (1762-1816)

1804: Full Prof. of Philosophy.

See Erlangen.

Professors at Wittenberg [history]

Baumeister, Friedrich Christian (1709 - 1785)

1730: Magister (and lecturer in philosophy?) (Wittenberg).

1734: Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy.

1736: Rector of a Gymnasium (Görlitz/Schlesia).

Born (Jul 17) in Groskörnern (near Gotha), died (Oct 8) at Wittenberg. Studied in Jena and Wittenberg. A follower of Ch. Wolff, he taught briefly at Wittenberg before accepting a position at the Gymnasium in Görlitz. He wrote several popular textbooks, including Philosophia definitiva (1733) and Philosophia recens controversa (1738). Kant used his Institutiones metaphysicae (Wittenberg: 1736) for his course on metaphysics during his first few years as a lecturer, before switching to a text by A. G. Baumgarten. [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Philosophia definitiva hoc est definitiones philosophicae ex systemate Lib. Var. a Wolf (Wien, 1775); 1st ed: Wittenberg, 1735 & 1762; 7th ed (Wittenberg, 1746), 230pp.

Institutiones philosophiae rationalis methodo wolffiana conscriptae [Principles of Rational Philosophy, Composed in Accordance with the Wolffian Method] (Wittenberg, 1738).

Institvtiones metaphysicae (Wittenburg: S. G. Zimmermann, 1736), 638 pp.

Elementa philosophiae recentioris usibus juventutis scholasticae accommodata (Lipsiae: J. F. Gleditsch, 1747), 550 pp.

Vita, fata et scripta Christiani Wolfii philosophi (Lipsiae et Vratislauiae: Apud Siegmundum Ehrenfriedum Richterum, 1739).

Buddeus, Johann Franz (1667-1729)

1685: Matriculation.

1687: Magister; Lecturer in Philosophy.

See Halle.

Ebert, Johann Jakob (1737-1805)

1756: Matriculation (Leipzig).

1760: Magister (Leipzig).

1769: Full Prof. of Mathematics (Wittenberg).

Born (Nov 20) in Breslau, died (Mar 18) in Wittenberg. Attended the Elisabethanum in Breslau, then the university at Leipzig where he received his Magister; served briefly as a private tutor in St. Petersburg (1768), before accepting a position at Wittenburg. [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Kurze Anweisung in den Anfangsgründen der Vernunftlehre, 2nd ed. (Frankfurt/Leipzig, 1774).

Pölitz, Karl Heinrich Ludwig (1772-1838)

1804: Full Prof. of Natural and International Law.

See Leipzig.

Spener, Jakob Karl (1684-1730)

Born (Feb 1) in Frankfurt/Main, died (Jun 12) in Wittenberg. Professor of Law.

Professors at Würzburg [history]

Andres, Johann Bonaventura (1743-1822)

1782: Dr. of Theology (Würzburg).

1783: Prof. of Philosophy.

Born (May 29) in Nürnberg, died in Würzburg. Entered the Jesuit order (1762). Taught at the Gymnasium in Bamberg (1765); studied theology at Würzburg (1771); became a priest (1774); professor of Rhetoric at the Gymnasium in Würzburg; then professor of philosophy at the university. [Sources: ADB]

Reuß, Maternus (1751-1798)

1777: Entered Benedictine Order.

1782: Prof. of Philosophy (Würzburg).

1792: Traveled to Königsberg to visit Kant.

See his letter to Kant (13 Oct. 1792) and sketch of a letter from Kant (May 1793). His letter to Kant of 1 April 1796 discusses the state of Critical Philosophy in Catholic universities (namely, quite well at Würzburg, not as well at Bamberg, Heidelberg, and others; poorly in “Bayern, Swabia, and Catholic Switzerland”); on this see also Reuß [1793]. See also his letter to Kant (21 April 1797). [Sources: ADB]

Select Publications:

Aesthetica transcendentalis Kantiana (Würzburg, 1788).

“Soll man auf katholischen Universitäten Kant's Philosophie erklären?” in Hausius (1793, i.52-88).




Select Gymnasia

Berlin (Kadettenkorps)

Fischer, Carl Friedrich (1766-1847)

Studied at Halle. Professor of History at the Kadettenkorps. His correspondence with Kant concerns his re-publication (with Kiesewetter) of some of Kant’s writings (see his letters to Kant, Oct. 19 & Dec. 25, 1793) and Kiesewetter’s letters to Kant (Jun. 15 & Nov. 23, 1793).

Schultz, Franz Albrecht (1652-1763)

1723: Teacher at the Kadettenkorps.

See Königsberg.

Wielkes, Hieronymus Gottfried (1742-????)

1758 (May 10): Matriculation (Königsberg).

1762: Matriculation (Halle).

1763 (Mar 14): Magister (Halle).

From Nemmersdorf (Prussian Lithuania). He studied theology at Königsberg, then at Halle under Meier, receiving his magister degree with a disputation on the universal divine providence in the best of all possible worlds (D. de universalitate providentiae divinae in mundo optimo, Halle, 1763). Wielkes was a professor with the Kadettenkorps in Berlin, then a professor of philosophy at Frankfurt/Oder.

Wielkes assumed what became a six-year tenure as Hofmeister to the princes Leo and Michael Wolkonski (in Russia), accompanying them during their university studies in Königsberg (1769-?; where the princes made Kant’s aquaintance, and presumably attended his lectures), Leiden (Feb. 1771-), and elsewhere, eventually returning to Moscow.

In a letter to Kant sent from Leiden (18 March 1771, Ak. 10:119) and in a tone of considerable informality, Wielkes discusses Kant’s old school friend, Ruhnken [bio], with whom he has been socializing, and mentions their plan to bring Kant to Leiden where, among other people, he can meet the mystic Swedenborg. In a second letter to Kant, written from Moscow (15 November 1779, Ak. 10:258), Wielkes asks for Kant’s help finding a private tutor for the young son (9-11 year old) of Princess Katharina Bariatinsky (née Holstein-Beck, 1750-1811). In 1781, Goldbeck reports that Wielkes [Goldbeck: Wilke] is living privately in St. Petersburg, supported by a life-long pension of 600 rubels (courtesy of Count Wolkonski). [Sources: HM; Arnoldt 1769, 156; Goldbeck 1781, 205-6; Ak. 10:119-21, 258-59, 13:53, 96] [last update: 28 Jun 2014]

Berlin (Friedrichswerdeschen Gymnasium

Gedike, Friedrich (1754-1803)

1775: Hofmeister in Spalding’s house (Berlin)

1776: Teacher.

1779: Rector at Friedrichs-Werdersche Schule

1784: Becomes member of the Oberkonsistorium.

1787: Member of the newly-formed Oberschulkollegium.

1793: Rector at Graue Klöster

Friedrich Gedike was born in Priegnitz, and orphaned at an early age. He studied at the Züllichauer Gymnasium, then at the university at Frankfurt/Oder. 

Zimmermann, Christian Gottlieb (1769-1841)

1785 (Mar 18): Matriculation (Königsberg).

????: Private tutor (Berlin).

1794: Teacher of mathematics (Berlin/ Friedrichswerderschen Gymnasium)

Kant allowed Zimmerman to attend his lectures for free during his six years at the university. See Zimmerman’s letter to Kant (Dec. 12, 1793), wherein he asked for a letter of recommendation be sent to Fischer (at the Kadettenkorps; see) in hopes of a position there. [Sources: ADB]

Berlin Collége François

Mérian, Jean Bernard (1723-1807)

1737: Matriculation (Basel).

1740: Dr. of Philosophy (Basel).

1750 (Apr 9): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

1767: Inspector of the Collége François.

Born (Sep 28) in Liechstall (near Basel), died (Feb 12) in Berlin; the son of a Calvinist pastor. After his studies he worked as a private tutor, leading him to Leyden; made the acquaintance of Daniel Bernoulli and Leonhard Euler. Although a native German-speaker, he produced a French translation of Hume that enjoyed wide circulation in Europe. An enemy of Wolff and critic of Leibniz, he attempted to bring Kant’s philosophy into harmony with his predecessors. At the end of his life he served as secretary and librarian of the Berlin Academy of Sciences. [Sources: Velder 1989, 107-11]

Breslau (Elisabethengymanasium)

Fülleborn, Georg Gustav (1769-1803)

1791: Professor of Greek and Hebrew.

Edited the Beyträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie (12 issues, 1791-9), with Forberg, Niethammer, Bardili (Stuttgart; see), and others. See his letter to Kant (April 1792). [Sources: ADB]

Garve, Christian (1742-1798)

Lived in Breslau, more or less free of official duties because of his illness, since 1772. See his correspondence with Kant (July 13, 1783 and following). Among other things, he translated Cicero’s de officiis (On Duty): Abhandlung über die menschlichen Pflichten in drei Büchern aus dem Lateinischen (11783, 41792), of which Kant owned a copy. On this translation and commentary, see Zande [1998].

Schummel, Johann Gottlieb (1748-1813)

1767: Matriculation at the University (Halle).

1771: Hofmeister in the Benneke household.

1772: Teaching post at Unsere Lieben Frauen Gymnasium (Magdeburg).

1779: Professor of History (Ritterakademie/Liegnitz).

1788: Professor of History (Elisabethanum/Breslau).

Johann Gottlieb Schummel was born (8 May 1748) in Seitendorf (near Hirschberg) and died (23 December 1813). He was notable both as an author and as a Gymnasium professor; and he exchanged a few letters with Kant. 

Schummel began studies as an eleven-year-old at the Gymnasium in Hirschberg, under which he suffered four years before escaping with a visiting troupe of actors that was passing through town (he was eventually retrieved by his father and returned to school). At the age of nineteen he abandoned the Gymnasium again, this time in the more usual fashion, and matriculated at the university in Halle, where he began an intense study of Wolffian philosophy. He also began to explore his growing literary interests, and during a year as a Hofmeister following his studies at Halle, he published a novel and a travelogue imitative of Sterne, although to terrible reviews. His teaching skills were rather more appreciated, and Schummel counted the years of his first teaching post in Magdeburg as among his happiest; one notable student from this time was the rather more successful author, J. C. F. Schulz. An interest in marriage led him to seek a better paying position, and he eventually was given the professorship of history at the academy in Liegnitz, where he taught for nine years. During this time he wrote to Kant (21 March 1783), expressing hope in eventually procuring a university position, as well as describing the death of his four-year-old son.[1] His last move was to the Elisabeth Gymnasium in Breslau, where he taught for twenty-five years, alongside his friend and colleague Christian Garve, and where he certaintly would have been made rector, but for his overly-public support of the French Revolution. [Sources: ADB] [last update: 25 Apr 2007]


[1] Schummel also wrote: “Your university is enjoying a considerable growth of students out of Schlesia. Would that they also come to you well prepared! But the constitution of our schools is not at all suited for that. At our Ritter-Academy in particular we receive students who are for the most part unformed, or even ill-formed blockheads. For that reason the King recently had a rather sharp memo sent round to the Schlesian nobility. That will likely only add to my misfortune, since despite my every effort, I cannot bring forth the quantity of good that I might be able to effect in some other situation” (#189; Ak. 10:305). [“Ihre Universität erhält diesmal einen ansehnlichen Zuwachs aus Schlesien. Möchten sie auch nur recht zubereitet zu Ihnen kommen: Allein die Beschaffenheit unsrer Schulen ist noch ganz und gar nicht darnach! Wir vollends an unsrer Ritter-Academie bekommen mehrentheils lauter ungeformte, oder wohl gar mißgeformte Blöcke! Deßhalb hat auch der König kürzlich an den schlesischen Adel ein scharfes Circulare ergehen laßen will. Auch das würd ich zu meinem Unglück rechnen, daß ich bei aller Anstrengung, bei allem Regen und Streben nicht die Sume des Guten hervorbringen kan, die ich mir in einer andern Lage zu bewirken getraute.”] On March 28, 1789, he wrote a second letter to Kant, this time on behalf of a student (#350; Ak. 11:13).

Breslau (Magdalenengymnasium)

Coburg (Cassimirianum)

Buddeus, Johann Franz (1667-1729)

1692: Prof. of Greek and Latin at the Casimirianum (Coburg).

See Halle.

Professors at Danzig

Rink, Friedrich Theodor (1770-1811)

1801: Head Pastor of the Dreifaltigskeitskirche; Director of the Danzig gymnasium.

See Königsberg.

Halle (Gymnasium)

Beck, Jacob Sigismund (1761-1840)

1791: Magister (Halle); teaches at the Gymnasium.

1796: Assoc. Prof. at the Gymnasium.

See Rostock.

Jakob, Ludwig Heinrich (1759-1827)

1782: Lecturer at the Gymnasium in Halle.

See Halle (university).

Schwedler, Johann Friedrich (d. 1814)

[Letter: 344]

Mitau (Academia Petrina)

The academy at Mitau (now Jelgava, Latvia) was founded in 1775 (before which it was a city school). Kant was twice asked to assume the rectorship at the academy: at its founding, and then again in 1776. On its foundation and early professors, see William Meyer, Die Gründungsgeschichte Der Academia Petrina in Mitau: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Aufklärungszeit in Kurland (Königsberg, Ph.D dissertation, 1921); later published under the same title: Riga, 1937.

Beitler, Wilhelm Gottlieb Friedrich von (1745-1811)

Professor of Mathematics. See Kant’s praise of him in his letter to C. W. Schwenckner (Feb. 18, 1794) (Ak. 13:358-9).

Beseke, Johann Melchior Gottlieb (1746-1802)

1766: Matriculation (Frankfurt/Oder).

1771: Private tutor (Halle).

1772: Magister, and Doctor of Law (Halle).

1774: Professor (Mitau).

Born (Sep 26) in Burg (near Madgeburg), died (Oct 8; 10/19, Gregorian calendar) in Mitau (now Jelgava, Latvia), a town lying forty kilometers south-west of Riga, and at the time the capital of Courland. He was the son of Christian Wilhelm Beseke, a well-known cleric serving as the inspector of the Jerichau Kreis. Beseke matriculated in 1766 at the university at Frankfurt/Oder to study theology, then changed to philosophy and law. He was also working as a private tutor to a young nobleman, and in this capacity accompanied his charge to Halle in 1771, where in 1772 he received both a magister (7 October) and a doctorate in law, and began lecturing in both philosophy and law. In 1774 he accepted a position at Mitau, where the city school was being transformed into the Academia Petrina. Beseke served as its first rector in 1775. (Immanuel Kant had already declined an invitation to fill this position, although his younger brother, Johann Heinrich (1735-1800), accepted and served as assistant rector from 1775-81 before moving on to a pastoral position.) Beseke's reputation grew to the point that he was offered (but turned down) the professorship of natural history at Rostock in 1790. He became a member of the Royal Society of Scholars at Frankfurt/Oder, as well as of the Latin society at Jena.

Beseke wrote popularizations and texts for secondary school students on the subjects of morality, law, logic, natural history, and natural theology. He sent a copy of his three volume Book of Wisdom and Virtue (1782) to Kant. In later years he wrote on the conditions of the poor. [Sources: Hamberger 1796, 1:271-4; 1820, 17:159; ADB; Gause 1996, ii.245-46]

Select Publications:

De jure cogendi (Halle, 1772).

Num Litis Contestatio semper malam fidem inducat? (Halle, 1772).

De origine modorum contrahendi apud Romanos (Halle, 1772).

Über die Quellen der Moralität und Verbindlichkeit als die ersten Gründe der Moralphilosophie und des Naturrechts (Halle, 1774).

Entwurf eines Lehrbuchs der natürlichen Pflichten (Mitau, 1777).

Das Buch der Weisheit und Tugend. Ein Lesebuch für Jünglinge von zehn bis zwanzig Jahren, oder auch für jeden, dem daran gelegen ist, weise und gut zu sein, 3 vols. (Dessau and Leipzig, 1782).

Über das moralische Gefühl (Dessau, 1782).

Thesaurus juris cambialis, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1783).

Die Offenbarung Gottes in der Natur. Eine Schrift für Jedermann (Dessau and Leipzig, 1784).

Versuch einer praktischen Logik, oder einer Anweisung, den gesunden Verstand recht zu gebrauchen (Leipzig, 1786).

Entwurf eines Systems der transzendentellen Chemie (Leipzig, 1787).

Probe eines Kritischen Commentars über Kants Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Mitau, 1789).

Versuch einer Geschichte der Naturgeschichte (Mitau, 1802).

Cruse, Karl Wilhelm (1765-1834)

1781 (Apr 6): Matriculation (Königsberg).

1794: Private tutor in the home of the English merchant James Pierson (Riga).

1799: Prof. of History (Mitau).

Student of Kant’s. He appears to have left the university without receiving his Magister degree. See Cruse’s letter to Kant (25 October 1798) asking for a testimonial of his work and character while at Konigsberg, so that he might apply for the history professorship at Mitau that became available upon J. C. F. Schulz’s (see) early death, and his letter (12 September 1799) thanking Kant, Kraus, and Schulz for their testimonials, having received the job.

Hartmann, Gottlob David (1752-1775)

Procured a professorship of philosophy in Mitau, and on his way there stopped in Königsberg to visit Kant. See his letter to Kant (Sept. 4, 1774): “I regret that I couldn’t stay longer in Königsberg and enjoy your company.... Your Critique of Pure Reason, of which you told me so much, has since occupied my thoughts long and often. Once you have finished this work, philosophy will have, I think, an entirely different shape.” [Sources: ADB]

Jaeger, Heinrich Friedrich (1747-????)

Prof. of History (Mitau). [Letter: 332/311+]

Kant, Johann Heinrich (1735-1800)

1755 (Mar 20): Matriculation (Königsberg).

1775: Rector (replaced M. F. Watson) (Mitau).

1781: Pastor at Altrahden.

Immanuel Kant’s younger brother by eleven years, and the youngest child of the family; he was only two when his mother died, and eleven when his father died. His older brother, a student at the local university, at this time would have been responsible for his younger siblings, along with their oldest sister, Regina Dorothea (born 1719). Kant studied theology at Königsberg (matriculated the same day as Kant’s future biographer, Borowski, with whom he also attended Kant’s first lectures, served as a rector for six years at the Latin school in Mitau, and then as a pastor in Altrahden. The letters between the two brothers make for interesting reading.

Schulz, Joachim Christian Friedrich (1762-1798)

1779: Leaves home for Halle.

1789-90: In Paris.

1790: Hofrat (Weimar).

1791: Professor of History (Mitau).

1791 (Sep) - 1792 (Jun): Citizen-Delegate to the Polish Parliament (Warsaw).

1793/94: Italy.

1794: Extended visits in Vienna, Berlin, Jena, Weimar.

1795: Returns to Mitau.

Joachim Christian Friedrich Schulz (also: Joachim Christoph Friedrich Schulz/Schultz) was born (1 Jan 1762) in Magdeburg and died (27 Sep/9 Oct 1798) in Mitau. During his brief life, Schulz became one of the most popular authors of his day, writing both novels and prose, and he served as an important eyewitness to current events, in particular of events in France and Poland. His best known work is his Travels of a Livlander from Riga to Warsaw. A longer biography of Schulz is also available [Sources: ADB] [last update: 26 Apr 2007]

Select Publications:

Reise eines Liefländers von Riga nach Warschau, durch Südpreußen über Breslau, Dresden, Karlsbad, Bayreuth, Nürnberg, Regensburg, München, Salzburg, Linz, Wien und Klagenfurt, nach Botzen in Tyrol (Berlin: Friedrich Vieweg, 1795/96). 2nd ed: Berlin, 1802.

Schwenckner, Christian Wilhelm (1741-1809)

1784: Prof. of Philosophy (Mitau).

During Schwencker’s visit to Königsberg, Kant must have introduced him to one of his students who was looking for a job; see Kant’s letter (18 February 1794) to him (Ak. 13: 358-9; repr. in Malter 1990, 404).

Starck, Johann August (1741-1816)

1777: Professor at the Academia (Mitau).

See Königsberg.

Watson, Matthias Friedrich (1732-1805)

1759: School rector (Mitau).

1775: Professor at the Academia (Mitau).

See Königsberg.

Stuttgart (Karlsschule)

Abel, Jakob Friedrich (1751-1829)

1772-90: Professor of Philosophy at the Karlschule (Stuttgart).

See Tübingen.

Bardili, Christoph Gottfried (1761-1808)

1790: Prof. of Philosophy (Stuttgart).

1795: Full Prof. of Philosophy (Gymnasium, Stuttgart).

Born 18 May 1761 in Blaubeuren, died 5 Jun 1808 in Mergelstettin. He was a student in the Tübingen Stift in the mid-1780s at the same time as his more famous cousin, F. W. J. Schelling, and whose philosophy he is said to have influenced. [Sources: HM 1796, 1: 139-40; ADB]

Select Publications:

“Ursprung der Begriffe von Unserblichkeit und Seelenwanderung” (Berlinische Monatsschrift, February 1792, pp. 106-28.

Grundriß der ersten Logik, gereinigt von den Irtümmern bisheriger Logiken überhaupt, der Kant'schen insbesondere; keine Kritik, sondern eine medicina mentis, brauchbar hauptsächlich für Deutschlands kritische Philosophen (1800).

Schwab, Johann Christoph (1743-1821)

1778: Prof. of Logic and Metaphysics (Stuttgart).

1785: Geheim. Sekretär in the Württemberg State Ministry.

1788 (Aug 21): Member, Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Born (Dec 10) in Ilsfeld (in Württemberg), died (Apr 15) in Stuttgart. He was the father of poet Gustav Schwab. Wolffian philosopher, early Kant critic, and contributor to Eberhard’s Philosophisches Magazin


[Index of Professors at German-Speaking Universities]