[Index of Other Biographies relevant to Kant’s Lectures]

Adickes, Erich (1866-1928)

Erich Adickes was born (29 Jun 1866) in Lesum (near Bremen) and died (8 Jul 1928) in Tübingen, where he had been professor of philosophy since 1904.

Adickes studied theology, philosophy, and history at Tübingen, then at Berlin with R. Paulsen, graduating Dr. Phil. with a dissertation on “Kants Systematik als systembildender Faktor.” Habilitating in Kiel in 1895, he became a full professor there in 1898. In 1902 he moved to Münster as full professor, then in 1904 succeeded Christoph Sigwart at Tübingen.

Adickes’s most significant publications concerned Kant and the Kantian philosophy. He was intimately familiar with Kant’s Nachlaß, and edited volumes of extraordinary scholarship as part of the Berlin Academy of Sciences Kant’s gesammelte Schriften (see vols. 14-19).

Arndt, Christian Gottlieb (1743-1829)

Christian Gottlieb Arndt was a student of Kant’s, and a friend of Hippel and Hamann. Enrolled at the university at Königsberg on 3 June 1760, studying first theology and then law; since 1764 he was in the Russian service, later the Imperial Russian Hofrat and Knight of the Wladimirordens. From 1797 he lived in Heidelberg. [Source: Goldbeck 1783, 120-22] [last update: 5 Jun 2007]

Arnoldt, Emil (1828-1905)

Friedrich Traugott Emil Arnoldt was born 6 February 1828 to Friederich Wilhelm Arnoldt (1789-1855; a pastor) and Charlotte Romanowsky, in Plibischken/Insterburg, about 80 km east of Königsberg. He died 31 May 31 1905 in Königsberg as a Privatdozent at the university, having never been promoted to professor, despite having been often nominated by the university. He is remembered primarily for his research on Kant’s life and ideas.

Arnoldt attended the Gymnasium in Gumbinnen, then enrolled in the fall of 1846 at the university in Königsberg, studying history and philosophy with Rosenkranz and Schubert, but he was especially drawn to Julius Rupp, and an essay that he wrote in 1850 for Rupp’s Volksboten won him a prison sentence, after which he was deported from Königsberg (1852) and worked for a time as a private tutor. He received his degree in 1853 (with a dissertation on Herder’s philosophy of history), but didn’t habilitate until 1874. He married Ernestine von Keudell (1832-1906) in 1860, but they had no children. 

Arnoldt claimed to have read the Critique of Pure Reason 150 times. Much of his writing appeared in the Altpreußische Monatsschrift, and after his death it was edited by Otto Schöndoerffer in ten volumes. In understanding Kant’s teaching career and many of the student notes, his 1892-93 publication (see Arnoldt 1908-9) is indispensible, as he had access to many records that are now unavailable. [Sources: APB; Mühlpfordt 1962]

Baczko, Ludwig Franz Adolf Josef von (1756-1823)

1771: Matriculates at the Collegium Fridericianum (Königsberg).

1772 (Apr 4): Matriculates at the university (Königsberg).

1776 (Feb): Leaves Königsberg.

1782: Returns to Königsberg.

1799: Professor of History at the Military Academy (Königsberg)

Ludwig Franz Adolf Josef von Baczko was born (8 Jun 1756) in Lyck, and died (27 Mar 1823) in Königsberg. He was a prolific author (primarily of histories, poems, and plays), and a former student and acquaintance of Kant’s. Baczko was a Catholic of Polish/Hungarian descent. His father was an officer in the Austrian, and later Prussian army, who distinguished himself during the Seven Years War under Frederick the Great.

Baczko attended the Collegium Fridericianum, describing in his autobiography his entrance exam in 1771 at the age of 15: Inspector Domsien “first gave me Cornelius, then Cicero’s Speeches, finally Freier’s Fasciculus and a small French book with the title Poesies sacrees. My translating strengths seemed to win his approval. He gave me some questions from history and geography, had me describe something from memory, and put me in the second class of Latin, and the first in most of the others. […] Back then there was weekly a letter, a Chrie, or a speech, and a poetical exercise, over which we worked first for a week in German, then a week in Latin” [1824, 160-61].

Baczko matriculated at the Albertina (4 April 1772) and attended Kant’s lectures, beginning with the metaphysics lectures, which he didn’t understand, and eventually came to realize that many of the other students attending the lecture knew even less than he, but attended so as to put on airs; from this experience he decided that all philosophy was useless (see the account from his autobiography). He had better luck with anthropology, and may have attended Kant’s first set of lectures in WS 1772/73.

Baczko was blinded as a young man at the age of 21, having just completed his law studies. Kant encouraged him to continue his studies in Königsberg, and he would have taught anthropology at the university except that his religion (Catholicism) disqualified him.[1] He took a post in 1799 at the Military Academy, where he taught history for many years. [Sources: ADB; NDB; Baczko 1824; Studer 1994] [last update: 13 Feb 2007]

Select Publications:

Handbuch der Geschichte und Erdbeschreibung Preussens, 2 vol. (Dessau/Leipzig, 1784), 482 pp.

Versuch einer Geschichte und Beschreibung der Stadt Königsberg (Königsberg, 1787-90). 2nd and fully revised edition: 1804.

Geschichte Preußens, 6 vols. (Königsberg: G. L. Hartung, 1795-1800).

Die Mennoniten: Ein Familiengemälde im drei Aufzügen (Königsberg: Heinrich Degen, 1809).

Geschichte meines Lebens, 3 vol. (Königsberg: A. W. Unzer, 1824).


[1] See Hamann’s letter of 12 November 1786 to the publisher Hartknoch: “Three new professors are expected here, with foreigners having the advantage. Herr v Baczko wanted to graduate with a Magister, but the statutes are opposed to his religion.” [qtd. in Studer 1994, 399]

Bauch, Georg Friedrich (1771-1826)

Georg Friedrich Bauch was a student of Kant’s, from whom a set of logic notes is extant. Königsberg matriculation records have an entry for 29 Oct 1792: “Bauch Georg. Frdr. Bircksdorf ad Vratislaviam Siles., theol. cult.” The Polski Slownik Biograficzny contains an article on the Silesian pastor Jerzy Fryderyk Bauch, with “1771-1826” given as the life dates. This is inconsistent with the death date given on the title-page (of the Bauch logic notes), but the article explicitly mentions the lecture notes, so there is little doubt that they stem from him. The grandson to whom the notes were presented was Dr. Gustav Bauch.

Bendavid, Lazarus (1762-1832)

Lazarus Bendavid was born (18 Oct 1762) and died (28 Mar 1832) in Berlin. He is best known as a mathematician and early advocate of, and commentator on, the Kantian philosophy. He studied at Halle, and then later at Göttingen, where he made the acquaintance of G. C. Lichtenberg. Like his co-religionist Spinoza, Bendavid supported himself grinding glasses, at least in his early years, and he also broke with his synagoge. In 1791 he moved to Vienna and began work as a Hofmeister, and soon began holding lectures on Kant’s three critiques (which he also published in Vienna in 1795/96). In the end he wrote nine books and various essays on Kant’s philosophy — Rosenkranz described him as “the only teacher of Kant’s philosophy in Vienna.” Feiner writes that his view of religion was entirely Kantian, “seeking in the Jewish religion its inner moral essence and totally rejecting its rituals. Precisely ten years after Mendelssohn, in his Jerusalem, had stated that the unique essence of Judaism lay in the obligation to observe the practical commandments, Bendavid was the first Jewish intellectual to publicly put forth [1793] the radical idea of totally annulling the commandments as an essential step to ensure the existence of the Jews in the modern world” [Feiner 2002, 309].

Kant’s ideas were, on the whole, unwelcome in Austria; and in any event Bendavid found himself expelled from Vienna in 1797 (along with many other foreigners). He returned to Berlin, supported himself with editing and writing (the Berlin Academy of Science prize essay for 1801 was his “On the Origin of Knowledge”), and eventually became director of the Jewish Free School in 1806, a school founded in 1778 by David Friedländer and Daniel Itzig, and which flourished under his direction, although it closed in 1826. Heinrich Heine memorialized him thus: “Er war ein Weiser nach antikem Zuschnitt, umflossen vom Sonnenlicht griechischer Heiterkeit, ein Standbild der wahrsten Tugend, und pflichtgehärtet wie der Marmor des kategorischen Imperativs seines Meisters Kant.” [Sources: Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1888; Vorländer 1924, ii.244; Fromm 1997; Schulte 2000, 94-95; Feiner 2002, 308-10]

Select Publications:

Über die Parallellinien (Berlin 1786).

Etwas zur Charackteristick der Juden (Leipzig 1793).

Versuch über das Vergnügen, 2 vols. (Vienna 1794).

Vorlesungen über die Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Vienna 1795).

Vorlesungen über die Kritik der praktischen Vernunft (Vienna 1796).

Vorlesungen über die Kritik der Urteilskraft (Vienna 1796).

Über den Ursprung unsrer Erkenntnis (Berlin 1802).

Bergk, Johann Adam (1769-1834)

Johann Adam Bergk was born in Hainichen (near Zeitz, in Saxony) and died (Oct 27) in Leipzig, where he had pursued a successful and productive career as a translator, author, and publisher, especially of his own books on psychology, legal philosophy, and philosophy of religion, and under both his own name and various pseudonyms such as Friedrich Christian Starke and Dr. Heinichen. Three sets of anthropology (1826 [text], 1831 [text], 1831 [text]) notes and one of physical geography (1833) [text] were published in part or in full by him (all designated as an-Starke).

Biester, Johann Erich (1749-1816)

1767: Matriculation (Göttingen).

1771: Returns to Lübeck.

1773: Dr. of Law and lecturer (Bützow).

1775: Travels to Berlin.

1777: Private secretary to von Zedlitz (Berlin).

1783: Founds the Berlinische Monatsschrift with F. Gedike.

1784: 2nd Librarian at the Royal Library (Berlin).

1794: Director of the Royal Library (Berlin).

1798: Member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Johann Erich Biester was born (17 Nov 1749) in Lübeck, and died (20 Feb 1816) in Berlin. He was a librarian in Berlin and co-founder of the Berlinische Monatsschrift, publishing many of Kant’s essays.

Biester grew up in a wealthy home (his father, Ernst August, was a silk merchant). He studied law, history, and languages in Göttingen from 1767-71, returned to Lübeck and wrote for several journals until 1773, when he began lecturing on history at the Pietist university in Bützow (1773-75). He then worked briefly as a private tutor in Berlin (1775) before being appointed (with the help of Nicolai) as private secretary to Karl Abraham von Zedlitz [bio], the Prussian minister of culture and education. He also served as secretary of the Berlin Wednesday Society.

Biester first learned of Kant while attending Marcus Herz’s lectures in Berlin. There is considerable correspondence between Biester and Kant, primarily regarding Kant’s publications. Biester became sole editor of the Berlinische Monatsschrift [available online] in 1791, which ceased publication in 1796 (publication run: January 1783-December 1796), after which Biester published a successor journal, the Berlinische Blätter (July 1797-April 1798; total of four volumes), and then the Neue Berlinische Monatsschrift (1799-1811). Biester naturally viewed the Blätter as a continuation of the Monatsschrift which, in this looser sense, enjoyed a 28 year run from 1783 to 1811. Apart from the explanatory notes given by Biester in the closing pages of the appropriate issues of these runs, see also his letter to Kant, dated 5 August 1797 (#771, Ak. 12:193-94). [Sources: NDB, 2:234] [last update: 7 May 2007]

Blomberg, Heinrich Ulrich Freiherr von (1745-1813)

Heinrich Ulrich Freiherr von Blomberg, a contemporary of Herder, matriculated 22 April 1761 at Königsberg, and left the university in 1764. He may well have attended Kant’s lectures, but the logic notes associated with him stem from the 1770s. See the an-Blomberg (logic).

Bock, Karl Gottlieb (1746-1829)

1762 (Sep 27): Matriculation at the university (Königsberg).

1766-69: Lawyer (Königsberg).

1772: Kammersekretär (Marienwerder).

1793: Rat with the Commerzien- und Admiralitätscolleg (Königsberg).

1803: Kriegsrat (Könïgsberg).

Karl Gottlieb Bock was born (24 May 1746) in Friedland, and died (12 Jan 1829) in Königsberg. He was a student of Kant's, a friend to Herder and Reichardt, and practiced law and held various government posts in Königsberg.

Karl was the son of Daniel Reinhold Bock (died 1747), the youngest child of the family of George and Barbara Bock; other sons included Johann Georg Bock [bio] and Friedrich Samuel Bock [bio], both of whom became professors at the university, and with whom Karl, their nephew, is occasionally confused in the literature.

Karl was a fellow student at the university with J. G. Herder [bio], with whom he attended Kant’s lectures, and he also studied law under Funk [bio]. He practiced law in Königsberg, but gave this up after two years and later filled various government posts.

He was married twice, first to Luise Weitenkampf (with whom he had a son, Raphael Bock, 1779-1837, a librarian), and then to Sophie Reichardt, the favorite sister of his good friend J. F. Reichardt, the famous composer. He was a full member of the German Society in Königsberg, and a lecture of his on genius appeared in its publication for 1767. Bock published poems in various periodicals, including the Teutsche Merkur, Lyrischen Blumenlesen, and the Königsbergsche Gelehrte und Politische Zeitungen. He is mentioned frequently in J. F. Abegg’s travel diary from 1798. [Sources: Goldbeck 1781, i.12; APB; Olfers-Batocki 1968; DLL] [last update: 12 May 2007]

Select Publications:

Ueber einige seltnere Phänomene des Genies (1767).

Gedichte eines Preussen (Königsberg, 1774).

Borowski, Ludwig Ernst (1740-1831)

1755 (Mar 20): Matriculated at the university (Königsberg).

1755 (Apr 14): Matriculated with the theology faculty.

1758: Hofmeister in the home of General von Knobloch.

1762 (Jul 5): Ordained by Süssmilch (Berlin).

1762-63: Field chaplain (Freiberg).[1]

1763-70: Field chaplain (garrisoned at Bartenstein).

1770 (Apr 6): Pastor (Schaaken).

1782 (Jan 24): Neuroßgarten Church (Königsberg).

1793 (Feb 5): Church and school advisor.

1805 (Aug 29): Consistory advisor.

1809 (Feb 27): Higher Consistory Advisor.

1811 (Jul 28): Dr. of Theology (Königsberg).

1812 (Jun 29): General Superintendant.

1814: Founded the Prussian Bible Society.

1815 (Mar 21): 1st Court Chaplain at the Castle Church.

1816: Bishop of the Lutheran Church.

1829: Archbishop of the Lutheran Church in Prussia.

1831: Raised to the nobility.

Ludwig Ernst Borowski was born (17 Jun 1740) and died (10 Nov 1831) in Königsberg. He was an important churchman in Prussia, but he is best known in philosophy circles as one of Kant’s early biographers [1804]; while a student at the university, Borowski attended Kant’s first lectures, and then after returning to Königsberg in 1782 interacted with him socially and became one of his regular dinner guests. As Borowski indicates in the preface, his biography of Kant was finished in 1792, at which time Kant also read and lightly annotated the manuscript, but it was published only after Kant’s death in 1804.

Stemming from a well-to-do Polish family that emigrated to Königsberg for religious reasons, Borowski grew up in more modest circumstances, the son of a paint manufacturer who also rang the bells at the Castle Church in Königsberg. This side job brought the young Borowski into early contact with J. J. Quandt [bio], the head pastor of the church. Borowski also grew up in the shadow of the university — Professor D. H. Arnoldt [bio], a pietist theologian, was his godfather, and young Borowski spent nearly every day at the Arnoldt home. He matriculated at the university while not quite fifteen, enrolled with the theology faculty, and was present at Kant’s first lecture in 1755. [more] Borowski clearly made a good impression on Kant, who recommended him to General Karl Gottfried von Knobloch as a Hofmeister to accompany his son at the university (1758-62). His good work and intellectual and oratorical gifts were soon noticed, and he was offered a position as military chaplain. He wrote fondly of this period in a letter of 10 August 1805:

“I was at the time in Freiberg in the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge), where I lived from the winter 1762 until 1763, and was quite happy. The regiment for which I was chaplain was billetted there for the winter. I lived in the suburbs, and traveled daily into the city where I was able to converse with excellent and noble people.” [Herder 1846, 130]

With the close of the Seven Years War, his regiment returned to Prussia, to Bartenstein (about 60 km. south of Königsberg), and then in 1770 he moved to Schaaken (about 25 km. north of Königsberg) to fill a pastorate, finally returning to his hometown in 1782 to pastor at the Neuroßgarten Church, where he soon acquired a reputation as the best preacher in town. The Napoleanic Wars forced King Friedrich Wilhelm III and his family eastward to Memel, and then eventually to Königsberg in 1807, where they remained until December 1809. During this time Borowski grew close to the royal family, and his consolation of the King over Queen Luisa’s death strengthened this relationship still more. He eventually was named Archbishop of the Lutheran Church, the only individual to have held that rank in the history of Prussia.

Borowski was in some sense a good friend of Kant, but he appears also to have attended rather closely to his own career. He was bothered by Kant’s relationship to organized religion, for instance, and perhaps because of these unorthodoxies Borowski did not attend his friend’s funeral. On Borowski’s biography of Kant, see Kuehn [2001a, 9-12]. Johann Wilhelm Volckmann [bio], a student of Kant’s from the 1780s and from whom we have four sets of notes, married a daughter of Borowski. [Sources: Rhesa 1834, 2; Reusch 1848, 24-26; APB; ADB; NDB; Gause 1996, ii.257] [last update: 29 May 2007]

Select Publications:

Neue Preußische Kirchenregistratur, die neuern Verordnungen und Einrichtungen in Kirchen- und Schulsachen im Königreich Preussens enthaltend. Nebst einigen zur Kirchengeschichte Preussens gehörigen Aufsatzen (Königsberg, 1789).

Cagliostro, einer der merkwürdigsten Abentheurer unsres Jahrhunderts. Seine Geschichte, nebst Raisonnement über ihn und den schwärmerischen Unfug unsrer Zeit überhaupt (Königsberg: Gottlieb Lebrecht Hartung, 1790).

Biographische Nachrichten von dem denkwürdigen preußischen Theologen (Königsberg, 1794).

Darstellung des Lebens und Charakters Immanuel Kants, Von Kant selbst genau revidirt und berichtigt (Königsberg, 1804).


[1] Rhesa [1834, 2] claims he began his first work as a field chaplain at Bartenstein, called on 8 May 1762, entering the field on September 2 by Sora (near Leipzig), and after the peace returned to Prussia, to Hubertusburg, in 1763.

Collins, Georg Ludwig (1763-1814)

Georg Ludwig Collins, of Scottish descent, was the son of Edward Collins, a Königsberg factory owner whose fortunes collapsed, causing Collins to postpone his university studies and instead move to Riga in 1778 where he took up a position with the silk trade, and where he also had relatives (his uncle, William Collins, was a prominent Riga merchant, and a son of William had married one of Georg’s sisters, both living in Riga). After four years with the silk firm, Georg was able to matriculate at the university in Könïgsberg (9 September 1784) to study theology, remaining a year before continuing his studies in Leipzig in 1785. He returned to Riga in 1787 to work as a Hofmeister to the Scottish family Renny, but the following year accepted a pastorate in the Reformed congregation there (1788). He married the daughter of a prominent citizen in January 1789, and together had 16 children. Collins was a successful and popular church reformer, and on the 25th anniversary of his taking office (1813) was given a doctorate by the university in Dorpat. He was also a prominent member in several Masonic lodges in Riga joining first the Nordstern (founded in 1750, but renamed Zum Schwert when it adopted the Strict Observance), then later Zur kleinen Welt, where he served as Master.

A “Pastor Collins” traveled to St. Petersburg on Kant’s behalf when he was inducted in absentia into the Academy of Sciences (see Kant’s letter to Nicolovius, 7 July 1797 (#758, Ak. 12:179), and Nicolovius’s letter to Kant of the same day — #759, Ak. 12:179). A note to the second letter quotes a letter from Hippel to a friend in St. Petersburg that Pastor Collins had traveled to St. Petersburg and married Professor Euler’s daughter; this was Georg’s older brother, Johann David (1761-1833).

A set of notes from Kant’s moral philosophy lectures were once owned by Collins, as was a set of anthropology notes. [Sources: Bartlett 2000] [last update: 2 Sep 2008]

Dingelstaedt, Johann Ernst (1773-1830)

Johann Ernst Dingelstaedt began his studies in Jena (1793) and later served as a pastor in Dahlen (Livland). A set of anthropology notes was once owned by him.

Dohna-Wundlacken, Count Heinrich Ludwig Adolph zu (1777-1843)

Count Heinrich Ludwig Adolph zu Dohna-Wundlacken was born in Mohrungen (Poland: Morag), matriculated at Königsberg on June 15, 1791 and attended classes until 1795. Kant was serving as dean when he arrived, and so would have administered the entrance exam, which took place the day before his matriculation.[1] Dohna attended various of Kant’s lectures, leaving sets of notes on anthropology, logic, metaphysics, and physical geography. Having just turned fourteen at matriculation, Dohna was among Kant’s younger auditors. He heard Kant’s Anthropology lectures in his first semester (WS 1791/2), lectures on Physical Geography and Logic during the second (SS 1792), and Metaphysics in his third semester (WS 1792/93). Lehmann writes that he appears also to have taken part in Kant’s “Examinatorium Logices Meier (Repetitorium) 1792”.[2] In later years, Count Dohna-Wundlacken remained interested in Kant’s life and work; Kowalewski reports that the Count belonged to the “Society of Friends of Kant” and that he served as their “Bean King” in 1836. [Sources: Kowalewski 1924, 11-25; Lehmann 1972, Ak. 28:1356-57]. [last update: 28/12/06]


[1] As noted in Brandt/Stark [1997, lxxi]. Dohna was accompanied at the university by a Hofmeister named Gerlach.

[2] Apart from his notes of Kant’s lectures, we also have class notes from the following: (1) Logic (WS 1791/92) (taught by Poerschke), (2) New European State History (WS 1791/92) (Mangelsdorff), (3) Philosophical Encyclopedia (SS 1792) (Kraus), (4) Old History and History of the Prussian-Brandenburg State (SS 1792) (Mangelsdorff), (5) History of the German Reich (WS 1792/93) (Mangelsdorff), (6) German Staatsrecht (WS 1793/94) (Schmalz), (7) General Statistics (WS 1793/94) (Kraus), (8) Mechanical and Optical Sciences (Schultz), (9) Institutions of the Roman Law (Schmalz), and (10) Jus Digestorum (Schmalz).

Erdmann, Benno (1851-1921)

Benno Erdmann was born (May 30) in Guhrau (by Glogau), died (Jan 7) in Berlin. Studied in Berlin and Heidelberg. Privatdozent in Berlin from 1876; called as associate professor to Kiel in 1878, becoming full professor in 1879, and followed by professorships in Breslau (1884), Halle (1890), Bonn (1898), and then back to Berlin (1909).

Euchel, Isaac Abraham (1756-1804)

1782 (Apr 2): Matriculates at the university (Königsberg).

1786-89: University translator of Hebrew and Yiddish (Königsberg).

1789: Moves to Berlin.

Isaac Abraham Euchel (also: Eichel) was born on 17 October 1756 in Copenhagen, and died on 18 June 1804[1] in Berlin. He was a leading member of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), first in Königsberg, and then later in Berlin as part of Moses Mendelssohn’s circle, and he is especially remembered for his biography of Mendelssohn (1789).

Euchel was one of at least eight Jewish medical students[2] who could be called Kant’s students “in the narrower sense of the term” [Richarz 1974, 56]. Euchel had worked as a Hofmeister in the Meier Friedländer house in Königsberg, tutoring David Friedländer’s nephew, Michael Friedländer [bio], and perhaps others, and likely accompanying Michael to the university — they both are among the students who signed a dedicatory poem to Kant on the occasion of his first term as rector (23 April 1786; reprinted at Ak. 12:404-6).

Euchel matriculated at the university on 2 April 1782 (inscribed as “Eichel Isaac, Kopenhagen Danus, gente Judaeus.”), enrolling with the medical faculty, and while he did study some medicine while at the university, he never practiced it later, and clearly his interests lay in a rather different direction. For instance, having barely begun his university studies, Euchel helped establish the Chevrat Dorschei Leshon Ever [Association of Friends of Hebrew Literature], a community of young Prussian Jews interested in promoting the Haskalah; it was officially founded on 11 December 1782, and in 1784 he began publication of the Hebrew periodical Hame’asef [The Collector], which ran until 1811.

While serving as dean of the philosophy faculty during winter semester 1785-86, Kant attempted to gain permission for Euchel to teach oriental languages at the university (i.e., obtain a magister degree and to habilitate; see his letter to the philosophy faculty, 20 February 1786 [Ak. 12:426-27]). Kant reports that the full professor of oriental languages, J. B. Koehler [bio], was hoping to leave the university that term, and in a letter of 17 December 1785 to the Academic Senate, Koehler recommended that Euchel replace him as an interim appointment: Euchel was “a very diligent and well-liked citizen of our academy, who not only has diligently occupied himself with the philosophical and mathematical sciences, and in the end also with medicine, but especially with Biblical hermeneutics and Near Eastern literature, and has well beyond the usual insights into the discipline” (as qtd. in Dietsch 1994, 123-24). Euchel proposed to teach just the basics of the language, and refrain from any textual exegesis, but his petition met with opposition, and in the end Kant also had to oppose the idea, “both on the ground of the statutes which require a profession of the Augsburg Confession, and in order to avoid conflicts between Jewish and Christian students incited by Rabbinical interpretations of the Scripture” [Adickes 1970, 33].[3] In part as a consolation, Euchel was offered a position as official translator at the university for Hebrew and Yiddish, a position that he held until he left for Berlin in 1789, where he eventually became director of the Jewish Free School (founded in 1776 by fellow Königsberg native David Friedländer, along with Itzig and Wessely). [Sources: Adickes 1970, 33; Richarz 1974, 57; Dietsch 1994; Kuehn 2001, 314; Feiner 2003, 79, 190-92 and elsewhere; http://www.haskala.net] [last update: 15 Jan 2007]

Select Publications:

Toledot rabbenu Mosche ben Menachem (Berlin 1789).


[1] Krüger [1966, 96] claims his death date is 14 June 1804.

[2] Until the reforms of 1786, Jewish students could enroll only in the medical faculty.

[3] Adickes refers us to an essay by L. Friedländer, “Kant: Ein ungedrucktes Schreiben (über Isaak Euchel)” in Altpreussische Monatsschrift (1882), xiv, pp. 309-12. See also the sketch of Kant’s letter to Euchel of 24 May 1786 [Ak. 12:429-30].

Friedländer, David Joachim (1750-1834)

David Joachim Friedländer was born (6 Dec 1750) in Königsberg and died (25 Dec 1834) in Berlin. He was a son of Joachim Moses Friedländer (1712-1776), the first Jew in Königsberg with a Generalprivileg (since 1764). David became the first Jewish city councillor in Berlin, where he had moved and opened several silk factories. The sons of Joachim Moses included: Joachim Wolff (1742-1814; Königsberg merchant), Meyer Joachim (1745-1808; merchant in Königsberg and Hannover), Bernardt Joachim (1749-1808; Königsberg merchant), Abraham (1752-1820; silk factory owner in Berlin), David (1750-1834), and Simon Joachim (1764-18123; a merchant and banker in Königsberg).[1] It was in Joachim Moses’s house that Mendelssohn stayed during his 1777 visit.

David Friedländer moved to Berlin in 1771 where he worked as a merchant and counted Marcus Herz [bio] and Moses Mendelssohn [bio] among his friends. Given the close connection between the Friedländer family in Königsberg and Mendelssohn in Berlin, there is reason to believe that Mendelssohn’s knowledge of Kant’s lectures stems from Friedländer’s notebooks, of which six are extant: anthropology (two sets), physical geography, moral philosophy, philosophical encyclopedia, and physics. [Sources: Friedlaender 1913; ADB; Wesseling 1999 (Bautz Kirchenlexikon); Fraenkel 1917] [last update: 13 Feb 2007]


[1] Dates are taken from the genealogy provided in Friedlaender [1913]; there are discrepancies in the literature.

Friedländer, Michael (1769-1824)[1]

1782 (Oct 15): Matriculated at the university (Königsberg).

1791 (Mar 17): Doctorate of medicine (Halle).

1794: Begins a medical practice in Berlin.

1800: Moves to Paris.

Michael Friedländer was born in 1769 in Königsberg as the youngest son of the merchant Meier Friedländer (1745-1808), and older brother to David Friedländer. He died on 4 April 1824 in Paris, where he had been living since 1800. He was a gifted and philanthropically-minded physician, who published in both French and German medical journals.

Friedländer received a liberal education at home under the direction of Isaak Euchel [bio], a former student of Kant’s, and then matriculated at the university in Königsberg on 15 October 1782, becoming a favorite student of Kant’s, as well as attending the lectures of C. J. Kraus [bio], Johann Schultz [bio], and Karl Hagen [bio]. In 1787 he left Königsberg to study at Berlin (under Herz and Bloch), Göttingen, and finally Halle, where he graduated in 1791 with a degree in medicine. He made a three year study tour through Germany, Holland, England, Scotland (remaining in Edinburgh for several months), Italy, and Switzerland, finally settling in Berlin in 1794, where he practiced medicine and introduced the new small pox immunization. During this time he often traveled between Berlin and Königsberg, and was likely the conduit for both news and student notes (of Kant’s lectures) from Königsberg to his uncle David Friedländer [bio] in Berlin, who belonged to Moses Mendelssohn’s circle.

Political changes motivated his departure for Paris in 1800, and he soon was facilitating the exchange of ideas between the French and German medical communities, publishing in both languages, including in Hufeland’s Journal der praktische Heilkunde, Gilbert’s Annalen der Physik, Guizot’s Journal d’education, the Dictionnaire des science médicale, the Biographie universelle, and the Revue encyclopedique. He also maintained a medical practice, serving as Madame de Staël’s physician during her last years.

Because he held a doctorate, he is often referred to as "D. Friedländer," for which reason some have confused references to him with his better known uncle (David). [Sources: HM, 22:232-33; Neuer Nekrolog 1824, 2:749-55; Jüdische Biographisches Archiv, 255:122-30; Stark 1993, 235]

Select Publications:

Dissertatio inauguralis medica de calore corporis humani aucto ejusque medela (Halle: Typis Grunertianis, 1791).

Entwurf einer Geschichte der Armen und Armenanstalten nebst einer Nachricht von dem jetzigen Zustande der Pariser Armenanstalten und Hospitäler insbesondere im November 1803 (Leipzig: Göschen, 1804).

De l’éducation physique de l’homme (Paris: Treuttel et Würtz, 1815). Transl. into German by F. E. Oehler (Leipzig, 1819).

Versuch über die innern Sinne und ihre Anomalien, Starrsucht, Entzückung, Schlafsucht und Intelligenzzerrüttung (Leipzig: Baumgärtner, 1826).


[1] Friedlaender [1913] gives 1767 as the birth-year.

Goldbeck, Johann Friedrich (1748-1812)

Johann Friedrich Goldbeck was born (22 Sep 1748) in Insterburg, was at first a teacher in Klosterbergen, then since 1773 a field chaplain with the Infantry Regiment v. Rohr at Graudenz. He was introduced as the pastor at Schaaken in 1783 (Sep 14), where he died (9 Apr 1812). Schaaken was the same church that L. E. Borowski [bio] had pastored, prior to moving to Königsberg; Goldbeck replaced him, and then J. W. Volckmann [bio] (author of several sets of notes from Kant’s lectures) replaced Goldbeck (Volckmann had also married a daughter of Borowski). Goldbeck is notable for his invaluable histories of the university at Königsberg (1782) and of Prussian letters (1781, 1783). In the first volume of the latter, Goldbeck discussed Kant’s 1755 book on cosmology, writing that “Kant’s Natural History and Theory of the Heavens, published anonymously in 1755, became known only later when certain propositions in it were afterwards advanced by other scholars, namely Herr Lambert in his Cosmological Letters, which came out in 1761; these propositions were attributed to Lambert and therefore their original author did not get credit for his discovery.” Because of this, presumably, he came to Kant’s attention and was mentioned in a few of his letters from 1781. [Sources: Rhesa 1834, 164] [last update: 15 Sep 2013]

Select Publications:

Nachrichten von den königlichen Universität zu Königsberg in Preußen (Dessau, 1782).

Literarische Nachrichten von Preußen, 2 vols. (Berlin, Leipzig, Dessau, 1781-83).

Gotthold, Friedrich August (1778-1858)

Friedrich August Gotthold was born (2 Jan 1778) in Berlin, and died (25 Jun 1858) in Könïgsberg. Gotthold distinguished himself as a prominent Prussian educator, but it was his extensive library that most interests us here.

Gotthold attended the Grauen Kloster Gymnasium in Berlin, then matriculated at the university in Halle (1798). He began his studies in theology, but soon abandoned these after studying philology under Friedrich August Wolf. He left the university in 1801 and undertook travels through Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy.

After serving as Prorector at the Gymnasium in Cüstrin (1806), Gotthold moved to Königsberg where he assumed the directorship of the Collegium Fridericianum (1810); here he devoted the remainder of his career, retiring in 1852.

As a scholar and author he was active in the areas of pedagogy, classical philology, metrics, and history. He was also interested in music history. After his death, many of his writings were published by his former student, Friedrich Wilhelm Schubert. Gotthold is perhaps best known because of the 40,000 volume library that he bequethed to the State- and University Library in Königsberg. Eight manuscripts of lecture notes once belonged to the Gotthold library: three anonymous manuscripts (anthropology, and two sets on moral philosophy), all four sets of notes attributed to Vigilantius (geography, logic, metaphysics, and moral philosophy), and an-Korff (metaphysics). [Sources: ADB]

Hamann, Johann Georg (1730-1788)

1746 (March 30): Matriculation (Königsberg).

1752-56: Hofmeister (Livland).

1757: Travels to London on behalf of the Berens firm (Riga).

1758 (Summer): Retuns to Riga.

1759 (March): Returns to Königsberg to live with his father.

1759 (July 24): First meeting with Kant.

Johann Georg Hamann was born on 27 Aug 1730 in Königsberg, the son of a surgeon (Johann Christoph Hamann, 1679-1766); he died on 21 June 1788 in Münster, where he had travelled to visit friends surrounding the Catholic Countess of Gallitzen, and in whose garden he is buried. He had recently visited Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi in Düsseldorf during his travels in the west, and it was Jacobi who helped design Hamann’s tombstone, with the words “viro christiano” on one side, and on the other a Bible text that Hamann had been praising to the princess a few days earlier: “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, [...] For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” [1 Corinthians 1:23, 25].

Called the “Magus of the North” for his brilliant but often obscure publications, Hamann was an early critic of Enlightenment rationalism and for Kant a friendly “anti-Kantian,” both before and after Kant’s critical turn. Hamann was a prolific letter writer, and much of this correspondence (with Herder, Scheffner, Jacobi, and others) offers an invaluable window into the social and literary life in Königsberg.

Hamann matriculated at the university in 1746, registering with the theology faculty for three semesters, and (possibly) law for one. He studied philosophy (with Martin Knutzen), natural science (with K. H. Rappolt), and various languages. While at the university he made friends with Christoph Berens and Johann Gotthelf Lindner (1729-76). Berens was the son of a Riga merchant, and after some years working as a private tutor, Hamann entered their employment, travelling to London in 1757 on the firm’s behalf to conduct business negotiations. This London adventure went badly for Hamann, who sunk into reckless living, spending the firm’s money in less than a year and failing to conduct any successful business. In this impoverished state he was taken in by a family, which appears to have marked a turning point in his life, with a transformative mystical experience occuring on the evening of 31 March 1758. Hamann began serious study of the Bible, also reading works by Hume, whose skepticism he hoped to wield against Enlightenment Rationalism and upon which he constructed his own Fideism. Hamann returned in the summer to the Berens in Riga, and in March 1759 moved back into his family’s home in Königsberg, where he wrote, translated, and gave language lessons.

Hamann began a common-law marriage with Anna Regina Schumacher (a farmer’s daughter) who was working as a maid-servant in his father’s home, and together they raised three daughters and one son, Johann Michael (1769-1813), who attended Kant’s classes at the university and later became the rector of the Altstadt School [Gause 1996, ii. 266].

Kant and Hamann first met in July 1759, in a meeting arranged by Berens who had hoped to bring Hamann back to his old Enlightenment sensibilities; this encounter was recorded in a long letter Hamann sent to Kant a few days after (dated July 27). Hamann viewed himself as a critic and guide for Kant, and he was likely also an important conduit of Hume’s writings at a time when many had not yet been translated into German.

Hamann supported himself with his writing, and from 1767 translating French in the custom’s office — a position that Kant had helped him obtain through his friend Jacobi. From 1764-79 Hamann also edited and wrote for the newly-founded Königsbergsche Gelehrte und politische Zeitungen, a twice-weekly four-page newspaper published by J. J. Kanter. [Sources: ADB 10:456-68; NDB 7:573-77; Gause 1969, ii.263-67; Berlin 2000; Beiser 1987, ch. 1]

Hechsel, Johann Friedrich (17??-1804)

Johann Friedrich Hechsel, the son of the pastor Johann Samuel Hechsel, was born in Lauenburg/Pommern and matriculated at the university on 23 March 1782. We have from him a set of logic notes from Kant’s classroom. He was . Johann Friedrich eventually became the rector in Lauenberg, and suceeded his father in Labuhn upon his father’s death. He never married, and died January 17, 1804. [Source: Stark 1987a, 124]

Heilsberg, Christoph Friedrich (1726-1807)

1742 (May 19): Matriculation (Königsberg).

1766 (Jun 9): Marries in the Dom (Königsberg).

1767: Kriegs- und Domänenrat.

1787: Schulrat in Königsberg.

Christoph Friedrich Heilsberg was born in Ragnit (on the Memel) and died in Königsberg (5 Jun 1807). He was a good friend of Kant’s from their student days. See his correspondence with Wald, in which he offered several pages of reminiscence: “I came to the academy a year later than Kant, into the house of Dr. Kowalewski [bio], in which I enjoyed six years of his instruction, but also had permission to hear the courses of other academic teachers. My first acquaintance at the academy was the student Wlömer, my compatriot [Landesmann] and relation, who died a few years ago as the Privy Finance Councillor and Justitarius with the General Directorate. He was a trusted friend of Kant’s, lived with him for quite a while in a room, ...” [Reicke 1860, 48]. Heilsberg, a Lithuanian, was the motivating force behind Mielke’s German-Lithuanian dictionary (1800), for which he wrote a preface, and the afterword to which was Kant’s last publication [writings]. [Sources: Reicke 1860, 11, 47-51; Vorländer 1924, 45-47; Putinaitê, "Kant und Donelaitis"]

Herder, Johann Gottfried (1744-1803)

1762 (Aug 10): Matriculates at the university in Königsberg.

1764 (Nov 22): Leaves Königsberg for Riga.

1769 (Jun 5): Leaves Riga by boat to Denmark, then France.

1770 (Sep): Meets Goethe (Strasbourg).

1771 (Apr): Consistory advisor (Bückeburg).

1773 (May 2): Marries Caroline Flachsland.

1776 (Oct 1): Moves to Weimar to serve as General superintendant and higher consistory advisor.

1788 (Aug 6)-1789 (Jul 9): Travels in Italy.

Johann Gottfried Herder was born (25 Aug 1744) in Mohrungen (Poland: Morag), a town of a little over 1000 inhabitants and lying 100 km south and a little west of Könïgsberg; died (18 Dec 1803) in Weimar. A noted philosopher, theologian, poet, and former student and later opponent of Kant’s. The literature on Herder is so vast and readily available that only the barest will be noted here, and then primarily only that which concerns his relationship with Kant.

Herder arrived in Königsberg in the summer of 1762, and enrolled at the university as a theology student. He quickly made the acquaintance of J. G. Hamann (by way of Hamann’s father, the city physician) and entered the intellectual world centered in Johann Jakob Kanter’s bookshop (on some accounts, Herder briefly apprenticed with Kanter before being encouraged to pursue studies at the university). Herder came to Kant’s attention, still a young Privatdozent, who agreed to let him attend his lectures free of charge, and during Herder’s two years in Königsberg he attended them all, sometimes twice. We have Herder’s notes from these lectures — the earliest of any from Kant’s classroom, and the only from the 1760s. Herder’s notes on metaphysics, physical geography, and moral philosophy are, in that order, the most extensive. Notes on physics, logic, and mathematics are much more fragmentary. During his student years at Königsberg, during which time he also taught at the Collegium Fridericianum [more], Herder enjoyed a double-mentorship of Kant and J. G. Hamann. The relationship with Hamann was surely closer, and it continued until Hamann’s death, resulting in a large body of correspondence. Correspondence between Herder and Kant, on the other hand, was strikingly nominal (two letters are known and extant), and they quickly became estranged. Kant’s review of Herder’s Ideen (1784, etc.) [writings] was unsparing, and was repayed in full by Herder’s Metacritik (1799) — the first volume of his Verstand und Erfahrung — and Kalligone (1800), criticizing Kant’s 1st and 3rd Critiques, respectively.

Herder abandoned his university studies for a teaching post at the cathedral school in Riga (November 1764), where he remained for five years, leaving in the summer of 1769 for Denmark (where he met Klopstock) and France (where he met Diderot and d’Alembert). He traveled to Hamburg (to meet Lessing), then to Kiel (summer 1770) to begin a tour with the teenage son of Friedrich August, Prince-Bishop of Lübeck. During travels with the young prince, Herder made the acquaintance in Darmstadt of Johann Heinrich Merck and Caroline Flachsland (Herder’s future wife), and then in Strassburg he met the young Goethe, who was studying law. Herder left the employ of the prince, and accepted a post at Bückeburg as a consistory advisor. After five years at that post, he accepted the offer of a similar post in Weimar (procured with the help of Goethe), and this is where Herder spent the remainder of his career, living behind the church in which he preached, the City Church of St Peter and St Paul.

Herder was well-established in Weimar by the time Kant published his Critique of Pure Reason, which left Herder unimpressed; in a letter to Hamann (March 1782), he wrote that the work “is hard for me to swallow. It will remain nearly unread.”

Select Publications:

Abhandlung über den Ursprung der Sprache (1772).

Auch eine Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (1774).

Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, 4 parts (1784, 1785, 1787, 1791); a projected 5th part was never written.

Gott. Einige Gespräche über Spinozas System, nebst Shaftesburys Natursystem (1787, 1800).

Briefe zur Beförderung der Humanität (Riga 1795).

Verstand und Erfahrung: Eine Metacritik zur Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Leipzig: Hartknoch, 1799), Pt 1: xxxii, 479 pp.; pt. 2: xii, 402 pp.

Kalligone (Leipzig: Hartknoch, 1800). Pt. 1: Vom Angenehmen und Schönen (xlvi, 267 pp). Pt. 2: Von Kunst und Kunstrichterei (276pp). Pt. 3: Vom Erhabenen und vom Ideal (290 pp).

Sämtliche Werke, 33 vols., edited by Bernhard Suphan (Berlin: Weidmann, 1877-1913). Reprint: Hildesheim, 1967.

Johann Gottfried Herder Werke, 10 vols., edited by Ulrich Gaier, et al. (Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1985-2000).

Herz, Markus Naphtali (1747-1803)

1762: Arrives in Königsberg to work as an apprentice.

1766 (Apr 21): Matriculates at the university (Königsberg).

1770 (September): Returns to Berlin.

1774: Doctor of Medicine (Halle).

1779 (Dec): Marries Henriette de Lemos.

Markus Herz was born (8 Feb 1747)[1] and died (19 Jan 1803) in Berlin; his father was a synagogue scribe. At the age of 15 he arrived in Königsberg to apprentice himself, but eventually enrolled at the university to study medicine (1766) — Richarz notes that he was only the third Jew to have enrolled at the university — and he must also have attended Kant’s lectures, although we have no direct record of this. He eventually became one of Kant’s most valued students, and was asked to respond at his innaugural dissertation (24 August 1770). After returning to Berlin he continued his medical studies at the Collegium medico-chirurgicum, and then after two years received a doctorate in medicine at Halle (1774), where he studied under Goldhagen. Friedrich Wilhelm II awarded him the title (and salary) of “Professor” in 1786 or 87, the only Jew in all of Prussia to enjoy this distinction.

Herz was a practicing physician and taught medicine, but also gave lectures on Kant’s philosophy beginning in 1777 or 1778. These were the first lectures on Kant’s philosophy to occur in Berlin, and his auditors were among the leaders of the Berlin Enlightenment (Wininger lists Zedlitz, the later Friedrich Wilhelm III, Ramler, Dohm, Engel, the Humboldt brothers, Schiller, Goethe, Spalding, Schleiermacher, Fr. Schlegel, Gentz, Count Alex. von Dohna-Schlobitten, Count Christian Bernstoff, and Varnhagen v. d. Ense). From Johann Erich Biester’s letter to Kant (11 April 1779, #150; Ak. 10:253) we read: “After a break, Herz began this week with the psychology, which he is thinking to finish in a quarter-year going straight through. Our Minister [Zedlitz] (I am proud, that I can call him mine) has missed not a single hour. Meanwhile he has also asked Kraus to discuss philosophy with him. In the reflection of these two we recognize your light.”

In 1779 Herz married the beautiful and intelligent Henriette Lemos, who was only fifteen at the time, and together their home, guided by Henriette, became an important salon for enlightenment figures in Berlin — it was here, for instance, that Friedrich Schlegel first met his future wife Dorothea, the daughter of Moses Mendelssohn.

The correspondence between Herz and Kant is of inestimable value, especially the letters during the 1770s, important for the view they offer of Kant’s philosophical development as well as of his life and career as a professor (see the Accounts of Kant’s Lectures). An engraving of Herz (shown here) is included as a frontispiece of the Neue allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek (1797, vol. 33); another engraving serves as the frontispiece of Schichtegroll’s Nekrolog der Teutschen für das neunzehnte Jahrhundert, vol. 3 [1805]. [Sources: Wininger; ADB; NDB; Richarz 1974, 50, 56-7; Davis 1995]

Select Publications:

Betrachtungen aus der spekulativen Weltweisheit (Königsberg, 1771).

Versuch über den Schwindel (Berlin 1786), completely re-worked edition: (Berlin 1791).

Grundlage zu meinen Vorlesungen über Experimental-Physik (Berlin 1787).


[1] This date is from NDB; ADB gives Jan 17 as the birth-date; still other sources offer January 7 and June 17.

Hippel, Theodor Gottlieb von (1741-1796)

Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel was born (31 Jan 1741) in Gerdauen, a small town about 70 km. south-east of Königsberg, and died (23 April 1796) in Königsberg, as one of the city’s most influential men. Educated in law, he filled various municipal offices in Königsberg, eventually serving as mayor the last ten years of his life. While at the university he attended Kant’s lectures, and then later became one of Kant’s closest friends. He was also a successful (although anonymous) author.

Hippel entered the university (27 June 1756) with the intention of studying theology (having inscribed with that faculty on 11 October 1756 — this would have been the first day of classes for WS 1756/57), changing later to law. He attended Kant’s lectures during SS 1758 and WS 1758/59, after first attending the less-challenging lectures of F. J. Buck; he also heard Teske (physics), Langhansen and Buck on Mathematics, Kypke (logic), F. S. Bock (Greek), Flottwell (German stylistics), Halter (Hebrew), D. H. Arnoldt (ethics), and theology with T. C. Lilienthal and F. A. Schultz. Hippel wrote:

“I studied mathematics and philosophy with exceptional diligence, and since I unfortunately had no opportunity to go farther with either Latin or Greek, I had instead to help myself with dead teachers rather than living. Kant had begun lecturing back then, but I didn’t visit his school until I had heard the entire so-called ‘philosophy course of study’ with Buck.” [Hippel 1835, 91]

Ich studirte Mathematik und Philosophie mit außerordentlichem Eifer, und da ich leider weder im Lateinischen, noch weniger im Griechischen weiter zu kommen Gelegenheit fand, so mußt' ich mich anstatt der lebendigen Lehrer, nach denen ich ausgegangen war, mit todten behelfen. Kant fing damals erst zu lesen an, und ich besuchte seine Schule nicht eher, als bis ich den ganzen sogenannten philosophischen Cursus bei Buck gehört hatte.

After university he left to work as a private tutor (1759-60), made a visit to St. Petersburg (1761), did another tutoring stint (1761/62) with the family of Baron von Schrötter, returned to Königsberg to study law (1762-65), and then worked in Königsberg as a lawyer and in various governmental capacities, eventually serving as mayor (1786). Kant wrote several letters to Hippel on behalf of needy students, seeking scholarships for them. In 1790 Hippel applied to the king and received a renewal of his family’s patent of nobility (thus the ‘von’ in von Hippel), which allowed him to purchase land outside the city limits, as well as make possible his joining the royal cabinet as a minister. He was a close companion of Kant’s since the end of the 1760s. Wannowski wrote that Hippel was Kant’s “most grateful student, and later his closest friend” [Reicke 1860, 40].

Hippel’s life was filled with many secrets, including a great many anonymously published works of fiction and letters. His four-volume Course of Life (1778-81) contained passages that seemed to come straight out of Kant’s lectures (anthropology in the first volume, and metaphysics in the second) [text]; his book on marriage (1774) was also remarkably Kantian, and rumours began spreading openly that Kant was indeed the author of these various works, leading Kant to publish a disclaimer (6 Dec 1796). [writings] Considerable, but still unfinished research, has focused on the extent of Hippel’s borrowings from Kant, and their relationship in general; see Lindemann-Stark [1990, 2001] and the literature cited. There is reason to believe that Hippel possessed sets of notes from Kant’s lectures on anthropology, metaphysics, moral philosophy, and philosophical encyclopedia (Vorländer claims: logic, moral philosophy, natural law, and anthropology), although none of these are extant. Hippel died at the age of 55 on 23 April 1796, a day after his friend Kant’s 72nd birthday. [Sources: Reusch 1848, 16-20; Vorländer 1924, ii.35-36; Lindemann-Stark 2001, 61-193] [last update: 5 Jun 2007]

Select Publications:

Der Mann nach der Uhr, oder der ordentliche Mann. Ein Lustspiel in Einem Aufzuge. (Königsberg: Kanter, 1765), 112 pp.

(anon.), Über die Ehe (Berlin: 1774).

(anon.), Pflichten des Maurers bey dem Grabe eines Bruders. Eine Freymaurer-Rede in der Loge zu den dreyen Kronen in Königsberg. (Danzig: J. H. Florke, 1777), 62 pp.

(anon.), Lebensläufe nach aufsteigender Linie nebst Beylagen A, B, C., 4 vols. (Berlin: C. F. Voss, 1778-81).

(anon.), Über die bürgerliche Verbesserung der Weiber (Berlin: Voss, 1792), 429 pp.

(anon.), Kreuz- und Querzüge des Ritters A bis Z (Berlin: Voss, 1793-94).

Jachmann, Reinhold Bernhard (1767-1843)

1783 (Apr 11): Matriculation at Königsberg.

1788-94: Possibly worked as Kant’s amanuensis.

1794 (February): 3rd Pastor, and school rector (Marienburg).

1801: Director of the Conrad Provincial School and Pedagogical Institute (Jenkau, near Danzig). [HM, Neuer Nekrol.: 1802]

1814: Government and School Advisor (Gumbinnen).

1817: Awarded a Ph.D from the university at Breslau.

1832: Provincial School Advisor and Privy Government Advisor (Königsberg).

Reinhold Bernhard Jachmann was born on 16 August 1767 in Königsberg and died on 28 September 1843 while traveling in Thorn (Torun, Poland), where he is also buried; he was the son of a shoemaker, and brother to the physician Johann Benjamin Jachmann (1765-1832), with whom he has been occasionally confused in the scholarly literature. Jachmann studied under Immanuel Kant and possibly served as his amanuensis from 1788 until 1794, after which he left Königsberg (until 1832) to begin a successful career as pastor and educational reformer. Kant characterized Jachmann in 1800 as "formerly an industrious and alert auditor of my lectures, now a most treasured friend" (Ak. 8:441), and among Kant scholars he is remembered as one of Kant’s early biographers (1804). A longer biography of Jachmann is also available. [Sources: Rhesa 1834; Reusch 1848; Hamberger/Meusel; Neuer Nekrolog; Arnoldt 1906-11; Vorländer 1918; Gause 1996, ii.462; APB; ADB; NDB; Kuehn 2001]

Select Publications:

Prüfung der Kantischen Religionsphilosophie in Hinsicht auf die ihr beygelegte ähnlichkeit mit dem reinen Mysticismus (Königsberg: Nicolovius, 1800). Reprint: (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1999).

über das Ideal eines vollkommenen Erziehers. Eine Rede. (1802).

Immanuel Kant geschildert in Briefen an einen Freund (Königsberg: Friedrich Nicolovius, 1804).

Entwurf zur Nationalbildung (Berlin, 1809).

über das Verhältniß der Schule zur Welt (Berlin, 1811).

(edited with Franz Passow), Archiv deutscher Nationalbildung (Berlin: Friedrich Mauer, 1812), 1 volume in 4 parts. Reprint: Frankfurt/Main: Sauer & Auvermann, 1969). Essays by Jachmann include: “Ideen zur National-Bildungslehre,” pp. 1-45; “Die Nationalschule,” pp. 61-98; “Die Berücksichtigung der Individualität bei der Erziehung,” pp. 202-47; “Beschreibung des Konradinum auf Jenkau bei Danzig,” pp. 271-323; “Das Wesen der Nationalbildung,” pp. 405-63.

Lateinisches Elementarbuch (Berlin 1813).

Joel, Aaron Isaac (1747-1813)

1773 (Apr 16): Matriculates (Königsberg).

1780 (Jul 14): Re-matriculates (Königsberg).

Aaron Isaac Joel was born (25 May 1747) in Halberstadt and died (1813) in Königsberg. He matriculated at the university in Königsberg on 16 Apr 1773 and studied medicine, as well as taking classes with Kant, where he belonged to a small handful of Jewish students closely associated with Kant. In a letter of introduction to Moses Mendelssohn that Joel asked Kant to write (dated 13 July 1778), Kant described him thus: “while not favored with as many excellent talents as Herr Herz, still his healthy understanding, his diligence, his orderly life, and especially the goodness of his heart allows us expect that he will in no time stand out as a skilled and respected physician” [#135; Ak. 10:233]. He was awarded an M.D. from Frankfurt/Oder (with a dissertation on “De hernia umblicata”), returned to Königsberg, and worked at the Chewra Kaddischa hospital as well as serving as Kant’s physician. [Sources: Krüger 1966, 93] [last update: 15 Jan 2007]

Keyserling, Countess Caroline Charlotte Amalie (1729-1791)

1744 (Apr 29): Marriage to Count Johann Gebhard von Keyserling, in Königsberg.

1745: Birth of their 1st son: Carl Philipp Anton.

1747: Birth of their 2nd son: Albrecht Johann Otto.

1755: Purchase of a palace in the Vorderroßgarten district of Königsberg.

1761 (Sep 14): Death of Gebhard von Keyserling.

1763 (February): Marriage to Count Heinrich Christian von Keyserling, in Königsberg.

1777 (Apr 24): Christian Jakob Kraus moves into the Palace.

[Also: Kayserling, Keyserlingk, Kaiserlingk.] This noble family has its roots in Westphalia, but acquired lands in the Baltic in the late 15th century, and it is into this Baltic branch that Countess Charlotte Caroline Amalie von Truchseß zu Waldburg [1] married at the age of 15 in 1744, the year that her husband, Count Johann Gebhard von Keyserling (1699-1761), bought the Rautenburg estate. This was Caroline’s first marriage but Gebhard’s third, who was thirty years her senior. She promptly bore him two sons, her only children: Carl Philipp Anton (b. September 1745, d. 1 Aug 1794) and Albrecht Johann Otto (b. 22 Feb 1747, d. 1 May 1809).

Schloß Rautenburg, c.1860

The Rautenburg estate (lying about 85 km east and a little north of Königsberg) had historically belonged to the Truchseß zu Waldburg family, so presumably the purchase by Gebhard was part of the marriage arrangements. Capustigall was another manor house, about two miles southwest of Königsberg, that remained in the Truchseß zu Waldburg family, and was where Caroline and her family sometimes stayed. A third residence was a palace in the Vorderroßgarten district of Königsberg, on the east side of the Castle Pond that extended north from the castle, and directly across which was the Totenkopf und Phönix masonic lodge (and later also the Drei Kronen, after it relocated). Gebhardt had purchased this palace in 1755, the year Kant began teaching at the university, and it quickly became a cultural focus of the city, especially during the years of the Russian Occupation (1758-62).

Gebhardt died in 1761 (September 14), and Caroline remarried two years later in February 1763 to a relative of Gebhardt’s (a first-cousin once removed)[2], and someone much closer to her own age: Count Heinrich Christian Keyserling (1727-1787). The following year Heinrich purchased land adjoining the palace in Königsberg, which he then developed in various ways, including building a new theater next to the pond. The couple lived continuously in their Königsberg palace beginning in 1769 (with the exception of 1774/75), remaining a center of entertainment for the locals and visiting dignitaries. It was here that Kant, with his standing invitation to dinner — he spent many of his Tuesday afternoons there [3] — would sit at the place of honor next to the Countess. Other frequent guests were Hippel, Hamann, Scheffner, and later Kraus and Mangelsdorff, as well as various members of the nobility and the military.

Schloß Capustigall

Apart from socializing with the Count and Countess, several sources also mention that Kant served as a tutor in the Keyserling home. Count Alexander Keyserling (1815-1891), a great-grandson of Countess Caroline, claimed that Kant served as a tutor at the Rautenburg estate until 1755, “perhaps for several years” [Taube 1894, 68]. Kant's contemporary Christian Jakob Kraus [bio] claimed that Kant used to make weekly visits to the Capustigall residence, for which the Count had him brought in a horse-and-carriage [Reicke 1860, 5, 59]. A version of this claim is repeated by Hans Graf zu Dohna, who notes that a nephew to Caroline — Friedrich Ludwig II, Count Truchseß zu Waldburg (1741-1810) — was given weekly tutorials by Kant at Capustigall, and that possibly her own two sons received instruction as well [Dohna 1998, 65]. Other early biographers noted that Kant had served as a tutor to the Keyerslings, without giving more details [Borowski 1804, 30-31; Heilsberg in Reicke 1860, 49]. Schubert [1842, 37], making use of whatever documents were available to him at the time, claims that “the young Counts Friedrich Ludwig, Friedrich Karl and Wilhelm Franz von Truchsess-Waldburg” received instruction from Kant at Capustigall.

The Count died in 1787 and the Countess four years later. In his published Anthropology [writings] Kant referred to the Countess Keyserling as “an ornament to her sex”[4] [Ak. 7:262]. (See also the discussion of Kant as Hofmeister.) [Sources: Borowski 1804; Reicke 1860; Taube 1894; Arnoldt 1908, iii.173-78; Dohna 1998] [last update: 7 Aug 2013]


[1] A genealogy available on the internet [http://genealogy.euweb.cz/waldburg/waldburg2.html#HJ] lists the following details for Caroline: born 13 Nov 1727, died 24 Aug 1791. 1st marriage in Königsberg on 29 Jun 1744 to Gebhard Johann Friedrich Graf von Keyserlinkg, Herr zu Rautenburg (b. 1699, d. 14 Sep 1761). Her 2nd marriage in 1763 to Heinrich Christian Graf von Keyserlingk, who died on 22 Nov 1787.

[2] He is sometimes wrongly described as a nephew [Dohna 2009, 70]. For the relevant aspects of the labyrinthine Keyserling genealogy, see Zedlitz-Neukirch [1837, iii.86-88].

[3] In a letter of 27 Apr 1787 from J. G. Hamann to F. H. Jacobi, Hamann explains that Kraus “had eaten alone, because Kant often eats at Kayserlings on Tuesday” [Ziesemer/Henkel 1955-79, vii.164]. Kant must have been a frequent guest; Johann Ludwig Schwarz once stayed at the Keyserlings for five days in early 1787, and in his memoire wrote:

Of the five days of my visit, I had the luck to sit across from Kant four times, and to marvel at the extraordinary knowledge of this scholar that stretched over the most diverse topics of the dinner conversation. [Schwarz 1828, 180]

Ich hatte in den fünf Tagen während meines Aufenthalts viermal das Glück, Kant gegenüber zu sitzen, und die außerordentlichen Kenntnisse dieses Gelehrten, welche sich über die verschiedenartigsten Materien des Tischgespräches erstreckten, zu bewundern.

This suggests that Kant was dining with the Keyserlings nearly every day. Another guest at the Keyserling home, their cousin the poet Elisa von der Recke, upon hearing of Kant’s death reflected on her encounters with him in the Keyserling home:

Kant was a thirty-year friend of this house, in which reigned the dearest sociability, and men with the most excellent minds made themselves at home as soon as their moral character was assesssed to be as good as their heads. Kant loved to interact with the late Countess, who was a highly intelligent woman. I often saw him there, entertaining so charmingly that one would never have guessed that he was the deep and abstract thinker who had brought forth such a revolution in philosophy. In social discourse he knew how to clothe even abstract ideas in a lovely dress, stating clearly every opinion that he maintained. A graceful wit was always at his disposal, and his speech was occasionally spiced with a light satire that he always brought forth unpretentiously and with the driest expression. [Recke 1804, 108-9]

Kant war der 30jährige Freund dieses Hauses, in welchem die liebenswürdigste Geselligkeit herrschte und Männer von ausgezeichnetem Geiste einheimisch waren, so bald ihr moralischer Charakter ebenso sehr als ihr Kopf geschätzt wurde. Kant liebte den Umgang der verstorbenen Reichsgräfin, die eine sehr geistreiche Frau war. Oft sah ich ihn da, so liebenswürdig unterhaltend, daß man nimmer den tief abstrakten Denker in ihn geahnet hätte, der eine solche Revolution in der Philosophie hervorbrachte. Im gesellschaftlichen Gespräch wußte er bisweilen, so gar abstrakte Ideen in ein liebliches Gewand zu kleiden; und klar setzte er jede Meinung auseinander, die er behauptete. Anmuthsvoller Witz stand ihm zu Gebote; und bisweilen war sein Gespräch mit leichter Satyre gewürzt, die er immer, mit der trockensten Miene, anspruchlos hervorbrachte.

[4] “die Zierde ihres Geschlechts.” She was not the only ornament; in his letter to Charlotte von Knobloch (10 Aug 1763), Kant refers to Fräulein Knobloch also as “die Zierde ihres Geschlechts” [Ak. 10:43].

Kiesewetter, Johann Gottfried Karl Christian (1766-1819)

1780: Matriculation at Halle.

1788 (Nov 10): Matriculation at Königsberg.

1789 (Oct): Return to Berlin.

1790 (Jun 2): Magister (Halle).

1790 (Sep/Oct): Second trip to Königsberg.

1793: Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy at the Pepinière (Berlin).

1798: Professor of Logic at the Military Academy (Berlin).

1804: European tour inspecting military academies.

1807: Third visit to Königsberg.

Kiesewetter was born (Nov 4) and died (Jul 9) in Berlin. He was the son of a schoolteacher. His importance lies primarily in his association with Kant and in his many publications popularizing Kant’s philosophy. For Kant, he also served as a well-positioned source of Berlin court gossip.

Johann Gottfried Karl Christian Kiesewetter began his university studies at Halle on a special stipend from the crown, but learned of Kant in Jakob’s lectures and managed to transfer to Königsberg for two semesters, where he quickly entered Kant’s circle of table guests, and helped Kant by writing a fair version of his Critique of Judgment manuscript. Back in Berlin, he also corrected many of the proofs for that book, which was being published there by Lagarde. Kiesewetter received his magister degree from Halle the next summer, after which he made a second trip to Königsberg to spend time with Kant. Kiesewetter’s career in Berlin began as a tutor in the royal family, then as aprofessor at the college for medicine and surgery, then the military academy, lecturing primarily on logic and on Kant’s philosophy in general, for which he wrote many successful popularizations; cf. Dietzsch [2003, 141-47]. A longer biography of Kiesewetter is also available. [Sources: ADB; DLL; NDB]

Lampe, Martin (1734-1806)

Martin Lampe (1734-1806) was a retired soldier from Würzburg, and served for many years as Kant’s servant. The relationship between Kant and his servant received some attention by Kant’s early biographers, as well as in more recent treatments. That Lampe worked for Kant since 1761 (until 1802, when he was fired for excessive drinking) is based on four texts:[1] (1) Least specifically, in a letter of 25 March 1790 to François de la Garde [Ak. 11:146; Zweig 1999, 341], Kant claims, in speaking of his financial situation as a Privatdozent, that “I was always able to afford my own servant.” (2) In a letter of 6 March 1761 to Ludwig Ernst Borowski [#21; Ak. 10: 34], Kant asks Borowski to pass along some information to Kant’s servant (Bedienten). (2) In his biography of Kant, written in 1792, Borowski notes that Lampe had been in Kant’s service “nearly thirty years” [1804, 114]. (4) In Wasianski’s [bio] 1804 Kant biography we find a discussion of Lampe [1804, 109-12]: born in Würzburg, he was a Prussian soldier before entering Kant’s service “as his first servant,” working some forty years. Wasianski gives the date of his termination as January 1802 [1804, 111],[2] so he must have worked for Kant since c.1762 — and if he truly was Kant’s first servant, then he would have been in Kant’s employ since at least March 1761. Lampe would not have lodged with Kant, however (if he ever did), until Kant bought a house in 1784 [more].

Abegg [1976, 148-49] offers a brief description of Lampe in his 1798 travel diary: Kant “has a Swabian as a servant, a comical but very good person” [Er hat einen Schwaben zum Bedienten, ein drolliger, aber sehr guter Mensch.].

Lampe appears in the 1784 Address-Calender as a servant broker (Gesinde-Mackler, specifically, a Knecht-Vater, dealing in man-servants), and living in Sackheim in the Caschub’schen Haus — and therefore not in Kant’s attic, but he may well have then moved into Kant’s newly-purchased house. In describing Kant’s house, Jachmann [bio] notes that the “old cook” lived in an apartment on the first floor, opposite the lecture room, and that “his servant” lived in the attic — presumably Lampe, and not Kaufmann, who was there for only the last two years [1804, 180]. Dietzsch [2003, 160] quotes a passage from Kant, found in Adickes’s Nachlaß, which unambiguously attests to Lampe living with Kant: “Ever since he lived in my house [...] he took care of my affairs with respect to going to bed and arising, and running errands; with the establishment of my own home, I gave him money and the necessary clothes, and I increased, although always quite arbitrarily, his income, especially after he took a wife, wholly against my will.” (“Seit er in meinem eigenen Haus wohnt [...] besorgte er meine Angelegenheit in Ansehung des Schlafs und Wachens and zum Verschicken; bei Einrichtung meiner eigenen Hauswirthschaft gab ich ihm Kostgeld und die notwendigen Kleidungsstücke und vermehrte, aber immer ganz beliebig seine Einkünfte, vornehmlich nachdem er sich schlechterdings wider meine Einwilligung eine Frau nahm.”)  [Sources: Jachmann 1804; Wasianski 1804; Abegg 1976; Zweig 1999; Dietzsch 20003] [last update: 25 Oct 2013]


[1] One oddity with this early date is a comment made by Kant that “in 1770 when I became the logic-metaphysics professor, whereby my lectures were set at 7 AM, I had to hire a servant to wake me.”

[2] The new servant was Johann Kaufmann [Wasianski 1804, 112-13], who likely did sleep in Kant’s attic. Wasianski is also the source of the peculiar account of Kant writing a note reminding himself that he must forget the name of Lampe [1804, 122].

Lehmann, Johann Heinrich Immanuel (1769-1808)

Johann Heinrich Immanuel Lehmann was the son of a pastor in Ducherow (Pomerania). He matriculated at the Albertina on 23 September 1789, and eventually served as Kant’s amanuensis (probably from 1790-96). Kant wrote to Hippel on his behalf (28 Sep 1792, #531) for a stipendium (a Magistratsstipendio), and around August 1797 he wrote two letters of recommendation for him for a teaching position in Stettin, one to Johann Heinrich Ludwig Meierotto (ca. August 1797, #767), a professor and Oberschulrat in Berlin, the other to von Massow (ca. August 1797, #768). The teaching position was for mathematics, philosophy, and Latin (to replace a Professor Meyer, who was seriously ill). The recommendation to von Massow is included in the account of Kant’s Testimonia.

Mendelssohn, Moses (1729-1786)

1743 (Sep or Oct): Walks from Dessau to Berlin.

1750: Tutor in the home of Issak Bernhard (a silk manufacturer).

1754: Meets G. E. Lessing and Fr. Nicolai.

1757: Co-founds with Lessing the Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften.

1762: Marries Fromet Gugenheim.

1763: Wins the Prussian Academy of Science essay prize.

1766: Correspondence with Kant begins.[1]

1769: Lavater publicly challenges Mendelssohn either to convert to Christianity or to refute it.

1771: Nervous breakdown as a result of the “Lavater Affair”.

1777 (Jul 24-Aug 18): Visits Königsberg.

1785-86: Dispute with Jacobi over Lessing’s view of Spinoza.

Moses Mendelssohn was born (6 Sep 1729) in Dessau and died (4 Jan 1786) in Berlin, where he spent the whole of his adult life. An acculturated Jew and the center of the intellectual world of Berlin, Mendelssohn’s name is virtually synonymous with the German Enlightenment. The model for Lessing’s Nathan der Weise (1779), one of his favorite mottos (and for his life a fitting summary) was: “Destiny of man: to search for truth, to love the beautiful, to will the good, to do the best.” Because so much is readily available about Mendelssohn’s life and thought, I will give here only a bare sketch, offering detail insofar as it concerns Kant and his lecturing activity.

Key points of contact between Mendelssohn and Kant include: (1) Mendelssohn’s reading of Kant’s 1770 Dissertation, (2) Mendelssohn’s 1777 visit to Königsberg [more], (3) Mendelssohn’s attempted reading of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (early 1780's), and (4) the so-called “Pantheism Conflict” with Jacobi (1785-86), which resulted in Kant writing his Orientation in Thinking (1786) [writings].

The young Marcus Herz [bio], having just returned to Berlin after his studies in Königsberg with Kant (and for whose pro loco disputation he served as respondent) [more], had a four hour discussion with Mendelssohn over Kant’s dissertation. “We have very different philosophies,” Herz wrote in a letter to Kant (11 Sep 1770), “he follows Baumgarten to the letter and he gave me to understand very clearly and distinctly that he could not agree with me on a number of points because they did not agree with Baumgarten’s opinions. [...] I am occupied just now with a little essay for him in which I want to show him the error of an a priori proof of the existence of God. He is very taken with this proof; small wonder, since Baumgarten accepts it.” [Zweig transl.] [Sources: ADB; Beck 1969, 324-39; Altmann 1973; Beiser 1987, 44-108; Knobloch 1993; Zweig 1999, 597-601] [last update: 30 Jan 2007]

Select Publications:

(with Lessing), Pope ein Metaphysiker! (Danzig, 1755).

Philosophische Schriften, 2 vols. (Berlin: C. F. Voss).

Abhandlung über die Evidenz in metaphysischen Wissenschaften, welche den von der Königlichen Academie der Wissenschaften in Berlin auf das Jahr 1763 ausgesetzten Preis erhalten hat (Berlin: Haude und Spener), 99 pp.

Phädon oder über die Unsterblichkeit der Seele in drey Gesprächen (Berlin und Stettin: Friedrich Nicolai, 1767), 309 pp.

(tr.), Die fünf Bücher Mose, zum Gebrauch der jüdisch deutschen Nation (Berlin and Stettin: Friedrich Nicolai, 1780).

Jerusalem oder über religiöse Macht und Judentum, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1783), 96, 141 pp.

Morgenstunden, oder Vorlesungen über das Daseyn Gottes, 1st part (Berlin: Christian Friedrich Voss und Sohn, 1785), 330 pp.

An die Freunde Lessings. Ein Anhang zu Herrn Jacobis Briefwechsel über die Lehre des Spinoza (1785).


[1] They each appear to have written to the other four times, although Mendelssohn’s first two letters are missing. Kant’s responses to those letters are sent on 7 February and 8 April 1766 (##38-39, Ak. 10:67-73). Mendelssohn then responded to his reading of Kant’s Dissertation (25 December 1770, #63, Ak. 10:113-16); Kant wrote eight years later on behalf of a Jewish student (13 July 1778, #135, Ak. 10:233); five years after that Mendelssohn wrote a letter of introduction for Friedrich von Gentz, and notes that Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason serves him somewhat as a health barometer, insofar as his ability to understand passages vouchsafes his mental stamina (10 April 1783, #190, Ak. 10:307-8), to which Kant responds four months later, offering a synopsis of his Critique (16 August 1783, #206, Ak. 10:344-47). Apart from this limited correspondence, one finds constant reference to Mendelssohn in Kant’s letters to and from Marcus Herz.

Mrongovius, Christoph Coelestin (1764-1855)

Christoph Coelestin Mrongovius (Krzysztof Celestyn Mrongowiusz) was born 19 July 1764 in Hohenstein (Polish: Olsztynek) and died 3 June 1855[1] in Danzig (Gdansk). His father (Bartlomiej/Bartek) was a pastor and rector of the school. Mrongovius — whose name is the Latinized form of the Masurian ‘Mraga’ — studied first at a provincial school in Zalewo (1777-80), then in Königsberg at the Cathedral school (1780-82) and finally at the university (matriculating 21 March 1782), where he studied for eight years.[2]

For Kant scholars, Mrongovius is important as the source of seven sets of notes (anthropology, metaphysics, theology, physics, logic, and two on moral philosophy). In the larger world, he distinguished himself as a linguist and student of the Masurian and Kashubian cultures, as well as publishing translations of Theophrastos, Epictetus, and Homer into Polish; he was also the author of one of the first Polish/German dictionaries. These linguistic efforts earned for him the posthumous honor, in 1946, of having the Masurian city of Sensburg renamed as Mrongowo.

Mrongovius probably attended Kant’s metaphysics lectures during his second semester at the university (WS 1782-83), attending Kant’s theology lectures the following winter (WS 1783-84), and then logic (SS 1784), anthropology and moral philosophy (WS 1784-85), and physics (SS 1785).

After completing his studies at the university, Mrongovius taught Polish and Greek at the Collegium Fridericianum [glossary] from 1790 to 1797. In 1798 he moved to Danzig, where he received the pastorate of the Church of St Anne, and also taught Polish at the local Gymnasium. His father Bartek, the pastor in Hohenstein, had also studied at the university in Königsberg (1756-67), and may have attended Kant’s lectures as well.

The manuscripts in Mrongovius’s possession were transferred to the Danzig city library in 1864, as noted in Günther [1909]. [Source: Zelazny/Stark 1987; Kups 2006] [last update: 19 Feb 2007]


[1] Kups [2006, 19] gives his death day as July 3.

[2] His entry in the Matrikel reads: “Mrongovius Christoph. Coelestin,. Hohens. Boruss.”

Naumburg, Isaac (??-??)

Isaac Naumburg matriculated at the university at Königsberg on 21 December 1789, listed as a Jewish student from Friedland, studying medicine. The Errinerungsbuches of 1825 lists him as a physician, and Eulner [1960, 42] lists him as a student of J. C. Reil’s [bio], having recieved his medical doctorate from Halle in 1803: “Nauburq[sic], Isaacus (Friedlandia-Boruss. Occident.) De pruritu senili. Specimen inaugurale medicum. Praes. J. C. Reil. Halae 1803. 26 S.”

A set of notes from Kant’s anthropology lectures were brought to light in the late 1990s. The Marburg University Library possesses (from the Nachlass of Walther Ziesemer) a course receipt (Kollegquittung) of Kant’s from May 9, 1791, showing that Naumburg had paid eight Reichsthaler “for two courses, the physical geography and the anthropology” [Stark 1993, 262].

Nicolai, Carl Ferdinand (1752?-1802)

Carl Ferdinand Nicolai was a well-regarded educator in Königsberg, who attended Kant’s lectures in the 1770s, from which studies we have his anthropology notes. Nicolai appears in the university (Königsberg) Matrikel on June 21, 1770: "Nicolai Car. Ferdin. EichmediaBoruss. theol. stud." In the student lists for the theology faculty, he appears as a 22 year old in SS 1774, at which time he was also granted access to the Convictorium. He appears again in lists for WS 1776/77, WS 1777/78, SS 1778, and WS 1778/79. The list for SS 1778 indicates that he had previously attended Kant’s lectures on metaphysics and anthropology, and that he was currently attending Kant’s lectures on logic. We also find his signature on a subscription list for Kant’s private course on moral philosophy for WS 1773/74 (for which Kant also records him as having paid). Nicolai spoke Polish as well as German. His notes from Kant’s anthropology lectures of WS 1775/76 — studied by Otto Schlapp (1900) but lost during WW II — may well have served as the model for an entire group of notes that are copies from a set of notes originating in that semester.

Nicolai appears to have remained in Königsberg after his studies. He married Amalie Dorothea Schmidt on 28 Feb 1792, and was at that time the Prorector of the Löbenicht Latin School. They had a son on 2 Feb 1795, and the following year (28 Oct 1796) Nicolai became rector of the Cathedral School (replacing Hasse).

Nicolovius, Georg Heinrich Ludwig (1767-1839)

1782 (Sep 28): Matriculated at the Albertina.

1789-93: Travels through Germany, Holland, England, then (with Stolberg) through Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.

1795 (Jun 5): Marriage to Marie Anna Luise Schlosser.

1805: Kriegs- und Domänenkammer in Königsberg.

1805 (Aug 31): Consistory Advisor, overseeing the schools in East Prussia.

1806: Curator of the University.

1807 (Fall): Head librarian.

1808 (Jul): Member of the Department for School and Poverty.

1808 (Dec): Staatsrath for the Interior Ministry, working under first Dohna, then Humboldt.

Georg Heinrich Ludwig Nicolovius was born (13 Jan 1767) in Königsberg and died (2 Nov 1839) in Berlin. His father (Hofrat Matthias Balthasar Nicolovius, 1717-1778) was an official in the local Königsberg government and his younger brother, Friedrich (1768-1836), was a book merchant and one of Kant’s publishers.

Both his parents died in 1778, leaving him in the care of relatives. He attended the Collegium Fridericianum (until 1782), after which he matriculated at the university in Königsberg (28 Sep 1782), where he attended Kant’s lectures,[1] and from whom we have a set of Physical Geography notes [see]. Nicolovius also studyied languages and law, settling on theology as a career. During this time he became acquainted with J. G. Hamann.[2]

Nicolai took a long trip to London and Holland, and began a life-long friendship with Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi whom he met in Düsseldorf, and through Jacobi he entered a network of Berlin officials and intellectuals, including Count Stolberg. Nicolai returned briefly to Königsberg, and then made an extensive journey (January 1791-Spring 1793) with Stolberg through Germany, Switzerland (meeting Lavater and Pestalozzi), and Italy, down to Sicily. He returned to Holstein with Stolberg, through Jacobi became acquainted with Johann Georg Schlosser and his family, and eventually married (5 June 1795) Schlosser’s daughter, Marie Anna Luise, whose uncle was J. W. Goethe.  [Sources: ADB, Bautz]


[1] Kant wrote a letter of introduction for Nicolovius to Christoph Friedrich Hellwag (3 Jan 1791) in which Kant refers to Nicolovius as “a former auditor of mine a a very fine young man” [Ak. 11: 244]. Jachmann [1804, 44] notes that “the book merchant Nicolovius” (thus, Friedrich) was also a former student of Kant’s.

[2] Nicolovius’ brother, Theodor (1768-1831), later married Hamann’s daughter, Marianne Sophie (1779-1855).

Philippi, Wilhelm Albert Ferdinand (c.1752-1828)

Wilhelm Albert Ferdinand Philippi matriculated at the Albertina on March 25, 1771. He was the son of the Director of Police in Berlin (Johann Albrecht Philippi, 1721-1791). At least since the summer of 1772 he rented a room above Kanter’s bookshop, and so was living under the same roof as Kant. Philippi became close friends with Christian Jacob Kraus (who had matriculated only a few weeks after him) and J. G. Hamann. He left Königsberg in the spring of 1774, and matriculated in Halle as a law student. He later served as an administrator in various and increasingly important capacities in Berlin. We have his student notes from Kant’s anthropology, physical geography and logic lectures. [Sources: Stark 1987a, 132-33]

Pistorius, Hermann Andreas (1730-1798)

Hermann Andreas Pistorius was a pastor in Pöserzitz on Rügen (a popular resort island off the Pomeranian coast). He reviewed most of Kant’s publications for the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek. His general approach was empiricist, and his primary work was devoted to translating the British philosophers into German.

Powalski, Gottlieb Bernhard (1759-1829)

1777 (Aug 29): Matriculation (Königsberg).

1782: Assistant rector (Mewe).

1785: Rector (Mewe).

(Also: Powalka). Gottlieb Bernhard Powalski was born (Oct 10) in Johannisburg, and matriculated at the university in Königsberg on August 29, 1777. His name appears three times in the lists of law students. He first heard philosophy with Reusch in WS 1777-78, then logic with Kant in SS 1778. We have notes from Kant’s lectures on physical geography and moral philosophy. Powalski became an assistant rector in Mewe (in Marienwender) in 1782, and rector in 1785. Lehmann claims he matriculated on March 19, 1777 [Ak. 27: 1043], but he appears to have deduced this from the title-page of the moral philosophy notes. [Sources: HM; Neuer Nekrolog; Schwaiger 1998]

Puttlich, Christian Friedrich (1763-1836)

Christian Friedrich Puttlich was born 20 Feb 1753 in Mohrungen (Poland: Morag), and died 11 Mar 1836 in Böttchersdorf, where he served as a pastor. He was the son of a master glazier. Puttlich entered the Collegium Fridericianum in Könïgsberg (3 Jun 1778), then the university (matriculating 23 Mar 1782), where he studied theology, but also attended several of Kant’s courses. He appeared to be most interested in the lectures of Buck [bio] and Reccard [bio]. While a student at the university, he lived in the home of Kammersekretär John, to whose children he also gave instruction. After leaving Königsberg, Puttlich served as a private tutor from 1787-93 with the Count v. d. Gröben in Gr. Klingbeck, accompanying him at the university, and afterwards established a private school in Königsberg in 1795. In 1803 he received a pastorate in Herzogswalde, and in 1817 in Böttchersdorf. Puttlich had grown up in the same town as J. G. Herder (although a generation later; he went to school with Herder’s nephew, Christian Neumann), and took an interest in Herder’s affairs (see the letter from Seligo to Puttlich from Aug. 10, 1805 [rpt. in Malter 1990, p. 61].

Puttlich heard Kant’s courses on anthropology (WS 1782/83 and 1784/85) and physical geography (SS 1782 and 1785). Notes from each of these courses are associated with his name, although the anthropology notes (Puttlich 1) are copied from notes owned by his friend Caspar Weber, and those on physical geography (Puttlich 2) are copied from notes owned by another friend, Friedrich Nicolovius (1768-1836).

Puttlich kept a diary during his student years, and some of these entries have been quoted in the "Contemporary Accounts of Kant’s Lectures and Notes". [Sources: Warda 1905; Adickes 1911a, 37; APB; Gause 1996, ii.270] [last update: 14 Aug 2013]

Rehberg, August William (1757-1836)

Epstein describes the statesman and author August William Rehberg as a “reform-conservative” — wanting change for Germany, but disavowing the revolution that was underway in France at the time. Rehberg studied at the university in Göttingen, where he became a close friend of, and important influence on, Karl von Stein; he then began work as a ministerial advisor in Hannover in 1786, retiring from this post in 1820.

Kant and Rehberg shared some correspondence (on the unthinkability of the square root of 2; both letters were written before 25 Sep 1790; #447-48, Ak. 11:205-10), and Rehberg viewed himself as a follower of Kant (his 1787 work on metaphysics and religion is clearly Kantian in how it limits the claims of metaphysics). He and K. L. Reinhold [bio] shared common ground in defending Kant against criticism by Wolffians like J. A. Eberhard [bio] in his Philosophisches Magazin. Eberhard’s counter-polemics were so effective, however, that Rehberg eventually begged Kant to enter the fray himself, which he did with his 1790 On a Discovery [writings], an essay that effectively ended the discussion in Kant’s favor.

Rehberg had come to Kant’s attention at least by 1788 when he reviewed Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason in C. G. Schütz’s [bio] Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (see Schütz’s letter to Kant (23 June 1788; #541, Ak. 10:540-41), in which he reported the review’s imminent publication), and by the mid-90’s we find Kant writing to Biester (10 April 1794; #621, Ak. 11:496-97), highly critical of Rehberg’s views on practical philosophy (as expressed in his 1794 essay; this was in reply to an earlier March 4th letter from Biester (#618, Ak. 11:490). In a book on the French Revolution (1793), Rehberg claimed that metaphysics had brought about that revolution — a claim Kant had in mind while drafting his 1793 Theory and Practice [writings]. [Sources: Epstein 1966, 547-94, and an annotated bibliography his major writings and secondary literature (701-8); Beiser 1987, 218-19; Gregor 1996, 275].

What follows is J. B. Jachmann’s description of Rehberg in a letter to Kant (14 Oct 1790; #452, Ak. 11:225]

“In Hannover besuchte ich gleich nach meiner Ankunft den Herr Gh. S[ecretär] Rehberg einen Ihrer vorzüglichsten Verehrer und Anhänger. Er ist ein junger Mann von etwa 30 Iahren, der mir aber beym ersten Besuch eben nicht sehr gefiel. Er schien sehr verschloßen, etwas kalt, und sehr genirt zu seyn, daher ich mich auch nur einige Minuten bey ihm verweilte. In seinem Hause sah ich die marmorne Buste zur Verewigung des berühmten Leibnitz. – Denselben Tag Nachmittags machte er mir noch die Gegenvisite, war weit freundschaftlicher und ofner und sehr gesprächig, und bat mich für den andern Mittag bey sich zu Tische, wo ich in Gesellschaft seiner achtungswerthen Mutter, seiner liebenswürdigen Schwester und des jungen Herrn Brandes speisete, und ich zähle diesen Tag unter die angenehmste, die ich auf meiner Reise durchlebt habe. Herr Gh. S. Rehberg ist in seinem Gespräche ein sehr bescheidener Mann, aber man kann darinn den Mann von Kopf, Originalität der Gedanken, und ausgebreiteter Gelehrsamkeit nicht verkennen. Ich halte ihn für den feinsten Kopf unter allen Ihren Schülern, die ich bis jetzt noch habe kennen lernen. Von Ihrer Critik der p. Vernunft spricht er mit einer Wärme, als ich noch nie einen Menschen über eine Schrift habe sprechen hören. Er wird mit der Zeit ein Naturrecht schreiben, worinn er zeigen wird, daß es darinn eben solche Antinomien der Vernunft gebe, als in der speculativ. Philosophie und Moral. Seine Bescheidenheit und weil er wußte daß Sie so sehr mit Briefen belästiget werden hat ihn abgehalten, an Sie zu schreiben; doch hat er jetzt gewagt, in einem Briefe an Nicolovius einige Fragen zu schicken, davon er sich bey Gelegenheit die Auflösung von Ihnen gütigst erbittet.”

Select Publications:

Über das Verhältniß der Metaphysik zur Religion (Berlin: Mylius, 1787).

Review of Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason. In: Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (6 Aug 1788), pp. 345-60.[1]

Untersuchungen über die Französische Revolution 2 vols. (Hannover and Osnabruck: Ritscher, 1793).

“Über das Verhältnis der Theorie zur Praxis” in Berliner Monatsschrift (1794), pp. 114-42.


[1] In this review, Rehberg questions the ability of the moral law to effectively motivate our actions, thus criticising Kant’s formalism as empty of content and offering no guidance as to our ends.

Reicke, Rudolf (1825-1905)

Rudolph Reicke founded and edited the Altpreußischen Monatschrift, an important journal for Kantiana, and for the latter half of the 19th century worked in the university library at Königsberg. In these capacities, he became the single most important source of student notes from Kant’s classroom.

Reicke was born in Memel to a family of modest means. His father was a sailor, and it was only with considerable financial difficulty that the son was able to attend the Altstadt gymnasium in Königsberg, and after that the university (1847-52), where he came under the influence of Friedrich Schubert and Karl Rosenkranz. Reicke began employment at the university library in Königsberg in 1858, where he continued to work the rest of his life, becoming head librarian in 1894. In 1864 he founded and began editing the Altpreußischen Monatschrift. He also edited Kant’s correspondence for the Academy edition of Kant’s gesammelte Schriften — vols. 10-12, published in 1900 and 1902, the first volumes to appear in that edition.

In the course of his researches, Reicke accumulated quite a few papers related to Kant, which after his death took three different routes: (1) the state- and university-library in Königsberg (in 1906, Dr. Johannes Reicke of Göttingen gave various materials to the library), (2) the city library of Königsberg (Seraphim, the librarian, managed to buy some of the Reicke estate then being auctioned, consisting of 2150 volumes and 3250 smaller writings), and (3) the Reicke family. We know of eleven manuscripts from the lecture Nachlaß that Reicke possessed, all of which made their way into the university library at Königsberg (with the signatures 2576-2583, 2586): seven listed here as an-Reicke (two on anthropology, two on geography, one each on logic, metaphysics, and moral philosophy), as well as three more sets of anthropology notes (Elsner, Flottwell, Puttlich 1) and Hintz (logic). In addition to these, Reicke had copied Vigilantius 3 (metaphysics) and Vigilantius 4 (moral). [Sources: Krause 1905]

Reusch, Christian Friedrich (1778-1848)

Christian Friedrich Reusch was born 18 Aug 1783 in Königsberg, the son of the physics professor Carl Daniel Reusch [bio], who as inspector of the Alumnat received free lodging there, and so it was here that Christian Friedrich grew up, eventually attending the Kneiphof Latin school next door, and then the university (matriculating as a star pupil at the age of 14 1/2 years, on 27 July 1793), where he studied law,[1] as well as attending Kant’s lectures on logic, metaphysics, and physical geography (most likely during the 1794, 1794/95, and 1795 semesters, respectively). After leaving the university he held various important posts in the city, including that of Oberpräsidialrat (from 1815) and university curator (from 1824). He was a regular dinner guest during Kant’s last years, and his published memoires about Kant [1848] are considered by Vorländer to be among the more reliable. Reusch died in Königsbeg on 24 april 1848.

His father, Carl Daniel Reusch, had also studied under Kant and then was a colleague of many years as the professor of physics.[2] His older brother, Karl Georg Reusch, also attended Kant’s lectures beginning in 1793 and 1794, and later went on to study medicine in Berlin and Vienna, where among other things he attended Gall’s lectures on craniology. After returning to Königsberg near the end of 1800 as a physician, he became one of Kant’s regular dinner guests.[3] [Sources: Reusch 1848; Bartisius 1865; APB; Vorländer 1918, 45-46; Gause 1996, ii.300, 467; Malter 1990, 311-12, 514] [last update: 18 Feb 2013]

Select Publications:

Kant und seine Tischgenossen. Aus dem Nachlasse des jüngsten derselben (Königsberg: Tag und Koch, 1848; publ. without date), 30 pp.


[1] He matriculated on 17 September 1793 as a law student, along with his older brother Karl Georg, who entered as a medical student.

[2] His own father was Christian Friedrich (1694-1742; matriculation at the university: 17 March 1712), after whom he likely named his son, and who had been pastor at the Altstadt Church in Königsberg.

[3] In discussing how his physician brother, Karl Georg, was a frequent dinner guest of Kant’s (who was interested in his knowledge of medicine and electricity), Reusch cites one of Kant’s notes found after his death: “today eating with me are Herr R. R. Vigilantius and Dr. Reusch, the older son of the physics professor, Dr. Medicinae. Herr R. R. Vigilantius drinks white, Dr. Reusch perhaps red” [Reusch 1848, 9]. J. F. Vigilantius [bio] was a frequent dinner guest and Kant’s legal advisor.

Scheffner, Johann Georg (1736-1820)

Johann Georg Scheffner was born (8 Aug 1736) and died (20 Aug 1820) in Königsberg. A friend of Hippel, Hamann and a regular at Kant’s table, Scheffner’s autobiography provides a wealth of anecdotes about Kant and the world in which he moved. As a child he attended the Altstadt gymnasium in Königsberg (under G. C. Pisanski), then matriculated at the university on 22 September 1752 and studied law. He served as a soldier during the Seven-Year War, then as secretary in the city government (1765), Kriegsrat in Marienwerder (1772-75), and then managed several local estates, returning to Königsberg in 1795. He sold his house and gardens to the university, which was transformed into the new botanical garden. [Sources: Reusch 1848, 20-21; APB; ADB; Manthey 2005, 343-50, 366] [last update: 8 Feb 2007]

Select Publications:

Mein Leben, wie ich, Johann George Scheffner, es selbst beschrieben (Leipzig, 1816).

Schlapp, Otto (1859-1939)

Otto Schlapp was born (May 15) in Erfurt, where his father was a professor at the university. He died (Dec 26) in Edinburgh, where he was a professor of German. Schlapp studied at Jena, Edinburgh, Berlin, Leipzig, Strassburg; married a German woman, with whom he had two sons and one daughter. He moved to Edinburgh (Scotland) where he was a lecturer in German at the university (1884-1920), Reader (1920-26), and finally Professor of German (1926-29).

His only major publication appears to be the 1901 book [text] on Kant’s theory of genius, a work that made extensive use of various lecture notes from Kant’s classroom (26 sets in all) and, with the eventual loss of the originals, became a source of fragments — an-Gotthold 1 (anthropology), Hintz (logic), and an-Königsberg 5 and Vigilantius 3 (metaphysics). While conducting his research for this work, Schlapp notes [1901, ix-x] that he worked at the Königliche Bibliothek in Berlin, the Universitäts- und Stadtsbibliothek in Leipzig, and the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek in Strassburg; and also that various manuscripts were loaned to him from the Königsberg and Munich libraries. He also mentions contact with Oswald Külpe (Würzburg), Heinrich Heinze (Leipzig), von Arnim (Rostock), Rudolph Reicke (Königsberg), Erich Adickes (Kiel), Hans Vaihinger (Halle), Erich Prieger (Bonn), Hofrat H. Diederichs (Mitau), Frau Prof. Glogau (Frankfurt/Main), and his Professors Windelband, Martin, Groeber, and Ziegler (Strassburg). Windelband was his doctoral advisor. [last update: 26 Feb 2008]

Select Publications:

Kants Lehre vom Genie und die Entstehung der Kritik der Urteilskraft (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1901), xii, 463 pp.

Schön, (Heinrich) Theodor von (1773-1856)

Heinrich Theodor von Schön was born 20 Jan 1773 in Schreitlaugken or Löbegallen in Prussian Lithuania, and died 23 Jul 1856 at his country estate Arnau, near Königsberg. He was an important Prussian statesman, serving as the Oberpräsident of West Prussia (1 Apr 1816) and then also of East Prussia (13 April 1824). These two provinces were fully united on 3 December 1829, and Schön continued to serve as Oberpräsident until 1842, when he retired to his estate at Arnau. He was a friend of Fichte’s and close colleague of Stein (1773-1856) and Hardenberg (1750-1822).

Schön began his studies at Königsberg, matriculating on 25 October 1788 as a law student. Vorländer provides the following list of courses that he attended: (1) Philosophical Encyclopedia (with Kraus), (2) Mathematics with Schultz, (3) Logic with Pörschke, and (4) Anthropology with Kant — as well as, presumably, Kant’s Metaphysics, although Vorländer does not mention this. Apart from his notes from Kant’s anthropology and metaphysics lectures, we also have his notes from Pörschke’s logic lectures (“Logic nach dem Ebert und dem Kantschen System” — so this had to stem from either WS 88/89 or SS 89; the manuscript is housed at the Berlin GStAPK, Dep. 35: von Brünneck #86) and Kraus’s lectures on Statistics (SS 1789; Berlin GStAPK, Dep. 35: von Brünneck #78). These latter two Nachschriften were included in a 1974 exhibition on Kant, and cataloged in Benninghoven [1974, 150, 153].

Schön learned of Adam Smith’s new ideas in Kraus’s lectures, and a trip to England in 1798 left Schön a convinced liberal and advocate of Smith’s economic theory. In religious matters, he was a skeptic, and considered institutional churches as essentially private affiliations; as such they should be kept separate from the governing framework of the state. These religious views, along with his strong Republican sensibilities, eventually alienated him from the new king (Friedrich Wilhelm IV), whom Schön had known ever since the 12 year old Crown Prince was in Königsberg during 1807-8, and whom Bismarck once described as a “devout, God-summoned Absolutist.” Having just been promoted to the post of Staatsminister in 1841, Schön retired the following year to his estate. Schön wrote in the Anlagen to his autobiography: “Without Kantian philosophy and without sauerkraut I would have long been in my grave.” [Sources: ADB; NDB; Vorländer 1924, ii.70-71; Gause, ii.323; Manthey 2005, 424-31; v.Schön 2006]

Schulz, Johann Heinrich (1739-1824)

1758-61: Studied theology at the university (Halle).

1765: Pastor at Gielsdorf, Wilkendorf, and Hirschfeld.

1793: relieved of his pastoral duties.

Johann Heinrich Schulz [also: Schultz] was a Lutheran pastor of over twenty years who was eventually dismissed for his unorthodox beliefs (he was a fatalist) and his unorthodox dress — he refused to wear a wig while preaching, which he viewed as an unhealthy practice, and so was given the nickname Zopfprediger or Zopfschulz (“pony-tail Schulz”).

Schulz studied under Semler, Knapp, and Michaelis at Halle, taught briefly in Berlin, then began (1765) a series of pastorates at Gielsdorf, Wilkendorf, and Hirschfeld.

Schulz believed in God and immortality, but not in human freedom, for the actions of human beings were as pre-determined as those performed by any other artificial machine. Also, religion could not be the basis of morality, as we can know of God only that he is the sufficient ground of everything, and nothing of his relationship to us or of his will.

By 1782 formal complaints were lodged against Schulz, both because of his fatalistic beliefs, and because he preached in a ponytail. As for himself, Schulz denied he was a fatalist, and argued that his determinism was in keeping with the teachings of Jesus. Frederick II protected him from these complaints, but his fortunes turned after Frederick’s less tolerant nephew assumed the throne in 1786, and by 1791 an official investigation into his beliefs was underway. Schulz was relieved of his pastoral duties in 1793, and he eventually moved to the vicinity of Berlin to work as a porcelain inspector, retiring from this in 1808.

Kant reviewed [writings] Schulz’s Attempt at a Guide towards a Moral Doctrine for all Mankind Independent of Differences of Religion (1783), arguing against the fatalism endorsed there, which he believed wholly undermines all use of practical reason. Even the fatalist, in his actions, must act “as if he were free [...] It is hard to cease altogether to be human” [Ak. 8:13]. [Sources: ADB; Kuehn 2001, 266-67, 365-66] [last update: 29 Apr 2007]

Select Publications:

(publ. anon.), Versuch einer Anleitung zur Sittenlehre für alle Menschen ohne Unterschied der Religionen nebst einem Anhange an der Todesstrafe, Pts. 1-2 (Berlin 1783); Part 3: 1790.

Starke, Friedrich Christian

Friedrich Christian Starke is a pseudonym for Johann Adam Bergk.

Trescho, Sebastian Friedrich (1733-1804)

Sebastian Friedrich Trescho was born (9 Dec 1733) in Liebstadt (near Mohrungen), the son of a court clerk, and died (29 Oct 1804) in Mohrungen (Poland: Morag). Trescho attended the Collegium Fridericianum in Königsberg, the same Latin grammer school Kant had attended just a few years earlier, and then studied theology at the university (matriculating on October 11, 1751), with interests in poetry and music as well. He stayed in Königsberg for a total of nine years, studying and working as a private tutor, and then was called back to Mohrungen in 1760 to replace his recently deceased brother-in-law (Wilhelm Gryll) as church deacon, where he worked under Pastor Willamovius. He was twenty-seven at the time, and served as deacon until his own death forty-four years later.

Trescho was sickly from his youth, a hypochondriac, and he never married. Yet despite his poor health and modest circumstances, he was able to publish quite a bit (Meusel lists 24 publications), primarily inspirational tracts, but multi-volume works as well.

Trescho is remembered as an early mentor (or tormentor, depending on the source) of Johann Gottfried Herder, who was employed by Trescho as a copyist and errand boy during what would be Herder’s last year in his home town of Mohrungen. By some accounts, Trescho was instrumental in getting Herder, who came from an impoverished home, off to the university at Königsberg. Trescho appears also to have procured a set of physical geography notes from Kant’s lectures. [Sources: ADB; Herder 1846, 40, 71; Meusel; Sembritzki 1904; Dobbek 1961, 35-44, 240]

Select Publications:

Sterbebibel oder die Kunst seelig und fröhlich zu sterben, 3 parts (1762; 2nd ed: 1767)

Briefe über die neueste theologische Literature, 4 parts (1764-66).

Die Wissenschaft, seelig und fröhlich zu sterben in Poesie und Prosa, 2 parts (1767).

Neue Briefe über Gegenstände der geistlichen Wissenschafte, 4 parts (1768-72).

Christliches Tagebuch zur Privatandacht und häuslichen Gottesdienst, 2 parts (1772-73).

Die Vortheile einer frühzeitigen Bekanntschaft mit dem Tode (1774; 2nd ed: 1779); Religiöse Nebenstunden (1784).

Vigilantius, Johann Friedrich (1757-1823)

Vigilantius was a Königsberg lawyer and served as Kant’s legal advisor. He belonged to Kant’s circle of dinner guests, and was present when Kant died. In his mid-thirties, Vigilantius sat in on all of Kant’s classes [Reusch 1848, 364] (apparently without matriculating; he does not appear in the Matrikel), taking thorough notes on metaphysics (WS 1794/95), physical geography (SS 1793), logic (SS 1793), and moral philosophy (WS 93/94). All appear to have been written out in folio format (from the descriptions of previous scholars; we possess only copies of two of the sets). We have excellent reason to believe that these notes really were written down by Vigilantius from the lectures that he attended, and that the dates given on the notes are the dates of the source lectures. [Sources: Reusch 1848, 364-65; Vorländer 1924, ii.301; Stark 1987a, 158-59]

Volckmann, Johann Wilhelm (1766-1836)

Johann Wilhelm Volckmann was born (25 Feb 1766) in Königsberg. He matriculated at the Albertina (13 August 1782) just a few months after C. C. Mrongovius [bio], another student and notetaker of Kant’s, and like Mrongovius, also a theology student. Volckmann was ordained in 1792 (Dec 11) and began pastoring in Deutschendorf; in 1812 (Oct 11) he assumed a post in Schaaken. He married Dorothea Ernestine [Elisabeth?] Borowski, a daughter of Kant’s dinner guest and biographer L. E. Borowski [bio], who had been the pastor in Schaaken some 30 years earlier (16 June 1796). He died in Kranz (16 Jul 1836) while en route, making the rounds in his diocese.

Volckmann left sets of notes on logic, natural theology (WS 1783/84), metaphysics (WS 1784/85), and physical geography (SS 1785) (all but the last were since owned by Johannes Theodor Paul Wendland [born 1864 in Hohenstein, East Prussia], a professor of classical philology at Göttingen since 1908), before finally entering into various library holdings. The notes are neatly and reliably written. [Sources: Wegner 1836]

Vollmer, Johann Jacob Wilhelm (1765-1816)

Johann Jacob Vollmer was a writer, historian, and preacher, born and lived the majority of his life in Thorn (Poland: Torun) where he was the director of the Gymnasium and professor of history, as well as preacher at the new church in Thorn. His connection with Kant is that he published, without Kant’s approval, a version of Kant’s lectures on physical geography (1801-5; 4 vols) [text]. This edition has little value as an indication of Kant’s actual lectures, however, and the edition was repudiated by Kant himself in a public notice in 1801 [writings]. Vollmer matriculated at the university in Königsberg on 5 October 1787 and was entered (on 7 April 1788) into the attendance list for Kant’s physical geography lists for SS 1788 [Stark 1987a, 163n156] (the first lecture was on Wednesday, April 9).

The title page of Vollmer’s Physical Geography reads: “Von Joh. Jak. Wilh. Vollmer, Direktor, erster Professor und Bibliothekar des akademischen Gymnasiums, Inspektor der städtischen Schulen, Prediger an der Hauptkirche zu Thorn” [“director, first professor, and librarian of the academic gymnasium, inspector of the city schools, preacher at the main church in Thorn”].

There is some confusion in the literature between this man and Gottfried Dietrich Lebrecht Vollmer (1768-1815) — see, for instance, the index to Kant’s correspondence [Ak. 13: 603-99], which lists Gottfried Dietrich Lebrecht Vollmer (but not J. J. W. Vollmer); likewise with Gottfried Martin’s Allgemeiner Kantindex (1969), which perhaps was relying on the Academy index, and also Conrad [1994, 53], Malter [1990, 530], and Wood [1986, 11]). G. D. L. Vollmer was born in Thorn, died in Hamburg (30 Apr 1815), and was the publisher of the physical geography volumes. These two men were brothers (as suggested in Hamberger/Meusel (vol. 21), although with a question mark). [Sources: DBI; Hamberger/Meusel, 8:262 (1800), 16 (1812); 21:262 (1827); Stark 2014] [last update: 16 Apr 2014]

Warda, Arthur (1871-1929)

Warda’s Book Stamp

Arthur Warda was born (15 Sep 1871) and died (25 Oct 1929) in Königsberg. He was the son of a merchant. Warda attended the Kneiphof gymnasium, then studied law in Halle and Königsberg. He worked in Schippenbeil in various juristic capacities, returning to Königsberg in 1907 as Amtsgerichtsrat, at which time he also began his various studies on the intellectual life in 18th century Königsberg, many of which appeared in the Altpreussische Monattschrift and in the Mitteilungen des Vereins für die Geschichte von Ost- and Westpreußen. On the basis of his contributions, the philosophy faculty at the Albertina conferred upon him an honorary doctorate in 1924, and the Kant Society made him an honorary member. He married Adelheid Hübner from Stockholm. A bibliography of his many writings is available online at the Marburg site. [Sources: APB] [last update: 16 Feb 2008]

Select Publications:

Die Druckschriften Immanuel Kants (bis zum Jahre 1838) (Wiesbaden, 1919).

Immanuel Kants Bücher. Mit einer getreuen Nachbildung des bisher einzigen bekannten Abzuges des Versteigerungskataloges der Bibliothek Kants (Berlin: Martin Breslauer, 1922).

Wasianski, Ehregott Andreas Christoph (1755-1831)

1772 (Sep 17 [22?]): Matriculation at the University (Königsberg).

1780: Cantor at the Tragheim Church (Königsberg).

1786: Deacon at the Tragheim Church (Königsberg).

1790: Renews relationship with Kant.

1808: Pastor at the Tragheim Church, succeeding Göckingk (Königsberg).

Ehregott Andreas Christoph Wasianski was born in Königsberg on July 3, 1755, where he also died in 1831; he was the son of Andreas Wasianski (died 1757), who taught at the Cathedral school during Kant’s earlier years. Wasianski is remembered as a close acquaintance of Kant in his old age and as one of Kant’s early biographers. He managed Kant’s household during the final few years and served as executor of Kant’s will.

Wasianski attended the Kneiphöf (Cathedral) gymnasium where G. C. Pisanski was the rector, then matriculated at the university in 1772, studying first medicine, and then theology. He first attended Kant’s lectures during WS 1773/74[1], and apparently was allowed to attend Kant’s private lectures free of charge (“Without my asking, Kant let me attend his lectures for free” — although Arnoldt believes this referred to the time he served as Kant’s amanuensis [glossary]).[2] After eight years of study, he left the university for a position as cantor at the Tragheim church in Königsberg, losing contact with Kant until 1790, when they met again at K. L. Pörschke’s wedding, after which he became a regular dinner guest. Since 1799 he served as Kant’s daily helper, and upon Kant’s death was executor of his will. He married a woman from the family Ferlein. [Sources: Rhesa 1834, 4-5; Wasianski 1912, 220-21; Arnoldt 1908-9, v.237; APB; Gause 1996, ii.257][last update: 17 Aug 11]

Select Publications:

Wasianski, Ehregott Andreas Christoph. Immanuel Kant in seinen letzten Lebensjahren. Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis seines Charakters und haüslichen Lebens aus dem täglichen Umgange mit ihm (Königsberg: 1804). Reprinted in Felix Groß [1912].


[1] Lists prepared by the theology dean show Wasianski attending Kant’s metaphysics lectures during WS 1773/74, followed by logic and physical geography in SS 1774, and then repeating both metaphysics in WS 1774/75 and physical geography in SS 75.

[2] In an unpublished essay on Kant’s amanuenses, Stark suggests that Wasianski served as an amanuensis during SS 1776, which was Kant’s first semester as Dean of the philosophy faculty. The Dean always sat on the Academic Senate, and all members of the senate received free board for one amanuensis (Kant would become a permanent member of the Senate in 1780). Wasianski wrote in the margin of his copy of his Kant biography an explanatory note to the word ‘Amanuensis’: “That means: I wrote several hours each week for him and ate in the Convictorio [glossary], where each Senator was allotted a portion so as to make possible the maintenance of an Amanuensis.”

Wasianski wrote in the biography: “My acquaintance with [Kant] did not begin in his old age. Intimacy, with him, takes more than a decade. In the year 1773 or 74 (I don’t know more exactly than that) I became his student and later his amanuensis. Through this latter relationship I entered into a closer relationship with him than his other students. He allowed me to take his classes for free, without my asking. I left the academy in 1780 and became a pastor.” Meine Bekanntschaft mit ihm entstand nicht erst in seiner letzten Lebenszeit. Um mit ihm vertraut zu werden, dazu gehörte mehr als ein Jahrzehnt. In den Jahren 1773 oder 74 (genau weiss ich es nicht) wurde ich sein Zuhörer und später sein Amanuensis. Durch dieses letztere Verhältnis kam ich denn auch mit ihm in eine nähere Verbindung als seine übrigen Zuhörer. Er gestattete mir unentgeltlich ohne meine Bitte den Besuch seiner Vorlesungen. Im Jahre 1780 verliess ich die Akademie und wurde Prediger. [Groß 1912, 220]

Felix Groß suggests that Wasianski began working as Kant’s amanuensis in 1774, but this is followed by his patently false claim that Wasianski began his role supervising Kant’s domestic affairs in 1784.

Weisflog, Karl Christian (1770-1828)

Karl Christian Weisflog matriculated on 16 June 1791. He presumably attended a course of Kant’s logic lectures; a fragment of just a few sentences on probability, presumably from these lectures, has been preserved in his 1824 publication [text].

Select Publications:

Phantasiestücke und Historien (Dresden/Stuttgart, 1824). 2nd ed: 1839.

Zedlitz, Karl Abraham von (1731-1793)

Karl Abraham von Zedlitz was born (Jan 4) in Schwarzwalde bei Landeshut (Silesia), and died (Mar 18) on his estate (Gut Kapsdorf), also in Silesia. Prussian Minister of Justice (in Berlin) beginning in 1770, and the following year also served as the Kultus- und Unterrichtsminister, the minister of culture and education. He actively promoted Enlightenment ideals, which he absorbed during his studies at Halle. He introduced the Abitur exam into Prussian schools in order to help standardize the level of admissions into the universities. Zedlitz and Kant were on good terms — Kant dedicated his Critique of Pure Reason to von Zedlitz — and they shared an extensive correspondence.[1] He resigned his post after the death of Friederich II (1786), and was soon replaced by the conservative Wöllner under Friedrich Wilhelm II. [Sources: Gause 1996, ii.268; Meyers 1888, 16:839; Vorländer 1924, i.203-7] [last update: 27 Jun 2007]


[1] See Vorländer’s brief discussion [1924, i.203-7], and selections from von Zedlitz’s letters of [21 Feburary 1778], [28 February 1778], and [1 August 1778].

Zöllner, Johann Friedrich (1753-1804)

Johann Friedrich Zöllner was born (Apr 24) in Neudamm, and died (Dec 12) in Berlin. Zöllner was the son of a forester, and came to make a name for himself as a clergyman, educational reformer (with a marked interest in adult continuing education), and a freemason, and he was a frequent contributor to the Berlinische Monatsschrift. Perhaps his most important contribution in the history of ideas, however, was a footnote to an article in which he defended the religious basis of the institution of marriage; almost as an aside, he asked the question "What is enlightenment?", which occasioned a diverse spread of able replies, most famously those by Mendelssohn and Kant (both published in 1784). A longer biography of Zöllner is also available. [Sources: HM 1800, 8:711-14; 1803, 10:858; 1805, 11:754-55; 1812, 16:324; Doering 1830, 580-85; ADB]

Select Publications:

"Ist es rathsam, das Ehebündniß nicht ferner durch die Religion zu sanciren?" in: Berlinische Monatsschrift (December 1783), vol. 2, pp. 508-17.


[Index of Other Biographies relevant to Kant’s Lectures]