Thümmig, Ludwig Philipp (1697–1728)

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Ludwig Philipp Thümmig, the German Wolffian philosopher, was professor of philosophy at Halle from 1717 until 1723 when he was expelled with Christian Wolff. On Wolff's recommendation he was appointed professor of philosophy at the Collegium Carolinum in Kassel, but he ended his career as an instructor of pages. His early death prevented him from regaining a decent position when Wolff's fortunes improved.

Thümmig was one of Wolff's earliest pupils, and his Institutions Philosophiae Wolffianae (2 vols., Frankfurt and Leipzig, 17251726) was intended as a short and more readily understandable presentation, closer to the doctrines of traditional philosophy, of the doctrines presented in Wolff's German works. The work was written in Latin to prevent misunderstandings arising out of Wolff's new German terminology. The order of presentation of the main subjects covered, and the sharp separation between the topics treated in the discussions of the main branches of philosophy, were probably suggested by Wolff and were later adopted by him in his own Latin works. Unlike Wolff in his German works, Thümmig discussed cosmology before psychology, and divided psychology into empirical and rational branches. This order became traditional in the Wolffian school and was adopted by Wolff himself in his Latin works.

Thümmig used the traditional language and manner of exposition to make Wolff's doctrines more acceptable. He introduced non-Wolffian elements into his solution to the problem of preestablished harmony. He also differed from Wolff in regarding the study of natural law as a theoretical science (scientia legum naturalia ) but ethics and politics as practical sciences whose purpose was to reach an agreement between man's real condition and the natural law.

See also Cosmology; Natural Law; Psychology; Wolff, Christian.


Thümmig's works include Demonstratio Immortalitas Animae ex Intima Eius Natura Deducta (Halle, 1721), and Meletemata Varii et Rarioris Argumenti (Braunschweig and Leipzig, 1727).

For a discussion of Thümmig, see Max Wundt, Die deutsche Schulphilosophie im Zeitalter der Aufklärung, 212214. (Tübingen: Mohr, 1945).

Giorgio Tonelli (1967)