Hartmann, Eduard von
HARTMANN, EDUARD VON
German philosopher; b. Berlin, Feb. 23, 1842; d. Gros-Lichterfelde (Berlin), June 5, 1906. The son of an army officer, Hartmann himself had a brief military career before retiring and devoting his energies to philosophy. From G. W. F. hegel he took the view that a rational idea runs through creation; from A. schopenhauer he adopted the notion that a blind, irrational will rules the world, forming it into an existent reality. His resulting philosophy is a curious combination of optimism and pessimism.
From his first work, Philosophie des Unbewussten (Berlin 1869), Hartmann was known as the philosopher of the unconscious. In his systematic treatise, System der Philosophie im Grundriss (8 v. Bad Sachsa 1906–09), he adopted an inductive metaphysics based on the thought of G. T. Fechner. Hartmann opposed E. Haeckel and his naturalism, and, in general, rejected mechanical explanations of the world; he himself inclined toward vitalism. He discussed modern science in his Weltanshauung der modernen Physik (Leipzig 1902) and wrote a worthwhile history of metaphysics, Geschichte der Metaphysik (2 v. Leipzig 1899–1900). Equally significant was his Kategorienlehre (Leipzig 1896), which influenced the Neo-Kantian theory of the categories.
In his philosophy of religion Hartmann was an adversary of Christianity, substituting for it a teaching that was decidedly monistic and pantheistic. He made known his views in a series of works published under the general title of Religionsphilosophie, among which the more important are Das Krisis des Christentums in der modernen Theologie (Berlin 1880), Das religiöse Bewusstsein der Menschheit (Berlin 1882), and Die Religion des Geistes (Berlin 1882). These give clear indication of the practical impossibility of constructing a religious philosophy without belief in a personal God.
Bibliography: e. di carlo, Enciclopedia filosofica 2:980–981. h. wackerzapp, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 5:20. f. j. von rintelen, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 3 3:82–83. p. siwek, The Philosophy of Evil (New York 1951); "Pessimism in Philosophy," New Scholasticism (1948) 249–297.