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Jacobi, Friedrich Heinrich


German philosopher of faith and feeling; b. Düsseldorf, Jan. 25, 1743; d. Munich, March 10, 1819, where he had become president of the Bavarian Academy of Science. Influenced by J. J. rousseau and Lord Shaftesbury, Jacobi opposed the rationalism of the enlight enment. He was closely associated with many significant men of his day, among them Goethe; J. K. Lavater; C. M. Wieland; M. Claudius; the later bishop of Regensburg, J. M. Sailer; Prince A. von Gallitzin; and especially J. G. herder and J. G. hamann, who exerted a strong influence over him. Jacobi made a sharp distinction between knowledge and faith. Under the influence of I. Kant, he had come to regard the thing-in-itself as unknowable; consequently, knowledge leads ultimately to nihilism. It leads also to atheism in that the comprehension of the Absolute and of metaphysical principles is equally impossible. To him, B. Spinoza's philosophy was a case in point. He also criticized the notion of the thing-in-itself in Kant's philosophy, remarking that without this supposition one could not enter into Kant's system and with it one could not remain there. He charged J. G. fich te and F. W. J. schelling with being Spinoza in reverse. Jacobi himself built his thesis upon faith. For him the organ of faith is reason, which allows man to perceive the outer world as well as beauty and moral good, even the divine. The true essence of man consists in his spiritual nature, which stems immediately from God and finds its fullest expression in the heart. Jacobi thus termed himself "a heathen in the understanding and a Christian in feeling." He accepted the great truths of ChristianityGod, freedom, and immortalitybut he was of the opinion that these could not be conceptualized. Yet Christianity embraces more truths than Jacobi would admit, and if those truths he did admit were accessible only to the heart, they would be purely subjective. Jacobi exerted considerable influence over J. C. F. Schiller, the romantics, F. D. E. schleiermacher, and the Catholic school at Tübingen.

Bibliography: Works. Gesamtausgabe, 6 v. (Leipzig 181225). New critical ed. by the Bavarian Academy in preparation. Über die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen an den Herrn M. Mendelssohn (Breslau 1785; enl. ed. 1789). D. Hume über den Glauben, oder Idealismus und Realismus (Breslau 1787). Sendschreiben an Fichte (Hamburg 1799). Über dan Unternehmen des Kritizismus, die Vernunft zu Verstande zu bringen (Hamburg 1801). Von den göttlichen Dingen (Leipzig 1811). o. bollnow, Die Lebensphilo-sophie F. H. Jacobis (Stuttgart 1933). a. hebeisen, F. H. Jacobi: Seine Auseinandersetzung mit Spinoza (Bern 1960). r. knoll, J.G. Hamann and F. H. Jacobi (Heidelberg 1963).

[j. hirschberger]

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