Karl Joseph Hieronymus Windischmann



Doctor, philosopher


Born: 24.08.1775 in Münster (canton of Lucern)

Died: 23.04.1839 in Aarau


Doctorate: 1796 in Würzburg (medicine)

University lecturer: 1797 - 1801 Mainz, 1801 - 1818 Aschaffenburg, 1818 - 1839 Bonn


Windischmann initially studied philosophy in Mainz (1787-1792), but was forced to transfer to Würzburg by the French invasion. He finished his philosophical studies there, and then turned to medicine and the natural sciences. After mastering these subjects, he spent a year studying in Vienna. In 1797 he returned to Mainz, where he practised and lectured in medicine. In 1801 he moved to Aschaffenburg, where he became court doctor to the elector and gave lectures on philosophy and natural history. He became professor of philosophy and history in 1803, with a special assignment to teach natural philosophy as well. Until Windischmann was called to the newly founded university in Bonn in 1818, he also held the office of court librarian (1811) and - under the now Bavarian government - the title of Royal Medical Counsellor.

Windischmann became professor of historical and systematic philosophy in Bonn. Parallel to this, he was awarded a professorship in the medical faculty, where he lectured on the encyclopaedia and history of medicine as well as on general pathology.

Windischmann then became involved in the dispute on Hermesianism, which he rejected as a Catholic philosopher. As this philosophical approach - initiated by Georg Hermes, who explored the possibility of a philosophical basis to theology - was debated in Rome, Windischmann was asked for a statement. His views on the matter contributed considerably to the later condemnation of Hermesianism.

Windischmann's later years were overshadowed by the deaths of several of his children (including one who was a professor of medicine in Löwen) and through his own physical suffering. His last literary act was to publish the "Philosophischen Vorlesungen" (philosophical lectures) by his late friend, Friedrich Schlegel.

Back to page: Who are the central figures of Romantic Anthropology

This page was designed by Uli Wunderlich, and translated by Adam Lawrence. Update: Manfred Engel. Please contact Prof. Dr. Manfred Engel if you have any questions.

FR 4.1 - Germanistik / Universität des Saarlandes
Last update:  2003-07-25 (me)