Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Karl Joseph Hieronymus Windischmann

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 15
Karl Joseph Hieronymus Windischmann

by Friedrich Lauchert


Philosopher, b. at Mainz, 25 August, 1775; d. at Bonn, 23 April, 1839. He attended the gymnasium at Mainz, and in 1772 took the course in philosophy at he university there. He continued this course at Wurzburg, where he also studied the natural sciences and medicine until 1796. After a year at Vienna he settled in 1797 as a practising physician at Mainz, where he also gave medical lectures. In 1801 the Elector of Mainz, Friedrich Karl Joseph, summoned him to Aschaffenburg as court physician. In 1803 Windischmann became professor of philosophy and history at the institute for philosophy and theology at Aschaffenburg, and in 1818 was appointed professor of philosophy and medicine at the University of Bonn. He took an active part against Hermesianism in the University of Bonn, and when the investigation of Hermesianism began at Rome he was one of the German scholars directed to draw up opinions. The first part of his report was sent to Rome in June, 1834, the second part in March, 1835; the Hermesians consequently attributed to Windischmann a large share in the condemnation of their views.

In his earlier years Windischmann's philosophy, as shown in his work "Ideen zur Physik" (I, Wurzburg and Bamberg, 1805), was a pantheistic mysticism entirely under the influence of Schelling's philosophy of nature. He believed, however, that he could unite it with Christianity. But gradually he worked his way into a positive Christian philosophy. In his chief work, "Die Philosophie im Fortgang der Weltgeschichte", he planned to present the history of philosophy in connection with a positive Christian philosophy of history, although this latter, it must be said, was influenced by Hegel. But the work was not finished; its four volumes (Bonn, 1827-34) only treated China and Japan. Among his other writings are: "Untersuchungen über Astrologie, Alchimie und Magic" (Frankfort, 1813); "Ueber Etwas, das der Heilkunft Noth thut" (Leipzig, 1824), in which he opposed the materialistic tendency in medical science, and sought to combine the science with Christian philosophy; "Das Gericht des Herrn uber Europa (Frankfort, 1814); "Ueber den Begriff der christl. Philosophie" (Bonn, 1823). He wrote supplementary treatises for Leiber's translation ("Abendstunden zu St. Petersburg", Frankfort, 1824) of De Maistre. His last work was the editing of Friedrich von Schlegel's "Philosophische Vorlesungen" (Bonn, 1836-37).

Windischmann's biography was written by his son FRIEDRICH WINDISCHMANN, Aus dem Leben eines Katholiken in Histor. polit. Blatter, V (1840), 257-269, 343-365; LAUCHERT in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, XL, 420-422; WERNER, Gesch. der kathol. Theologie (Munich, 1866), 413-14, 436-40.

Friedrich Lauchert.