The New International Encyclopædia/Jacobi, Friedrich Heinrich

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JACOBI, Friedrich Heinrich (1743-1819). A German philosopher. He was born at Düsseldorf, January 25, 1743, and was educated at Frankfort and Geneva with a view to preparing himself for a mercantile career, which he began in 1762. In 1772 he was appointed councilor of finance for the duchies of Berg and Jülich, and having married a woman of wealth was enabled to devote himself to literary pursuits. In 1794 he moved to Holstein, and in 1804 to Munich, where he had been appointed a member of the newly instituted Academv of Sciences, of which he became president in 1807. He died on March 10, 1819. His writings consist partly of romances and partly of philosophical treatises. The principal are Woldemar (2 vols., 1779) and Eduard Allwills Briefsammlung (1781), both philosophical romances which attracted much attention in their day, but have now no claim to special recognition, while his philosophical work has still considerable interest. Ueber die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen an Mendelssohn (Breslau, 1785) is a polemic against logical methods of speculation in the search after the higher class of truths; and David Hume über den Glauben, oder Idealismus und Realismus (Breslau, 1787) continues the polemic and makes an attempt to demonstrate that the mind or nature of man possesses another faculty — viz. faith or intuition — by which the higher truths are as firmly grasped and in the same way as the material world is grasped by it, since sense is incompetent to witness to the independent reality of that world. His collected works appeared at Leipzig (6 vols., 1812-24). Consult: Kuhn, Jacobi und die Philosophie seiner Zeit (Mainz, 1834); Fricker, Die Philosophie des Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (Augsburg, 1854); Zirngiebl, F. H. Jacobis Leben, Dichtungen und Denken (Vienna, 1867); Harms, Ueber die Lehre von F. H. Jacobi (Berlin, 1876); Holtzmann, Ueber Eduard Allwills Briefsammlung (Jena, 1878); Lévy-Bruhl, “Jacobi et le Spinosisme,” in Revue Philosophique (Paris, 1894); id., La philosophie de Jacobi (ib., 1894).