Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi


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German philosopher and friend of Hamann, Herder, Lessing, and Goethe. Jacobi was a notable early critic of Kant, and indeed of the Enlightenment in general, which he believed led only to atheism and nihilism (a term he originally coined). He held that ordinary empirical or scientific reasoning did no more than collect together empirical fact; it cannot touch the essential nature of things, which is given by revelation or faith. His most significant works are Üeber die Lehre der Spinoza (1785; enlarged edn., 1789); David Hume: über den Glauben, oder Idealismus und Realismus (1787). Jacobi also had a celebrated quarrel, the Pantheismusstreit with Moses Mendelssohn over the question of Lessing's adherence to Spinozism.

Subjects: Literature.

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