Christian Wolff


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Wolff, Christian

 

Born Jan. 24, 1679, in Breslau; died Apr. 9, 1754, in Halle. German philosopher; representative of rationalism. Professor of mathematics and philosophy at Halle (1706-23 and from 1740) and Marburg (1723-40), where M. V. Lomonosov was among those who attended his lectures.

Wolff was mainly a popularizer and systematizer of the ideas of G. Leibniz; on the basis of these ideas he strove to work out a unified and all-encompassing system of knowledge. Wolff believed that physics studies bodies—“simple substances” whose motion is explained by mechanical causality; that pneumatology studies the activity of spirits; mathematics, the magnitude of objects; ethics, natural law; and politics, the will as a property of the soul. The task of First Philosophy (or ontology) was to apprehend the universal connection of all spiritual and corporeal essences; Wolff interpreted this connection as being aimed at the fulfillment of that which exists, which was predetermined by god. Reducing the beautiful to intellectual introspection of sensory perception, Wolff gave impetus to the formulation of aesthetics (A. Baumgarten was one of his students). Wolff divided psychology into empirical and rational branches; the first examines the soul from the point of view of its connection with the body, while the second is concerned with the unchangeable, immortal soul. Wolff was a proponent of enlightened absolutism. As a follower of H. Grotius, he defended the theory of natural law; Wolff wrote a number of works on international public law. The philosophy of Wolff and his school was dominant in German universities until the appearance of the “critical philosophy” of Kant and was also widespread in other countries. Wolffs works in German did much to determine German philosophical terminology.

WORKS

In Russian translation:
Razumnye mysli o silakh chelovecheskogo razuma i ikh ispravnom upotreblenii v poznanii pravdy. St. Petersburg, 1765.

REFERENCES

Istoriia filosofii, vol. 3. Moscow, 1943. Pages 13-16.
Utitz, E. Chr. Wolff. Halle, 1929.
Campo, M. Chr. Wolff e il razionalismo precritico, vols. 1-2. Milan, 1939.
Schöffler, H. Deutsche s Geistesleben zwischen Reformation und Aufklärung von M. Opitz zu Chr. Wolff, 2nd ed. Frankfurt am Main, 1956.

B. S. RABBOT

References in periodicals archive ?
(69) Christian Wolff, Philosophia rationalis sive logica, Christian Wolff, Gesammelte Werke, sec.
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The author suggests that her view is best understood as dualism, a two-substance metaphysics that puts du Chatelet quite close to Christian Wolff.
Their topics include from radical Reformation to mystical pre-Enlightenment, Chinese ethics within the radical enlightenment of Christian Wolff, gender in Rousseau's Julie ou La Nouvelle Heloise and its German reception: radical or moderate, Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel's Cber die Ehe and Cber die b'rgerliche Verbesserung der Weiber: moderate and radical contexts, and metaphors of spatial storage in Enlightenment historiography and the 18th-century magazine.
Hijmans then played another solo work by Christian Wolff, virtually the sole surviving member of the experimental music movement that gained some ground in the 1950s under the mentorship of the legendary John Cage (1912-1992).
Christian Wolff's natural law theory was founded on his rationalist philosophy and metaphysics, which were strongly influenced by the philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
THE ACCOUNTANT (15) CHRISTIAN WOLFF (Ben Affleck, right) investigates embezzlement, insider trading and other financial irregularities in criminal enterprises.
CHRISTIAN WOLFF (Ben Affleck) meticulously investigates embezzlement, insider trading and other financial irregularities in criminal enterprises.
Actually, Christian Wolff is more than just autistic: he's a Denzel Washington role, not just good with numbers but a sharp-shooter and lethal weapon who can kill a man with a single kick to the head.
Affleck plays high-functioning accountant Christian Wolff who's called in by a CEO (John Lithgow) to trace a missing $70million.
Christian Wolff (Affleck) appears like a typical accountant, belying the fact that he's actually well-versed in a number of fighting styles.

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