Iselin, Isaak

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Iselin, Isaak


Born Mar. 7, 1728, in Basel; died there July 15, 1782. Swiss Enlightenment figure.

Iselin studied history and philosophy in Basel and Göttingen and helped found the Helvetic Society in 1761. His best-known work is the two-volume treatise History of Mankind, which was published in 1764. Iselin views history as a linear progression from lower to higher forms; bourgeois civilization, being the pinnacle of progress, was to guarantee mankind’s material well-being and happiness. Iselin believed that war was the main enemy of progress and that the primary goal of progress was the union of all peoples.


Träume eines Menschenfreundes, parts 1–2. Basel, 1776.


Gulyga, A. V. “Istoricheskie vzgliady nemetskikh prosvetitelei XVIII v.” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1963, no. 3.
Im Hof, U. Isaak Iselin, parts 1–2. Basel [1947].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.