Karl Löwith

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Löwith, Karl


Born Jan. 9, 1897, in Munich. German idealist philosopher. Professor at the universities of Marburg (1928–36) and Tokyo (1936–41). From 1941 to 1952 he worked in the USA and from 1952 at the University of Heidelberg.

Löwith’s philosophical views were formed under the influence of Nietzsche’s “philosophy of life,” the phenomenology of the later Husserl, and, particularly, Heidegger’s existential philosophy. Lowith subsequently broke with Heidegger because of Heidegger’s accommodation with fascism in the first half of the 1930’s.

In his chief work From Hegel to Nietzsche (1941), Lówith attempted to show the philosophical sources of Marxism, Nietzscheanism, and existentialism. According to Löwith’s idealist conception, Hegel’s system brought the “epoch of spirit” in bourgeois spiritual development to its ultimate conclusion and exerted a decisive influence upon the subsequent development that brought the “bourgeois-Christian” world to an end and that took the form of Marxism, on the one hand, and existentialism, on the other. Since the 1950’s, Lowith has become increasingly concerned with the philosophy of history.


Kierkegaard und Nietzsche. Frankfurt am Main, 1933.
Heidegger: Denker in dürftiger Zeit. Stuttgart, 1953.
Weltgeschichte und Heilsgeschehen, 3rd ed. Zürich [1957].
Wissen, Glaube und Skepsis [2nd ed.]. Göttingen, 1958.
Gesammelte Abhandlungen: Zur Kritik der geschichtlichen Existenz. [Stuttgart, 1960.]
Die Hegelsche Linke. Stuttgart, 1962.
Gott, Mensch und Welt in der Metaphysik von Descartes bis zu Nietzsche. Göttingen, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.