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Christian Garve

Christian Garve (7 January 1742 in Breslau (now WrocŇāaw, Poland) ‚Äď 1 December 1798 in Breslau) was one of the best-known philosophers of the late Enlightenment along with Immanuel Kant and Moses Mendelssohn.



Christian Garve was born into a family of manual workers and died aged 56 in his parental home. He studied in Frankfurt an der Oder and Halle (Saale). In 1766 he gained his Master's degree in philosophy. From 1770 until 1772 he was Extraordinary Professor of mathematics and logic in Leipzig. From 1772 he was in Breslau, where he was active as a bookseller. The greatest part of his life was however spent staying with his mother in Breslau. In this city he also became a member of the Masonic Lodge "Friedrich zum goldenen Zepter" ("Frederick with the Golden Scepter").

Garve became well-known particularly for his intensive activity as a translator (producing versions of, e.g., Cicero's De Officiis and Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations). He composed psychological, moral and economic texts and reviews for the Neue Bibliothek der sch√∂nen Wissenschaften und der freyen K√ľnste ("New Library of the Beautiful Sciences and Free Arts"). He was strongly marked by the influence of the English and Scottish Enlightenment as well as Stoic ethics. He never formulated his essentially empirical philosophy in terms of a system, publishing his thought in the form of remarks and essays. As a result he was reproached for being merely a shallow Popularphilosoph (popular philosopher), a reputation he has retained.

Of interest is his engagement with Immanuel Kant, which was initiated by a review of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in the Göttinger Gelehrten Anzeigen ("Göttingen Learned Advertiser") which had been shortened by the Göttingen philosopher Johann Georg Heinrich Feder. Kant felt himself to have been misunderstood. When the original, longer review was published by Garve in the Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek ("General German Library"), it still attracted Kant's censure. Kant consequently wrote his own Anti-Garve. This program in time expanded into Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics That Will Be Able to Present Itself as a Science. The intellectual engagement between Kant and Garve extended up to Garve's death in 1798.

Edition of Garve's works

  • Gesammelte Werke, ed. K. W√∂lfel, 15 vols. completed, 1985-

Garve's translations

External links



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