1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eschenmayer, Adam Karl August von

ESCHENMAYER, ADAM KARL AUGUST VON (1768–1852), German philosopher and physicist, was born at Neuenburg in Württemberg in July 1768. After receiving his early education at the Caroline academy of Stuttgart, he entered the university of Tübingen, where he received the degree of doctor of medicine. He practised for some time as a physician at Sulz, and then at Kirchheim, and in 1811 he was chosen extraordinary professor of philosophy and medicine at Tübingen. In 1818 he became ordinary professor of practical philosophy, but in 1836 he resigned and took up his residence at Kirchheim, where he devoted his whole attention to philosophical studies. Eschenmayer’s views are largely identical with those of Schelling, but he differed from him in regard to the knowledge of the absolute. He believed that in order to complete the arc of truth philosophy must be supplemented by what he called “non-philosophy,” a kind of mystical illumination by which was obtained a belief in God that could not be reached by mere intellectual effort (see Höffding, Hist. of Mod. Phil., Eng. trans. vol. 2, p. 170). He carried this tendency to mysticism into his physical researches, and was led by it to take a deep interest in the phenomena of animal magnetism. He ultimately became a devout believer in demoniacal and spiritual possession; and his later writings are all strongly impregnated with the lower supernaturalism.

His principal works are—Die Philosophie in ihrem Übergange zur Nichtphilosophie (1803); Versuch die scheinbare Magie des thierischen Magnetismus aus physiol. und psychischen Gesetzen zu erklären (1816); System der Moralphilosophie (1818); Psychologie in drei Theilen, als empirische, reine, angewandte (1817, 2nd ed. 1822); Religionsphilosophie (3 vols., 1818–1824); Die Hegel’sche Religionsphilosophie verglichen mit dem christl. Princip (1834); Der Ischariotismus unserer Tage (1835) (directed against Strauss’s Life of Jesus); Konflikt zwischen Himmel und Hölle, an dem Dämon eines besessenen Mädchens beobachtet (1837); Grundriss der Naturphilosophie (1832); Grundzüge der christl. Philosophie (1840); and Betrachtungen über den physischen Weltbau (1852).