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Karl Jaspers

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Philosopher

The Resume

    (February 23, 1883-February 26, 1969)
    Born in Oldenburg, Germany
    Psychologist and existential humanist philosopher
    Wrote 'General Psychopathology, Vols. 1 and 2' (1913), 'Psychology of World Views' (1919), 'Philosophy' (3 vols., 1932), 'Man in the Modern Age' (1933), 'The Question of German Guilt' (1947), 'Reason and Anti-Reason in Our Time' (1950), 'The Origin and Goal of History' (1953), 'Reason and Existence' (1955), 'Great Philosophers' (1957), 'The Atom Bomb and the Future of Mankind' (1958), and 'The Future of Germany' (1967)

Why he might be annoying:

    He was taken by surprise when Hitler became Chancellor, having assumed the Nazi movement would destroy itself from within.
    He disliked being classified as an existentialist.
    He reacted to the poor reception of 'The Future of Germany' in his homeland by returning his passport and taking Swiss citizenship.
    He died on his wife's 90th birthday. (That must have put a damper on the celebration.)

Why he might not be annoying:

    He was married to Gertrud Meyer for 58 years.
    The Nazis banned him from teaching and publishing because his wife was Jewish.
    He refused an opportunity to emigrate to Switzerland during World War II because the Nazis insisted that his wife stay behind in Germany.
    As a member of the Allies' White List of politicians and intellectuals untainted by Naziism, he was placed in charge of reopening the University of Heidelberg after the war.
    He was an early mentor to Hannah Arendt.

Credit: C. Fishel


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