Translator's summary and notes: Karl Jaspers (1883–1969) argues that modern advances in the natural sciences and in technology have exerted transforming influence on the art of clinical medicine and on its ancient Hippocratic ideal, even though Plato's classical argument about slave physicians and free physicians retains essential relevance for the physician of today.Medicine should be rooted not only in science and technology, but in the humanity of the physician as well. Jaspers thus shows how, within the mind of every medical (...) person, the researcher contests with the physician and the technician with the humanist. (shrink)
Nietzsche claimed to be a philosopher of the future, but he was appropriated as a philosopher of Nazism. His work inspired a long study by Martin Heidegger and essays by a host of lesser disciples attached to the Third Reich. In 1935, however, Karl Jaspers set out to "marshall against the National Socialists the world of thought of the man they had proclaimed as their own philosopher." The year after publishing Nietzsche , Jaspers was discharged from his professorship at Heidelberg (...) University by order of the Nazi leadership. Jaspers does not fall into the same trap as idealogues do, citing bits and pieces from Nietzsche's work to reinforce already held opinions. Instead, he openly shows the wide range of Nietzsche's views, including his endorsement of wars and warriors, his prophecies of world struggle and "new masters," and the cruel arrogance of the supermen. Yet Jaspers finds Nietzsche's philosophy to be extraordinary not only because he foresaw all the monstrosities of the twentieth century, but also because he saw through them. "The appearance which Nietzsche's work presents can be expressed figuratively: it is as though a mountain wall had been dynamited the rock, already more or less shaped, conveys the idea of a whole. But the building for the sake of which the dynamiting seems to have been done has not been erected. However, the fact that the work lies about like a heap of ruins does not appear to conceal its spirit from the one who happens to have found the key to the possibilities of construction for him, many fragments fit together. But not unambiguously many functionally suitable pieces are present in numerous, only slightly varied repetitions, others reveal themselves as precious and unique forms, as though each were meant to furnish a cornerstone somewhere or a keystone for an arch." -- Karl Jaspers, from the introduction. (shrink)
Karl Jaspers died in 1969, leaving unfinished his universal history of philosophy, a history organized around those philosophers who have influenced the course of human thought. The first two volumes of this work appeared in Jasper's lifetime the third and fourth have been gathered from the vast material of his posthumous papers. This is the fourth volume. Following his original plan of "promoting the happiness that comes of meeting great men and sharing in their thoughts," Jaspers discusses Descartes, a pious (...) Catholic who vacillated between rational philosophy and obedience to authority. Lessing, whose thought was clear, open-ended, experimental, hones. Pascal. Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Weber, who posed most penetratingly and urgently the "radical questionability of human Existenz." Marx was a dogmatic dreamer, and Einstein a great scientist, but limited in his insight into human existence. Jasper's method is personal, one of constant questioning and struggle, as he enters into dialogue iwth his "eternal contemporaries," the thinkers of the past. For he believes that it is only through communication with others that we come to ourselves and to wisdom. (shrink)
In 1910, Karl Jaspers wrote a seminal essay on morbid jealousy in which he laid the foundation for the psychopathological phenomenology that through his work and the work of Hans Gruhle and Kurt Schneider, among others, would become the ...