Jacob Moleschott (9 August 1822 – 20 May 1893) was a Dutch physiologist and writer on dietetics. He is known for his philosophical views in regard to scientific materialism. He was a member of German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (since 1884).

Jacob Moleschott
Moleschott in 1892
Jacobus Albertus Willebrordus Moleschott

9 August 1822 (1822-08-09)
Died20 May 1893 (1893-05-21) (aged 70)
EducationHeidelberg University
Era19th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolGerman materialism[1]
InstitutionsHeidelberg University
University of Zürich
University of Turin
University of Rome
Main interests
Philosophy of science

Life edit

Born in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, Moleschott studied at Heidelberg University, where he obtained his PhD in 1845, and began the practice of medicine in Utrecht in 1845, but soon moved back to Heidelberg University, where he lectured on physiology starting in 1847. The university reprimanded Moleschott for various controversial statements made in his lectures, leading to his resignation in 1854. Next to Carl Vogt and Ludwig Büchner, Moleschott stood in the center of the public debates about materialism in Germany in the 1850s.[4]

He taught as a professor of physiology at Zürich (1856), at Turin (1861), and at Rome (1879), where he died.

Writings edit

Moleschott explained the origin and condition of animals by the working of physical causes. He was an atheist which led to his removal from teaching at the Heidelberg University.[5] His characteristic formulae were "no thought without phosphorus" and "the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile." His major works are:

  • Lehre der Nahrungsmittel. Für das Volk (Erlangen, 1850; 3rd edition, Erlangen, 1858)
  • Physiologie der Nahrungsmittel (1850; second edition, 1859)
  • Physiologie des Stoffwechsels in Pflanzen und Thieren (1851)
  • Der Kreislauf des Lebens (1852; fifth edition, 1887)
  • Untersuchungen zur Naturlehre des Menschen und der tiere (1856–93), continued after his death by Colosanti and Fubini
  • Sulla vita umana (1861–67), a collection of essays
  • Physiologisches Skizzenbuch (1861)
  • Consigli e conforti nei tempi di colera (1864; third edition, 1884)
  • Sull' influenza della luce mista e cromatica nell' esalazione di acido carbonico per l'organismo animale (1879), with Fubini
  • Kleine Schriften (1880–87), collected essays and addresses
  • Für meine Freunde (1894)

The Jacob Moleschoot fund is kept in the Archiginnasio of Bologna's public library.[6][7][8]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Owen Chadwick, The Secularization of the European Mind in the Nineteenth Century, Cambridge University Press, 1990, p. 165: "During the 1850s German ... scientists conducted a controversy known ... as the materialistic controversy. It was specially associated with the names of Vogt, Moleschott and Büchner" and p. 173: "Frenchmen were surprised to see Büchner and Vogt. ... [T]he French were surprised at German materialism".
  2. ^ John Powell, Derek W. Blakeley, Tessa Powell (eds.), Biographical Dictionary of Literary Influences: The Nineteenth Century, 1800-1914, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001, "Pavlov, Ivan Petrovich (1849–1936)."
  3. ^ Van Raak, Ronald. "'Eer de vergeten filosoof Jacob Moleschott'". Filosofie Magazine. Retrieved 15 July 2023.
  4. ^ Daum, Wissenschaftspopularisierung, pp. 210, 293–99, 355, 379, 415–6, 426, 443, 456–57, 503.
  5. ^ Harmke Kamminga (1995). The Science and Culture of Nutrition, 1840-1940. Rodopi. p. 31. ISBN 978-90-5183-818-3. Moleschott's atheism is much more prominent, for example, and he declares absurd Liebig's opinion that insights into the laws of nature inevitably lead us to the notion of a Being knowable only through revelation.
  6. ^ "Jacob Moleschott archive" (in Italian).
  7. ^ "Fondo speciale Jacob Moleschott" (in Italian).
  8. ^ Busi, Patrizia (September 1, 2011). "Moleschott in the Biblioteca dell'Archiginnasio in Bologna. History of the archivistic fund and ordinary criteria". Giornale Critico della Filosofia Italiana. 7 (3): 588. Retrieved May 18, 2021.

References edit

  • Andreas Daum, Wissenschaftspopularisierung im 19. Jahrhundert: Bürgerliche Kultur, naturwissenschaftliche Bildung und die deutsche Öffentlichkeit, 1848–1914. Munich: Oldenbourg, 1998, ISBN 3-486-56337-8, 2nd. edition 2002, including a short biography of Moleschott.
  • Fredrick Gregory: Scientific Materialism in Nineteenth Century Germany, Springer, 1977, ISBN 90-277-0760-X
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Moleschott, Jacob". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.

External links edit