Eduard Von Hartmann, a German philosopher, born in Berlin, Feb. 23, 1840. He was educated at the gymnasium in Berlin, and subsequently at the school of artillery. He became an officer in 1861; but having hurt his foot accidentally in the following year, and an incurable disease setting in, he has since been almost entirely confined to his room. Devoting himself to literary pursuits, he has published several philosophical works, and among them Die Philosophie des Unbewussten (Berlin, 18G9; 5th ed., 1873), by which he has gained a place among the foremost thinkers of the age. He contends that philosophy must seek corroboration from results inductively obtained in the physical sciences. He assumes that there is in nature an unconscious will and idea as a pure and spiritual activity, without a substratum of nerve or brain, which is the basis of consciousness. The same unconsciousness he finds in spirit, in the human instinct, sexual love, emotions, morals, (esthetics, and thought, in the development of language, sensual perceptions, mysticism, and history.
His metaphysics teach that unconsciousness is the last principle of philosophy, described by Spinoza as substance, by Fichte as the absolute I, by Schelling as the absolute subject-object, by Plato and Hegel as the absolute idea, and by Schopenhauer as the will. The attributes of the unconscious spirit are will and idea, and the world is the product of both. He affirms that it is neither possible for Hegel's "logical idea" to attain to reality without will, nor for Schopenhauer's " irrational will" to determine itself to prototypal ideas; and he demands, therefore, that both be conceived as coordinate and equally legitimate, principles, which after the precedent of Schelling are to be thought of as functions of one and the same functioning essence. The end of development is the turning back of volition into non-volition, which is attained by means of the greatest possible intensification of consciousness, resulting in the emancipation of the idea from the will. Among Hartmann's minor publications are several poetical productions.