Wolff, Christian von

Wolff or Wolf, Christian von krĭsˈtyän fən vôlf [key], 1679–1754, German philosopher. One of the first to use the German language instead of Latin, he systematized and popularized the doctrines of Leibniz. Wolff studied at Jena and taught at Leipzig before going to a professorship at Halle (1706–23). His doctrines of apparent fatalism aroused the Pietists to secure his banishment, which he spent as professor at Marburg (1723–40). Recalled to Halle by Frederick the Great in 1740, he became chancellor of the university in 1743. One of Wolff's major works was Vernünftige Gedanken von Gott, der Welt, und der Seele der Menschen [rational thoughts on God, the world, and the souls of men] (1719). The Leibnizian doctrine of preestablished harmony was more prominent than the monad theory in Wolff's presentation, though both were considerably moderated. He is chiefly remembered for his broad concept of philosophy, his insistence on clarity and precision, and his devotion to the power of reason and mathematics.

See study by J. V. Burns (1966).

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