Karl Löwith

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Karl Löwith (January 9, 1897May 26, 1973) was a German philosopher, a student of Heidegger.


  • When one of Feuerbach’s friends attempts to get him an academic position, Feuerbach writes to him: “The more people make of me, the less I am, and vice versa. I am … something only so long as I am nothing.” Hegel felt himself free in the midst of bourgeois restriction. For him, it was by no means impossible as an ordinary official … to be something and at the same time be himself. … In the third epoch of the spirit, that is, since the beginning of the “modern” world, he says … philosophers no longer comprise a separate class; they are what they are, in perfectly ordinary relationship to the state: officially appointed teachers of philosophy. Hegel interprets this transformation as the “reconciliation of the worldly principle with itself.” It is open to each and every one to construct his own “inner world” independent of the force of circumstances which has materialized. The philosopher can now entrust the “external” side of his existence to the “order,” just as the modern man allows fashion to dictate the way he will dress. … The important thing, Hegel concludes, is “to remain true to one’s purpose” within the context of the normal life of a citizen. To be free for truth and at the same time dependent on the state—to him, these two things seemed quite consistent with each other.
    • From Hegel to Nietzsche, D. Green, trans. (1964), pp. 68-69.

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