Mendelssohn Moses

<biography, genetics, history of philosophy> German Jewish philosopher (1729-1786). Mendelssohn's arguments for the existence of god in Morgenstunden (Morning Hours) (1785) and defense of human immortality in his commentary on Plato's Ph”don (Phaedo) (1767) were greatly influential on his friends Lessing and Kant. Relying upon natural law theory to argue for religious toleration in Jeruaslem (1783), Mendelssohn expressed high hopes for political progress, but his intellectual life was often disturbed by growing German discrimination against Jews. His grandson, the composer Felix Mendelssohn, was raised as a Christian. Recommended Reading: Moses Mendelssohn, Philosophical Writings, tr. by Daniel O. Dahlstrom (Cambridge, 1997); Allan Arkush, Moses Mendelssohn and the Enlightenment (SUNY, 1994); Walter Hermann, Moses Mendelssohn, Critic and Philosopher (Ayer, 1973); and David Jan Sorkin, Moses Mendelssohn and the Religious Enlightenment (California, 1996).

[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]


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