Authorised form of nameWolff; Christian (1679 - 1754); Freiherr von
Other forms of nameJaen Christian
Other forms of surnameWolfius
Dates1679 - 1754
Place of birthBreslau, Germany
Date of birth24 January 1679
Place of deathHalle/Saale, Germany
Date of death09 April 1754
OccupationAuthor, mathematical and philosophical
Research fieldMathematics
Taught mathematics in Leipzig and Giessen; Professor of Mathematics at Halle (1707), but became increasingly interested in philosophy, which he saw as a superior science to mathematics and history; banished by King Frederick William I of Prussia and fled to Marburg (1723); summoned back by King Frederick II, who had read a French translation of his works, and received a hero's welcome (1740)
Academie Royale des Sciences

From Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy:
'Christian Wolff (1679–1754), also known as Christian von Wolfius, was a Rationalist philosopher of the German Enlightenment. His corpus includes over 26 titles, spanning more than 42 quarto volumes, with contributions primarily in the areas of mathematics and philosophy. He is often regarded as the central historical figure who links the philosophical systems of Leibniz and Kant. Although Wolff's influence was largely isolated to German schools and universities during and shortly after his lifetime, he did receive some international acclaim. He was a nonresident member of all four major European scientific academies: the Royal Society of London in 1709; the Berlin Academy in 1711; the St Petersburg Academy in 1725; and the Paris Academy in 1733. To his credit, he is the first philosopher recognized to furnish Germans with a complete system of philosophy in their own language (Beck 1969, 274).

According to Kant, in the “Preface” to the Critique of Pure Reason (2nd ed), Wolff is “the greatest of all dogmatic philosophers.” Wolff's “strict method” in science, Kant explains, is predicated on “the regular ascertainment of principles, the clear determination of concepts, the attempt at strictness in proofs, and the prevention of audacious leaps in inferences” (Kant, 1998, 120). Like many other philosophers of the Modern period, such as Descartes, Hobbes, and Spinoza, Wolff believed the method of mathematics, if properly applied, could be used to expand other areas of human knowledge. Perhaps more so than any of his contemporaries, Wolff took this style of exposition to an extreme. A familiar criticism of Wolff, even in his own lifetime, is that his works are long-winded and often involve overly complicated demonstrations. Arguably, Wolff's most direct impact on the history of western philosophy resides not in any one of his own particular works, but rather on the influence he had on the German undergraduate university curriculum. The more notable beneficiaries of the Wolffian systematization of philosophy include the early Kant, Alexander Baumgarten (1714–1762), Samuel Formey (1711–1797), Johann Christoph Gottsched (1700–1766), Martin Knutzen (1713–1751), Georg Friedrich Meier (1718–1777), and Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786).'
[ ]
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election08/11/1710
ProposerJohn Woodward
Bulloch's Roll: DBE
Name form from DBE and LC catalogue (changed 07 January 2002)
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA805
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
LBO/19/249Copy of a circular from Cromwell Mortimer, London, to Christian WolffNovember 1731
CLP/10iii/45Letter, regarding multiplying grain from J [John] Eames to [John] Machin4 March 1729
EL/W3/148Letter, from Christian Wolff [to the Royal Society], dated at Marburg30 April 1729
EL/W3/147Letter, from Christian Wolff to William Rutty, dated at Marburg7 November 1728
EL/W3/149Translation of a letter, from Christian Wolff to William Rutty1731
EL/W4/7Translation of a letter, from Christian Wolff to William Rutty, dated at Marpurg1731
EL/W3/152Translation of a letter, from Christian Wolff to Cromwell Mortimer, dated at Marburg1732
EL/W4/6Letter, from Christian Wolff to William Rutty3 March 1731
EL/W3/150Letter, from Christian Wolff to William Rutty, dated at Marburg26 May 1731
EL/W3/151Letter, from Christian Wolff to Cromwell Mortimer, dated at Marburg4 September 1732
RBO/16/64'An Account of an uncommon Death' in a letter from Christopher Wolff to the late William Rutty1731
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