KANT IN THE CLASSROOM     Materials to aid the study of Kant’s lectures

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Philosophy Faculty at Königsberg (18th century)

“In Königsberg there was at that time such a deplorable dryness and barbarity among the teachers.”

– J. G. Herder, as reported by Böttiger [1998]

1. Brief Descriptions of the Positions

2. Chronological Lists of the Full and Associate Professors

3. Graphs: Origin of the Philosophy Professors

4. Contemporary Accounts of the Professorate

The philosophy faculty at Königsberg during Kant’s day (and since the founding of the university in 1544) included at least eight “full professors” (ordentliche Professoren), that by the 18th century consisted of chairs in Logic and Metaphysics, Practical Philosophy, Rhetoric and History, Poetry, Greek Language, Oriental Languages, Mathematics, and Physics.  There were also various “associate professors” (außerordentliche Professoren), and an ever-fluctuating number of unsalaried lecturers (Privatdozenten).  The following are lists of full and associate professors in the philosophy faculty.

Brief biographies of these professors, as well as the many Privatdozenten teaching at Königsberg during the 18th century are available in the Biography pages; see also a timeline overview of the philosophy professors at Königsberg during the 18th century.

Daniel Arnoldt gives what appear to be exhaustive lists of the full and associate professors for each of the faculties at the university in Königsberg,[1] although lists for associate professors in the higher faculty begin at or shortly after the foundation of the university in 1544, while the philosophy list begins with Michael Gehrke, appointed in 1714, and ends with Georg David Kypke appointed in 1746, for a total of twenty-seven associate professors in philosophy [1746, ii.418-27].  There were forty associate professors listed in theology  [1746, ii.195-223], fifty-six in law [1746, ii.259-81], and forty in medicine [1746, ii.324-37].  Arnoldt claims that little is known of the associate professors in philosophy in the early years, mentioning only Georg Reimann (serving from 1596-1601 in oratory) and Levin Pouchenius (from 1621-1626 in metaphysics), and suggesting that this position was uncommon in the lower faculty until the 18th century [1746, i.172].  (A summary table of full professors in the German universities is available in the Universities pages.)

[1] See also a more summary history prepared in 1728 by Michael Lilienthal: “Kurtz-gefaßten Historie der Königsbergischen Academie” (in Erleutertes Preußen, vol. 4, pp. 157-185, 313-354, 577-608, 669-685, 717-823).  [Thanks to Werner Stark for this citation.]

Brief Descriptions [top]

Logic and Metaphysics: Arnoldt [1746, ii.379-87] lists seventeen full professors, the records beginning with an appointment in 1552 (called ‘dialectics’ at the time) and ending with J. D. Kypke.  Pisanski [1886, 529-30]: Rabe (1703-13), Boese (1713-19), Oelmann (1715-25), Rhode (1720-27), J. D.Kypke (1725-58), Teske (1728-29), Salthenius (1729-32), Knutzen (1734-51), F. J. Buck (1759-70), Kant (1770).  The full professor was to alternate public lectures on logic (summer) and metaphysics (winter).

Practical Philosophy: Arnoldt [1746, ii.387-92] lists eleven full professors, beginning with an appointment in 1592 and ending with J. A. Gregorovius.  Prior to that, ethics lectures were given by other faculty (e.g., the professor of Greek lecturing on Aristotle’s ethics).  The full professor was to alternate between public lectures on moral philosophy (summer) and natural law (winter)

Rhetoric and History: Arnoldt [1746, ii.396-9] lists five full professors of history, beginning with an appointment in 1618, and ending with C. Kowalewski.  History was orginally combined with rhetoric (as called for in the statutes), but from 1579 until 1615 was combined with practical philosophy, after which it was briefly taught by a law professor, before the appointment of Friedrich Wagner in 1618.  Finally an adjunct professor of medicine, Philipp Jacob Hartmann (1648-1707), gave up lecturing on history after being appointed the 3rd Full Prof. of Medicine in 1701, and the current full professor of rhetoric, Michael Schreiber (1662-1717), was given an extra 100 rthl. per year to add history to his offerings.  Thus rhetoric and history came back together in 1701 as they originally had been at the university [Arnoldt 1746, ii.396-9, 410, 467].  Arnoldt also provides a list of fifteen full professors of rhetoric (Beredsamkeit), beginning with the founding of the university [1746, ii.405-12].  This position also included instruction in Latin.  The full professor was to alternate between lecturing on universal history (summer) B.C. and A.D., while the associate professor was to teach geography.  In winter, the full professor was to teach Rhetoric, and here even the division of material during the week was prescribed [Arnoldt 1746, ii.347].

Poetry: Arnoldt [1746, ii.399-405] lists fifteen full professors, beginning with an appointment in 1559 (and ending with J. G. Bock), prior to which poetry was taught by other professors.  Every other year the professor was to offer a course on German poetry; otherwise, Latin poetry.

Greek Language: Arnoldt [1746, ii.364-72] lists twenty-three full professors since the founding of the university, and ending with Johann Behm.  The full professor was to offer public lectures on the entirety of the New Testament each year.

Oriental Languages: Arnoldt [1746, ii.357-64] lists fourteen full professors, beginning with an appointment in 1546 and ending with J. B. Hahn.

Mathematics: Arnoldt [1746, ii.372-79] lists fourteen full professors, beginning with an appointment in 1546 and ending with Christoph Langhansen.  According to the 1735 regulations, the full professor was to teach arithmetic and geometry one semester, and trigonomety and astronomy the next [Arnoldt 1746, ii.347], while the associate professor was to teach publicly each semester arithmetic and the essentials of geometry, to prepare the students to take courses from the full professor.

Physics: Arnoldt [1746, ii.392-6] lists three full professors of physics (Gottsched, von Sanden, Teske), beginning with Gottsched’s appointment in 1701, when it was given its own chair.  Up until that time, natural science was taught by professors in the medical faculty, although the statutes called for a separate chair [Arnoldt 1746, ii.393, 467].  The full professor was to alternate semesters between theoretical and experimental physics.

Temporary Professorships: Arnoldt [1746, ii.427] also lists several lecturers of modern languages from the early decades of the 18th century: Isaac Brand (French, 1699-1701), Paul Anton von Zanchi (French and Italian, 1715), and Amade Doland (French, 1716).

Chronological Lists of the Full and Associate Professors [top]

1. Logic and Metaphysics: Full [top]

1667-1703: Hedio, Andreas (d.1703)

1703-13: Rabe, Paul (d.1713)

1713-17: Boese, Johann (1715: absent)

1720-27: Rohde, Johann Jacob (d.1727)


1727-58: Kypke, Johann David (d.1758)




1759-70: Buck, Friedrich Johann (> Math.)

1770-1801: Kant, Immanuel (d.1804)

1805-9: Krug, Wilhelm Traugott (d.1842)

Associate [top]



1715-25: Oelmann, Heinrich (d.1725)

1719: Meyer, Johann Jacob (missing by 1720)?

1725-27: Kypke, Johann David (> Full Prof. of Logic and Metaphysics)

(1731): Suchland, Johann Bernhard (d.1734)[1]

1728-29: Teske, Johann Gottfried (> Full Prof. of Physics)

1729-32: Salthenius, Daniel (> Full Prof. of Theol.)

1732: Bock, Johann Georg (> Poetry)

1735-51: Knutzen, Martin (d.1751)

(1751): Gregorovius, Jr., Johann Adam (d.1760)

1800-18: Lehmann, Johann Friedrich Gottlieb (d.1821)

[1] Designated to the position, but never assumed it.

2. Practical Philosophy: Full [top]

1679-1729: Thegen, Georg (d.1729)

1726-28 (adjunct): Gregorovius, Sr., Johann Adam

1728-49: Gregorovius, Sr., Johann Adam (d.1749)

1749-80: Christiani, Karl Andreas (d.1780)

1781-1801: Kraus, Christian Jakob (d.1807)

Associate [top]

1717-26:[1] Gregorovius, Sr., Johann Adam (> F.P.)

1729-35:[2] Arnoldt, Daniel Heinrich (> Full Prof. of Theol.)

1735-49: Christiani, Karl Andreas (> Full Prof. of Practical Philosophy)

[1] This position was listed as an associate professorship of natural and international law.

[2] Pisanski [1886, 562] claims 1729-33, but Arnoldt is listed in the Lecture Catalog as offering a course of public lectures on natural law as a professor of practical philosophy from WS 1729/30 through WS 1734/35 (the last entry for him in the philosophy faculty) [Oberhausen/Pozzo 1999, 62-92].

3. Rhetoric and History: Full [top]

1690-1709: Schreiber, Michael (> Full Prof. of Theol.)

1710-35: Strimesius, Johann August (d.1744)


1735-52: Kowalewski, Coelestin (d.1771)


1752-55: Gütther, Christian Heinrich (d.1755)

1755-82: Werner, Jakob Friedrich (d.1782)

1782-1802: Mangelsdorff, Karl Ehregott Andreas (d.1802)

Associate [top]

1721-28: Arnd, Johann (d.1748)

1729-34: Kowalewski, Coelestin (> Full Prof. of Rhetorik)

1736-48: Danovius, Johann Friedrich (d.1748)

1749-78: Hahn, Jr., Johann Bernhard (d.1794)

1754: Werner, Jakob Friedrich (> Full Prof. of Rhetorik)

4. Poetry: Full [top]

1694-1717?: Georgi, Hieronymus (d.1717)

1718-33: Pietsch, Johann Valentin (d.1733)

1733-62: Bock, Johann Georg (d.1762)

1764-76: Lindner, Johann Gotthelf (d.1776)[1]

1777-84: Kreutzfeld, Johann Gottlieb (d.1784)

1784-1802: Mangelsdorff, Karl Ehregott Andreas (d.1802)

1803-12: Pörschke, Karl Ludwig (d.1812).

[1] The university was not given permission to replace Bock until August of 1764.

Associate [top]

1715-44: Burckhard, Thomas (d.1744)


1756-59: Watson, Matthias Friedrich (d.1805)

5. Greek Language: Full [top]

1685-1703: Rabe, Paul (> Full Prof. of Logic/Metaphysics)

1703-16: Segers, Johann Ernst (> retired)

1716-21: Gehrke, Michael (d.1721)

1721-53: Behm, Johann (d.1753) (+Full Prof. of Theo. since 1745)

1753-85: Bock, Friedrich Samuel (d.1785) (+Full Prof. of Theo. since 1754).

1787-1828?: Wald, Samuel Gottlieb (d.1828) (+Full Prof. of Theo. since 1793)

Associate [top]


1714-16: Gehrke, Michael (> Full Prof. of Greek)

1717-21: Behm, Johann (> Full Prof. of Greek)

1722-52: Gütther, Christian Heinrich (> Full Prof. of Rhetoric)

1752: Engelschmidt, Johann David (d.1761)[1]

[1] Does not appear in Oberhausen/Pozzo [1999].  He must not have ever taught as an Assoc. Prof.

6. Oriental Languages: Full [top]

1679-1715: Weger, Lorenz (d.1715)

1715-55: Hahn, Sr., Johann Bernhard (d.1755)



1755-79: Kypke, Georg David (d.1779)

1780-81: Diederichs, Johann Christian Wilhelm (d.1781)

1781-86: Koehler, Johann Bernhard (d.1802)

1787-1806: Hasse, Johann Gottfried (d.1806)

Associate [top]

1714: Hahn, Sr., Johann Bernhard (> Full Prof. of Oriental Languages)

1717-26: Wolf, Abraham (> Full Prof. of Theo.; d.1731)

1726-36: Lysius, Johann Heinrich (> Full Prof. of Theo.; d.1745)

1736-45: Rau, Joachim Justus (d.1745)

1746-55: Kypke, Georg David (> Full Prof. of Oriental Languages)

1770-73: Starck, Johann August (> Prof. at Mitau, 1777) (+Full Prof./Theo since 1774)

1794-1801: Rink, Friedrich Theodor (> Prof. at Danzig)

7. Mathematics: Full [top]

1690-1719: Blaesing, David (> Travel to England, 1697-99; d.1719)

1719-70: Langhansen, Christoph (+Full Prof. of Theology since 1725)



1770-86: Buck, Friedrich Johann (d.1786)

1787-1805: Schultz, Johann (> 1805)

Associate [top]

1716-19: Langhansen, Christoph (> Full Prof. of Mathematics)

1719-26: Rast, Georg Heinrich (d.1726)

(1727) Herrmann, Johann Christoph[1]

1730-49: Marquardt, Konrad Gottlieb (d.1749)

1752 (SS): Johannsen, Heinrich Wilhelm (d.1752)

1753-59: Buck, Friedrich Johann (> Full Prof. of Logic/Metaphysics)

1795-1807 [?]: Gensichen, Johann Friedrich (d.1807)

[1] Herrmann, born in Königsberg, was designated an associate professor of mathematics in 1727, but before assuming office was given the full professorship in mathematics and physics at Frankfurt/Oder, where he died March 28, 1733 [Arnoldt 1746, ii.422].

8. Physics: Full [top]

1701-04: Gottsched, Johann (d.1704)

1704-28: Sanden, Heinrich v. (d.1728) (+Full Prof. of Medicine since 1697)

1729-72: Teske, Johann Gottfried (d.1772)

1772-1806: Reusch, Carl Daniel (d.1806)

Associate [top]


1715-25: Fischer, Christian Gabriel (d.1751)


1731-53: Rappolt, Karl Heinrich (d.1753)

Temporary Professorships [top]

German Rhetoric: Full

1743-59: Flottwell, Coelestin Christian (d.1759)

Intellectual History: Associate

1724-50: Neufeldt, Christian Conrad (d.1750)

Antiquity: Associate

1739-50: Casseburg, Gottfried Bernhard (d.1750)

Church History & Oriental Languages: Associate

1713-18?: Deutsch, Christian (d.17??)

Temporary Professorships [top]

Full Professorships in Philosophy (without a designated area)

1725-31: Rogall, Georg Friedrich[1]  (> Theo.)

Associate Professorships in Philosophy (without a designated area)

1794-1803: Pörschke, Karl Ludwig[2] (> Poetry)

1795-??: Wlochatius, August Wilhelm (d.1815)[3]

[1] Rogall was made a Full Professor of Philosophy by order of the King in the fall of 1725 (without designation of the area in philosophy).

[2] Pörschke’s first public lecture was SS 1795 (Homer's Iliad), and he gave one public course of lectures each semester, although the topic appears wholly arbitrary, and were always courses that he would also teach privately during other semesters (aesthetics, Xenophon's Socratic Memorabilia, moral philosophy, aesthetics, history of philosophy, pedagogy, Horace, etc.).

[3] Wlochatius taught one public set of lectures each semester, almost always on logic (using Feder in 96/96, then Ebert, then Feder again in 98/99). He offered metaphysics publicly a few semesters (following Feder: 95, 02, and 02/03); and one semester he taught a course on pure mathematics (SS 1800). [This information comes from Oberhausen/Pozzo 1999, and so does not extend past 1803/04.]

Origin of the Philosophy Professors at Könïgsberg (18th century) [top]

These graphs indicate, in a rather rough way, the prior institutional affiliations of the philosophy professors at Königsberg during the 18th century, with respect to either their education or their previous employment.  The graph on the left includes staff who had trained at Königsberg – more than half, although this is shown to be in sharp decline by the end of the 18th century.  The graph on the right omits the Königsberg data, setting the contributions of the other schools into sharper relief.

Included are all individuals who taught in the philosophy faculty at Königsberg – either as lecturer or as professor – and for whom there is sufficient information regarding their previous affiliation.  Individuals are considered affiliated with another instutition if they either studied at, graduated from, or taught at the university (but counting at most one hit per individual per university). [N=107]

Origin of Königsberg Faculty (including Königsberg) Origin of Königsberg Faculty (excluding Königsberg)

Contemporary Accounts of the Professorate at Königsberg [top]

Contemporary accounts of Kant’s own lecturing and classroom presence may be found in the pages devoted to Kant’s Lectures.

Karl August Böttiger

Böttiger (1760-1835) was a diarist of late 18th century conversations in Weimar, and offers the following from J. G. Herder [bio], who had studied in Königsberg between 1762-1764:

In Königsberg there was at that time such a deplorable dryness and barbarity among the teachers.  Langhansen [bio], the senior court chaplain, was the most boring wind-bag and polemicist, and wholly unpalatable to Herder.  A certain Bock [bio] was Professor of ancient languages, a pitiful fellow, who analyzed the New Testament and at which Herder could last only an hour.  Otherwise, this Bock is a known author in several fields.  Kypke [bio] was also a professor of theology then,[1] but lived far out in the suburbs where he sold carrots and onions from his garden, and gave very unpalatable lectures on Genesis.  A certain Buck [bio] lectured on mathematics, but always only according to Wolff’s Anfangsgründen, and never more than that, although Herder nevertheless attended with great diligence, likewise with his physics, that he delivered quite clumsily.  In part the professors had to give such school-level lectures because the students were wholly unprepared.  The Albertinum [glossary] was there for the Poles, where the most hateful pennalism reigned, with the young fellows having to wait on the older ones.  And from this was the university populated.  Kant shone from the lectern, a god to all.  The Livland and Curland students attended only his lectures, as they pursued only fashionable studies.  But he spoke a lot of confusing things as well.  Herder could make use of his lectures only by noting the mainpoints in the classroom, and then setting out and re-working what he had heard in his own way once back home.  (See Herder’s judgment on Kant in his Letters on the Advancement of Humanity [see], which Schütz also excerpted in his Critique.)  But just this foundationless sophistry of Kant’s is what drove Herder to the Ancients, which was now his favorite subject, after literature.

In Königsberg war damals auch eine jämmerliche Trokkenheit und Barbarey unter den Lehrern.  Langhansen, der Oberhofprediger, war der langweiligste Saalbader und Polemiker, u. Herdern durchaus ungenießbar.  Ein gewisser Bock war Prof[essor] der alten Sprachen, ein erbärmlicher Hecht, der das Neue Testament voranalysierte, u. bei welchem es Herder nur eine Stunde aushalten konnte.  Dieser Bock ist übrigens doch als Schriftsteller in einigen Fächern bekant.  Kypke war damals auch Prof[essor] der Theologie, wohnte aber weit drausen in der Vorstadt, wo er Mohrrü- [125] ben und Zwiebeln aus seinem Garten verkaufte, und über die Genese ein sehr ungenießbares Collegium laß.  Ein gewisser Buck laß Mathematik, aber immer nur nach Wolfs Anfangsgründen, und nie drüber hinaus, indeß hörte ihn Herder doch mit großem Fleise, so wie auch die Physik, die äuserst plump vorgetragen wurde.  Zum Theil mußten die Professoren so schülermäßig Collegia lesen, weil die Zuhörer äuserst unvorbereitet waren.  Da war das Albertinum für die Polen, wo der häßlichste Pennalismus herschte, und die kleinen Buben den großen aufwarten mußten.  Von diesem Collegium wurde nun die Universität bevölkert.  Vor allen ein Gott stralte damals schon Kant auf dem Katheder.  Bei ihm allein hörten auch die Livländer und Curländer, die nur galante Studien trieben.  Aber er sprach viel konfuses Zeug untereinander.  Herder konnte seinen vortrag nur dadurch sich nützlich machen, daß er sich in den Collegien die Hauptpunkte anmerkte, und nunn das Gehörte zu Hause auf seine eigene Weise ausspann und verarbeitete.  (S[iehe] Herders Urtheil über Kant in den Humanitätsbriefen, das auch Schütz in seiner Kritik ausgezogen hat.)  Aber eben die grundlose Sophisterei Kants trieb Herdern unwiderstehlich zu den Alten, die nun sein Lieblingsstudium wurden nebst der Literatur. [Böttiger 1992, 124-25]

[1] Georg David Kypke was the full professor of oriental languages.  While he lectured on the Old Testament, he never held a professorship in theology.  He did, however, sell vegetables from his garden.

Gottlieb Schlegel

In his book Sum of Experiences and Observations, for the Promotion of Studies in the Schools and Universities (11786, 21790), the Königsberg theologian Gottlieb Schlegel (1739-1810)[bio], who had studied at Königsberg from 1755-63, followed by a few years of lecturing, gives the following sketch of Georg David Kypke [bio]:

The former professor of oriental languages, George David Kypke of Königsberg, [...], lectured for about thirty years on the then-favorite textbook for logic and metaphysics by M. Baumeister [bio], the subsequent rector at Görlitz.  Here he gave so many evaluations of the explanations and the proofs, and made such use of older and more recent philosophers, that his students were motivated to research and awakened to their own studying.  In this manner did he also conduct his courses on philology.  He was in general a sharp, often satirical critic.  He had written out the main content of his lectures, although not word for word; but he did not stray far from this – he was not especially verbose.  Of the sciences on which he lectures, even before the clarification of the Hebrew grammar, he would give a literary introduction.  His methods in the languages were so facilitating, as it always should be with new teachers.  When he lectured on the English language, he would first read something in English a few times.  We would have to repeat it, and here he would name for each letter the reason for its pronunciation, and indicate the grammatical rule.

Der ehemalige gelehrte Professor der morgenländischen Sprachen, George David Kypke zu Königsberg, [...], las vor etwa dreyßig Jahren über das damals beliebte logische und metaphysische Compendium des M. Baumeisters, nachmaligen Rectors zu Görlitz. Er brachte aber dabey so viele Beurtheilung der Erklärungen und der Beweise, so viele Nutzung älterer und neuerer Philosophen an, daß seinen Zuhörern der Trieb zum Forschen und eignen Studiren lebhaft erreget ward. Auf diese Weise verfuhr er auch in den philologischen Lehrstunden. Er war überhaupt ein scharfer, oft satyrischer Kunstrichter. Den Hauptinhalt seiner Vorlesungen hatte er aufgeschrieben, doch nicht mit allen Worten; aber er schweifte auch nie ab, er war nie zu wortreich. Vor der Wissenschaft, die er las, selbst vor der Erklärung der hebräischen Grammatik, setzte er eine litterarische Einleitung. Seine Methode in den Sprachen war so erleichternd, als der neuen Pädagogen nur immer seyn mag. Als er über die englische Sprache eine Vorlesung hielte, las er zuerst ein Paar Male etwas Englisches vor. Wir mußten es nachlesen, und hierauf nannte er von jedem Buchstaben die Ursache der Aussprache, und zeigte die Regeln an, die in den Grammars aufgestellt sind. [Schlegel 1790, 223]