Born in the small German town of Aurich, Rudolf Christoph Eucken (OY-kuhn) suffered many serious illnesses during his early childhood. Ammo, his father, was a postal worker and a mathematician who passed away while Rudolf was very young. Rudolf’s mother, Ida Maria, a deeply religious and self-educated woman, took in lodgers to provide for her family. She committed herself to seeing that Rudolf received a good education.
Although his primary interests were in mathematics and music, Eucken was persuaded by Wilhelm Reuter, one of his teachers at the gymnasium at Aurich, to study religion and philosophy. At the University of Göttingen, Eucken chose to study classical philosophy and ancient history and attended many lectures presented by the German philosopher Rudolph Hermann Lotze. During a period of study at the University of Berlin, Eucken learned fundamental interconnections among philosophy, history, and religion under the tutelage of Aristotelian philosopher Adolf Trendelenburg.
After earning his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Göttingen in 1866, Eucken taught high school for five years and was appointed a professor of philosophy at the University of Basel, in Switzerland, in 1871. He was named as the chair of philosophy at the University of Jena in 1874 and continued to work there until 1920. In 1882 he married Irene Passow. They raised two sons, Arnold Thomas and Walter, and one daughter.
In his earlier writings, Eucken had...
(The entire section is 606 words.)