Rudolf Christoph Eucken Additional Biography

Biography

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...

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Bibliography

Booth, Meyrick. Rudolf Eucken: His Philosophy and Influence. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1913. Contains an overview of Eucken’s life, focusing on his idealistic philosophy of life and his profound influence on other philosophers.

Gibson, William Ralph Boyce. Rudolf Eucken’s Philosophy of Life. 2d ed. London: A. and C. Black, 1907. Documents the works of Eucken and his approach to the philosophy of life. Includes an appendix that discusses his philosophy, known as activism, as well as a list of his most important publications.

Hermann, Emily. Eucken and Bergson: Their Significance for Christian Thought. Boston: Pilgrim Press, 1913. Explores the contributions of Eucken and Henri Bergson to idealistic, religious, ethical philosophical thinking and the impact of their thinking on Christian behavior.

Jones, William Tudor. An Interpretation of Rudolf Eucken’s Philosophy. 3d ed. London: Williams and Norgate, 1912. Contains many valuable insights into the philosophical ideas of Eucken. Contains a complete list of his works.