Seneca in Königsberg: een analyse van Kants Gedanken bei dem frühzeitigen Ableben des Herrn Johann Friedrich von Funk
Faculty of Arts. Philosophy
Bijdragen: tijdschrift voor filosofie en theologie = Bijdragen: international journal in philosophy and theology = Bijdragen: revue internationale de philosophie et théologie
, p. 87-114
University of Antwerp
Recalling some recent publications (by Ulrike Santozki and Reinhard Brandt) on the influence of the Stoics on the development of Kants thought, this article intends to contribute to the knowledge of Kants appreciation of ancient authors by revealing the carefully hidden and hitherto unnoticed presence of Seneca behind one of Kants most peculiar pre-critical writings: Gedanken bei dem frühzeitigen Ableben des Hernn Johann Friedrich von Funk (1760). Kant not only appears to model this Trostschreiben on Senecas famous consolationes; it is also shown that he is constantly alluding to various philosophical writings of Seneca (one of his most favourite authors) such as De vita beata, De brevitate vitae, De tranquilitate animi, ad Polybium de consolatione, and especially ad Marciam de consolatione. In conclusion it is suggested that the results of this analysis not only reaffirm Kants profound acquaintance with Seneca (among others) and shed more light on the Kantian style in his popular writings, but can also have some importance for Kants (intellectual) biography.