He was born at Zerbst, and studied philosophy and theology at Göttingen and Berlin until 1815. In 1824 he became extraordinary professor of philosophy at Berlin, later transferring to Kiel, where he occupied the chair of philosophy from 1833 to 1837. He then accepted a similar position at the University of Göttingen, where he remained till his death.
His chief work was a history of philosophy (Geschichte der Philosophie) published in twelve volumes at Hamburg from 1829 to 1853. This book was the product of a wide and thorough knowledge of the subject aided by an impartial critical faculty, and its value was underscored by its translation into almost all the languages of Europe. He wrote also accounts of ancient schools of philosophy, the Ionians, the Pythagoreans and the Megarians.
Beside these important historical works, he published a large number of treatises of which the following may be mentioned:
Of these latter, the one best known in English is the History of Greek and Roman Philosophy, which, by reason of the excellence of its arrangement and its judicious quotations and notes, was considered indispensable to the student of ancient philosophy at the beginning of the 20th century.
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.