Die Wiederkehr eines Leitworts: die 'Bestimmung des Menschen' als theologische, anthropologische und geschichtsphilosophische Frage der Deutschen Spätaufklärung

Places a key notion of the late German Enlightenment, the question of human destiny, in an interpretive context embracing general intellectual developments in Germany in the second half of the 18th century. The notion of human destiny occupied thinkers in theology, anthropology, the philosophy of history, and other fields in this era, continually "returning" as a topic of intense interest. While the article emphasizes the dispute on this subject between Thomas Abbt (1738-67) and Moses Mendelssohn (1729-86) and, later, the views on human destiny of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), attention is also devoted to the works of lesser-known authors on the topic. In addition to characterizing the German Enlightenment, views on human destiny also played an important role in the transition in the 1790's between German Enlightenment thought and the new philosophy of idealism.