Commentary and Edition of the Complete Works of Karl Jaspers with an Edition of Selected Letters and Unpublished Writings

As a representative of existentialism, Karl Jaspers (1883–1969) is one of the most important German-speaking philosophers of the last century. The range of his thinking extends beyond existentialism itself to encompass logic, metaphysics and epistemology, the philosophy of religion and history, the history of philosophy, psychopathology, psychology and politics. Throughout his life Jaspers took an active and critical interest in the political life of the day and in the post-war years was a highly vocal and eloquent advocate of the way he thought the Federal Republic should develop. National and international admiration for his integrity and his works has been unaffected by the passage of time. However, we still have no comprehensive edition of his works with a unified commentary. Some of his central works are out of print and a number of posthumous works like the “World History of Philosophy” still await publication.


The Heidelberg Academy has begun its work on a commented edition of his complete works in 50 volumes, which at the same time will investigate the philosophical, contemporary and cultural preconditions for his thinking and also trace the history of his impact. The work on this edition at the Universities of Heidelberg and Oldenburg is projected to take 18 years and is the fruit of cooperation with the Karl Jaspers Foundation (Basel). The editors will have recourse to the unpublished writings kept at the German Literary Archives in Marbach and the 11,000 volumes of the Jaspers Research Library in the future Karl Jaspers House in Oldenburg. Over and above the commentary itself, the edition is designed to provide new impulses for research on the philosopher and enable the debates on present-day cultural and political issues to profit from a species of thinking that can be described as interdisciplinary and cosmopolitan in the best sense of those terms.


Chair of the Commission

Prof. Dr. Otfried Höffe

Heads of the Research Unit

Prof. Dr. Thomas Fuchs
Prof. Dr. Jens Halfwassen


Dr. Dirk Fonfara
Georg Hartmann (ausgeschieden zum 31.10.2015)
Dr. Dominic Kaegi
Dr. Bernd Weidmann



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Latest Revision: 2018-12-14