Hedwig Conrad-Martius

Hedwig Margarete Elisabeth Conrad-Martius

*February 27, 1888 (Berlin, Germany)
†February 15, 1966 (Munich, Germany)

Spouse: Theodor Conrad


Hedwig Martius was the daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm August Martius – a physician and director of the medical clinic at the University of Rostock – and Martha Martius (née Leonhard). In the WS 1907/08, she enrolled in the faculty of philosophy at the University of Rostock. There she studied philosophy with Franz Bruno Erhardt and German literature with Wolfgang Golther. After three semesters in Rostock, and one in Freiburg, Martius transferred to the University of Munich. During her first semester in Munich, she took courses with Aloys Fischer and Max Scheler, and met her future husband, Theodor Conrad – the nephew of Theodor Lipps. In the summer of 1910, Martius enrolled in a course taught by Moritz Geiger, and became involved in the Akademischer Verein für Psychologie. At the end of the semester, Geiger sent Martius to study with Edmund Husserl in Göttingen.

Martius spent four semesters in Göttingen studying with Husserl and Adolf Reinach. She became a prominent member of the Göttinger Philosophischen Gesellschaft – the Göttingen Circle. In 1912, she was awarded a prize from the University of Göttingen for her essay Die Erkenntnistheoretischen Grundlagen des Positivismus, beating out approximately 200 other submissions. While Husserl was delighted that one of his students had won the competition, many of his colleagues were not, as they did not think it appropriate for women to study philosophy. To block her from obtaining her degree, the faculty declared that her Realgymnasialabitur was not acceptable for earning a doctorate in Göttingen. She returned to Munich and submitted her Preisschrift as her dissertation with Alexander Pfänder serving as her promotor. Within four weeks, she was awarded her doctorate summa cum laude.

On 20 August, 1912, Martius married Theodor Conrad, and the two settled in Bergzabern where they purchased an orchard. During the First World War, they formed the Bergzabern Circle of phenomenology, which included their former Göttingen classmates Jean Hering, Alexander Koyré, Hans Lipps, Edith Stein and Alfred von Sybel. The group gathered sporadically at the orchard until the end of the 1920s, devoting themselves to phenomenology as well as discussing religious and political issues. Their aim was twofold: on the one hand, they wanted to create an informal institute in honor of their teacher Adolf Reinach, on the other, they wanted to create a counter movement to Martin Heidegger.

In 1916 and 1921 respectively, Martius published “Zur Ontologie und Erscheinungslehre der realen Außenwelt” and “Realontologie” in the Jahrbruch für Phänomenologie und phänomenologische Forschung. In the ‘20s and ‘30s, she devoted the majority of her research efforts to developing a universal ontology. At the end of 1937, the Conrads moved back to Munich, but were forced to leave the city once again in 1944. In the years between 1937 and 1944, Martius drafted an important manuscript titled “Metaphysik des Irdischen.” However, because she faced a publication bas as a result of her Jewish heritage, this project was abandoned.

In early 1949, the Conrads returned once more to Munich. In April of that year, Martius began teaching natural philosophy in Munich, and in 1955 became honorary professor at Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich. In 1954, she published Die Zeit, followed by Das Sein in 1957 and Der Raum in 1958. From 1963-1965, her student Eberhard Avé-Lallemant edited and published her collected philosophical papers in the three volume Schriften zur Philosophie. On 15 February 1966, Hedwig Conrad-Martius passed away in Munich.


Rodney Parker (UPB)

  • Primary Sources

    Select bibliography

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig 1916. Zur Ontologie und Erscheinungslehre der realen Aussenwelt. Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung 3, 345-542.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig 1921. Metaphysische Gespräche. Halle: Niemeyer.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig 1923. Realontologie. Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung 6, 139-333.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig 1927/28. Die Zeit. Ontologisch-metaphysische Untersuchung. Philosophischer Anzeiger 2(2), 143-182; 2(4), 345-390.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig 1933. L’existence, la substantialité et l’âme. Recherches philosophiques 2, 148-181.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig 1954. Die Zeit. München: Kösel.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig 1957. Das Sein. München: Kösel.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig 1957. Die transzendentale und die ontologische Phänomenologie, in Jacques Taminiaux; Herman Van Breda (ed), Edmund Husserl, 1859-1959: recueil commémoratif publié a l’occasion du centenaire de la naissance du philosophe. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. 175-184.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig 1958. Der Raum. München: Kösel.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig. Ursprung und Aufbau des Lebendigen Kosmos. Salzburg-Leipzig: O. Muller, 1938.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig. Der Selbstaufbau der Natur: Entelechien und emergien. Hamburg: H. Govert, 1944.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig. Naturwissenschaftlich-metaphysische Perspektiven; Drei Vortriige. Hamburg: Claassen & Goverts, 1948.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig. Das Lebendige; die Endlichkeit der Welt; der Mensch Drei Dispute. Munich: Kosel-Verlag, 1951.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig. “Edith Stein.” Archives de Philisophie XXII (1959): 164-174.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig. Die Geistseele des Menschen. Munich: Kosel-Verlag, 1960.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig. Briefe an Hedwig Conrad-Martius. Munich: Kosel-Verlag, 1960.

    Conrad-Martius, Hedwig. Schriften zitr Philosophie. Munich: Kosel-Verlag, 1963.

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