Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler

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Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler

Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (born August 17, 1780 in Beromünster , † March 6, 1866 in Aarau ) was a Swiss doctor , politician , educator and philosopher . He is considered to be the founder of the two-chamber system (based on the American model) in the Swiss Federal Constitution .


Troxler, whose father was a tailor and cloth merchant, studied philosophy and medicine in Jena from 1800 to 1803 , among others with Hegel and Schelling , and from summer 1803 in Göttingen . In Göttingen he received his doctorate from the ophthalmologist Karl Himly in 1803 .

As a doctor he first practiced in Vienna , where he was friends with Ludwig van Beethoven , and from 1805 in Lucerne . Troxler sharply criticized Swiss medical policy. In 1806 he married the from Potsdam Wilhelmine Polborn. After several trips, Troxler lived in Beromünster again from 1811. With the writing Views into the essence of man, which Goethe also dealt with, he broke with Schelling's natural philosophy and turned to anthropology . In 1804 he discovered the Troxler effect , later named after him , a phenomenon of visual perception .

In 1815 Troxler was Switzerland's envoy to the Congress of Vienna . In 1820 he became professor of philosophy and history at the Lyceum in Lucerne, but had to give up the position after a year due to political pressure. So he founded an educational institute in Aarau and continued to practice as a doctor. In September 1826 he bought an estate there on the left bank of the Aare outside the old town (Vorderer Scheibenschachen).

In 1830 Troxler went to the University of Basel as a professor , but was dismissed as early as 1831 because he was suspected of participating in the uprising in Baselland . In 1832 he became a member of the Grand Council of the Canton of Aargau , and in 1834 professor at the University of Bern , where he taught until 1850.

Troxler spent the last years of his life on his estate in Aarau, where he died in 1866 at the age of 85.


Bust in Beromünster

Politically, Troxler advocated a spiritual renewal of the Confederation and a constitutional reform and was one of the most ardent advocates of Swiss unity efforts and a leading figure in the radical-liberal movement in the regeneration period . With a paper on the North American constitutional model, Troxler became an important ideal preparer for the Swiss federal state of 1848, as a federal system with a clear separation of powers , and the founder of the bicameral system in the Swiss federal constitution .

As a philosopher he followed Schelling first, then Jacobi from 1834 . Gradually he took a mystical direction in which "intuition" and "mind" played an important role. Troxler saw philosophy as an "objectified anthropology", he also referred to this as anthroposophy , based on his term "biosophy" , which he regarded as the knowledge of human nature, and anthropology as the basis of logic . A bridge between the Toxlerschen Anthroposophiebegriff and that of Steiner presented Friedrich Eymann forth, the publisher also struggled to the publication of the troxlerschen work with establishing his Troxler.

Troxler is considered one of the most important Swiss philosophers. The Swiss historian Eduard Fueter compared his role as a state philosopher in Switzerland with that of Hegel for Prussia.


In 1858 he was elected a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina .

Writings and works

  • Dissertatio sistens primas lineas theoriae inflammationis, suppurationis et gangraenescentiae. Jena 1802.
  • Ideas on the basis of nosology and therapy. Academischen Buchhandlung, Jena 1803 ( digitized in the Google book search).
  • Elements of biosophy. 1807 ( digitized in the Google book search).
  • Look into the essence of man. Sauerländer, Aarau 1812 ( digitized in the Google book search).
  • Natural science of human knowledge, or metaphysics. Sauerländer, Aarau 1828 ( digitized in the Google book search).
  • Logic. The science of thought and criticism of all knowledge. For self-study and for teaching in higher schools. 3 parts. Cotta, Stuttgart 1829-1830 ( digital copies ).
  • The one and true Confederation in contrast to the Central Rule and Cantonal Thumble, as well as the new hybrid federation of the two, together with a draft constitution. Curti, Rapperswil 1833 ( digitized in the Google book search).
  • Lectures on philosophy. About content, course of education, purpose and application of these to life, as an encyclopedia and methodology of the philosophical sciences. Fischer, Bern 1835 ( digitized in the Google book search).
  • The constitution of the United States of America as a model for the Swiss federal reform. Brodtmann, Schaffhausen 1848 ( digitized in the Google book search).
  • Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler - a spiritual and political innovator of Switzerland. An anthology. Introduced and accompanied by Andreas Dollfus. Novalis, Schaffhausen 2005, ISBN 3-907260-25-2 .


  • Hans Peter Balmer : Remembering Philosophy. In: Peter Rück (Ed.): Borderline experiences. Swiss scientists, journalists and artists in Germany. Basilisken-Presse, Marburg an der Lahn 1991, pp. 301-309.
  • Daniel Furrer: Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler. The man with qualities (1780–1866). Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich 2010 (edited dissertation, Université de Friborg, 2009; full text of the dissertation ).
  • Werner E. Gerabek : Troxler, Ignaz Paul Vitalis. In: Werner E. Gerabek, Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1422 f.
  • Albert Güntensperger: The view of people with Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler. Francke, Munich 1973.
  • Peter Heusser : The Swiss doctor and philosopher Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (1780–1866). His philosophy, anthropology and medical theory (= Basel publications on the history of medicine and biology. Vol. 34). Schwabe, Basel 1984, ISBN 3-7965-0821-9 .
  • Otto LiebmannTroxler, Ignaz Paul Vitalis . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 38, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1894, p. 667.
  • Peter Schneider : Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler and the law. A study to prove the importance of romantic ideas for the development of the Swiss federal state (= studies on state theory and legal philosophy. H. 4). Schulthess, Zurich 1948 (dissertation, University of Zurich, 1947).
  • Emil Spiess: Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler. The philosopher and pioneer of the Swiss federal state, portrayed according to his writings and the testimonies of contemporaries. Francke, Bern / Munich 1967.
  • Marc Winiger: Evolution and Representation: IPV Troxler's legal theory in the context of German idealism (= European legal and regional history. Vol. 16). Dike, Zurich 2011 (dissertation, University of St. Gallen, 2011).
  • Otto Mittler : Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler In: Argovia, annual journal of the Historical Society of the Canton of Aargau. Vol. 65, 1953, pp. 127-136

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. We have lost our feeling in politics for the long term. Switzerland has struck a balance between the sovereignty of the parts and the sovereignty of the whole. Is Switzerland also suitable as a blueprint for the EU? by Peter von Matt , NZZ , March 19, 2018
  2. Eduard Fueter: Troxler. In: Martin Hürlimann (Ed.): Grosse Schweizer. One hundred and ten portraits of Swiss history and culture. Atlantis, Zurich 1938, p. 502
  3. Member entry of Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on June 18, 2016.