Poul Martin Moller image
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Born in 1794 / Died in 1838 / Denmark / Danish


Poul Martin Møller (21 March 1794 - 13 March 1838) was a vital influence on the more famous philosopher Kierkegaard, his prize pupil. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Copenhagen for much of his life. Møller authored the important, deceptively whimsical novel Adventures of a Danish Student, which chronicles, hence the name, the peripatetic wanderings of a Copenhagen licentiate, or degree candidate, and his esoteric philosophical musings. The novel was never finished. This work was the favorite book of the Danish physicist and thinker Niels Bohr (1885-1963).

One of the licentiate's philosophical meditations: "[I start] to think about my own thoughts of the situation in which I find myself. I even think that I think of them, and divide myself into an infinite retrogressive sequence of I's who consider each other. I do not know which I to stop at as the actual, and in the moment I stop at one, there is indeed again an I which stops at it. I become confused and feel a dizziness as if I were looking down into a bottomless abyss."

And another: "You see, my friend, a movement presupposes a direction. The mind cannot proceed without moving along a certain line; but before following this line, it must already have thought it. Therefore one has already thought every thought before one thinks it. Thus every thought, which seems the work of a minute, presupposes an eternity. This could drive me almost to madness." ..