German self-taught philosopher of Jewish origin, born in 1729 and died in 1786.
Along with Nicolai, was one of the most active defenders of popular philosophy, which was spreading, so simple and accessible, the philosophical and religious enlightenment thought. His fame is especially linked to the prize which was awarded the Academy of Berlin in 1763, who judged their memory über die Evidenz in den metaphysischen Wissenschaften, higher than a similar trial of Kant. His doctrine, proposed for the first time in philosophical dialogues (1755), refers mainly to the immortality of the soul and the evidence for the existence of God. Letters on the feelings (1755), exposes his thinking about psychology. Her sensitivity attributed to the soul, as well as thought and the will, a third power. The latter is the faculty that values beauty, which build the aesthetics on the psychology. The purpose of art is, according to him, to produce a feeling of pleasure; most follow the spontaneity of genius than the stylistic rules. Mendelssohn was also concerned by politico-religious problems in his work, Jerusalem, or religious power and Judaism, (1783). Defends, in fact, together with the right and the duty of the State to control strictly the external behavior of persons, the inviolability of inner freedom and follows this thought of their coreligionist Spinoza. In the religious sphere he promoted the opening of Judaism to Western culture and their greater integration into civilian life.
Another of his works is: on the fundamental principles of the arts and Sciences (1757).