Robert S. Hartman

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Robert Schirokauer Hartman (January 27, 1910 – September 20, 1973[1]) was a German-American logician and philosopher. His primary field of study was scientific axiology (the science of value) and he is known as its original theorist. His axiology is the basis of the Hartman Value Inventory (also known as the "Hartman Value Profile (HVP)".[2] which is used in psychology to measure the character of an individual.


Robert S. Hartman was born in Berlin, Germany on January 27, 1910.[1] He studied at the German College of Political Science, and also at the University of Paris, the London School of Economics, and at the University of Berlin, from which he received an LL.B. degree.

He started working as instructor in administrative law and the philosophy of law at the University of Berlin, and he also served as Assistant Judge of the District court, Berlin-Charlottenburg. In 1932 he left Germany for Britain and "started working for Walt Disney Productions as a copyright representative in Britain and later opened offices for Disney in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden where he met and married his wife. The Hartmans moved to Mexico City where he represented Disney Productions in Central America and the Antilles."[3]

In 1941 he migrated to the United States, became a citizen. He did his doctoral work in philosophy at Northwestern University in 1946.[1] He taught at the University of Berlin and at Lake Forest Academy near Chicago. He was a professor of philosophy at the College of Wooster (1945 - 1948) and at Ohio State University (1948 -1956) and was a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1955–6) and at Yale University in 1966.[1] Hartman was a Research Fellow and Exchange Professor at the National University of Mexico in 1956–7, and from 1957 until his death he was a research professor of philosophy there.[1] From 1968 until his death Hartman also held an appointment as professor of philosophy at the University of Tennessee.[1] In the late 1950s he was among the first members of the Society for General Systems Research.

From 1950-1957 he was Chairman of the Commission on Peace, International Council of Community Churches. He served as Executive Director of the Council of Profit-Sharing Industries, and wrote its first manual. He was a founder of the Deutsche Institute fur Social-Wirtschaftliche Betriebsgestaltung (industrial organization). He was a founding sponsor of the American Association for Humanistic Psychology. He has been credited with being the founding spirit behind the prevailing business-retirement plan in the United States today, the 401K Plan.[1] He was the first President of the American Society for Value Inquiry, founded in 1971 by James Wilbur.

He served as consultant for the practical application of Value Theory with AT&T, General Foods, General Electric, and IBM.

Hartman died in Cuernavaca, Mexico on September 20, 1973.[1] He had one child, a son, Jan. Jan Hartman was an Emmy-winning screenwriter, author, and playwright. He died of heart failure in October 2006. For the previous 10 years, Jan lived in Hertfordshire, England, with his wife, Stacey McNutt, a book editor.

An Institute has been set up in honor of Robert S. Hartman to explore the implications of his work in formal axiology and value science.


He was the subject of doctoral dissertations, including that of a former Chairman of the Philosophy Department at the University of Tennessee, Professor John Davis, as well as of Marvin Charles Katz, whose thesis was later published as a book entitled Trends Towards Synthesis.

He has published papers on the phenomenology of group measurement, on universal constants in Physics (in his role as a philosopher of science), on the logic of description and valuation, on the contribution of St. Anselm, and on the Concept of Self in Søren Kierkegaard.

Value theory[edit]

The reference book Who Knows What listed Hartman as one of the two living authorities on value theory (the other was Charles W. Morris (1903-1979)). Among Hartman's publications are the report on Value Theory for the Institut International de Philosophis 1949-1955, published by UNESCO; his magnum opus The Structure of Value (1967 Southern Illinois University Press); and at the time of his death in 1973 he was working on a manuscript entitled The Measurement of Value.

Another critical work is his Knowledge of Good (Robert S. Hartman, Arthur Ellis and Rem B. Edwards, 2002 Rodopi Press) a thorough study of all the philosophical discussions of goodness and what gaps exist in a complete philosophy of value. Hartman shows how his Formal Value Theory fills these gaps.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Shook (ed.), John R.; Edwards (entry author), Rem B. (2005). The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers. Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum. pp. 1054–1055. ISBN 978-1843710370.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^
  3. ^ The Robert S. Hartman Collection, 1910-1973, retrieved 15 April 2008. [dead link, no archived version found]


  • Dictionary Of Modern American Philosophers, edited by John R. Shook, entry HARTMAN, Robert Schirokauer by Rem. B. Edwards, Theommes Continuum (2005) ISBN 978-1843710370
  • Robert S. Hartman, Freedom to Live: The Robert Hartman Story. edited by Arthur R. Ellis. Rodolpi Press. ISBN 90-5183-610-4
  • Hartman, Robert S. 1967. The Structure of Value; Foundations of Scientific Axiology. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Further details about his life and work can be found at

External links[edit]