Robert S. Hartman

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Robert Schirokauer Hartman (born January 27, 1910, in Berlin, † September 20, 1973, in Cuernavaca, Mexico) was a philosopher of Judeo-German origin. He is considered an important representative of values science (axiology, "Science of Value").


Robert Schirokauer's father (the 'S.' remained in the middle name to hide his father's side) was of Jewish origin, his mother was Lutheran.

Schirokauer, better known as Hartman, was raised Catholic by his stepmother. He studied law in Germany, political science in Paris and economics in London. As a young judge, he severely condemned the Nazis in the early 1930s and also published offensive articles against the Nazis and their activities.

After Hitler's seizure of power, Schirokauer fled to France in the summer of 1933 with a false passport (Hartman) and made his way there as a photographer with an image agency, which he continued to operate in London. Subsequently, he worked with Gerhard Zucker, a German rocket engineer who wanted to make this technology available to the British. In London, he also became acquainted with the representative of Walt Disney in Europe and was commissioned to set up the corresponding business in Scandinavia.

The Nazis continued to monitor him. In Sweden, he met and married his wife. In 1938 the Hartmans left Europe and moved to Mexico City where he represented Disney Productions in Central America and the Antilles.

In 1942, he moved from Mexico to the United States to continue his research on the question "What is good?" and did his doctorate in philosophy at Northwestern University in Illinois in 1946. After numerous lectureships and visiting professorships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University, he taught and researched biannually until his death in 1973 in México.

In addition to his axiological work, Robert S. Hartman always remained connected to the corporate world through advice and publications. He is considered the father of the profit-share concept in the United States and thus decisively supported the participation of the workforce in company profits, also with the help of pension payments. In the 1960s and early 70s, he was heavily influenced by the Cold War and the risk of human destruction by nuclear weapons. He had been in contact with numerous political figures around the world to promote opportunities for lasting peace.