Franz Xaver von Baader

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Baader, Franz Xaver von

 

Born Mar. 27, 1765, in Munich; died there on May 23, 1841. German philosopher, physician, and naturalist; representative of philosophical romanticism. Beginning in 1826, a professor at the University of Munich.

Baader developed typically romantic ideas of the world and society as separate organic entities. Criticizing the dualism of I. Kant, he tried to overcome the separation of knowledge and faith that had originated with Descartes on the basis of the concept of intuitive knowledge of things. Baader’s theosophical ideas went back to J. Boehme and the German mystical tradition (J. Eckhart, A. Paracelsus) and contained the mystical dialectic of the self-development of god in man as a self-liberation from the dark “abyss.” These ideas had a great influence on F. Schelling in his late period, J. Görres, and F. Schlegel.

Baader’s social philosophy embraced history, society, the economy, the state, law, morality, and religion. Baader thought “sociality” to be of primary importance in economics and politics. He idealistically interpreted the essence of “sociality” as love that had a religious—indeed, a divine— origin. In his work On the Existing Disproportion Between the Have-Nots or Proletarians and the Propertied Classes of Society (1835), Baader introduced the concept of the proletariat into German philosophical literature. He saw a way out of the social contradictions of his time in the creation of a universal Christian religion that would overcome the differences between denominations. (This was the source of Baader’s interest in Russia and Russian Orthodoxy.) Baader had an effect on Slavophilism; he influenced V. Solov’ev, and N. Berdiaev, as well as German neoromantic sociologists (O. Spann and others).

WORKS

Sämtliche Werke, vols. 1–16.Leipzig, 1851–60.
Über den Begriff der Zeit. Basel, 1954.
Gesellschafislehre. Munich, 1957.

REFERENCES

Sauter, J. Die Sozialphilosophie F. von Baaders. Munich, 1926.
Baumgardt, D. F. von Baader und die philosophische Romantik. Halle, 1927.
Susini, E. F. von Baader et Le romantisme mystique, vols. 2–3.Paris, 1942.

AL. V. MIKHAILOV

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The most significant reference is the May 23, 1917 letter addressed to Scholem from Dachau, in which Benjamin announces that the collected works of Franz von Baader have arrived.
Franz von Baader, (1765-1841), an important precursor of the Social Catholic movement, was one of the first romanticists to face the economic and social problems created by the industrial revolution.
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