Franz Xaver von Baader

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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).


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


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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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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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Eckhart's thought not only influenced those immediately after him, such as Heinrich Seuse, Johann Tauler (whose sermons were so highly valued by Martin Luther) and Nicholas of Cusa, but were received with what may correctly be called glee by the German idealists Hegel, for example, introduced to the mystic's works by Franz von Baader, allegedly finished a lecture on Eckhart with the words, "Da haben wir es ja, was wir wollen" ("Here we have indeed just what we want").