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B


Baader, Franz Xaver von, German philosopher, b. at Munich, 1765; d. at the same place, 23 May, 1841.

I. The ideahstic stream of German philosophy which started -nith Kant and culminated, in two divergent branches, in Hegel and Schopenhauer, encountered on the one side an opposing current of empirical realism setting back from Herbart, and on the other a partly reactionary, and yet partly concurrent movement originating in certain Cathohe thinkers. Prominent among the latter was Baader. Having entered the University of Ingolstadt at six- teen and taken his doctorate at nineteen, he con- tinued his medical studies two years longer at Vienna and then assisted his father, who was court physician. He soon gave this up, however, for mining engineer- ing and after considerable travel in Germany he spent about five years in England (1791-96). where he became acquainted with the mysticism of Bolmie and with the extremely opposite empiricism of Hume and Hartley. The work of William Godwin, "En- quiry concerning PoUtical Justice", not only called his attention to moral and social questions but also led liim to German philosophy, especially to that of Kant. Baader had a temperamental sympathy for the German Protestant mystic Bohme, but for Kant's philosophy, especially its ethical autonomism, viz.: that human reason alone and apart from God is the primary source of the supreme rule of conduct, he had nothing but disgust. This he calls "devil's morality" and fiercely declares that were Satan visibly to reappear on earth it would be in the garb of a professor of moral philosophy. For the English sceptics he had both a natural and an acquired aver- sion. Reared and educated as a Catholic, though holding some decidedly un-Catholic notions, he could find no satisfaction in reason divorced f'-om faith. Passing through Hamburg on his return from Eng- land he met Jacoby, ■nnth whom he long lived in close friendship. Schelling likewise counted him as a friend and owed to him some of the mystical trend of his system. On his return to Germany Baader was made Superintendent of the Bavarian mines and was subsequently raised to the nobility for his ser- vices. He was awarded a prize of 12,000 gulden given by the Austrian Government for an important discoverj' relating to the use of Glauber salts instead of potash in the manufacture of glass. Retiring from business in 1S20 he soon afterwards published his " Fragmenta Cognitionis" (1822-25), and at the opening of the University of Munich, in 1826, he was appointed professor of speculative theology. His philosophico-religious lectures (published as "Spec- ulative Dogmatik", 1827-36) attracted much atten- tion. In 1838, however, a ministerial order prohibit- ing lajTnen from lecturing on such subjects obliged him to restrict himself to anthropology. Vigorous in body and in mind he pursued his intellectual work until his final illness.

II. Baader's "Tag und Studien Bucher" (Diary), printed in the first volume of his works, affords an insight into the vicissitudes of his mind and the development of his ideals. It was primarily to his early religious training under his domestic tutor. Sailer, subsequently Bishop of Landshut, that he owed the convictions with which he combated the prevailing rationalism by appealing to innate ex- perience and the subjective necessity of faith. Reli-

fious reading supplemented by prayer strengthened is natural tendency towards mysticism. Then,


too, his eagerness to comprehend Christianity more thoroughly than the rationalistic theology succeeded in doing — the hope of finchng the key, as he says, to the world of mind by putting himself in direct correspondence with the ideal — drew him, in an age poor in positive theology, towards a mystical litera- ture which had combated, if not successfully, at least with earnestness and good intent, both the German and the French rationalism. Saint-Martin's "Philosophe inconnu", which fell into his hands in 1787, carried him back to Bohme and thence to the whole theosophic tradition wliich this German mystic had given to the modern world — to Para- celsus, Meister Eckart, Eriugena, the Cabbala, and the earlier Gnostics. He encountered on his way back to the past a tangible theologj', notably in the works of St. Thomas upon which he comments in his Diary, but also in the Fathers and especially in the Bible.

Since, however, it was alien doctrine which had led him to the Catholic, the authority of the latter remained more or less confounded with that of the former. Moreover, his study of the English empiri- cists and of Kant's rationalism gave a critical cast to his thought if it did not add to his ideas. In placing theogonic speculations at the basis of his physical and moral ideas, and in seeking from mysti- cism an answer to the riddles of the universe, he thought to reach a solution of the fundamental prob- lems of his time and realize the cheam of his youth — a religious philosophy. Joining the contemplations of mysticism to the exactness of criticism he en- deavoured to justify the appeal to both. Jlysticism was to fructify criticism and criticism autliorize mys- ticism. He aimed thus at opposing the negative with a positive rationalism. The transcendental truths (metaphysical, and especially theological concepts de- clared unknowable by Kant) were to find their justification and verification in the human, but at the same time Divinely impressed, consciousness. Reason and feeling separated by Kant were reunited by Baader. Jacoby's appeal to emotion for the cer- titude of transcendental truth Baader saw to be, at best, but a negative, an irrational, escape, while Fichte, by making such truth the creation of the Ego, failed to account for the Ego itself. The Hegelian logom- achy of the Ego and the non-Ego could no more satisfy Baader than could Schelling's assertion of the absolute identity of subject and object. He had seen from the start the sterility of ScheOing's principle and had confuted its pantheism.

Baader's aim was a theistic philosophy which would embrace the worlds of nature and of spirit and afford at once a metaphysical solution of the problem of knowledge (science) and an understand- ing of the Christian idea and the Di\nne activity as manifested by re\'elation. Whatever be thought of this ambitious endeavour, and the Catholic student must recognize its variance both mth philosophy and theology, Baader's system surpasses both in depth and in bre.adth all the other philosophies of his time. He owes this pre-eminence not only to a deeper penetration, but likewise to a broader survey which embraced and estimated many of the facts and truths of Christianity and the science of the past. Unfor- tunately the false mysticism derived from Bohme led him into a fanciful interpretation of the mysteries of faith, while his attempt at rationalizing those mys- teries was often hardly less bizarre. His system, therefore, if it may so be called, had the misfortime, ■3