1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Baumgarten, Alexander Gottlieb

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BAUMGARTEN, ALEXANDER GOTTLIEB (1714-1762), German philosopher, born at Berlin. 'He studied at Halle, and became professor of philosophy at Halle and at Frankfort on the Oder, where he died in 1762. He was a disciple of Leibnitz and Wolff, and was particularly distinguished as having been the first to establish the Theory of the Beautiful as' an independent science. Baumgarten did good service in severing aesthetics (q.v.) from the other philosophic disciplines, and in marking out a definite object for its researches. The very name (Aesthetics), which Baumgarten was the first to use, indicates the imperfect and partial nature of his analysis, pointing as it does. to an element so variable as feeling or sensation as the ultimate ground of judgment in questions pertaining to beauty. It is important to notice that Baumgarten's first work preceded those of Burke, Diderot, and P. André, and that Kant had a great admiration for him. The principal works of Baumgarten are the following: Disputationes de nonnullis ad poema pertinentibus (1735); Aesthetica; Metaphysica (1139, 7th ed. 1779); Ethica philosophic (1751, 2nd ed. 1763); I nitia philosophise practice primae (1760). After his death, his pupils published a Philosophia Generalis (1770) and a J us N aturae (1765), which he had left in manuscript.

See Mcier, Baumgartenlv Leben (1763); Abbt, Baumgarten's Leben und Charakter (1765); H. G. Meyer, Leibnitz und Baumgarten (1874); J. Schmidt, Leibnitz und Baumgarten (Halle, 1875); and article Arzsirnnrrcs. .

His brother, Siegmund Jacob Baumgarten (1706-1757), was professor of theology at Halle, and applied the methods of Wolff to theology. His chief pupil, Johann Salomo Semler (q.v.), is sometimes called the father of German rationalism. Baumgarten, though he did not renounce the Pietistic doctrine, began the process which Semler completed. His works include Evangelische Glaubenslehre (1759); Auszug der Kirchengeschichte (1743-1762); Primae lineae breoiarii antiquitatum Christianarum (1747); Geschichte der Religionsparteiert (1760); N achricht 'von merkwiirdigen Bitchern (1752-1757); Nachrichten 'von einer hallischen Bibliothek (1748-1751). - .,

See life by Semler (Halle, 1758).