1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Boström, Christoffer Jacob

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BOSTRÖM, CHRISTOFFER JACOB (1797–1866), Swedish philosopher, was born at Piteå and studied at Upsala, where from 1840 to 1863 he was professor of practical philosophy. His philosophy, as he himself described it, is a thoroughgoing rational idealism founded on the principle that the only true reality is spiritual. God is Infinite Spirit in whom all existence is contained, and is outside the limitations of time and space. Thus Boström protests not only against empiricism but also against those doctrines of Christian theology which seemed to him to picture God as something less than Pure Spirit. In ethics the highest aim is the direction of actions by reason in harmony with the Divine; so the state, like the individual, exists solely in God, and in its most perfect form consists in the harmonious obedience of all its members to a constitutional monarch; the perfection of mankind as a whole is to be sought in a rational orderly system of such states in obedience to Universal Reason. This system differs from Platonism in that the “ideas” of God are not archetypal abstractions but concrete personalities.

Boström's writings were edited by H. Edfeldt (2 vols., Upsala, 1883). For his school see Sweden: Literature; also H. Höffding, Filosofien i Sverig (German trans. in Philos. Monatsheften, 1879), and History of Mod. Philos. (Eng. trans., 1900), p. 284; R. Falckenberg, Hist. of Phil. (Eng. trans., 1895); A. Nyblaeus, Om den Boströmske filosofien (Lund, 1883), and Karakteristik af den Boströmska filosofien (Lund, 1892).