Baader, Franz Xaver von

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Social philosopher, lay theologian, and mining engineer; b. Munich, March 27, 1765; d. Munich, May 23, 1841. Baader was a leading member of the "Munich circle" of romantic Catholics who did so much to advance the renewal of Catholicism in the 19th century. Through his influence on schelling, dÖllinger, E. von Lasaulx, kierkegaard, solov'ev, and berdi[symbol omitted]ev, he affected intellectual developments extending well beyond his century.

Baader first studied medicine at Ingolstadt and Vienna. His intellectual formation was strongly influenced by J. M. sailer and the French mystic L. C. Saint-Martin. Abandoning medical practice after a short time, he turned to the study of mining engineering at Freiberg (178892). While serving as an engineer in England and Scotland (179296) he studied at firsthand the impact of the industrial revolution, the liberal economic theory of Adam smith, and the sensational psychology of Hume. About the same time, he undertook the study and criticism of Kant and German idealistic philosophy. His rejection of rationalistic philosophy, liberal economics, and the revolutionary transformation of the social order were rooted in these experiences and studies. He distinguished himself in his profession from the time of his return to Bavaria in 1799 until his retirement from engineering in 1820. Then he began intensive work and publication in the field of speculative theology and in 1826 was appointed professor of philosophy at Munich. Here, in association with gÖrres and the younger members of the "Munich circle," he published the journal Eos. Although his literary style was cloudy and aphoristic, he was regarded as one of the most brilliant conversationalists and lecturers in Germany.

Baader, in the years between 1814 and 1822, laid the basis for modern ecumenicism. He was responsible for the establishment of the Holy Alliance, which he conceived as a bridge not only between political entities but between Protestantism, Orthodoxy, and Catholicism. In 1822 he founded an ecumenical academy in St. Petersburg. Although these ventures were failures, Baader's efforts at reunion lived on in the thought of Döllinger and the South German school.

Baader's theosophical thought, colored by Neoplatonism and gnostic tendencies, aimed at a reconciliation of reason and authority. On this account he is frequently described as a neoscholastic, although his fantastic thought structures frequently verged on heterodoxy. More immediately important was his social teaching, which, like his epistemology, was a return to authority. Highly critical of liberal politics and economics, he proposed a corporative social structure based upon principles of authority, hierarchy, subordination, and status. His corporativist ideas became commonplaces of European social thought in the century that followed his death.

Bibliography: Sämtliche Werke, ed. f. hoffmann et al., 16v. (Leipzig 185060); newly repr. (Aalen 1963); Lettres inédites, ed. e. susini (Paris 1943). Literature. h. grassl, Neue deutsche Biographie 1:47476, extensive bibliog. d. baumgardt, Franz von Baader und die philosophische Romantik (Halle 1927). e. susini, Franz von Baader et le romantisme mystique, 2 v. (Paris 1943). For an introduction to Baader's social theory, consult r. bowen, German Theories of the Corporative State (New York 1947) 4653. For Baader's relationship to romantic Catholicism, consult t. steinbÜchel, "Romantisches Denken im Katholizismus mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der romantischen Philosophic Franz von Baaders," Romantik: Ein Zyklus Tübinger Vorlesungen, ed. t. steinbÜchel (Tübingen 1948).

[s. j. tonsor]