Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 540 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ALEXANDER GOTTLIEB BAUMGARTEN (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 doesto 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. Andre, 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 (1739; 7th ed. 1779); Ethica philo sophica (1751, 2nd ed. 1763); Initia philosophiae practicae primae (176o). After his death, his pupils published a Philosophia Generalis (1770) and a Jus Naturae (1765), which he had left in manuscript. See Mcer, Baumgarten's Leben (1763); Abbt, Baumgarten's Leben and Charakter (1765) ; H. G. Meyer, Leibnitz and Baumgarten (1874) ; J. Schmidt, Leibnitz and Baumgarten (Halle, 1875) ; and article
ANTOINE BAUME (1728-1894)

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