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Franz Xaver von Baader (1765-1841)

Franz Xaver von Baader (1765-1841), German philosopher and writer, born in Munich. Baader attempted to unite Roman Catholic philosophy with mysticism and so break away from the dominant philosophical schools of Continental rationalism (emphasis on the role of reason in obtaining knowledge), and British empiricism (emphasis on sense experience). Baader was trained in medicine and studied mineralogy in England from 1792 to 1796. He retired as superintendent of mines for Bavaria in 1820 and devoted himself to philosophy and theology, lecturing at the University of Munich from 1826 to 1838.

Baader was inspired both by the writings

Baader was inspired both by the writings of German mystic Jakob Boehme and by the Neoplatonists, who sought to develop and synthesize the philosophies of Plato. Baader taught that all knowledge involves knowledge of God, whom he conceived of as a process of progressively increasing consciousness. Thus Baader was in opposition to the British empiricists, and also to German critical philosopher Immanuel Kant`s ethic of obedience to an inner moral law. Baader held instead that man must obey God`s will as made known through Scripture and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Baader`s writings influenced the major

Baader`s writings influenced the major philosophies of idealism, which held that true knowledge of reality is gained by relying upon a spiritual or conscious source; and existentialism, which emphasized individual freedom and choice. In social philosophy, Baader opposed liberalism and called for a society with a hierarchy of social classes and a state subordinate to the church. Baader`s collected works were published in 16 volumes (1851-1860).

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