Baumgarten, Alexander Theophilus

, a philosopher of the German school, was born at Berlin, June 17, 1714. He studied divinity at Halle, at a time when it was a crime to read the writings of the celebrated Wolff, but these he perused with avidity, and cultivated the friendship of their author. Mathematics became afterwards his favourite study, and he conceived at the same time the idea of elevating the belles-lettres to a rank among the sciences, and the science according to which he explained his principles on this subject, he called Esthetics. At Halle, he was professor of logic, metaphysics, the law of nature and moral philosophy. He died at Francfort on the Oder, May 26, 1762. His principal works are: 1. “Disputa-io de nonnullis ad poema pertinentibus,Halle, 1735, 4to, in which he discloses the principles of his Esthetics. 2. “Metaphysica,Halle, 1739, 1743, and 1763, 8vo, a work highly praised by his countrymen. 3. “Etica philosophica,” ibid. 1740, 1751, 1762. 4. “JEsthetica,” Francfort, 1750, 1758, 2 vols. 8vo, but not completed. 5. “Initia philosophise practicae primae,” ibid. 1760, 8vo. His brother Siegmond, was a Lutheran divine, and a most voluminous writer. He died in 1757. One of the best of his works which we have seen, is a supplement to the English Universal History, printed about 1760. 1