Baumgarten, Alexander Gottlieb (1714–62)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-M013-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved February 25, 2024, from

Article Summary

The German philosopher Baumgarten is known primarily for his introduction of the word ‘aesthetics’ to describe the affects of art and nature, which in the course of the seventeenth century replaced the older theory of beauty. Baumgarten derived the term from the Greek aisthanomai, which he equated with the Latin sentio (1739: 79). He understood it to designate the outer, external or bodily sense, as opposed to the inner sense of consciousness. Thus aesthetics is the realm of the sensate, of sense perception and sensible objects. Baumgarten understood his usage to be consistent with classical sources, but he was aware also that he was extending logic and science into a new realm. Baumgarten’s importance lay in adapting the rationalism of Leibniz for both the study of art and what came to be known after Kant as the aesthetic.

    Citing this article:
    Townsend, Dabney. Baumgarten, Alexander Gottlieb (1714–62), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-M013-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
    Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

    Related Articles