Arthur Baumgarten

Arthur Baumgarten

Arthur Baumgarten, born 31 March 1884 in Königsberg, died 27 November 1966 in Berlin (East), was originally a German citizen, but from 1936 was also a Swiss citizen, as he married Nina Helena von Salis-Soglio. He conducted his legal and philosophical studies at the Universi­ties of Tübingen, Geneva, Leipzig and Berlin, where he received his promotion in 1909. Until 1920 he was a professor in Geneva, from 1920 to 1923 in Cologne, between 1923 and 1930 in Basel, between 1930 to 1933 in Frankfurt am Main, before he returned and emi­grated back to Basel, where he remained until 1949. He then decided to settle in Berlin (East), where he was a professor at the Humboldt University until 1953. He originally taught penal law, however his main subject became more and more legal philosophy. In his last period of life, living in the German Democratic Republic, he also signed as chief editor of the periodical “Sozialismus”, and finally contributed to the theoretical founda­tions of the socialist regime of Eastern Germany.

His philosophy of law can best be described as syncretistic, as he changed from moralistic views to Kantian criticism and varied between a conservative mood to socialist opinions. Moreover, his theory was characterised by the separation between morality and law and their interconnection. In our treatment we shall focus on the early period, when his funda­mental conceptions show best in their origins and consolidation, namely in his works about “Die Wissenschaft vom Recht und ihre Methode” (1920) and his contribution “Rechts­philosophie” to the “Handbuch der Philosophie” (1934).

For more information, please see:

Karl Polak (Ed.): Festschrift Arthur Baumgarten zu seinem 70. Geburtstag, Berlin: VEB Deutscher Zentralverlag, 1960;

Gerd Irrlitz: Rechtsordnung und Ethik der Solidarität – Der Strafrechtler und Philosoph Arthur Baumgarten, Berlin 2008;

Christina Peschel: Arthur Baumgarten, in: Rechtsgeschichts­wissenschaft in Deutschland 1945 bis 1952, ed. Horst Schröder, Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 2001, S. 129-150;

August Simonius: Wissenschaftliche Weltanschauung und Rechts­wis­sen­schaft – Zur Rechtsphilosophie Arthur Baumgartens, in: Zeit­schrift für Schwei­zerisches Recht, ed. Eduard His, N. S. vol. 49, Basel: Hel­bing & Lichtenhahn, 1930.

Selected Works of the Author

Arthur Baumgarten: Die Wissenschaft vom Recht und ihre Methode, 2 vols., Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1920/ 1922 (reprint Aalen: Scientia, 1978); Idem: Erkenntnis, Wissenschaft, Philo­sophie – Erkenntniskritische und methodologische Prolegomena zu einer Philosophie der Moral und des Rechts, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1927 (reprint Aalen: Scientia, 1978); Idem: Der Weg des Menschen – Eine Philosophie der Moral und des Rechts, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1933 (reprint 1978); Idem: Rechtsphilosophie, in: Handbuch der Philosophie, Section IV: Staat und Geschichte, München/ Berlin: R. Oldenbourg, 1934, pp. 3 ss.; Idem: Grund­züge der juristischen Methodenlehre, Bern 1939 (reprint, ed. Hermann Klenner: Freiburg im Breisgau: Rudolf Haufe, 2005); Idem: Die Geschichte der abendländischen Philosophie – Eine Geschichte des geistigen Fortschritts der Menschheit, Genève: Imprimérie de St. Gervais, 1945; Idem: Die Entwicklung der Idee der Demokratie und des Rechtsstaates in der Neuzeit, Stuttgart: Fritz Mittelbach, 1946; Idem: Ansprache an Kants 150. Todestage, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1954; Idem: Bemerkungen zur Erkenntnistheorie des dialek­tischen und historischen Marxismus, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag 1957; Idem: Vom Libera­lismus zum Sozialismus, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1967; Idem: Rechts­philosophie auf dem Wege – Vor­träge und Auf­sätze aus fünf Jahrzehnten, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1972.