BAVINK Bernhard—philosopher of nature, b. June 30, 1879 in Leer, d. June 27, 1947 in Bielefeld.

After studies at the University of Münster he became a professor at that university. In his scientific work he concentrated on reconciling the findings of the natural sciences with the theses of classical philosophy and with Christian doctrine. He developed this problematic from the methodological point of view in his work Ergebnisse und Probleme der Naturwissenschaft (L 1914, Z 194510) in which he argued for the thesis that the philosophy of nature should provide synthetic representations of the most general findings of the natural sciences. In his works Naturphilosophie (I–II, L 1927–1928) and Die Naturwissenschaft auf dem Wege zur Religion (F 1933, Bas 19486) he treated the philosophy of nature as the science of the most general laws of the development of reality (nature, society, thought). He discussed problems of world-view in Das Weltbild der heutigen Naturwissenschaften und seine Beziehungen zur Philosophie und Religion (Iserlohn 1947, A 19522), and in Weltschöpfung in Mythos und Religion, Philosophie und Naturwissenschaft (Mn 1950, 19512). In them he presented the problematic of the finitude of the world (arguments from physics and chemistry), the origin of life (the passage from inorganic matter to organic matter), the essence of life, and anthropogenesis; he stated that the particular sciences are incapable of providing adequate explanations of these problems. He supported a neo-vitalistic approach; he identified the principle of life with the soul; according to Bavink, man differs from the world of plants and animals by virtue of the spiritual element, traces of which can be perceived in the lower organic world.

A. Wenzl, Zum Gedächtnis von Bernhard B., Schweizer Rundschau 51 (1951), 59–67; Bernhard B., seine Heimat, sein Leben und sein Werk. Festschrift zur B. Gedächtnisfeier 1952, Leer 1952 (bibliogr.); W. Grüniger, Bernhard B. Die Naturwissenschaft auf dem Wege zur Religion, in: Menschen vor God, St 1957, I 398–399; K. Klósak, Pojęcie przedmiotu filozofii przyrody u autorów spoza nurtu neoscholastycznego [The concept of the object of the philosophy of nature among authors outside the neo-scholastic current], RF 14 (1966), n. 3, 17–25; M. Schwartz, Bernhard B., Bf 1993.

Stanisław Zięba

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