Axel W. Bauer

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Axel W. Bauer (2007)

Axel W. Bauer (born April 6, 1955 in Karlsruhe ) is a German medical historian , scientific theorist and medical ethicist .


After graduating from the Bismarck-Gymnasium Karlsruhe (1974), Axel Bauer studied medicine at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg from 1974 to 1980 . In the same year he became deafness and hearing aid there after defending his dissertation . A study on the implementation of stereophonic hearing aid supply in the Freiburg ENT clinic and its results on Dr. med. PhD . In 1981 he became a university assistant to Heinrich Schipperges at the Institute for the History of Medicine at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg . In 1986 , Axel Bauer completed his habilitation at the then Faculty of Natural Scientific Medicine at the University of Heidelberg with the habilitation thesis Pathology at the meetings of German natural scientists and doctors from 1822 to 1872. The pathology of disease on the way to scientific morphology and became a private lecturer in the history of medicine. From 1986 to 1989 he was a representative of the C4 professorship for the history of medicine at Heidelberg University. He was also acting director of the Institute for the History of Medicine from 1987 to 1989.

From 1989 to 1995, Bauer was a university lecturer at the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University, and since 1992 an associate professor . In 2002, his license to teach was extended to the fields of history, theory and ethics of medicine. From 1987 to 2004 he was part-time lecturer in the history of medicine at the then Faculty of Clinical Medicine Mannheim at the University of Heidelberg. Bauer has been Professor of the History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine at the Medical Faculty of Mannheim at the University of Heidelberg (University Medicine Mannheim) and head of this department since 2004 .


  • From 2004 to 2010: Founding member and chairman of the Clinical Ethics Committee of the University Medical Center Mannheim
  • From 2001 to 2005: Member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Bio- and Genetic Technology of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group of the German Bundestag
  • From 2008 to 2012: Member of the German Ethics Council .
  • Since 2013: Personal member of the Heinrich Lanz Center (HLZ) for Translational Medicine of the Medical Faculty Mannheim of the University of Heidelberg.
  • Since 2016: Member of the Christian Democrats for Life (CDL)
  • Since 2017: Member of the editorial board of the Zeitschrift für Lebensrecht (ZfL)
  • Since 2019: Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • Member of the Ethics Committee II at Heidelberg University for the Mannheim Medical Faculty since 2019


Bauer's medical-historical research focuses on the history of pathology and pathological anatomy , the institutionalization of medical disciplines in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the development of scientific medicine in the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition, he researches and teaches in the fields of philosophy of science in medicine as well as medical ethics and bioethics . Here Axel Bauer is primarily concerned with research on human embryonic stem cells , pre- implantation diagnostics and the topic of autonomy at the end of life.

In medical ethics and bioethics, Bauer mainly takes conservative positions, both with regard to the protection of early human life and with regard to so-called euthanasia . Bauer argues in a philosophically and ethically rational way, but with a view to the Münchhausen Trilemma , he doubts the non-metaphysical justifiability of moral statements. In metaethics , Bauer, following John R. Searle and Rafael Ferber, takes the view that moral facts must be scientifically reconstructed as social institutions ( institutional facts ) and not as objectively given entities ( brute facts ).

As a scientific theorist, Bauer became particularly well known for his formulation of four axioms of systematic knowledge acquisition in medicine, according to which conventional medicine and alternative medicine use different forms of knowledge acquisition that are fundamentally incompatible with each other. Bauer himself is on the side of scientific, evidence-based medicine in this controversy .

Publications (selection)

  • Comments on the use of the term 'anthropology' in modern medicine (16th – 19th centuries). In: Eduard Seidler (Ed.): Medical Anthropology. Contributions to a Theoretical Pathology. Berlin / Heidelberg / New York / Tokyo 1984 (= publications from the Research Center for Theoretical Pathology of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. ) Pp. 32–55.
  • Georg Franck of Franckenau . Representative of empirical medicine in the Baroque era. In: Wilhelm Doerr (Ed.): Semper Apertus. Six hundred years of Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg 1386–1986. Festschrift in six volumes. Volume 1: Middle Ages and Early Modern Times (1386–1803). Berlin / Heidelberg / New York / Tokyo 1985, pp. 440–462.
  • Pathology on the way to scientific morphology. Pathology at the meetings of German natural scientists and doctors from 1822–1872 (= series of publications on the history of the meetings of German natural scientists and doctors. Vol. 5). WVG, Stuttgart 1989.
  • Theory of medicine. Dialogues between basic subjects and the clinic . Barth, Heidelberg / Leipzig 1995.
  • Axioms of the systematic acquisition of knowledge in medicine. In: The internist . 38: 299-306 (1997).
  • Medical ethics at the beginning of the 21st century. Theoretical concepts, clinical problems, medical action . Barth, Heidelberg / Leipzig 1998.
  • as editors with Reinhold Haux, Wolfgang Eich, Wolfgang Herzog , Johann Caspar Rüegg, Jürgen Windeler : Wissenschaftlichkeit in der Medizin, 2: Physiologie und Psychosomatik. Attempts to get closer. Frankfurt am Main 1998.
  • The body as a puppet? Georg Ernst Stahl and the risk of psychosomatic medicine. In: Dietrich von Engelhardt , Alfred Gierer (ed.): Georg Ernst Stahl (1659–1734) in a scientific-historical perspective. Leopoldina Meeting on October 29 and 30, 1998 in Halle (S.). In: Acta historica Leopoldina. No. 30, Halle (Saale) 2000, pp. 81-95.
  • Controversy between anatomy and the public . In: Franz Josef Wetz and Brigitte Tag (eds.): Beautiful New Body Worlds. The dispute over the exhibition . Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2001, pp. 171-203.
  • Plastinates and their presentation in the museum - an epistemological and bioethical retrospective of a media event. In: Institute for Plastination (Ed.): Body Worlds. The fascination of the real. 11th edition. Heidelberg 2001, pp. 216-229.
  • Healthy body and sick body. The changing image of humans in the history of medicine and their contribution to the philosophy of life sciences. In: Giovanni Maio , Volker Roelcke (Hrsg.): Medicine and culture. Medical thinking and acting in a dialogue between the natural sciences and the humanities. Festschrift Dietrich von Engelhardt. Stuttgart / New York 2001, pp. 77-95.
  • with Christel Weiß: PhD. Thieme, Stuttgart / New York 2001; 4th edition 2015.
  • From the emergency house to the Mannheim University Hospital. Medical care, teaching and research in medical history. Regional culture, Ubstadt-Weiher 2002.
  • Man as a product of genes and the inviolability of his dignity. In: Deutsche Richterzeitung . Vol. 80 (2002), No. 5, pp. 163-169.
  • Medicine in Renaissance humanism on the way from medieval personal authority to modern factual authority using the example of botany, anatomy and surgery. In: Dominik Groß , Monika Reininger (Hrsg.): Medicine in history, philology and ethnology. Festschrift for Gundolf Keil. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2003, ISBN 3-8260-2176-2 , pp. 11-25.
  • with Anthony D. Ho: “Not just artificial in a hospital”. Two hundred years of Heidelberg Medical University Polyclinic and its path from city practice to blood stem cell transplantation. Heidelberg 2005; 2nd edition 2016 .
  • The pathography of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart . Possibilities and problems of a retrospective diagnosis. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Vol. 25 (2006), pp. 153-173.
  • Metaphors. Imagery and self-image of medicine. In: The anesthesiologist . Vol. 55 (2006), pp. 1307-1314.
  • The Clinical Ethics Committee (KEK) in the field of tension between hospital certification, moral pragmatics and scientific standards . In: Wiener Medical Wochenschrift . Vol. 157 (2007), pp. 201-209.
  • Health as a normative concept from a medical theoretical and medical historical perspective. In: Ilona Biendarra, Marc Weeren (Hrsgg.): Gesundheit –Gesundheiten? A guide. Würzburg 2009, pp. 31-57.
  • ed. with Grietje Beck: Anesthesia at the Mannheim University Hospital 1952–2009. From the first female anesthetists to the clinic for anesthesiology and operative intensive care medicine. Mannheim 2009.
  • what is the human? Attempts at answering medical anthropology. (Revised version of the opening lecture for the conference "What is man? How medical progress is changing the image of man" by the Evangelical Academy Baden in Bad Herrenalb on November 11, 2011.) In: Fachprosaforschung - Grenzüberreitungen 8/9, 2012/2013, ISBN 978 -3-86888-077-9 , pp. 437-453.
  • Death helper. Why the state wants to promote participation in suicide with the new Section 217 StGB . Edition Sonderwege at Manuscriptum, Waltrop / Leipzig 2013, ISBN 978-3-937801-78-0 (together with texts by Andreas Krause Landt and Reinhold Schneider on euthanasia and suicide), pp. 93–169.
  • 50 years ago. How medical studies began in Mannheim. In: Specialized prose research - Crossing borders. Vol. 10 (2014), pp. 145-163.
  • "Social Freezing". Planning of offspring as (externally) controlled manipulation of the biography . In: Catholic Education. Vol. 116 (2015), H. 3, pp. 103-118.
  • Normative delimitation. Topics and dilemmas in medical and bioethics in Germany. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2017.
  • The first human blood transfusion by Jean-Baptiste Denis in 1667 from a medical-historical perspective. In: Transfusionsmedizin 8 (2018), pp. 33–39.
  • with Céline Schlager: Ethical discourse, political debate and media staging in the temporal context of the legislation on assisted suicide (§ 217 StGB) in Germany. In: Zeitschrift für Lebensrecht 27 (2018), pp. 60–68.
  • Karl Landsteiner : Discoverer of the blood groups in Vienna - Nobel Prize winner in New York. In: Transfusionsmedizin 8 (2018), pp. 164–169.
  • with Laurens Paul Winkelmeier: The failed German legislative process on assisted suicide in 2013. In: Imago Hominis 25 (2018), pp. 205-214.
  • with Yvonne Spranz: Pathology of liver tumors in Virchow's archive between 1900 and 1930: Innovation or stagnation in cancer research? In: Ingo Wirth (ed.): Virchow research as a life's work. Festschrift for the 80th birthday of Christian Andree . Hildesheim, Zurich, New York 2018, pp. 3–25.
  • Normative delimitation processes at the beginning of human life. In: Hermes Andreas Kick and Manfred Oeming (eds.): Borders and Entbegrenzung. Ethical orientation in a destabilized world. Berlin 2019, pp. 29–41.
  • with Jila Hosseini: Who defines human death? The guidelines of the German Medical Association for the determination of brain death from 1982 to 2015. In: Rainer Beckmann, Gunnar Duttge, Klaus Ferdinand Gärditz et al. (Ed.): Memorial for Herbert Tröndle. Berlin 2019, pp. 849–864.
  • with Anabel Voth: Social freezing from a medical ethical perspective. In: Journal for Medical Ethics 66 (2020), pp. 85–98.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Axel W. Bauer: Brute Facts or Institutional Facts? Critical remarks on the epistemological discourse on the general concept of disease. In: Consideration - Knowledge - Ethics. Volume 18, 2007, Issue 1, pp. 93-95.