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Reviewed by:
  • Notes and Fragments
  • Mark Fisher
Immanuel Kant . Notes and Fragments. Edited by Paul Guyer . Translated by Chris Bowman, Paul Guyer, and Frederick Rauscher . The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant. Cambridge-New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Pp. xxx + 663. Cloth, $140.00.

The latest volume in the Cambridge Edition of the works of Immanuel Kant contains the first extensive set of translated passages from Kant's handschriftliche Nachlaß, i.e., the hand-written notes that Kant made on loose sheets of paper, in margins, and on the blank pages that were interleaved into his copies of his published works, and into the texts he used for his lecture courses. Notes and Fragments brings the general editors of the Cambridge Edition closer to achieving their goal of a comprehensive and unified English-language edition of Kant's philosophical writings. This installment will make it possible for English-speaking scholars and students to supplement their understanding of Kant's thought by comparing his hand-written notes with passages from the published works and student lecture-notes contained in other volumes of the series. In what follows, I will begin with a general outline of the structure of Notes and Fragments before giving my evaluation of its potential for contributing to Kant studies.

The three-part introduction provides an overview of the contents of the ten Akademie volumes in which the hand-written materials appear, a history of the developments leading to the publication of these volumes, and a description of the methods employed by Erich Adickes in providing an approximate chronology for Kant's undated notes and fragments. Chapter one provides selections from notes Kant made in the interleaved copy of his 1764 essay Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime. Chapter two, "Notes on Logic," contains notes from Kant's copy of Meier's Auszug aus der Vernunftlehre, which Kant used for his lectures on logic from the 1750s to the 1790s. Chapter three, "Notes on Metaphysics," is by far the most extensive, taking up nearly two-thirds of the entire volume. It is divided chronologically into four sections, corresponding to the divisions that Adickes made in dating the Reflexionen contained in Akademie volumes seventeen and eighteen. Many of the notes translated here were made in Kant's interleaved copy of Baumgarten's Metaphysica, which Kant used for his metaphysics lectures from the 1760s to the 1790s, while most others were made on loose sheets of paper (lose Blätter) at various points during this same time period. Chapter four, "Notes on Moral Philosophy," contains a section of notes from the Akademie volumes devoted to anthropology, logic, and metaphysics, followed by several sections of chronologically ordered groups of notes primarily from Kant's copy of the textbook for his lectures on ethics, Baumgarten's Initia philosophiae practicae prima. Chapter five, "Notes on Aesthetics," is comprised of notes that stem largely from the section on empirical psychology in Kant's copies of Baumgarten's Metaphysica, which Kant used for his lectures on anthropology beginning in 1772–73. Like the other volumes in the Cambridge Edition, editorial comments, key German and Latin terms, and translations of Latin phrases are all provided in footnotes. Endnotes are used for historical, biographical, and bibliographical information. These are followed by glossaries and an index of terms and names.

The volume should prove to be a valuable resource for anyone with a serious interest in the development of Kant's philosophy between the 1750s and the 1790s. The notes on metaphysics from the 1770s are especially valuable for addressing questions concerning the nature and importance of the "Critical turn" in metaphysics that results in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. The notes on beauty, sublimity, morality, and aesthetics also provide insight into the development of the views in ethics and aesthetics presented and defended in the Critique of Practical Reason and the Critique of Judgment. They are, therefore, valuable for supplementing our understanding of the relation between Kant's mature theory of judgment, modern theories of moral sense and taste, and classical theories of virtue and beauty. The lack of a table for locating translated notes by reference to the Akademie...


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