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46 HUME IN THE GOTTINGISCHE ANZEIGEN: 1739-1800 Surprisingly little historical and systematic work has been done on the early reception of Hume's philosophy in Germany. Although there are quite a number of papers and books devoted to discussing Kant's relation to Hume, these are, for the most part, thoroughly uninformed by the historical background of Kant's reception of Hume. The question of what Kant actually knew of Hume is raised over and over again, but, in the absence of new evidence, does not seem to admit of any satisfactory answer. These two circumstances, namely, the lack of historical work on Hume's reception in eighteenthcentury Germany, and the seeming futility of discussions concerning Kant's knowledge of Hume, are closely related. For, given the relative sparsity of Kant's remarks on Hume, new light on the Kant-Hume relation will have to come from the general background of Kant's thinking and writing. Once we know that works of Hume were known in Germany, how they were seen, and how they figured, if they did, in the thought of Kant's contemporaries, we will perhaps be able to make more sense of Kant's sometimes 2 cryptic remarks about Hume. But I believe it would be a serious mistake to look at Hume's reception in Germany from an exclusively Kantian point of view. Quite independent of the Kant-Hume relation philosophically important as it obviously is — it should prove interesting to see how Hume was received by his contemporaries in Germany, and whether their view of him reveals interesting aspects of his thought that were seen neither in Britain nor in France. It is clear, however, that the discussion of the reception of Hume in eighteenth-century Germany 47 is far too large an undertaking to be attempted in one article. Therefore I shall attempt to trace, by means of a descriptive bibliography, the rough outline of the history of his reception in just one German publication: the Göttingische Anzeigen von gelehrten Sachen (GGA). This journal seems to me a particularly good place to start an account of Hume's German Rezept ionsgeschichte because, first, it covers the entire period during which Hume could have influenced German thought. For the GGA began appearing in 1739, the very year in which Hume's Treatise was first published, and it is still being published today. Thus it can supply us with a continuous series of documents from 1739 to the present. Second, since the GGA was begun when Hannover, and thus Gottingen, were closely linked to Britain because of the Personalunion, it had a greater interest in British thought than most other German journals. Thus it reported British developments more quickly than did other German 4 journals. Third, and partially as a result of the British connection, the GGA very soon became one of the most prestigious German journals. What was being said in its reviews carried greater weight, or, at the very least, must be assumed to have been more widely read, than what was put forward in many other German publications. It is useful to divide Hume's early German influence into roughly four different periods. The first period lasted from 1739 to the early 5 seventies. This period saw the translation of most of Hume's works into French and German, and it may be characterized as the time of Hume's first reception. The second period began in the early seventies and lasted to the early eighties. During this time, Hume's Scottish critics Reid, Oswald and Beattie, as 48 well as their and Hume's critic, Joseph Priestley, became better known in Germany, and thus changed the German view of Hume. But this change appears also to have been connected with the more thorough discussion of Hume in Germany itself, and with the reception of Hume's posthumously published writings. The third period I see beginning with the appearance of Kant's first Critique (1781) and the Prolegomena (1783), which, at first, were seen by him as well as by his contemporaries as a continuation of the Humean enterprise. This clearly had significant effects on the way in which Hume was...


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