KANT IN THE CLASSROOM     Materials to aid the study of Kant’s lectures

Kant’s Writings
Academy Edition
Kant’s Life


Describing the Notes
Production of the Notes
Dating the Notes
Lists: [Published Notes] [Unpublished Notes]
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Descriptions of the Notes (click below):

Kant’s Lectures

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Mathematics Notes

Kant taught mathematics a total of fifteen semesters, all at the beginning of his career; the last time was as a privatissima course in WS 1763/64. The only student notes from these lectures stem from Herder (early 1760s), and these are quite fragmentary. Kant used Wolff’s Anfangsgründe aller mathematischen Wissenschaften [1710], of which Kant owned the 1750 edition, and sometimes he used the shorter Auszug aus den Anfangsgründen aller mathematischen Wissenschaften [1713], of which Kant owned the 1749 edition (Kant’s copies have not been found).  See the Mathematics lectures.

(1) Herder 3

Physical Description and History

Two fragments, four sheets each.  Irmscher is not certain that both stem from Kant’s lectures; he writes: “The text on ms 3r appears to be a latter entry, the continuation possibly occurring between sheets 2 and 3, and then being lost.  P. 3v is empty until the heading ‘Anwendung auf die’.  Also the handwriting varies…” [Irmscher 1964, 12; and see Lehmann 1980, 658-60].


(1) Ms: Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Haus II, NL-Herder:

XXV.45.  Four sheets (17.5 x 20.5 cm), from a larger printer’s sheet, folded twice.  Paper is ribbed, with a watermark (Irmscher calls it a crowned eagle).  The left-hand margin is marked with a crease down the middle, and contains some marginalia.  Page 8 is blank.  Brown ink throughout.  Printed at Ak. 29: 49-58.
XXV.46.  Same size and format as the previous.  Page 8 is also blank.  Printed at Ak. 29: 59-66.


(1) Irmscher [1964, 17-39].

(2) Lehmann [1980; Ak. 29: 49-66].  The Academy edition marginal pagination does not include the blank pages.


Johann Gottfried Herder [bio] matriculated August 10, 1762.  Kant taught mathematics WS 1762/63 and SS 1763 during Herder’s stay in Königsberg (he would not likely have attended Kant’s privatissima course held in WS 1763/64).  If these are in fact notes from Kant’s classroom, then they would need to stem from one of these two semesters.  Böttiger [1998, 125] reports that Herder attended — “with great dilligence” — the mathematics lectures of F. J. Buck [bio], who was at that time the full professor of Logic and Metaphysics.  See also Herder’s notes on metaphysics, physical geography, moral philosophy, physics, and logic.

Copyright ©2006 Steve Naragon (Manchester University)
Last modified: 27 Jan 2009
Please send comments and questions to: ssnaragon@manchester.edu