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

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Descriptions of the Notes (click below):

Kant’s Lectures

> The Student Notes

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Physical Geography Notes

1. Summary Table of the Physical Geography Notes
2. Families of Student Notes
3. Earlier Scholarship on the Physical Geography Notes
4. Early Published Versions of Kant’s Physical Geography Lectures
5. Overview of Kant’s Physical Geography Lectures
6. The Manuscripts

To date there are thirty-six[1] sets of student notes of Kant’s lectures on physical geography of which we have at least mention of their existence; seventeen of these sets are extant, and the text of ten others is available in the form of early publications (Rink’s two manuscripts, Vollmer’s three, and fragments of an-Karmann, an-Königsberg 3, an-Starke 4, Puttlich 2, and Vigilantius 1).  Fifteen have been published in whole or in part (counting each of the three manuscripts used by Vollmer). Werner Stark, with the collaboration of Reinhard Brandt, is currently preparing the physical geography notes for publication as vol. 26 of the Academy edition.[2].  See also the Physical Geography lectures.

Kant lectured on physical geography from the beginning of his teaching career as a lecturer (1755) until his last semester as a full professor (SS 1796).  He lectured from his own notes, without the use of a textbook, since there was no standard textbook available.  These notes — the so-called Diktattext manuscript that Kant prepared from 1757 to early 1759 — are best preserved in the copy an-Holstein-Beck, which has corrections and additions in Kant’s own hand. 

Friedrich Theodor Rink [bio] published in 1802, at Kant’s own request, Kant’s Physical Geography [writings], and based this publication on two manuscripts: Kant’s Diktattext and a set of student lecture notes from 1775.  Both manuscripts — the Diktattext and the set of notes — are lost, leaving us only the modified versions appearing in Rink’s publication, and these manuscripts are listed as an-Rink 1 (i.e., Kant’s Diktattext) and an-Rink 2 (the set of student lecture notes from 1775).  Other manuscripts that appear to include text from the Diktattext are an-Barth, an-Friedländer 2, an-Karmann, an-Pillau, Philippi 2, and Powalski 1.

The usual order of topics in the notes is as follows: (1) Introduction: mathematical geography, (2) General part in major sections: natural history of the land, the rivers and oceans, (3) Specific sections according to kingdom: animal, plant, and mineral, and (4) geographic sections on Asia, Africa, Europe, and America.

[1] The discrepancy with Stark [2009], who lists a total of 34 sets of notes, is only apparent; Stark counts the three sets of notes reportedly owned by Vollmer as a single set, while I count them as three.

[2] The first of two parts was published in July 2009, and consists of Stark’s introduction and the an-Holstein-Beck manuscript.  Part two will appear in two volumes: (1) notes from the 1770’s, featuring Hesse, Kaehler, and an-Messina, and (2) notes from the 1780’s (Dönhoff) and 1790’s (Dohna-Wundlacken) — see Gloyna, et al. [2008, 106-7].

The Physical Geography Notes [top]

Manuscript Location A Date Published Translated

(1) an-Barth

Berlin 1757-59 + 1784    

(2) an-Friedländer 2

Berlin 1757-59 + 177?    

(3) an-Holstein-Beck

(Stahlberg fam.) 1757-59 + 1772/73 Glasenapp*, AA 26:7-320  

(4) an-Karmann

NA (Kön.)   1757-59?    

(5) an-Königsberg 2

NA (Kön.)        

(6) an-Königsberg 3

NA (Kön.) -   Adickes 1911a*; AA 14-15*; Glasenapp*  

(7) an-Königsberg 4

NA (Kön.)   1784?    

(8) an-Messina

Messina 1775 Domenico*  

(9) an-Gensichen


(10) an-Pillau 3

Berlin 1757-59 + 1784    

(11) an-Prussia

NA (Kön.)        

(12) an-Reicke 3

NA (Kön.)        

(13) an-Reicke 4

NA (Kön.)        

(14) an-Rink 1

NA + 1757-59 Rink Bolin; C-H; Watkins

(15) an-Rink 2

NA + 1774 Rink Bolin; C-H; Watkins

(16) an-Starke 4

NA - 1791 Bergk  

(17) an-Trescho


(18-20) an-Vollmer 1-3

NA +   Vollmer Eckerlin

(21) an-Werner

Marburg 1774 Adickes 1913*  

(22) Busolt 2

Berlin c. 1774    

(23) Crueger

NA (Kön.) - 1785? Adickes 1911*  

(24) Dönhoff

(Dönhoff family) early 1780s    

(25) Dohna-Wundl. 2

Bentheim 1792 Eitel*; Kowalewski 1925*, 2000*  

(26) Fehlhauer

Strassburg 1775 + 1782?    

(27) Herder 1

Berlin 1763-64 Menzer 1911*  

(28) Hesse

Helsinki 1770    

(29) Kaehler J. S.

Philadelphia 1774    

(30) Nicolovius

NA   1785    

(31) Philippi 2

Berlin 1757-59 + 1772/73    

(32) Powalski 1

Berlin 1757-59 + 1777    

(33) Puttlich 2

NA (Kön.) - 1785 Adickes 1911a*, 1911b*, 1913*, 1924/25*; AA 14-15*; Glasenapp*  

(34) Vigilantius 1

NA (Kön.) - 1793 Kowalewski 2000*  

(35) Volckmann 1

Berlin + 1785    

(36) Wolter

New York 1774 + 1796?    

Abbreviations: A: availability [ = the set of notes (either as manuscript or in printed form) appears to be complete, + = a large fragment of the original text is still available, - = only a small fragment of the original text is available, (no sign) = none of the original text is available], * = only part of the available text was printed, AA = Akademie-Ausgabe, an = anonymous, (c) = published from a copy, Kön = Königsberg, NA () = not available (last known location), rpt. = reprint of, var = published as a variant reading.

Bibliography: Adickes 1911a: Erich Adickes, Untersuchungen zu Kant’s physischer Geographie (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1911).  Adickes 1911b: Erich Adickes, Kants Ansichten über Geschichte und Bau der Erde (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1911).  Adickes 1913: Erich Adickes, Ein neu aufgefundenes Kollegheft nach Kants Vorlesungen über physische Geographie (Tübingen, 1913).  Adickes 1924/25: Erich Adickes, Kant als Naturforscher, 2 vols. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1924-25).  Bergk: Johann Adam Bergk [pseudonym: Friedrich Christian Starke], ed., Immanuel Kant’s vorzügliche kleine Schriften und Aufsätze. Mit Anmerkungen herausgegeben von Fr. Ch. Starke. Nebst Betrachtungen über die Erde und den Menschen aus ungedruckten Vorlesungen von Imm. Kant. 2 vols (Leipzig: Expedition des europäischen Aufsehers, 1833).  Bolin: Ronald L. Bolin, transl., Immanuel Kant’s Physical Geography (Indiana University, translator’s thesis, A.M., Bloomington, Indiana; 1968).  C-H: Michèle Cohen-Halimi, Max Marcuzzi, and Valérie Seroussi, trs., Immanuel Kant, Géographie = Physische Geographie (Paris: Aubier, 1999).  Domenico: Nicola de Domenico, “La storia naturale della terra secondo Kant. Il Ms. FN 6 della Biblioteca Regionale di Messina (Kants Physische Geographie. 1782) con un estratto dal testo” in Università di Messina, La Tradizione Kantiana in Italia (Messina, 1986), pp. 389-474.  Eckerlin: Augusto Eckerlin, transl., Geografia fisica di Emanele Kant (Milan: G. Silvestri, 1807-11), 6 vol. Translation into Italian of Vollmer (1801-5).  Eitel: Wilhelm Eitel, “Ein Dokument zur Behandlung mineralogischer Gegenstände in Kants Vorlesungen über physische Geographie.” Festschrift, 200. Geburtstag Immanuel Kant (Leipzig, 1924), pp. 29-39.  Glasenapp: Helmut von Glasenapp, Kant und die Religionen des Ostens (Kitzingen am Main: Holzner Verlag, 1954).  Kowalewski 1925: Arnold and Elisabeth-Maria Kowalewski, “Aus Kants Vorlesungen über physische Geographie nach einem ungedruckten Kollegheft vom Sommersemester 1792.” Philosophischer Kalender für das Jahr 1925 (Berlin, 1925), pp. 94-101.  Kowalewski 2000: Arnold Kowalewski, Kant-Volksausgabe, Bd. 1. Edited by Sabina Laetitia Kowalewski and Werner Stark as vol. 12 of Kant-Forschungen (Hamburg: Meiner, 2000).  Rink: Immanuel Kant, Physische Geographie, edited and in part revised at the author’s request, from his own manuscript, by Friedrich Theodor Rink (Königsberg: Göbbels and Unzer, 1802).  Vollmer: Johann Jakob Wilhelm Vollmer, ed., Immanuel Kant, Physische Geographie, 4 vols. in 7 parts (Mainz and Hamburg: Gottfried Vollmer, 1801-5).  Watkins: Eric Watkins, ed., Immanuel Kant, , Natural Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 441-679.

Families of Student Notes [list of notes] [top]

As determined by the recent work reported in Stark [2009], the twenty-seven known manuscripts fall into nine distinct groups (A, B, C, D, X), based on commonality of the semester of origin and the original set of source notes (Stark’s website has a more detailed overview, with links to the texts of the manuscripts).  The 17 extant notes are in bold.  Six sets of notes are absent from this list: the three sets of an-Vollmer, Nicolovius (which was presumably a copy of Puttlich 2), an-Gensichen, and an-Trescho.

The two columns to the right are letter designations assigned by Adickes based on what he took to be their relations of descent ('A' being the earliest of the manuscripts).

1757-72 [A]

• A0 - an-Holstein-Beck (1758-59)

• A0 - an-Karmann (1758-59)

• A0 - an-Reicke 4 (1758-59)

• A0 - an-Könisberg 2 (1758-59)

• A0 - an-Könisberg 4 (1758-59)

• A1 - Herder 1 (1763)

• A2 - Hesse (1770)

1774-79 [B]

• B0 - Kaehler J. S. (1774?)

• B0 - an-Werner (1774?)

• B0 - an-Rink 2 (1774?)

• B1 - an-Messina (1776?)

• B1 - Fehlhauer (1776?)

• B1 - an-Prussia (1776?)

• B1 - Busolt 2 (1776?)

• B1 - Wolter (1776?)

1780s [C]

• C0 - Dönhoff (1781?)

• C0 - Volckmann 1 (1785)

• C0 - Puttlich 2 (1785)

• C1 - an-Reicke 3 (1787?)

1790s [D]

• D1 - an-Starke 4 (1791?)

• D2 - Dohna-Wundlacken 2 (1792?)

• D2 - an-Königsberg 3 (1792?)

• D3 - Vigilantius 1 (1793)

Compilations [X]

• X1 - an-Rink 1 (1758-59)

• X1 - Philippi 2 (1758-59 + 1772-73)

• X1 - an-Friedländer 2 (1758-59 + 1777?)

• X1 - Powalski 1 (1758-59 + 1777)

• X2 - an-Barth (1758-59, 1784)

• X2 - an-Pillau 3 (1758-59, 1784)

• X2 - Crueger (1785?)

Adickes’ List (1911, 1925)

A (Herder 1)

B (an-Holstein-Beck)

C (an-Karmann)

D (an-Friedländer 2)

E (an-Königsberg 2)

F (Powalski 1)

G (an-Königsberg 4)

H (an-Barth)

I (an-Pillau 2)

K (an-Reicke 4)

L (Crueger)

M (Fehlhauer)

N (an-Prussia)

O (Busolt 2)

P (Volckmann 1)

Q (Puttlich 2)

R (an-Reicke 3)

S (an-Königsberg 3)

T (Vigilantius 1)

U (an-Rink 1)

W (an-Werner)

Z (Wolter)

Earlier Scholarship on the Physical Geography Notes [list of notes] [top]

Johann Adam Bergk (1769-1834) published brief selections from the an-Stark 4, an otherwise lost set of notes [1833].

Emil Arnoldt (1828-1905) reports six sets of notes, three of which were in the Königsberg university library: an-Königsberg 3, an-Königsberg 4, and Vigilantius 1 [1908/9, iv.395-400].

Erich Adickes (1866-1928) had access to 21 manuscripts when preparing his Untersuchungen [1911]; and during his preparation of Kant’s reflections on physical geography (11911, 21925; AA 14:541-635) he had access to yet a twenty-second manuscript (an-Werner).  He believed that nearly all the notes were copies or compilations (one set in particular from not fewer than nine different notebooks).

Paul Menzer (1873-1960) worked with Herder’s notes, quoting passages [1911].

Wilhelm Eitel (1891-1936) was a Berlin mineralogist, and published the minerology section of Dohna-Wundlacken 2 [1924].

Arnold Kowalewski (1873-1945) published selections from Dohna-Wundlacken 2 and Vigilantius 1 [1925; 2000].

Helmut Glasenapp (1891-1963), an Indologist, taught at the university in Königsberg since 1928, and prepared a talk (“Kant and the Religions of the East”) to be presented at the annual Society of the Friends of Kant meeting for 22 April 1940; this talk eventually grew into a longer work published in 1944 (on the occasion of the 400 anniversary of the University’s founding), but which was almost entirely lost in the chaos of the war, and eventually reprinted in 1954.  Glasenapp did not identify the set of notes that he reprinted, but they appear to have been an-Karmann [1954].

Nicola Domenico has published on the an-Messina notes [1986].

Early Published Versions of Kant’s Physical Geography Lectures [list of notes] [top]

Friedrich Theodor Rink [bio] published a two-volume authorized edition of Kant’s Physical Geography [1802][writings][1].  Johann Jakob Wilhelm Vollmer [bio] published an unauthorized seven-volume version [1801-5; 2nd ed.: 1808-17],[2] that was soon translated into Italian [Eckerlin 1807].  A two-volume compilation from the Rink and Vollmer editions was also published by Karl Gottlieb Schelle: Immanuel Kants physische Geographie, für Freunde der Welt- und Länderkunde und zum Unterricht für die erwachsene Jugend (Leipzig: J. B. Schieff, 1803).  (Publications of other sets of physical geography notes are listed on the “List: Published Notes” page.)

The Rink Edition

Friedrich Theodor Rink was a student of Kant’s from the late 1780s, but then later became a close colleague and frequent lunch guest during the 1790s when he was a lecturer, and then associate professor, of oriental languages at the university, eventually also becoming a full professor of theology.  He moved to Danzig in 1801, bringing with him a small collection of Kantiana, including at least four sets of lecture notes: two on geography (an-Rink 1 — Kant's own set of notes, the Diktattext — and an-Rink2, a set of student notes from 1774) and one each on pedagogy (an-Rink 3) and theology (an-Pölitz 2).  Rink clearly enjoyed Kant’s trust; apart from publishing Kant’s lecture notes on geography (1802), he also published what became a remarkably popular one-volume edition of Kant’s lectures on education (1803) [writings].  After Kant’s death he also published Kant’s essay on the Progress in Metaphysics (1804) [writings] and wrote one of the early Kant biographies (1805).

Unlike the Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (AA 7:119-333; ed. Oswald Külpe) published by Kant in 1798 [writings], which offered an official version of Kant’s popular lectures on anthropology, the Physical Geography (AA 9:151-436; ed. Paul Gedan) should be used only with caution.  Adickes tried to prevent the publication of the Academy volume because of the many problems with the Rink edition that he was uncovering in his research.  The volume was already typeset, but its publication (much less any possible replacement) was postponed for lack of funds; in the end, the Academy chose to publish the text as it was, since re-setting the text would have been too costly.  As a compromise, Gedan included in his apparatus mention of the 141 mistakes listed by Adickes [1911a, 221-51].

In summary, Rink’s 1802 edition had two primary sources, neither of which are extant:

(1) The first part of the text [§§1-52; AA 9:151-273] is based on a set of student notes from 1774 (an-Rink 2), although we have other student notes that appear to have stemmed from the same semester (Kaehler J. S. and an-Werner).

(2) The second part [AA 9:273-436], beginning with §53, is based on the so-called Diktattext (an-Rink 1), which is also lost, although we have what appears to be a copy in the an-Holstein-Beck manuscript.

(3) A (minor) third source of text for Rink’s edition is a scattering of contemporary literature that Rink drew upon to bring Kant’s text more up-to-date.  This was inserted without comment.

The Diktattext was prepared by Kant in the first few years of his career as a lecturer, sometime around 1757-59, over two-thirds of which consists of excerpts from published writings — textbooks, travelogues, and articles from scientific journals (which is what he described in his 1757 lecture announcement [see]).  This text was still available in the library at Königsberg when Schubert [1839] was preparing a volume of supplemental texts of Kant’s, but is now missing, other than two fragments — Löse Blätter J3 and J4 [Refl. #107 and 108; AA 14:629-33].  The text of these fragments parallels the Physical Geography as printed at AA 9:42615-4303.

The an-Holstein-Beck is the closest copy we have of the Diktattext.  Outwardly resembling a standard set of student lecture notes, it includes corrections and additions in the margins in Kant’s own hand, and was given to Holstein-Beck as a gift from Kant.  This manuscript helps fill various gaps in the Rink edition; for instance, Rink reports a gap in the text at AA 9:389 (between descriptions of Kashmir and the Molukkischen Islands; what is missing are sections on India and Japan, which are available in an-Holstein-Beck, mss 253-68).

[1] The Rink volumes were subsequently edited and reprinted by Hartenstein [1839], Schubert [1839], Hartenstein [1868], Kirchmann [1877], Gedan [1905], and in the Academy edition [1923; AA 9:151-436], also edited by Gedan.  There was also a pirated version of Rink [also published in 1802].

[2] Kant publicly denounced Vollmer’s edition [1801; Ak 12:372] [writings].

Overview of Kant’s Physical Geography Lectures [list of notes] [top]

Because no suitable textbooks were available, the Prussian government allowed Kant to lecture from his own manuscript, the so-called Diktattext.  This text, available to us as a copy in the form of the an-Holstein-Beck notes, has the following structure:

I. General

§1: History of the oceans.

§2: History of lands and islands.

§3: Earthquakes and volcanoes.

§4: History of springs and wells.

§5: History of rivers.

§6: History of wind-currents.

§7: On the relationship between the weather and the seasons.

§8: History of the great changes that the earth has suffered, and is still suffering.

§9: On seafaring.

II. The three kingdoms

§1: On human beings (differences in culture and skin coloration).

§2: The animal kingdom.

§3: The plant kingdom.

§4: The mineral kingdom.

III. The four parts of the world: Asia, Africa, Europe, America.

This outline is identical to that given in Kant’s 1757 overview of the physical geography lectures that he gives in his lecture announcement pamphlet (West Winds, 1757 [writings]), except that items I§3 and III is omitted.


(1) anonymous-Barth [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

H [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

Half-leather quarto volume (17 x 20 cm), 180 sheets, 356 pp. of text.  No title-page; title on spine: “Kants / Phys. Geogr.”; on the front end page: “Barth.”  At top of the first page: “Prolegomena.”  The top right corner is torn and, under this tear in the margin: “Anthropologie”, crossed out, and replaced with “Physische Geographie”.  Paginated by the copyist.  Text is neatly written with very few corrections; catchwords are used throughout.  Some illustrations.  The last page of text is numbered 359, but there are only 354 pp. of text, because of a pagination error (jump from 176 to 178), pp. 15-16 are blank, and the front end page was included in the count, making p. 3 the first page of text.

Menzer [1912] listed this as belonging to the Pfarrbibliothek in Strasburg (West Prussia), where the Powalski manuscripts — Powalski 1 (physical geography) and Powalski 2 (moral) — were also stored.


(1) Ms: Berlin, AA-Archive (NL-Kant 14).

(2) anonymous-Friedländer 2 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

D [Adickes 1911a], anonymous-Friedländer 1 [Stark 2009].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume, 484 pp.  “Physischer Geographie. oder Mathematische Kentniße der Erde. 1772”.  David Joachim Friedländer [bio], owned lecture notes on anthropology (two sets), moral philosophy, philosophical encyclopedia, and physics, apart from the notes on physical geography.


(1) Ms: Berlin, SBPK, Hause II (Ms. germ. quart. 398).

(3) anonymous-Holstein-Beck [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

B [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume, 341 pp.  On the front-side of the endpaper: “Vorlesungen / des / Profeßor Kant über die / Physische Geographie die er / mir in den Jahren 1772/3 gehalten / zum Andencken dieses großen Mannes / von ihm selbst erhalten.  Die in diesem / Manuscript befindlichen Correcturen / sind von seiner eigenen Hand. / F H v Holstein”.  Unpaginated.  Signatures (of varying lengths) are indicated with letters, except for the last.  Outside margin one-fifth the page width; all but two marginalia are in Kant’s own hand.  The first page of text has the heading: “Physische Geographie. / Vorbereitung”.  Neatly written, in four different hands; some lines crossed out.  Sporadic use of catchwords.  The first page of text is p. 3, the last page is p. 344, and p. 184 is blank.  Text length: 59,200 words + 1,100 words in Kant’s hand (marginalia). [Stark 2009]

Friedrich Karl Ludwig von Holstein-Beck was born (20 Aug 1757) in Königsberg to a family of nobility: Herzog Karl Anton August von Holstein-Beck (born 1727 in Marburg, died 1759 in Stettin) and Friederike Charlotte Antonie Amalie (1738-1786; born Gräfin von Dohna-Leistenau).  He died near Hamburg (25 Mar 1816).  Holstein-Beck matriculated in the military school, as was appropriate for a young man of his station, rather than at the university, but he was free to hire Kant for private lectures (so-called privatissima), and Arnoldt reports that Kant gave such a set of private lectures on physical geography during WS 1772/73 in the home of the Herzog Friedrich von Holstein-Beck before a “mixed circle of auditors.”  Stark finds it likely that Kant had a copy made of his own text to present to Holstein-Beck; Kant added various marginalia and made some corrections, much or all of which was simply to “personalize” the copy.

This manuscript is the closest copy of Kant’s Dictata, a text that he prepared from 1757-1759 and which served as the basis for his physical geography lectures, and which are now lost.  The Holstein-Beck manuscript was first mentioned in the literature by Schubert [1842, 52].  Menzer [1912] listed the owner as Eduard Stahlberg (of Friedenau by Berlin), and it has remained in that family.


(1) Ms: Privately held by the Stahlberg family.

(2) Film: Marburg Kant-Archiv (Film 5).


(1) Glasenapp [1954].  Fragment.

(2) Stark [2009; AA 26:7-320].


1757-59 (the text itself), WS 1772/73 (Kant’s marginalia).

(4) anonymous-Karmann [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

C [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume, 412 pp.  “Physische Geographie aus dem eigenhändigen Manuscripte des Herrn Professor Immanuel Kant”; on the end page: “F. Karmann”

Friedrich Karmann (also: Karrmann) Born 5 Nov 1805 in Danzig, matriculated on 27 May 1827 as a philosophy student at Königsberg, studying also in Halle (until 1831) [Rhesa 1834, 29].


(1) Ms: Königsberg, StB (S 94. 4°).  Lost.

(5) anonymous-Königsberg 2 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

E [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

Bound octavo volume, 245 pp.  “Kants physische Geographie MSt”.


(1) Ms: Königsberg, StB (S 73. 8°).  Lost.

(6) anonymous-Königsberg 3 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

S [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

183 pp.  Blank title page; on page 1: “Physische Geographie”.  Arnoldt describes the content, and tries to date it [1908/9, iv.397-400].


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Ms. 1729).  Lost.  Only brief fragments are preserved in the publications listed below.


(1) Adickes [1911a, 83, 245, 268-76, 296].

(2) Adickes [1911b, 186-87].

(3) Adickes [1911c; AA 14:552n, 599n].

(4) Adickes [1913b; AA 15:877].

(5) Glasenapp [1954, 101, 113].


Adickes suggests probably no earlier than SS 1792.

(7) anonymous-Königsberg 4 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

G [Adickes 1911a], anonymous-Königsberg 5 [Stark 2009].

Physical Description and History

133 sheets. “Physische Geographie.  Eine akademische Vorlesung von Prof. Kant.  Im Sommerhalben Jahre 1784”; at the end: “Finis Physicae Geographiae / Fin. d. 22. Sept. 1784”.  Arnoldt mentions this manuscript when determining the end-date for the physical geography lectures for SS 1784 [1908-9, iv.430], and describes it more fully at [1908-9, iv.396].


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Ms. 1869).  Lost.


SS 1784 (date on manuscript).  The end-date of Sept. 22, 1784, would have been appropriate for the last day of the semester, although the officially recorded end-date for that course was the following Saturday (Sept. 29).

(8) anonymous-Messina [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

371 pp. “Kants / physische Geographie. / 1782.”


(1) Ms: Messina/Italy, Biblioteca Regionale (Ms. FN 6).

(2) Film: Marburg Kant-Archiv (Film 5)

(3) Photocopy: Marburg Kant-Archiv (Mappe 6).


(1) Selection in Domenico [1986].


SS 1775


Adickes did not have this manuscript available to him, but from descriptions inferred that it belonged to the same group of manuscripts as Fehlhauer, an-Prussia, Busolt 2, and Wolter [1911a, 124n].

(9) anonymous-Gensichen [list of notes] [top]


Nothing is known of this manuscript.  The only suggestion of its existence is mention in a Königsberg auction catalog of 1808 listing the items in Gensichen’s estate; see Warda [1922].

Johann Friedrich Gensichen (1759-1807) [bio] studied at the university at Königsberg, and began lecturing on mathematics there just as Kant was retiring.  He counted among Kant’s closer friends in these later years, and Gensichen eventually was named as executor of his will, and Kant left him his library.  It was perhaps in this fashion that he came upon the physical geography notes.


(1) Ms: Lost.

(10) anonymous-Pillau 3 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

I [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

Hard bound quarto volume (17 x 20 cm), 224 sheets.  On the spine: “Kants / physische / Geographie”.  On the title-page: “Collegium / Physico Geographicum / explicatum / a / P: Immanuel Kant. / Regiomonti / a: 1784”; on p. 448: “Finita a 1784 d. 1.ten Märtz”.  On the inside front cover, in pencil: “Eigentum des Realprogymnasiums Pillau”; on the front of the endpaper, in large pencilled script, the signature of a previous owner (first initial and last name, but I can’t make it out).  Both this signature and the note that the Pillau school owns the manuscript have identical counterparts in an-Pillau 1 (anthropology).  Both of these volumes also have an ink drawing of Kant on the inside of a second endpaper (this drawing resembles a copper engraving, but the images differ slightly in the two volumes; the original from which these were copied is not clear, and may have been an amalgam, including the Becker portrait).  Pagination was by the copyist; neatly written, and in the same hand as an-Pillau 1 (anthropology) and an-Pillau 2 (encyclopedia), and the three volumes in which these appear are bound identically.  See an-Pillau 1 (anthropology) for further details of the history, as well as Vaihinger [1899, 253].


(1) Ms: Berlin, Ak-Archive (NL-Kant 16).


Before SS 1784.  The date on the title-page cannot refer to the source lecture, as Vaihinger thought, since the date given on p. 448 (1 March 1784) falls on a Monday near the end of the winter semester, and the physical geography lectures were given in the summer semesters.  So the source lecture preceded SS 1784.

(11) anonymous-Prussia [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

N [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

355 pp.  “P. Kants Physische Geographie”.  This belonged to the Altertums-Gesellschaft Prussia in Königsberg (with the signature: Ms. Oct. 661), and was deposited in the Königsberg UB (as reported in Menzer’s 1912 list).


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Ms. 2533).  Lost.

(12) anonymous-Reicke 3 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

R [Adickes 1911a], anonymous-Reicke 4 [Stark 2009].

Physical Description and History

132 pp.  “Physische Geographie. Von Profeßor Kant”.  See Reicke’s biography.


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Ms. 2582a).  Lost.


(1) Adickes [1911; AA 14:599n]:

In Tirol haben noch anno 77 grosse Eis Stücke, die unvermuthet durch den zu starken Ueberfluss des Wassers heruntergestürst wurden grossen Schaden gethan. [Sheet 15]


Adickes suggests no earlier than SS 1787.

(13) anonymous-Reicke 4 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

K [Adickes 1911a], anonymous-Reicke 5 [Stark 2009].

Physical Description and History

327 sheets.  “Des Herrn Professoris Kant physische Geographie bey seinen Vorlesungen nachgeschrieben”.


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Ms. 2582b).  Lost.

(14-15) anonymous-Rink 1 & 2 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

U [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

These two manuscripts are otherwise quite different from each other, but are grouped together here because they are both lost, and were used as the basis of a published text, namely, Kant’s published lectures on physical geography [writings] as edited by Friedrich Theodor Rink [bio].

an-Rink 1 (about 55,000 words) is the so-called Diktattext that Kant had prepared from 1757-59, and from which he presumably gave his lectures on physical geography.  As such, it is a bit of a misnomer to refer to this manuscript as “anonymous,” since we know fully well their source.  Because of Rink’s editorial insertions and modifications, our most reliable copy of the Diktattext (and thus of an-Rink 1) is an-Holstein-Beck, a copy of the Diktattext that Kant had prepared in 1772/73.

an-Rink 2 (about 44,800 words)


(1) Ms: lost.


(1) Rink [1802].  an-Rink 1 (vol 1, pp. 244-312 and vol. 2, pp. 1-248), an-Rink 2 (vol. 1, pp. 1-244).

(2) Schelle [1803].  Reprinted selections from Rink [1802] and Vollmer [1801-5].

(3) Gedan [1905].  Reprint of Rink [1802].

(4) Gedan [1923; AA 9:151-436]. an-Rink 1 (AA 9:273-436), an-Rink 2 (AA 9:156-273).  This reprint of Rink [1802] includes none of Adickes’ research on the physical geography notes.

(5) Bolin [1968].  Translation into English of Gedan [1923, 153-308].

(6) Cohen-Halimi et al. [1999].  Translation into French of Gedan [1923].

(7) Reinhardt, in Watkins [2012].  Translation into English of Gedan [1923].


Although Erich Adickes did not have access to the manuscripts used by Rink, he was able to determine that Rink’s transcription is unreliable in that he often added notes in an effort to up-date the text, he changed or omitted text that he did not understand, and he combined material from two different periods (1758-59 and mid-1770s). [Adickes 1911a, 278]

an-Rink 1 (Kant’s Diktattext) was prepared between 1757-1759 — much of it in 1757, as suggested by his lecture announcement for SS 1757 [see].

an-Rink 2 comes from the mid-1770s, likely 1774.  Adickes wrote: “the discovery of this new set of notes [viz., an-Werner], of which I reported in 1913, forced me to abandon the hypothesis that the first 52 paragraphs of Rink’s edition of Kant’s physical geography was a compilation of two sets of notes from different years; their model must rather be sought for in a single manuscript (very likely from the year 1775)” [1913, 59].  Based on similarities with J. S. Kaehler, however, which is dated to 1774, Stark has argued that an-Rink 2 belongs to the same family of notes coming from the 1774 set of lectures.

(16) anonymous-Starke 4 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

anonymous-Bergk [Stark 2009].

Physical Description and History

Friedrich Christian Starke was the pseudonym for Johann Adam Bergk [bio].  In 1833 Bergk published a two volume collection of Kant’s essays; the 2nd volume included some “observations on the earth and people from unpublished lectures of Immanuel Kant.”  Adickes viewed the notes as trivial and without worth [1970, 10].  Bergk also published transcriptions from three sets of notes on anthropology.


(1) Ms: lost.


(1) Bergk [1833], vol. 2, pp. 262-83.


SS 1791.  Bergk noted that the text he used in his 1833 publication is “taken from lecture notes on physical geography which Kant held during the summer semester 1791 from May 11, in Königsberg.”  May 11 fell on the first Wednesday of the summer semester, an appropriate date for the physical geography lectures.

(17) anonymous-Trescho [list of notes] [top]


Sebastian Friedrich Trescho [bio] wrote twice to Ludwig Ernst Borowski (1740-1831) in 1760 (January 23 and March 5) for notes from Kant’s physical geography (Borowski took the course during WS 1756/57) — notes that he apparently received, since material from those lectures soon appeared in his own published writings.  Trescho began his studies at the university in 1751, 3 1/2 years before Borowski, and so they may have become acquainted as students. On Trescho’s interest in Kant’s notes, see Warda [1909].


(1) Ms: lost.

(18-20) anonymous-Vollmer 1, 2,  & 3 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

Johann Jakob Wilhelm Vollmer [bio] claims to have owned three sets of notes from Kant’s classroom, with the following dates on the title pages: 1778, 1782, 1793.  Much to the consternation of F. T. Rink, who had Kant’s permission to publish the physical geography notes, Vollmer published a version of his notes in seven parts and four volumes (1801-5). [see above]  The printer of these volumes was named Gottfried Dietrich Leberecht Vollmer (1716[!]-1815), leading to confusion in the Kant literature as to the actual editor of these notes.  The volumes published by Vollmer contain much more material than could have ever transpired in Kant’s classroom.


(1) Ms: lost.


(1) Vollmer [1801-5].

(2) Schelle [1803].  Reprinted selections from Vollmer [1801-5] and Rink [1802].

(3) Eckerlin [1807-11].  Translation into Italian of Vollmer [1801-5].

(21) anonymous-Werner [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

W [Adickes 1913a].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume, 605 pp.  On the spine: “P. Kant’s / Physische / Geographie.”  On the title page: “P. Kant / Vorlesungen / Über die Physische Geographie.”  Written on the end page in ink: “const [spelling??] 2th 4g.”; under a right-angled cut: “A. C. W. Werner.  Gumbinnen den 27ten Maertz 1793”; left of this: “und”.  The pagination is contemporary with the notes.  Legible text, widely spaced, with outside margins one-fourth the page width and marked by a crease, and with occasional marginalia (typically accompanied with insertion signs).  Catchwords are used.

Gumbinnen is a town roughly 100 kilometers due east of Königsberg.  March 27, 1793, fell on a Wednesday, two weeks after the last lecture on anthropology from the previous winter semester, and three weeks before the summer semester lectures on physical geography would begin.  In other words, this date falls in the middle of Easter vacation.  Menzer’s 1912 list recorded the owner as Professor Spitta of Tübingen. On the end page, written by Adickes in pencil: “Adickes / (Geschenk Prof Spittas)”.


(1) Ms: Marburg Kant-Archiv (NL-Adickes).


(1) Adickes [1913a].  Selection.

(22) Busolt 2 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

O [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume (17.5 x 20.25 cm), 346 pp.  Handwritten on the spine: “Die / phisische / Geographie / von / Kant”.  On the inside cover is the acquisition note from the old Royal Library at Berlin: “acc. ms. 1898.  224” ( “8134” is crossed out).  No endpaper.  On the title-page (all in the same hand): “Die / Phisische Geographie / oder / Natur Bechreibung. / Eine Vorlesung von Herrn Professor Kant. / Nachgeschrieben in seinem Auditorio / in Königsberg.”; at the bottom right: “Posse: G. C. W. Busolt”.  The notes are in a written in a second hand: large and coarse, with a broad tip, with the pagination is in the same hand as the notes.  The title page was included in the count, so the text begins on p. 3.  The last page of text is numbered 348 (thus 346 pages of text); this is followed by a blank sheet, then a 7 pp. table of contents (in the same hand as the notes), a blank page, then 1 1/4 pp. (on a single sheet) of notes (still in the same hand as the note) on authors that were discussed in the notes (e.g., Montesquieu, Jakob Bernouille, Dampier, Wood of England, Professor Büttner of Göttingen, Maupertuis).  This is followed by 8 blank sheets (with evidence of an additional 4 sheets having been cut out).  Catchwords are used throughout, and there is a left hand margin of about 3 cm.  The pages were cut when bound, however, so parts of some letters, and ocassionally the entire page number, is lost.  There are ocassional marginalia referring to illustrations (e.g., “Fig. 7” on p. 28) that must have become separated from the bound notes.

Gotthilf Christoph Wilhelm Busolt [bio] matriculated on 23 September 1788.  Notes on logic and anthropology are also associated with his name, but are not in the same hand as these.  I haven’t inspected the logic volume, but the anthropology volume has the same binding and is on the same paper as the notes on physical geography (watermark: “J Honig & Zoonen”).


(1) Ms: Berlin, SBPK, Haus II (Ms. germ. quart. 1296).

(23) Crueger [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

L [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

192 pp.  “Immauel [sic] Kants ordentlichen Profeßors der hiesigen Akademie Vorlesungen ueber die Physische Geographie / Königsberg d. 28. Octobr. 1785 / Joh. Fried. Crueger D. S. [sic] W. B.”.  The date on the title-page (October 28, 1785) fell on a Friday in the 3rd week of the winter semester. 

Johann Friedrich Crueger matriculated at the university on June 4, 1785 — about half-way through the summer semester — so it is perhaps unlikely that he was attending Kant’s physical geography lectures that semester, unless he began midstream and the notes are only of the latter half of the semester, and the date refers to when he finished copying them out.   Menzer’s 1912 list notes that the notes were a gift from E. Neumann.


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Ms. 2596).  Lost.

(24) Dönhoff [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

196 sheets. “Vorlesungen / des / Herren Professor / Immanuel Kant / über die Physische Geographie”.  Two hands, changing on sheet 26.

Paul [?], Graf von Dönhoff (17??-1???), matriculated 15 October 1789 as a law student.  Mention of this ms. stems from Marion Dönhoff’s memoir [1962, 101].  The manuscript passed down from her ancestors was thought to have been destroyed when their residence, Schloß Friedrichstein, was set fire by the Russians in January 1945 (p. 170) — cited in Lehmann [1966; AA 24:973n].  Only recently (2007) was it learned that the manuscript in fact exists.  It was examined in that year, and appears to be closely related to a set of lectures from the early 1780’s; there is some overlap with Puttlich 2.  At 89,000 words, Dönhoff is longer than any other set of Physical Geography notes besides an-Pillau 3 [Stark 2009b].

Malter [1990, 390] quotes from a memoire of visitors to Königsberg in the fall of 1792; while dining in the home of mathematics professor Johann Schultz [bio], they meet Professor Schmalz [bio] and Magister Gensichen [bio] (still just a lecturer of mathematics at the time), as well as “the young Graf Dönnhof and his Hofmeister.”  Perhaps this is the same.


(1) Ms: private possession of the Dönhoff family. 

(2) Film: Berlin-Dahlem, GStAPK (HA XIII, S. 3944 / Depositum Dönhoff, Archiv Nr. 189).


(1) AA 26.2 (forthcoming).

(25) Dohna-Wundlacken 2 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Dohna-Lauck [Lehmann 1965].

Physical Description and History

Bound volume, 243 pp.  On the spine: “Kant’s / Physische / Geographie.” On the title page: Physische Geographie. / nach / den Vorlesungen des Herrn Prof. / Kant im Sommerhalben Jahr 1792.”  Below and to the right: “angefangen d 25ten April v 8-10.”  At the end: “Ende / von / Kant’s Physischer / Geographie. / den 22ten Septbr. 1792.”  The notes have a running entry of the lecture dates, and the beginning- and end-dates correspond exactly with the dates given for the course that semester.  An extensive table of contents was written on the back side of the title page.  Text is widely spaced, outer margins are one-fourth the page width and include considerable marginalia, including various drawings (e.g., on ms. p. 8 is a sketch of a diving bell; on p. 65 a compass).

Graf Heinrich Ludwig Adolph zu Dohna-Wundlacken [bio] matriculated at the university in Königsberg on June 15, 1791. Apart from the physical geography notes, Dohna also left notes on anthropology, metaphysics, and logic.  They are all of similar provenance and format, with running entries of the date and time of the lectures (although only sporadically in the logic notes); these are written in the margin, but appear to have been written when the main text was copied out at home.  The format and completeness of the notes would suggest that they all come directly from Dohna, but they are not all written in the same hand.


(1) Ms: Bentheim (Germany), private possession of the Dohna family.

(2) Film: Marburg Kant-Archiv (Film 2).


(1) Eitel [1924, 195-206].  Includes brief introduction and factual footnotes of the section on mineralogy.

(2) Kowalewski [1925b].  Publication, without commentary, of ms. 61-4, 155-7, 122-5, 144-5, and 189.

(3) Kowalewski [1944-45, 172-75; 2000, 171-74].  Four brief passages on “Healthy and Unhealthy Air,” “Something on Herring and Salmon Fishing,” “On Cattle and Beavers,” and “On Tea.”  These four passages are also included in Kowalewski [1925b].


SS 1792.

(26) Fehlhauer [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

M [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

299 pp. “Immanuel Kants Der Logick und Metaphysik ordentl: Prof: Vorlesungen über Die Physische Geographie. / kostet 7. fl. / 1782. Den 1 May Fehlhauer”.  Nathanael Christian Fehlhauer matriculated May 9, 1780.  The date on the title page (1 May 1782) fell on a Wednesday, two weeks after the start of the semester (the first physical geography lecture that semester was to have been April 17).


(1) Ms: Strasbourg/France, BNU (Ms. 3016).



(27) Herder 1 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

A [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

Johann Gottfried Herder [bio] matriculated at the Albertina on 10 August 1762, and is reported to have attended all of Kant’s courses.  We may well have his notes from each of these courses: see Herder's notes on metaphysics, moral philosophy, physics, logic, and mathematics.  The physical geography are the most polished, second only to the metaphysics notes in their extent.  They appear to stem from two separate semesters (some of the 8° notes cover the same material), and the only semesters that Kant presumably lectured on physical geography during Herder’s stay in Königsberg were WS 1763/64 and SS 1764.  Because the notes are loose, they are described individually, below.  There are a total of 77 8° pages and 21 4° pages of text on physical geography.  The 8° sheets (mostly in ink, but some in pencil) appear to have been written in the lecture hall, while the 4° sheets appear to be re-written fair copies prepared at home, and have very few abbreviations.  NB: one finds in the 4° pages passages from Kant’s Diktattext that are not to be found in the 8° pages, as though Herder had access either to Kant’s text, or else to various sources quoted by Kant, while re-working his notes.

Herder’s re-working of the notes (the 4° sheets) cover only the first six sections of the first part, closely following the structure (and section titles) of the Diktattext.  The 8° notes cover the nine sections of part one completely; in part two, the first section on human beings is discussed well, some animals are briefly presented, but notes on the plant and mineral kingdoms are missing entirely; in part three, we find only eight pages on Asia, and nothing on the other three “parts of the world.”  Comparing Herder’s notes and the Diktattext makes it plain, however, that Kant was not reading his text to the class (the standard practice of earlier centuries), but was guided by the text’s structure, adding new material as he came across it in his readings (which were, as it turns out, quite extensive).

Along with the rest of the Herder Nachlaß, these were moved from Weimar to Berlin in November 1873, when the Nachlaß was purchased by the Prussian state for 1000 Thaler.


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

XXV.44.  Four signatures (octavo; 15 pp.), all on ribbed paper, no margins, all in brown ink except the fourth signature, which is partially written in pencil.  The sheets are numbered in pencil in the upper-right corner (8 sheets total).
(1) 8 pp. (10.25 x 16.25 cm) on a single large printers’ sheet that has been folded twice.
(2) 4 pp. (11 x 17.5 cm), last page blank.
(3) 2 pp. (13 x 20.5 cm).
(4) 2 pp. (13 x 20.5 cm).  1st page: top 2/3 is in ink, bottom 1/3 is in pencil.  2nd page: top 1/4 is in pencil, the rest is blank.

XXV.44a.  Three signatures (quarto; 11 pp.), all in brown ink.
(1) 8 pp. (16.5 x 20.5 cm), various indentations; pp. 1-3 on physical geography; p. 4 consists of only five lines of text at the top; apparently from a logic lecture; pp. 5-7 are blank; p. 8 consists of a list of names and amounts of money written next to each (perhaps Herder’s students at the Collegium Fridericianum). 
(2) 4 pp. (16 x 20.5 cm).  An ‘L’ is written in the middle of the bottom margin on the first page (designating the signature).
(3) 4 pp. (16 x 20.5 cm), same as the previous signature, only marked with an ‘M’.  The bottom third of p. 4 is blank.

XXV.46a.  This collection of manuscripts includes notes on metaphysics (4 quarto pages, 84 octavo pages), physical geography (57 octavo pages: 14 in pencil, 43 in ink [There are actually 36 octavo sheets (or 72 pages), but this includes 10 blank pages, 4 pages on physics, and 1 page on metaphysics]), physics (8 octavo pages), and a few logic fragments (1 1/2 octavo pages).  Pages are numbered in pencil in the bottom margin. Unbound, but paginated in three groups:
(1) 20 pp. (10 x 15.5 cm), in pencil. In dark brown ink at the top of p. 1: "Ph: Geogr. 1." The last two pages are blank; the pages with text are paginated 1-18 in pencil. [This began as a 16 pp. signature, with four folded sheets nested together, such that pp. 8 and 9 faced each other in the center, and the last two pages were blank (thus, 14 pages of text). A single folded sheet (4 pp of text, and paginated 15-18) was then nested just inside the last sheet of the signature.]
(2) 16 pp. (10.5 x 17), in ink.  Two 8 pp. signatures. Paginated 1-16.
(3) 4 pp. (10.5 x 17 cm), in ink.  Paginated 17-20.
(4) 8 pp. (10 x 16.5 cm), in ink.  Paginated 21-24.  The last 4 pp. are blank.
(5) 8 pp. (10 x 16.5 cm), in ink.  Paginated 25-28.  The last 4 pp. are blank.
(6) 4 pp. (10 x 15.5 cm), in pencil. Text on all four pages (paginated as 15-18). These concern electrical and magnetic phenomena, and appear to stem from a physics lecture (not published in the Academy edition).  These are quite likely from Teske’s course on experimental physics, rather than Kant’s course on theoretical physics.  Teske taught physics every semester publicly, whereas Kant did not teach physics and physical geography during the same semester during Herder’s years.  It isn’t obvious that this and the previous signature belong together, although this was nested within the other and paginated as such by a librarian.
(7) 16 pp. (11 x 17.5 cm), in ink.  Paginated 1-16.  The bottom 1/3 of pp. 9 and 15 are blank; p. 15 is on metaphysics (Herder appears to have inadvertently copied the page of metaphysics notes here, suggesting that he prepared both sets of notes at the same time; the notes concerns Baumgarten, §792; printed at AA 28: 9013-30).

(2) Ms: Berlin, AA-Archiv (NL-Kant 15).  10 4° pages and 5 8° pages of text.

(a) 4 pp. (16 x 20.5 cm).  Text on all pages.
(b) 2 pp. (17 x 21.5 cm).  Text on all pages.
(c) 4 pp. (17 x 20 cm).  Text on all pages.
(d) 4 pp. (10 x 17.5 cm).  Text on all pages.
(e) 6 pp. (10 x 17.5 cm).  Sheet folded into thirds, making six pages.  Text is only on one side (4/5 full).  Two lines of Latin text are at the the top of a later page.

(3) Copy: Berlin, AA-Archiv (NL-Adickes, U 4).  These sheets are numbered 155-231.  This was a copy prepared around 1900 by Paul Menzer and two others — the handwriting has not been identified — with occasional corrections and brief additions by Erich Adickes.  Menzer copied all of the quarto sheets, and nearly all of the octavo sheets of the manuscripts still extant.  Of the 77 sheets of the Menzer copy, 60 are of quarto sheets, but we have the corresponding original sheets for only 25 sheets of the copy (so over one-half of the quarto sheets of the original are missing).


(1) Menzer [1911].  Fragments quoted on pp. 75-6, 79, 109-10, and 125-8.


Adickes dates them as WS 1763/64.  Kant also lectured on physical geography during SS 1764, and it is nearly certain that the notes stem from two separate semesters.

(28) Hesse [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

256 pp. “Collegium / über / die / Physische Geographie / vom Hrr. Profes. Kant / gelesen / im Jahr 1770. / Königsberg in Preussen / Georg Hesse / Johann Danckwart. 1788.”.  Georg Hesse (1747-1787) matriculated on August 11, 1769.

This manuscript was rediscovered by the Kant edition working group in 1983.  See the description of the an-Dingelstaedt anthropology notes.


(1) Ms: Helsinki/Finland, University Library (Eö.V.19).

(2) Film: Marburg Kant-Archiv (Film 1).



(29) Kaehler J. S. [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

530 pp.  “Collegium / Physico Geographicum / a / Viro Excellentissimo / Professore Ordinario / Domino Kant / secundum dictata sua per- / tratum studio vero perse- / cutum / ab / Joanne Siegismundo / Kaehler / Regiomonti / per semestre aestivum 1775.”  On the spine (badly worn, but what appears to be): “Kant / Collegium / Physico / Geographicum.”  Bound in the same volume, and preceding the Kaehler notes, is a printed copy of Kant’s 1775 essay Races of Mankind [writings].  On the inside of the front cover is the printed bookplate of a previous owner: “Ex libris / WILHELM VOSS / Hamburg-Altona”.  Margins, marked with a crease, are 1/3 the page width.  Catch-words used throughout.  Neat handwriting in a dark brown ink.

Johann Sigismund Kaehler matriculated on October 14, 1775.  [NB: this is a different student than that associated with Kaehler J. F. (moral), although they may have been related, both coming from Friedland.]  Thomas Seebohm discovered this manuscript in the University of Pennsylvania library [Malter 1987].


(1) Ms: Philadelphia/USA, Rare Books & Manuscript Library, Van Pelt Library, The University of Pennsylvania (Ms. Codex 1120).  Previously listed as Ms. German 36 [Zacour/Hirsch, 1965]. [facsimile]

(2) Film: Mainz, Kant-Gesellschaft archive.



(30) Nicolovius [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

No further information; see the entry on Puttlich 2, below.  Puttlich claims that he used Nicolovius as a model for his own notes.  Georg Heinrich Ludwig Nicolovius [bio] matriculated on September 28, 1782.


(1) Ms: lost.


SS 1785

(31) Philippi 2 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

Half-leather quarto volume (17.5 x 20.5 cm), 183 sheets.  On the spine: “I KANTS / Physische Geographie”.  On the title page: “Vorlesungen / über / die physische Geographie / von / dem Herrn Professor Kant.”  Under this, in another hand: “Koenigsberg 1772.”  The lower half of the title page is cut away.  Margins are one-third the page width, and marked by a crease; some marginalia by Diez, a book collector (in a small hand using black ink).  The text is in light brown ink.  The last page of text is 341 (two lines); the backside of this sheet is blank, and the remaining 12 sheets are blank (this does not count the endpaper).  The bottom half of p. 82 is blank, followed by blank pages 83-96.  The pages are numbered only sporadically.  The writing of the text shows the same characteristics of Philippi 1 (anthropology).

Wilhelm Albert Ferdinand Philippi [bio] matriculated at the Albertina on March 25, 1771.  These notes may well have originated in SS 1772 (Kant had also lectured on physical geography in 1771 and possibly 1771/72).  They appear to be the same notes studied by Zedlitz and mentioned in a letter to Kant (February 21, 1778).  In reading these notes, Zedlitz claimed that he felt either like a student sitting in the back of the room or like a student not yet accustomed to the professor’s voice, for the notes are unclear, with writing errors, and that sometimes he must have paid such close attention to Kant that he sometimes failed to write down what was most important (AA 10: 222-3).  A week later, Zedlitz complained again about the notes, mentioning what he took to be various factual errors, and asking again for a better manuscript [AA 10: 224-5; cf. Stark 1987a, 131-2].  See also Philippi’s notes on logic and anthropology.


(1) Ms: Berlin, SBPK Haus II (Ms. Diez C. Quart. 16).



(32) Powalski 1 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

F [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

Hardbound quarto volume (17.5 x 20 cm), 135 sheets.  On the spine: “PROF: KANT / PHYSISCHE / GEOGRAPHIE / G. B. [illegible]”.  On the title-page: “Physische Geographie / aus den / Vorlesungen des Herrn Professor / Kant”; bottom left: “Königsberg den - Septembr: 1777.”  Bottom right: “Th: Powalski. / I: V: St: / Tempelher / ren”.  To the left of this are two small red wax seals (of a griffin).  All the pages have lined margins (5 cm on the side, 1.5 cm top and bottom, with a running header in the top margin).  Pagination is by the copyist.  Text begins on the back of the title-page and ends on p. 265, followed by four blank pages (also numbered and ruled), and a blank end-page.  A pagination error at p. 125 (numbered 124) is corrected at p. 130.

Gottlieb Bernhard Powalski [bio] matriculated on August 29, 1777.  The “Th:” on the title-page is the Latinate form of Gottlieb (= Theodor), underneath which is: “I[uris] V[triusque] St[udiosus].”

The physical geography lectures ran from April 16 to September 27 in 1777.  See also Powalski’s moral philosophy notes.  These notes were originally housed in the Pfarrbibliothek in Strasburg (West Prussia).


(1) Ms: Berlin, AA-Archiv (NL-Kant 13).


SS 1777?

(33) Puttlich 2 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Q [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

372 pp.  “Vorlesungen über die physische Geographie von Herrn Professor Kant nachgeschrieben von Christian Friedrich Puttlich Königsberg den zwölften des Julius angefangen 1785”; at the end: “Geendigt den 16ten December 1785”; on the inside of the front cover: “C. F. Puttlich. 1785 den 24ten Decemb.”  The margin is one-third the page width [Adickes 1911a, 37-9].

Christian Friedrich Puttlich [bio] matriculated on 23 March 1782. He attended Kant’s physical geography lectures twice, in 1782 and 1785, and reported in his diary that the notes were a copy of a set owned by his friend, Georg Heinrich Ludwig Nicolovius (1767-1839), who matriculated on 28 September 1782.  Puttlich’s anthropology notes from Kant’s lectures were similarly copied from a friend (C. Weber).  Puttlich’s diary was published, in part, by Warda [1905], who reported that he was in possession of the physical geography notes (and that Rudolph Reicke possessed Puttlich’s anthropology notes).


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Ms. 2599).  Lost.


SS 1785.  The notes quite likely stemmed from SS 1785: Puttlich and Nicolovius were taking the class together, according to Puttlich’s diary, with the first and last lectures falling on April 13 and Sept. 17 [Warda 1905, 279, 282].  We can also learn from this diary that the date on the front cover (Dec. 24, 1785) was the date Puttlich picked up his bound notes from the bookbinder (Heindrichs); the date on the title page (July 12, 1785) is the day he began copying Nicolovius’ notes and the date at the end of the notes (December 16, 1785) mark when he finished his copying.

(34) Vigilantius 1 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

T [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

203 sheets.  No title-page; on page 1: “Bemerckungen aus dem Vortrage des H. Kant über physische Geographie pro 1793”; at the end: “finitum d 14. 7br 93”.  Arnoldt used this manuscript in preparing his list of Physical Geography lectures [1908-9, iv.431], and describes it more fully at (iv.396-7).  The end-date reads “Sept. 14, 1793” — a Saturday, and a likely date for the last day of lectures for that semester.  Johann Friedrich Vigilantius [bio] was Kant’s legal advisor.  A fuller description of these notes can be found in the account of his notes on metaphysics (WS 1794/95); see also his notes on logic (SS 1793) and moral philosophy (WS 93/94).  All of his notebooks had belonged to the library of Friedrich August Gotthold [bio].


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Gotthold, Ub 9 fol.).  Lost.


(1) Kowalewski [1944-45, 168-71; 2000, 167-71].  Fragments on the “General Characteristic of Geography,” “Purpose of Mountains,” and “Motions of the Seas.”


SS 1793.

(35) Volckmann 1 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

P [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

Seven unbound signatures, quarto, for a total of 104pp (18.5 x 22 cm).  On the first sheet: “P. Kants Vorlesungen der physischen Geographie nachgeschrieben im Sommer Halben Jahre 1785 von J. W. Volckmann”.  The title page comes from the same hand as the notes.  The sheets are creased down the middle to mark the outer margin, which occasionaly contains long marginalia.  Adickes [1911a, 252-55] reported that there are seven signatures; extant are four signatures (with the outer page missing from one), leaving a total of 28 pp. missing (of the original 104), namely pp. 29-30 (the back sheet of the outer folded-sheet, whose other half was the title-page) and pp. 79-104.  The entire manuscript must have been paginated by a librarian before it was split and in part lost, with two signatures making their way to Göttingen, and three signatures being lost.

The text is in brown ink, the writing hurried and with many corrections, occasional marginalia (often added later).  Occasional catchwords.  Ribbed paper, off color, coarse, the watermark is difficult to see, but it appears to be the same Trutenau watermark as found in Volckmann’s metaphysics notes. 

The manuscript appears to be a fair copy prepared at home, although Adickes finds that at least one other set of notes (an-Barth) was occasionally incorporated, or else that there was a common ancestor to both these manuscripts (which Volckmann would then have copied).  On the first pages, only the marginalia are in agreement with an-Barth, but later also in the main text.  It appears that Volckmann may have borrowed a text to fill in gaps where he missed lectures, and in making use of this text, which is generally more detailed than his own notes, he would often add marginalia as well to notes that he already had [Adickes 1911a, 252-54].

Johann Wilhelm Volckmann [bio] matriculated on 13 August 1782.  He also left notes on logic, natural theology (WS 1783/84), and metaphysics (WS 1784/85).  Menzer’s 1912 list indicates Prof. Paul Wendland (a professor of classical philology at Göttingen) as the owner, who also owned Volckmann’s notes on metaphysics and logic (and theology?).  The Göttingen fragment was deposited in the archive of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences (in the university library) on 17 Dec. 1970, possibly by Gerhard Lehmann, who would have removed it from Berlin.


(1) Ms: Berlin, Ak-Archiv (NL-Kant 15).  Two quarto signatures (18 x 21 cm; 28 pp. and 16 pp.); badly damaged.  The pages are folded in half, with the outer half serving as the margin.  Extensive marginalia.  The first signature (paginated 1-28) is missing its outermost folded sheet (consisting of the first sheet with a title page, and pp. 29-30).  The second signature is paginated 31-46.

(2) Ms: Göttingen, StUB (Deposita der AdW #6).  This fragment consists of two signatures (16 pp. each), paginated 47-78 in pencil.


SS 1785.

(36) Wolter [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Z [Adickes 1911a].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume, 282 pp.  On the title page: “Die physische Geographie / vorgetragen / vom / Herrn Professor E: Kant”; at the bottom right: “K. Fried. Wolter. / d. G. G. B. aus Curland”; at the bottom left: “Königsberg / im Sommerhalben Jahr / 1796”.  The title page is extremely ornate.  The pages are numbered by the copyist, with the title page included in the count (thus, the text begins on p. 3). Neatly written, margins are one-third the page width with no marginalia until pp. 173-91 and 219-27, where one finds extensive notes in a small, very neat hand (possibly the same as the copyist).

Casimir Friedrich Wolter matriculated on 29 September 1795.  Kant’s last semester to lecture was SS 1796, and he ended classes early, the physical geography lectures ending on July 13 (shortening the semester by more than one-third).


(1) Ms: New York, Columbia University Library (X 193 K13).

(2) Film: Marburg Kant-Archiv (Film 6).


1774. 1796?


Adickes places this manuscript in the same group as Fehlhauer, an-Prussia, and Busolt 2; beginning at ms. 80 it matches these nearly verbatim, especially Fehlhauer [1911a, 126-37].  The marginalia may well stem from 1796.

Copyright ©2006 Steve Naragon (Manchester University)
Last modified: 29 May 2014
Please send comments and questions to: ssnaragon@manchester.edu