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Metaphysics Notes

1. Summary Table of the Metaphysics Notes
2. Content Comparison of the Metaphysics Notes
3. Earlier Scholarship on the Metaphysics Notes
4. Textbook used in Kant’s Metaphysics Lectures
5. The Manuscripts

Twelve of the seventeen sets of notes on metaphysics are available. Seven are extant, an eighth (Vigilantius 3) exists as a handwritten copy from the late 19th century, and four more were published before being lost. The extant notes include the second half of an-Pölitz 3.2, Dohna-Wundlacken 4, Herder 4, Mrongovius 2, von Schön 2, von Schön 3, and Volckmann 3. The others are lost or destroyed. Fragments of text from four of these are preserved in published form: an-Königsberg 5, an-Korff, an-Pölitz 1, and Rosenhagen; to these can be added the first half of an-Pölitz 3.2, which was lost after being printed. Of the remaining four manuscripts, no known text has been preserved: an-Hippel 3, an-Reicke 6, Motherby 1, Nicolai 2, and Willudovius. Three of these seventeen manuscripts almost certainly stem from the same original set of notes: an-Korff, an-Pölitz 1, and Rosenhagen [Heinze 1894, 489-502].[1] See the Metaphysics lectures.

[1] One might think that Gottlob Benjamin Jäsche [bio] possessed a set of notes on metaphysics given the remark in his preface to Kant’s logic lectures [writings] that he “will edit and publish a Kantian metaphysics, for which he already has the manuscript [Handschrift], as soon as he is able” [Ak. 9:10] — although Jäsche’s use of the word Handschrift is misleading since he uses the same term at the beginning of the preface to refer to Kant’s copy of Meier’s logic textbook. This book was even advertised as Metaphysik, zum Handbuche für Vorlesungen, prepared by G. B. Jäsche (Königsberg: Göbbels & Unzer, 1802), although this book was never published. We learn from Karl Morgenstern, who received Jäsche’s various books and papers upon his death, that this intended book consisted merely of Kant’s notes in his copy of Baumgarten’s Metaphysica, i.e., Kant’s reflections on metaphysics [1821, 485].

The Metaphysics Notes [top]

Manuscript Location A Date Published Translations

(1) an-Hippel 3


(2) an-Königsberg 5

NA (Kön.) + early 90s? Arnoldt*; Heinze*; Schlapp*; Kowalewski 2000*; Ak. 28:705-816 (rpt. Heinze/Schlapp) A/N, 395-413*
(RP; Ak. 28:751-75)

(3) an-Korff

NA (Kön.) - c.1778-81 Erdmann*; Arnoldt*; Heinze* (var. Rosenhagen); Ak. 28:171-91, 1471, 1518-27 (rpt. Erdmann/Arnoldt/Heinze)  

(4) an-Pölitz 1

NA (Leipzig) + c.1778-81 Pölitz*; Heinze*; Ak. 28:185-91, 195-350 (rpt. Pölitz/Heinze) A/N, 19-106*
(C/EP/RP; Ak. 28:195-301)

(5) an-Pölitz 3.2

Leipzig + 1790/91? Pölitz*; Heinze*; Ak. 28:531-610 A/N, 307-54*
(I/O/EP/RP; Ak. 28:531-94)

(6) an-Reicke 6

NA (Kön.)    

(7) Dohna-Wundl. 4

Bentheim 1792/93 Kowalewski 1924; Ak. 28:615-702 A/N, 357-91*
(C/EP/RP; Ak. 28:656-90)

(8) Herder 4

Berlin 1762-64 Menzer*; Irmscher*; Ak. 28:5-55, 137-8, 143-60, 843-931 A/N, 3-16* (C; Ak. 28:39-53)

(9) Motherby 1

NA  1792/93?  

(10) Mrongovius 2

Gdansk 1782/83 Ak. 29:747-940 A/N, 109-286

(11) Nicolai 2

NA  1775/76  

(12) Rosenhagen

NA (Hamburg) + c.1778-81 Heinze*; Ak. 28:171-91 (rpt. Heinze) 

(13) von Schön 2

Berlin + late 80s? Ak. 28:463-524 

(14) von Schön 3

Berlin -   

(15) Vigilantius 3

NA (Kön)
Torun (copy)
+ 1794/95 Arnoldt*; Schlapp*; Ak. 28:821-34, 837-8 (rpt. Arnoldt/Schlapp); Ak. 29:945-1040(c) A/N, 417-506

(16) Volckmann 3

+ 1784/85 Ak. 28:355-459 A/N, 289-96* (RP; Ak. 28:440-50)

(17) Willudovius

NA  early 90s?  

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/translated, Ak. = 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, I = introduction, O = ontology, C = cosmology, EP/RP = empirical/rational psychology.

Bibliography: A/N = Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Metaphysics, translated and edited by Karl Ameriks and Steve Naragon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). Arnoldt: Emil Arnoldt, Kritische Exkurse im Gebiete der Kant-Forschung, 2 parts, reprinted as vols. 4 (1908) and 5 (1909) of Emil Arnoldt, Gesammelte Schriften, edited by Otto Schöndörffer, 11 vols. (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1906-11). Erdmann: (two articles) Benno Erdmann, “Eine unbeachtet gebliebene Quelle zur Entwicklungsgeschichte Kants” in Philosophische Monatshefte 19 (1883):129-44, and “Mittheilungen über Kant’s metaphysischen Standpunkt in der Zeit um 1774” in Philosophische Monatshefte 20 (1884): 65-97. Heinze: Max Heinze, Vorlesungen Kants über Metaphysik aus drei Semestern (Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1894). Irmscher: Hans Dietrich Irmscher, ed., Immanuel Kant. Aus den Vorlesungen der Jahre 1762 bis 1764.Auf Grund der Nachschriften Johann Gottfried Herders (Köln: Kölner-Universitäts-Verlag, 1964). Kowalewski 1924: Arnold Kowalewski, Die philosophischen Hauptvorlesungen Immanuel Kants. Nach den aufgefundenen Kollegheften des Grafen Heinrich zu Dohna-Wundlacken (München and Leipzig, 1924). 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). Menzer: Paul Menzer, Kants Lehre von der Entwicklung in Natur und Geschichte (Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1911). Pölitz: Immanuel Kant, Vorlesungen über Metaphysik, ed. by Karl Pölitz (Erfurt: Kayser, 1821). Schlapp: Otto Schlapp, Kants Lehre vom Genie und die Entstehung der “Kritik der Urteilskraft” (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1901).

Content Comparison of the Metaphysics Notes   [list of notes] [top]

Extant and Lost Texts

The following table and bar graph show the amount of available text in each of the nine sets of metaphysics notes in each of the main sections of the lectures (An-Korff and Rosenhagen are understood as stemming from the same manuscript as an-Pölitz 1, and so these numbers have been merged;[1] “von Schön” refers to von Schön 2, since von Schön 3 has yet to be adequately studied). I also offer an estimate of the pages missing from three of these manuscripts — an-Politz 1, an-Königsberg 5, and Vigilantius. These are indicated in the bar graph with an asterisk, and in the table they are represented in the 3rd and 4th column under each respective name). The first column (under each manuscript name) is the number of Academy edition pages for that set of notes (this is a rough measure, of course), while the second column is the percentage that this number represents for the entire set of extant notes. As for the three sets with missing pages, the third column gives the estimated size of the original set of notes (again, using an Academy page as the unit), while the 4th column is the percentage of the estimated text that is still extant. As can be seen, about 59% of the an-Königsberg 5 and 62% of the Vigilantius notes have been lost.

an-Pölitz 1
v. Schön
an-Pölitz 3.2
Rational Psych.261839233910017910100058111223292310015164434
Empirical Psych.44304124411002815000069910911412215164434

Text lengths of metaphysics notes

Basis for the Estimates[2]

Even when accurate, these estimates will have only limited use, of course. For instance, a longer section of Ontology in a set of notes could indicate that Kant spent more time on the subject that semester, but it could also be that the student merely took more notes during those sessions. We do, however, win a better sense of the fragment remaining by having some idea of the dimensions of the original. The evidence upon which these estimates were based is as follows:

an-Pölitz 1

The estimate for the ontology section is based on Heinze [1894, 502], who noted that the an-Pölitz 3.2 ontology is 1/3 shorter than the ontologies found in an-Pölitz 1, Rosenhagen, and an-Königsberg 5. The an-Pölitz 3.2 ontology is 36 pages, making the others approximately 54 pages.

an-Königsberg 5

The estimates are based on the manuscript page counts provided by Heinze.


The numbers are based on the total length of the original manuscript and estimating the missing portions of each section on the content of what is extant.

[1] And so ‘an-Pölitz 1’ is here referring to the lost manuscript that Heinze understood to be the source for an-Korff, Rosenhagen and an-Pölitz 1. Heinze reports, for instance, that an-Pölitz 1 lacked a Prolegomena [1894, 491]; the six pages listed here come from the other two manuscripts.

[2] The missing notes from Volckmann have not been estimated for lack of information. The manuscript consists of a series of neatly written signatures, and it is clear that several signatures have gone missing. The last third of the ontology, all of the cosmology and empirical psychology (consisting of one or more signatures, each of which would consist of — most likely — 16 pages), and the latter half of the natural theology are missing. If the notes have a proportionality similar to Mrongovius, then nearly half of the manuscript is missing.

Earlier Scholarship on the Metaphysics Notes   [list of notes] [top]

Fragments of some manuscripts that are currently lost (and probably destroyed during WW II) have been preserved by early scholars of the notes, who had access to them before they were lost or destroyed (primarily during the destruction of World War II): Pölitz [1821], Erdmann [1883, 1884], Arnoldt [1908-9], Heinze [1894], Schlapp [1901].

Karl Heinrich Ludwig Pölitz (1772-1838)[bio] published a compilation [1821] from an-Pölitz 1 (using the cosmology, psychology, and theology sections) and an-Pölitz 3.2 (using the prolegomena and ontology sections), which came to be known as the “Pölitz Metaphysics.” He acquired these manuscripts from Friedrich Theodor Rink (1770-1811).

Benno Erdmann (1851-1921)[bio] had access only to an-Korff, what he called the “Königsberg” manuscript [1883, 1884]. He reported in 1883 that neither an-Pölitz 1 nor an-Pölitz 3.2 were to be found, neither in the Bibliotheca Poelitiana (Leipzig) nor in the Stadtbibliothek of Leipzig, nor could he find mention of it in the catalog of the Bibliotheca Poelitiana (which had been prepared in 1839, the year after Pölitz died). In both articles he quotes phrases and sentences, but longer sections of copied text occur only in the 1884 article, with the exception of a footnoted paragraph in the 1883 article. These longer phrases have been reprinted in the Academy edition.

Karl du Prel (1839-1899) had access to a recently copied fragment (possibly the whole of the psychology) of Rosenhagen and compared it with the corresponding section (from an-Pölitz 1) of the Pölitz edition, finding them in near verbatim agreement [1889].

Rudolf Reicke (1825-1905)[bio] as librarian at the Royal Library at Königsberg, would have had easy access to any of the Kantiana stored there. In addition, we know of eleven manuscripts from the lecture Nachlaß that Reicke possessed, all of which made their way into the university library at Königsberg (with the signatures 2576-2583, 2586): seven listed here as an-Reicke (two on anthropology, two on geography, one each on logic, metaphysics, and moral philosophy), as well as three more sets of anthropology notes (Elsner, Flottwell, Puttlich 1) and Hintz (logic). In addition to these, Reicke had copied Vigilantius 3 (metaphysics) and Vigilantius 4 (moral).

Emil Arnoldt (1828-1905)[bio] made use of four sets of notes in the 1880s and early 90s: (1) the portions of an-Pölitz 1 and an-Pölitz 3.2 as published by Pölitz (the manuscripts themselves were not available; Arnoldt referred to them as “Metaphysik bei Pölitz”), (2) an-Korff ( Arnoldt’s title: “Korffsche Manuskript”), (3) an-Königsberg 5 (Arnoldt’s title: “Nachschrift vom Winter 1794” or “vom Semester 1793/94”), and (4) Vigilantius 3 (Arnoldt remarks that he was working with only a copy of these notes , referring to the original manuscript as “Nachschrift vom Semester 1794/95” [1908-9, v.37-39, 71]).

Max Heinze (1835-1909) inspected the following manuscripts [1894]: an-Korff, an-Königsberg 5, Rosenhagen, an-Pölitz 1, and an-Pölitz 3.2 (with the latter two, he had only those portions of the manuscript that had not been included in the Pölitz edition). In addition, of course, he also had access to the Pölitz volume. Heinze assigned them all letter designations with numerical subscripts, which became widely used, the letters being based on the location of the manuscript: ‘K’ for Königsberg, ‘L’ for Leipzig, and ‘H’ for Hamburg

Otto Schlapp (1859-1939)[bio] had access to notes on anthropology, logic, and metaphysics – twenty-six sets of notes in all, with six on metaphysics: the two included in the published volume by Pölitz, as well as an-Königsberg 5, Vigilantius 3, Rosenhagen, and an-Korff, although it does not appear that he inspected these last two, and he offers nothing more than the titles and locations of the others [1901, 28]. He notes that he worked at the Königliche Bibliothek in Berlin, the Universitäts- und Stadtsbibliothek in Leipzig, and the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek in Strassburg; and also that various manuscripts were loaned to him from the Königsberg and Munich libraries (pp. ix-x). He mentions contact with Külpe (Würzburg), Heinze (Leipzig), von Arnim (Rostock), Reicke (Königsberg), Adickes (Kiel), Vaihinger (Halle), Erich Prieger (Bonn), Hofrat H. Diederichs (Mitau), Frau Prof. Glogau (Frankfurt/Main), and his Professors Windelband, Martin, Groeber, and Ziegler (Strassburg).

Paul Menzer (1873-1960) reprinted passages from Herders notes on metaphysics and physical geography, and had prepared copies of both these notes [1911]. In 1912 he had also prepared a list of all sets of notes known to be extant, of which twelve were on metaphysics: an-Königsberg 5, an-Korff, an-Pölitz 1, an-Reicke 6, Herder 4, Mrongovius 2, Nicolai 2, Rosenhagen, von Schön 2, Vigilantius 3, Volckmann 3, and Willudovius. He provided in this list (when available) the title, date, names used by Heinze, and the owner or location. This is the only information we have for an-Reicke 6, Nicolai 2 and Willudovius.

Erich Adickes (1866-1928) refers to the various manuscripts with letters; the following is a list of these designations for the metaphysics manuscripts: A (an-Pölitz 1), B (an-Korff), C (Rosenhagen), D (an-Pölitz 3.2), E (an-Königsberg 5), F (Vigilantius 3).

Arnold Kowalewski (1873-1945) published the Dohna-Wundlacken 4 (1924), along with Dohna’s notes on anthropology and logic, and transcribed passages from the an-Königsberg 5 [1944-45; finally published in 2000].

Hans Dietrich Irmscher published [1964] all the Herder notes (from Kant’s lectures) that were available to him. He was unable to locate the materials that Menzer [1911] had used and copied. Irmscher claims that the paragraph numbers in the metaphysics notes refer to Baumgarten’s Metaphysica (Halle 1739); Kant was instead using the 3rd edition (1750). Irmscher apparently was able to inspect the actual manuscripts except for Herder’s blue notebook (NL-Herder XX.188), the relevant passages from which he had a copy [Irmscher 1964, 51].

Overview Table of Scholar’s Use of some of the Manuscripts
an-Kön. 5an-Korffan-Pöl. 1 [1]an-Pöl. 3.2 Rosen[2]Vigil.Her.Mrong. 3v.Schön 2
Pölitz  xx      
Erdmann x        
du Prel    (c)     
Reicke     x    
Arnoldtxx   (c)    
Schlappxx  xx    
Menzerxxx xxx xx
Adickes  x     x?x

Gerhard Lehmann (1900-1987), the editor of the Academy edition lecture notes (volumes 24, 27, 28, 29 – all but the anthropology and physical geography notes) had access to all those manuscripts listed here as extant, including von Schön 3 (the existence of which he does not mention in the Academy edition). It appears, however, that he only occasionally worked directly from the manuscripts, often relying instead on films or photocopies, and some of the pagination errors that he made (Mrongovius, von Schön 2) suggest that he had ready access only to a photocopy. Also, he did not have access to all of the currently extant manuscripts during the course of his publications. For instance, while preparing the first part of Ak. 28 (1968) the majority of Herder’s notes on metaphysics had not been re-discovered, and Lehmann consequently reprinted in their stead a rather hasty copy of the missing notes that Menzer had prepared in the early 1900s: After the notes re-emerged, Lehmann then published his own transcription of the notes for the 1970 volume of Ak. 28.

[1] an-Pölitz 1 and an-Pölitz 3.2: In general, it can be assumed that everyone after Pölitz had access to those portions of an-Pölitz 1 and an-Pölitz 3.2 as they appeared in Pölitz’s 1821 edition (namely, the Cosmology, Psychology, and Rational Theology of an-Pölitz 1, and the Prolegomena and Ontology of an-Pölitz 3.2). On the other hand, Heinze (and those following him) had access only to those manuscript pages of an-Pölitz 1 and an-Pölitz 3.2 that Pölitz had not used in his edition (namely, the Prolegomena and Ontology from an-Pölitz 1, and the Psychology from an-Pölitz 3.2).

[2] Rosenhagen: Du Prel had access only to a copy of a fragment of Rosenhagen (probably the psychology section).

Textbook used in Kant’s Metaphysics Lectures   [list of notes] [top]

Early in his career as a lecturer, Kant used a text by Friedrich Christian Baumeister, Institutiones metaphysicae (Wittenberg: 1736). He soon changed, however, to Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten’s Metaphysica, 4th ed. (Halle: 1757).[1]

From the evidence of Kant’s lecture announcements, it appears that he definitely used Baumeister during SS 1757 and 1758, and definitely used Baumgarten during SS 1756 and then WS 1759/60 and thereafter. A plausible story would have Kant beginning his teaching career using the easier and more commonly used Baumeister (WS 1755/56), switching to the better but more difficult Baumgarten the following semester (SS 1756), but discovering the students unable to handle the material and therefore reverting to Baumeister, before eventually finding his footing and by WS 1759/60 or earlier used Baumgarten without fail.

Kant’s copy of the 4th edition of Baumgarten is extant and is housed at the university library of Dorpat, and it is from this book that Adickes’ prepared the reflections on metaphysics found in volumes 17 and 18 of the Academy Edition (1926, 1928). Scholars had long suspected that Kant would also have used a copy of the 3rd edition (1750), and in 2000 Werner Stark located this copy in the academy library in Gdansk, Poland (Biblioteka Gdanska Polskiej Akademii Nauk), although its markings do not suggest a classroom use. See the discussion on the Lectures page.

The Baumgarten text consists of one-thousand numbered sections (§§) with the following outline:

I. Introduction (§§1-3)

II. Ontology (§§4-350)

(a) introduction to ontology (§§4-6).

(b) internal universal predicates (§§7-100): possibility, connection, being & essence, unity, truth, and perfection.

(c) internal disjunctive predicates (§§101-245): necessity/contingency, mutability/immutability, reality/non-reality, singularity/universality, wholeness/partialness, substance/accident, simplicity/composition, and finite/infinite.

(d) external or relative predicates (§§265-350): sameness/difference, simultaneity/succession, cause/effect, and sign/signified.

III. Cosmology (§§351-500)

(a) introduction co cosmology (§§351-53).

(b) the concept of a world (§§354-91): positive and negative concepts.

(c) the parts of a world (§§392-435): simples (in general and as spirits) and composites (their genesis and nature).

(d) the perfection of a world (§§436-500): the idea of the best world, the interaction ofsubstances, and the means (natural and supernatural) of obtaining the best world.

IV. Psychology (§§504-799)

(a) introduction to psychology (§§501-3).

(b) empirical psychology (§§504-739): the existence of the soul, faculties of the soul (higher and lower cognitive, higher and lower appetitive), and soul/body interaction.

(c) rational psychology (§§740-99): the nature of the soul, systems for explaining the soul/body interaction, its origin, its immortality, the state of the soul after death, animal souls, and non-human finite spirits.

V. Natural Theology (§§800-1000)

(a) introduction to natural theology (§§800-2)

(b) the concept of God (§§803-925): existence, intellect, and will.

(c) divine action (§§926-1000): creation, its end, providence, decrees, and revelation.

[1] All editions of Baumgarten’s Metaphysica were published in Halle by Carl Hermann Hemmerde: 11739 (292 pp.),21743 (363 pp.), 31750 (387 pp.), 41757 (432 pp.), 51763 (432 pp.), 61768 (432 pp.),71779 (432 pp.). The sections on Empirical Psychology from the 4th edition are reprinted at Ak. 15: 3-54 and the remainder at Ak. 17: 5-226.


(1) anonymous-Hippel 3  [list of notes] [top]

See an-Hippel 1 (anthropology).

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

Other Names

K2 [Heinze 1894], Nachschrift vom Winter 1794 [Arnoldt 1908-9], Metaphysik 1794 [Schlapp 1901], E [Adickes], Metaphysik K2 [Lehmann 1970].

Physical Description & History

Bound quarto volume, 294 pages. On the spine: “Kants Metaphysik”. On the first side of the endpaper: “Immanuel Kants Vorlesungen über die Metaphysic”; below and to the right of this, in the corner: “im Winter 1794.” (all in the same hand as the notes themselves). Crowded writing with many abbreviations, but quite legible. Somewhat wide margins in which are found occassional, brief amplifications of the text. Once housed in the Königsberg University Library (Ms. 1731), this manuscript was studied and in part transcribed by Heinze [1894], Arnoldt [1908-9], Schlapp [1901], and Kowalewski [2000]. Arnoldt [1908-9, v.38-9] views it as a “fair copy,” re-written by the student at home; Heinze [1894, 506-7] disagrees with this, claiming to have seen lecture hall notes just as neat as these; the many abbreviations also suggest to him that it was written in the lecture hall. But Heinze adds that, because there are not many places indicating confusion in the text, we would need to assume that the student possessed a good sense of Kant’s views and that Kant spoke rather slowly.


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Ms. 1731). (Lost.)


(1) Arnoldt [1908-9, v.49, 103, 126-27, 128-29, 129-30, 145-47, 155-59, 162-63] (fragments).

Lehmann did not reprint the an-Königsberg 5 fragments copied in Arnoldt, and only some of these fragments were also copied by Heinze (and thus reprinted by Lehmann). The fragments from pp. 49, 103, 126-27, and 128-29 are not in Lehmann; the fragment from pp. 129-30 overlaps in part with material at Ak. 28:731, and the remaining fragments can be found at Ak. 28:754-55, 757-60, and 762-63, respectively.

(2) Heinze [1894]. Fragments from the Prolegomena, Ontology, Cosmology, and Emprical Psychology sections (pp. 591-655), and complete transcriptions of the Rational Psychology (Appendix IV; pp. 679-97; ms. 204-40) and Natural Theology (Appendix V; pp. 698-727; ms. 244-93) sections.

(3) Kowalewski [1944-45, 415-26; 2000, 465-79]. Excerpts from Cosmology (416-21; 2000, 465-73), Rational Psychology (421-25; 2000, 473-77), and Natural Theology (425-26; 2000, 477-79). Some of the Dohna metaphysics notes are also mixed in. Kowalewski writes of the manuscripts, and he would have had ready access to an-Königsberg 5, but there is also a striking (but not complete) overlap with the Arnoldt selections of the cosmology material, and a nearly complete overlap with the rational psychology material. In sum, these passages provide only a few additional scattered fragments to the material already published in Arnoldt and Heinze.

(4) Schlapp [1901, 389-91] (fragments on empirical psychology).

(5) Lehmann [1970; Ak. 28:709-816].

(a) Excerpts from Heinze [1894] on Prolegomena, Ontology, Cosmology, and Empirical Psychology (709-50). Fragmentary; italicized text is Heinze’s commentary. Marginal pagination is to Heinze.
(b) Excerpt from Heinze: Rational Psychology (753-75). This reprints Appendix IV of Heinze [1894].
(c) Excerpt from Heinze: Natural Theology (775-812). This reprints Appendix V of Heinze [1894].
(d) Excerpt from Schlapp: Empirical Psychology (815-16). A fragment.

(6) Ameriks/Naragon [1997, 395-413]. Translation into English of Ak. 28:753-75 (Rational Psychology), as transcribed by Heinze [1894] and reprinted in Lehmann [1970].


Early 1790s. “Winter 1794” appears on the title page, and Kant did not lecture on metaphysics during the WS 1793/94, so one might think the notes stem from WS 1794/95 – this was Heinze’s reasoning prior to seeing Arnoldt’s account of Vigilantius 3, which almost certainly stems from WS 1794/95 and which differs enough from an-Königsberg 5 as to make a common origin for them implausible[1] Thus Heinze sets the date at either 1791/92, or 1792/93. Adickes believes it stems from early 1790s.[2]

[1] The argument is difficult here.  On the one hand, Arnoldt found an-Königsberg 5 and Vigliantius 3 to stand in general agreement, such that it seemed likely that an-Königsberg 5 truly did stem from the early 90s. On the other hand, they differed in numerous particulars and, more importantly, in their form of expression and in their subject-headings – all of which suggest that they originated in different semesters [1908-9, v.71-2]. Arnoldt also conjectured that an-Königsberg 5 was written-out at home (as a “fair copy”) and Vigilantius 3 was written in the lecture hall; but we know that Arnoldt never saw the original Vigilantius 3 (he worked from a copy made by Reicke), so much of the evidence that might decide the question of where the notes were composed was not available to him.

[2] Heinze [1894, 591n]; Adickes [1970, 579]; Lehmann [1972; Ak. 28:1346].


An-Königsberg 5 appears to have covered an entire semester of lectures, although Heinze notes that it is about one-fourth shorter than Rosenhagen, an-Korff, and an-Pölitz 1 [1894, 507]. Currently available to us (in the form of Heinze’s transcription) is all of the Rational Psychology and Natural Theology sections, and fragments of the rest. The manuscript appears to have had the following proportions (again, as recorded by Heinze): Prolegomenon (ms. 2-16), Ontology (ms. 17-106), Cosmology (ms. 107-42), Empirical Psychology (ms. 143- 203), Rational Psychology (ms. 204-240), and Natural Theology (ms. 241-93). Heinze offers a more thorough comparison of the content with the other notes available to him [1894, 591-659].

(3) anonymous-Korff [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Königsberg [Erdmann 1883, 1884], Korff [Arnoldt 1908-9], K1 [Heinze 1894; Lehmann], B [Adickes].

Physical Description & History

Bound quarto volume, 443 pages. On the spine: “P. Kants Metaphysic”, with the same gold decorations as found on the spine of an-Pölitz 1 (leading Heinze to speculate that they were bound by the same bookbinder). No title-page. On the first side of the end-paper at the bottom right, written in German script: “kostet: 3 rthl.” Just below this, written in Latin script, and seemingly by the same hand: “C. C. v. Korff” (this description comes from Heinze 1894). Heinze takes this to be the name of an earlier owner. The notes themselves appear to have been written by a different hand, and without abbreviations, in rather large and legible script, yet a little narrower than with an-Pölitz 1. The notebook is paginated by the same hand as wrote the notes. Just as in an-Pölitz 1, lines are drawn with a ruler under the headings. Arnoldt rightly inferred from these characteristics that the notes could hardly have been written in the lecture hall. This manuscript had been part of the library of Friedrich August Gotthold [bio].

   An-Korff was used by Erdmann in his critique of Pölitz’s dating of an-Pölitz 1 and an-Pölitz 3.2. Heinze studied and compared an-Korff with the extant “ontology” section of an-Pölitz 1 and with Rosenhagen. See Heinze [1894, 487-8], Arnoldt [1908-9, v.38], and Lehmann [1972; Ak. 28:1340].


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Gotthold, Ub 3 (G)). Lost.


(1) Erdmann [1883, 1884]. Phrases and sentences are quoted extensively in both articles. One paragraph is quoted at [1883, 133n] which parallels the an-Pölitz 1 text as printed at Ak. 28:2381-9 (and is reprinted in Lehmann’s apparatus at 28:1471) and longer passages are copied at [1884, 73-97] which Lehmann reprints at Ak. 28:1518-27.

(2) Arnoldt [1908-9, v.47-48, 53, 58, 60, 65-68]. Minor fragments. At pp. 65-68, Arnoldt compares sentences from an-Pölitz 1 (as published by Pölitz) and an-Korff from the cosmology, psychology, and rational theology sections.

(3) Heinze [1894]. Fragments scattered throughout, as well as a complete transcription of the Prolegomena (Appendix I; this follows the Rosenhagen text, with variants from an-Korff noted), and the discussion on space and time found in the Ontology (Appendix II). A great many of these shorter fragments are not reprinted in Lehmann [1968].

(a) Prolegomena (Appendix I, pp. 663-69).
(b) Ontology: passage on space and time (Appendix II, pp. 670-74).

(4) Lehmann [1968; Ak. 28:171-91]. Reprints from Heinze [1894], presented by Lehmann as stemming from an-Pölitz 1; although they are best understood as excerpts from an-Korff and Rosenhagen. To quote Heinze [1894, 613]: “This follows H [Rosenhagen] with variants from K1 [an-Korff]. I am publishing these pieces with the appendix as exactly as possible; I have changed only the orthography, which indeed is not Kantian.”

(a) Prolegomena [Ak. 28:171-77]. Reprint of appendix I from Heinze [1894, 663-69].
(b) Ontology: passage on space and time [Ak. 28:177-81]. Reprint of appendix II from Heinze [1894, 670-74].
(c) Short fragments from the Ontology [Ak. 28:185-91]. Reprints passages from Heinze [1894, 520-31]: short fragments of an-Korff, interspersed with Heinze’s commentary in italics.
(d) Short fragments from the Ontology and Cosmology [Ak. 28:1518-27]. Reprinted from Erdmann [1884], with Erdmann’s commentary in italics.
(e) Short fragment from the Empirical Psychology [Ak. 28:1471]. Reprinted from Erdmann [1883].

Dating & Contents

c.1778-81. Heinze has persuasively shown that an-Pölitz 1, an-Korff, and Rosenhagen all stem from a common set of notes (and thus from a common set of lectures); therefore the following remarks can be applied to all three of these manuscripts. Argument for their common ancestry is given in the “Contents” section of an-Pölitz 1, below.

All extant text appears to have been included in the Academy edition: the whole of the Prolegomena (28:171-77; a reprint of appendix I in Heinze 1894, 663-69),[1] a selection on space and time from the Ontology (28:177-81; a reprint of appendix II in Heinze 1894, 670-74); short fragments from the Ontology, interspersed with Heinze’s italicized commentary (28:185-91; partial reprint of Heinze 1894, 520-31); short fragments from the Ontology and Cosmology, interspersed with Erdmann’s commentary (28:1518-27; partial reprint of Erdmann 1884, 73-97); and, hidden away in the apparatus, a short fragment on the Gegenbildungsvermögen from the Empirical Psychology [28:1471] as preserved in Erdmann [1883, 133n]. These reprints appear to be reliable, and Lehmann includes in his apparatus the variant readings marked in Heinze. The source lecture occurred c.1778-81; see the discussion under an-Pölitz 1.

[1] Lehmann presents this as part of an-Pölitz 1, but Heinze bases the selection on Rosenhagen, with variant readings from an-Korff [1884, 663], and he also reports that an-Pölitz 1 does not have a Prolegomena (491). Lehmann acknowledges this in his introduction [1972; 28:1364-65].

(4) anonymous-Pölitz 1 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

L1 [Heinze 1894], A [Adickes].

Physical Description

This manuscript is lost; the following description comes from Heinze [1894]. Bound quarto volume, 157 pp. On spine: “P. Kants Methaphysik”, along with the same gold decorations as found on an-Korff (leading Heinze to speculate that they were bound by the same bookbinder). No title-page (the first page is blank). Only the Ontology section was present when Heinze inspected the manuscript – the Cosmology, Psychology, and Rational Theology sections had been removed by Pölitz for his 1821 publication of the notes. Unpaginated, with only the sheet-number (Bogenzahl) indicated. Wide margins, with some of the pages wholly or half blank (yet there does not seem to be anything missing in the text in these places).

Various aspects of the text show that it was not written in the lecture hall. The handwriting is very distinct, without abbreviations. As with an-Korff, lines have been drawn with a ruler under the headings, which are calligraphic and decorative. There are also blank spaces within lines where, apparently, the copyist was unable to read a word, and so left a space for it to be inserted later. Occassionally an entire line is missing, or a word written twice – both common copy errors. See Heinze [1894, 486-7] and Adickes [1926; Ak. 17:570].


In 1817, Karl Heinrich Ludwig Pölitz [bio] published anonymously a set of notes from Kant’s natural theology lectures (an-Pölitz 2) that he claims in his preface to have “lawfully acquired through purchase from the estate of a former esteemed colleague of Kant’s,” and four years later he published the metaphysics notes simply as the editor of the theology notes.[1] Not until the second edition of the theology notes [1830] did he identify himself, as well as the source of the theology notes – Friedrich Theodor Rink [bio]. Pölitz never did reveal the source of the metaphysics notes, and it has long been assumed that they were also purchased from Rink’s estate.[2] Werner Stark recently examined the auction catalog prepared for Rink’s library, however, and found the theology notes listed but no trace of any metaphysics notes [Rink 1811]. It is therefore most likely that Rink was not the source of the metaphysics notes.

Pölitz published only portions of each set of notes (the Cosmology, Psychology, and Theology sections of an-Pölitz 1 and the Prolegomena and Ontology sections of an-Pölitz 3.2), and these portions sent to the printer have been lost, presumably at the time of printing. Erdmann reported in 1883 that an-Pölitz 1 was missing from the Leipzig City Library (to which Pölitz had left his collection of 13,360 books – the Bibliotheca Poelitiana), although Heinze was able to locate the Ontology section of an-Pölitz 1 in 1894, and it was still there in 1912 when Menzer prepared his list of the extant lecture notes.

Pölitz believed that these notes (as well as the notes he had published on theology) were actually written down in Kant’s lecture hall during the lecture, as opposed to having been copied later. Heinze demonstrated rather convincingly, however, that an-Pölitz 1, an-Korff, and Rosenhagen are all copies of some unknown set of notes.[3]

[1] All three of these prefaces are reprinted at Ak. 28:1511-18.

[2] Lehmann [1966a, 546] claims that Pölitz’s manuscripts for his published natural theology [1817] and metaphysics [1821]volumes came from Jäsche’s literary estate.

[3] Pölitz [1821; iv], Heinze [1894, 486-87], Erdmann [1883, 135n], Adickes [Ak. 17:570], Lehmann [1972; Ak. 28:1339].


(1) Ms: Leipzig, StB (Bibliotheca Pölitziana). The manuscript is lost, and probably destroyed during World War II.


(1) Pölitz [1821], and reprints [1924, 1964]. Pölitz did not print the Prolegomena and Ontology sections.

(a) Cosmology [Pölitz, 80-124; Ak. 28:195-221].
(b) Psychology [Pölitz, 125-261; Ak. 28:221-301].
(c) Rational Theology [Pölitz, 262-343; Ak. 28:301-350].

(2) Tissot [1843]. Translation into French of Pölitz [1821].

(3) Heinze [1894]. Fragments from the Ontology section, including a longer section (pp. 670-4) on space and time given as Appendix II (Heinze writes that the text serves for the Rosenhagen, an-Korff, and an-Pölitz 1, since he notes all variants).

(4) Du Prel [1889]. Partial reprint of Pölitz [1821, 125-261].

(5) Lehmann [1968; Ak. 28:171-81, 185-91]. Reprint of the text as transcribed by Heinze [1894]; marginal pagination refers to this edition.

(a) Prolegomena [Ak. 28:171-77]. Reprint of Appendix I to Heinze [1894, 663-69]. Note: Lehmann presents this as coming from an-Pölitz 1, but in fact it can serve at best as an approximation of that manuscript, since Heinze’s transcription follows Rosenhagen with variants from an-Korff; furthermore, Heinze reports that an-Pölitz 1 does not have a Prolegomena section [1894, 491].
(b) Ontology: passage on space and time [Ak. 28:177-81]. Reprint of Appendix II to Heinze [1894, 670-74].
(c) Short fragments from the Ontology [Ak. 28:185-91]. Reprints passages from Heinze [1894, 520-31]: short fragments interspersed with Heinze’s italicized commentary.

(6) Lehmann [1968; Ak. 28:195-350]. Reprint of the Cosmology (195-221), Psychology (221-301), and Rational Theology (301-50) sections as transcribed by Pölitz [1821]; marginal pagination refers to this edition.

(7) De Toni [1986]. Translation into Italian of of Ak. 28:221-301 (Psychology).

(8) Castillo [1993]. Translation into French of Pölitz [1821].

(9) Ameriks/Naragon [1997, 19-106]. Translation into English of Ak. 28:195-301 (Cosmology and Psychology), as published by Pölitz [1821] and Lehmann [1968].

(10) Rigobello [1998]. Translation into Italian of Ak. 28:###-###.


c.1778-81. Heinze has persuasively shown that an-Pölitz 1, an-Korff, and Rosenhagen all stem from a common set of notes (and thus from a common set of lectures); therefore the following remarks can be applied to all three of these manuscripts. Argument for their common ancestry is given in the “Contents” section for an-Pölitz 1, below.

Pölitz noted in his preface to the published lectures that the ms. used for the Cosmology, Psychology, and Rational Theology (i.e., an-Pölitz 1) was older than the other ms. – this conjecture was based on the text itself, since the ms. bore no date.

Erdmann dated an-Pölitz 1 and an-Korff as stemming from “certainly not before WS 1773/74 nor hardly much later.”

Arnoldt [1892, 465-69] argued that the text of an-Pölitz 1 originated sometime after WS 1778/79 (near the end of the notes, at ms 396, a reference to Johann Georg Sulzer is in the past tense, suggesting that the lecture occured after Sulzer’s death on 27 Feb 1779) and before 1784/85 (a reference to water as elemental, at ms 168, and Kant would have learned of its composite nature no later than 1785, and perhaps as early as 1783 or 1784).

Heinze [1894, 509-12] effectively dismissed Erdmann’s arguments, which amounted to finding textual features of the manuscripts that, it turns out, could just as easily appear in much later lectures (such as in an-Königsberg 5). In general, Erdmann had fastened on formulations that stem from the Baumgarten text and which Erdmann apparently assumed would dissappear from the lectures after 1780; but as we know from the later notes, Kant engaged with and quoted the Baumgarten text throughout his teaching career.

Heinze found Arnoldt’s “water argument” convincing, but argued for moving the terminus ad quem even earlier, to 1779/80, given an incomplete list of categories in the lectures (Heinze thought it implausible that Kant would not have filled-out the list to 12 once he had completed work on the Critique of Pure Reason, which he did sometime between December 1779 and November 1780). Also, Heinze was not convinced by Arnoldt’s terminus a quo based on the mention of Sulzer in the past tense, but he found in Rosenhagen, an-Korff, and an-Pölitz 1 two separate references to Crusius in the past tense. Since Crusius died October 18, 1775, then the lecture upon which these notes are based could not have been earlier than WS 1775/76. So Heinze dates the lecture as falling somewhere in the range WS 1775/76 - WS 1779/80.

Menzer dates the lectures as just prior to 1781, thus either WS 1778/79 or 1779/80. He bases this on a possible reference to the “discovery” of the limits of reason made in the Critique of Pure Reason (publ. 1781). Adickes agrees with Heinze’s estimate for the early date (1775/76), but rejects his argument for the latter date, since he believes that Kant had developed his table of categories as early as 1775/76 (which therefore undermines Heinze’s argument).[1] More recently, Carl [1989, 118] places the terminus post quem at WS 1777/78, since he believes a theory of the migration of the soul found here is dependent upon Teten’s Philosophischen Versuchen über die menschliche Natur (1777).


We possess fragments of the Ontology section preserved in Heinze [1894], and all of the remaining sections as preserved in Pölitz [1821], namely, the Cosmology, Psychology (both empirical and rational), and Rational Theology.

A comparison of an-Pölitz 1 with Rosenhagen and an-Korff suggests a common ancestral manuscript. Erdmann reported that an-Korff corresponded nearly verbatim with an-Pölitz 1 (which he was able to examine only via the Pölitz edition), which led him to believe that they stemmed from the notes of multiple auditors taking notes during the same semester. Given the various ways that they differ and agree, however, both Arnoldt and Heinze found his conjecture wholly implausible, and that a more likely explanation was a common ancestral manuscript (which itself may have been several steps removed from Kant’s lecture hall). Comparing an-Pölitz 1, an-Korff, and Rosenhagen, Heinze noted that they are nearly identical in their headings, and came to a conclusion similar to Arnoldt’s. Du Prel had earlier reported that the psychology section of Rosenhagen was in near verbatim agreement with the corresponding section in an-Pölitz 1 (as printed in Pölitz).[2] (See also the notes on “Contents” under an-Pölitz 3.2, below.)

[1] Pölitz [1821, iv], Erdmann [1883], Arnoldt [1908-9, v.58-62], Heinze [1894, 512-16], Menzer [1899, 65], Adickes [1970, 579], Lehmann [1972; Ak. 28:1345-7].

[2] Erdmann [1883, 135], du Prel [1889, ix], Arnoldt [1908-9, v.62-71], Heinze [1894, 489n-90n].

(5) anonymous-Pölitz 3.2 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Metaphysik L2 [Heinze 1894], D [Adickes].

Physical Description

Quarto volume, bound with a set of logic notes (an-Pölitz 3.1). 55pp. Title page: “Logik und Metaphysik / von Kant / Ein Collegium ann. 1798 / nachgeschrieben”. ‘1789’ is added in darker ink over the ‘1798’. The title is written by a different hand than the notes themselves. The notes are neatly written, with wide outer margins (one-third the page width), pages are numbered (most likely by the same hand as wrote the notes), and catchwords are used throughout. The occasional marginalia appears to be in a different hand than the main text, but Heinze surmises that it could be the same author at a later date. (Pölitz believed that they were additional notes taken during a later semester.) The script is more hurried than in an-Pölitz 1, Rosenhagen, and an-Korff, but is still legible, and with almost no abbreviations [Heinze 1894, 502-4].

The metaphysics notes are preceded by 136 numbered pages of logic notes, of which pp. 9-18 are missing — see an-Pölitz 3.1 (logic). Pölitz explained that he did not publish the logic notes because of the availability of Jäsche’s published logic notes [1800]; the logic notes were written in the same hand as the metaphysics notes, although more neatly.

Kant was no longer lecturing in 1798, as an earlier user of the notes possibly realized, and altered the date accordingly, either assuming that the numerals were accidentally reversed, but perhaps also based on the fact there there is a rather small ‘1790’ written just previous to this page at the end of the logic notes.

The pages of the Prolegomena and Ontology sections were missing when Heinze inspected the manuscript, as well as the first part of the Cosmology (perhaps only a single page, possibly being on the back side of the sheet whose front held the last page of the Ontology). This resembles the fate of those sections of an-Pölitz 1 that were used by Pölitz in his publication of the metaphysics lectures [1821]. What remains of the metaphysics manuscript are pages 83-137 (all but the beginning of the Cosmology, along with the Psychology and Natural Theology sections).


See the notes for an-Pölitz 1 (above). Pölitz used only the “metaphysica specialis” (i.e., the cosmology, psychology, and theology) from an-Pölitz 1 in his 1821 edition of Kant’s metaphysics lectures, supplementing this with the Introduction and Ontology of an-Pölitz 3.2, as well as the Introduction of the an-Pölitz 3.1 (as discussed above).

Pölitz thought an-Pölitz 3.2 was written down in the lecture hall in 1788, with a second hand correcting and amplifying the notes in the wide margins, presumably as a result of a later course of metaphysics lectures during either 1789 or 1790. He also believed that an-Pölitz 1 was written in the lecture hall, so that the edition he was presenting stemmed from three different semesters of Kant’s lectures (one for an-Pölitz 1, two for an-Pölitz 3.2). See Pölitz [1821, iv-vi] and Lehmann [1972; Ak. 28:1340].


(1) Ms: Leipzig, University Library (Rep. VI 42c).  This includes the Cosmology, Psychology, and Natural Theology sections of the original manuscript (what Lehmann designates as “Metaphysica specialis nach dem Original”), and is reprinted at Ak. 28:581-609.

(2) Film: Marburg Kant-Archiv (Film 3).

(3) Film: Göttingen (Film of an-Pölitz 3.1 (logic))??.

(4) Photos: Marburg Kant-Archiv (NL-GL 22).


(1) Pölitz [1821]. For reprints/translations of Pölitz [1821], see the listings under an-Pölitz 1.

(a) Introduction [Pölitz, 1-16; Ak. 28:531-40]. This section actually belongs to the an-Pölitz 3.1 (logic).
(b) Ontology [Pölitz, 17-80; Ak. 28:540-77].

(2) Heinze [1894]. Heinze publishes the entirety of the section on Rational Psychology in Appendix III.

(a) Rational Psychology [Heinze, 675-8; Ms, 95-105]

(3) Lehmann [1970; Ak. 28:531-610]. Lehmann reports [Ak. 28:1339] that he had available to him the manuscript for the Cosmology, Psychology, and Natural Theology sections.

(a) Introduction [Ak. 28:531-40]. Marginal pagination is to Pölitz [1821]. This section belongs to an-Pölitz 3.1 (logic) (see the discussion, below).
(b) Prolegomena [Ak. 28:540-2]. Marginal pagination is to Pölitz [1821].
(c) Ontology [Ak. 28:542-77]. Marginal pagination is to Pölitz [1821].
(d) Cosmology [Ak. 28:581-3]. Marginal pagination is to the ms. (pp. 83-7).
(e) Psychology [Ak. 28:583-94]. Marginal pagination is to the ms. (pp. 87-105).
(f) Natural Theology [Ak. 28:595-609]. Marginal pagination is to the ms. (pp. 105-38).

(4) Ameriks/Naragon [1997, 299-354]. Translation into English of Ak. 28:531-94 (Introduction, Prolegomena, Cosmology, Ontology, and Psychology), as published (in part) by Pölitz [1821] and Lehmann [1970].


Heinze [1894, 504-6] dates the source lectures at 1790/91; Adickes at about 1790 [Lehmann 1972; Ak. 28:1346].


Prolegomena (Pölitz), Ontology (Pölitz), Cosmology (ms, 83-87), Psychology (both empirical and rational) (ms, 87-105), and Natural Theology (ms, 105-37). The last section of moral theology is missing (there is only a heading).

The text is not as detailed as the other manuscripts. For instance, the Rational Psychology consists of only 10 pages, while the corresponding text in an-Pölitz 1 is roughly six-times as long. The Ontology is the longest section of the ms., and is still about one-third shorter than the Ontologies of an-Pölitz 1 and an-Königsberg 5.

Pölitz found both an-Pölitz 1 and an-Pölitz 3.2 roughly identical in their order of presentation and in the principles discussed; the differences lay, he felt, simply in the examples used. An-Pölitz 1 is a fuller set of notes than an-Pölitz 3.2, being more detailed and copious; indeed, the an-Pölitz 1 notes are at times perversely repetitious (as though a copyist was wanting to pad the text). Heinze noticed that all reference to Baumgarten was missing in an-Pölitz 1, which he believes was due to Pölitz’s editing; we might add that the same is true of an-Pölitz 3.2, and that references to Baumgarten appear only in those portions of the notes not edited by Pölitz (see, for instance, Ak. 28:177, 581).

In publishing the mss., Pölitz claimed to have made no changes to the text other than correcting punctuation and the omission of occasionally superfluous words (such as ‘but’, ‘or’, and ‘thus’). He retained the various Germanized Latin terms (like ‘necessitiren’ and ‘Bonität’). Only a few places were omitted where the notetaker clearly hadn’t comprehended Kant. So as Pölitz summed-up the situation: “Thus the reader has in fact on every printed line the true Kant.” As Heinze has demonstrated, however, this is far from the truth [where? examples?]; Pölitz took far more liberties with the text than indicated in his Preface.

One of Pölitz’ more egregious tamperings was the silent inclusion of nine pages of text from the Logic notes that are bound with an-Pölitz 3.2 (this is the section headed “Einleitung” with the sub-headings “(1) Von der Philosophie überhaupt” and “(2) Geschichte der Philosophie.” reprinted at Ak. 28:531-40). Heinze had reported in 1894 in reviewing the notebook that 10 pages had been cut out of the an-Pölitz 3.1 logic notes (namely, mp 9-18), and considered the possibility that Pölitz had included them in his publication of the metaphysics lectures (indeed, Heinze even remarks on the close resemblance of this passage to one found in the published Jäsche logic notes [Heinze, 1894, 567-8]). Some 70 years later, while editing these notes for inclusion in the Academy edition [1966], Lehmann indicated that he could not find this reported gap, and suggested that the only problem with the ms. here was pagination. Unfortunately Lehmann was looking at the wrong point in the text for the gap; as Lehmann notes, there is no break in the text at Ak. 24:50730, but there is at 50928, which is where the jump from p. 8 to p. 19 of the ms. occurs. An examination of other sets of Logic notes indicates that what is missing here is just the sort of text that one finds at the beginning of the published Pölitz metaphysics notes. So in reading the Pölitz Logic notes (an-Pölitz 3.1) in vol. 24 of the Academy edition, one should insert Ak. 28:531-40 at Ak. 24:50928. See Pölitz [1821, vii], Heinze [1894, 492, 503, 568], and Stark [1987, 156-57n96].

(6) anonymous-Reicke 6 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Metaphysik Königsberg [Lehmann 1972].

Physical Description and History

Title-page: “Collegium / des Herren Professor Kant / über Metaphysik” (this description comes from Menzer’s 1912 list).

Lehmann refers to this as “Metaphysik Königsberg” [Ak. 28:1339] – not to be confused with the “Königsberg” metaphysic that Erdmann (and certain others quoting him) mentions, which is an-Korff. Rudolf Reicke [bio], a librarian at the university library at Königsberg and editor of Kant’s correspondence, owned the manuscript, later purchased by the library from his estate. Reported by Lehmann as lost [1972; Ak. 28:1339].


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Ms. 2586).

(7) Dohna-Wundlacken 4 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Metaphysik Dohna [Lehmann 1970].

Physical Description & History

Bound quarto-volume; 185pp. Divided into signatures lettered ‘B’ through ‘P’ (the first signature is without a letter; ‘B’ begins with ms. p. 7, ‘P’ with ms. p. 111). On the title-page: Die Metaphysik / nach / den Vorlesungen des HE. Professor / Kant, im Winterh: Jahre 1792/93 von 7-8.” At the bottom right: “von H. L. A. Dohna / angefangen Montag d 15ten / Octbr. 1792. (Comp. v Baumgarten)”. At the end of the manuscript (ms 185): “Ende von Kants Metaphysik d 15ten Maerz / 1793.” The notes include running entries of the lecture dates and hours.

Lehmann suggests that the marginalia has the appearance of having been added in the classroom (this would likely be the repetitoria), while the text inserted between lines looks more like improvements to the copy — the idea here is that Dohna would prepare clean copies at home shortly after each lecture, then take the notes to the repetitorium where additions might be made in the margins and inserted with a sign.

Also included here is a loose, 2 1/4 page appendix of slightly larger size than the book with the title “Ontologie kritisch bearbeitet” (printed at Ak. 28:703-4). This is in the same hand as the main text, and Kowalewski links it to the material at p. 104 seq. of the manuscript, viewing it as the remains of a student essay.

The paper has a Teschenwalt watermark. [See intro to Ak. 25 for more on this papermill.] This manuscript is easier to read than Mrongovius 2, with fewer abbreviations. Being of a wealthy family (unlike Mrongovius), Dohna may have had either a professional copyist or his Hofmeister re-write his notes. See Kowalewski [1924, 50-51] and Lehmann [1972; Ak. 28:1356-60].

Graf Heinrich Ludwig Adolph zu Dohna-Wundlacken [bio] matriculated at the university in Königsberg on June 15, 1791. Apart from the metaphysics notes, Dohna also left notes on anthropology, logic, and physical geography. 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, private possession of the Dohna Family.

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


(1) Kowalewski [1924, 521-631]. Corresponds with Ms 1-185. (Fragments are also included in Kowaleski [2000], alongside an-Königsberg 5).

(2) Lehmann [1970; Ak. 28:615-702]. Lehmann reports [Ak. 28:1339] that he made use of the manuscript in this transcription.  Lehmann follows the Dohna notes with a “Beilage” [Ak. 28:703-4], which is perhaps an essay of Dohna’s written in preparation for a Repetitorium, but which is not likely notes stemming from the lectures.

(3) Ameriks/Naragon [1997, 357-91]. Translation into English of Ak. 28:656-90 (Cosmology and Psychology), as published by Kowalewski [1924] and Lehmann [1970]. The translators relied on the Lehmann text, using a microfilm of the ms. as a control.

(4) Caimi [2007]. Translation into Spanish of Ak. 28:615-702.


The manuscript is dated 1792/93 on the title page, and the few running entries with dates and days of the week all fit the 1792/93 calendar, with the following exceptions: Ms 85: “26. Dienstag, d. 21 …” (this doesn’t fit for November 1792; this date is difficult to read on the film, and could be either). Most of the entries simply mark the hour (i.e., which hour in the semester), without given time, day, or date (see Dohna’s notes on anthropology and physical geography for comparison). In all, there are 73 hours marked, with 31 explicitly devoted to an interpretation of Baumgarten [Kowalewski 2000, 463].


Prolegomenon (Ms 1-19; Ak. 28:615-22), Ontology (Ms 19-114; 28:622-56), Cosmology (Ms 115-37; 656-70), Psychology (Ms 138-65) [Empirical Psychology (670-79), Rational Psychology (679-90)], Natural Theology (Ms 166-85; 28:690-704). The end of the Ontology (Ms 103-14) is an explicitly critical discussion of the preceding “dogmatic” presentation of ontological matters — the 32nd hour (Ms 103) begins: “We have up to now expounded the ontology dogmatically, i.e., without looking to see from where these a priori propositions arise — we now want to treat them critically.”

There are a remarkable number of parallel passages with an-Königsberg 5; see, for instance, Ak. 28:679 & 775; 672-73 & 737-39 (on sense); and 679 & 750 (on the possibility of science of philosophy).

(8) Herder 4 [list of notes] [top]

[physical description]  [history]  [location]  [publications]  [assessment]  [dating]  [contents]  

Physical Description

The Herder notes consist of a variety of scattered materials, primarily unbound signatures of varying lengths (usually 8, 12, or 16pp), and in varying relationship with each other. Many of the notes are written in pencil. The pages themselves were numbered only later, by a librarian. (Because of their variability, closer descriptions of the different manuscripts are given with their locations, below). These notes are some of the closest that we have to the lectures themselves, and many were almost certainly written down in the classroom. Two different 4pp manuscripts include notes from both metaphysics and logic (Kant used Meier’s Vernunftlehre as a text in his logic lectures).[1]

The notes printed at Ak. 28:5-53 (corresponding to Baumgarten, §§1-450) are in ink, and likely written at home. They have wide margins, many paragraph- and section-number references to Baumgarten; the text breaks off at various points. The notes printed at Ak. 28:850-923 (corresponding to Baumgarten, §§531-946) are written in pencil (with a long section written in ink), and Lehmann believes that those in pencil are quite likely to have been written in the lecture hall, given the numerous additions, underlinings, and extra markings for ordering the text. The notes printed at Ak. 28:924-31 (under the editorial title: “Aus einer anderen Fassung”) consists of two sheets (four pages) written in pencil; the first page is illegible.[2] For a brief overview and proper ordering of the Herder notes, see the discussion of the contents, below.

[1] The text printed at Ak. 28:8431-8497 (discussing Baumgarten §§516-48) is found on the first three and one-half pages of a 4 pp. manuscript; the bottom of the last page is separated off with a line, and although badly smudged it appears that material from Meier §207 is being discussed. Similarly, the text printed at Ak. 28:92824-9317 (discussing Baumgarten §§593-644) is found on the first three sides of a folded sheet of paper; the back page is filled with notes discussing Meier §§255-58.

[2] Lehmann [1972; Ak. 28:1366-8].

History [Herder (top)]

Johann Gottfried Herder [bio] matriculated as an impoverished theology student at the Albertina on August 10, 1762, arriving there from his birthplace of Mohrungen; two years later, on November 22, 1764, he left Königsberg for Riga, where he assumed a teaching position at the Domschule . Herder apparently began attending Kant’s metaphysics lectures immediately, as we find at the top of a sheet of notes the words: “with Kant the first time, the 21st August, on pneumatology.” This likely would have been after classes resumed following the summer break, and there would have been about three weeks left in the semester. Herder’s stay in Königsberg overlapped with six semesters (from SS 1762 through the WS 1764/65 – he left on November 22, which likely fell just before the beginning of the Christmas break). He began working at Kanter’s bookshop, who then asked Kant to allow Herder to attend his lectures for free; he also taught at the Collegium Fridericianum while studying at the university. Herder attended all of Kant’s lectures, repeating several of them, and claimed that after each hour he would re-write the lecture notes in his own words, avoiding as much as possible Kant’s own language.[1] We have notes from all of these: physical geography (1763/64 and/or 1764; Adickes dates them as 1763/64), logic (any of the four semesters), mathematics (1762/63 and/or 1763), metaphysics (1762, 1762/63, 1763/64, 1764; possibly the first part of 1764/65), moral philosophy (1763/64, possibly the first part of 1764/65), and physics (1763; possibly the first part of 1764/65). We know that part of his notes on metaphysics (XXVI.5) stems from SS 1762.[2]

Paul Menzer (1873-1960) prepared a copy of many of the notes in preparation for his book Kants Lehre von der Entwicklung in Natur und Geschichte (Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1911), in which he also quoted from the notes. He reported in his preface that many of the Herder notes had been unknown until then; a similar copy was made of Herder’s notes on physical geography. Although his copy is extant,[3] not all of Herder’s physical geography notes that he had copied have been located.

Hans Dietrich Irmscher [1964] published all of Herder’s notes (from Kant’s lectures) that were available to him. He was aware of Menzer’s copy, but was unable to find the original manuscript. Herder’s notes on physical geography were also missing (and have since been located).

When Lehmann prepared the first part of volume 28, he had all the materials that had been available to Irmscher, and he had located Menzer’s copy of Herder’s notes, as well as NL-Kant 19 and NL-Herder XXV.41a. He printed all of this, including a transcription of Menzer’s copy (minus those passages for which the original was available), but then came across some of the missing manuscripts copied by Menzer (XXV.46a), and so Lehmann [1970] duplicated the material printed from Menzer’s copy, although now providing a new transcription from Herder’s notes. This latter volume also included an additional, difficult to read 4pp manuscript that Menzer had not copied, and which concerns Baumgarten §§516-48; see 28:9243-92822, as well as printing a few other handwritings of Herder’s related to Kant’s lectures, but which are not themselves lecture notes, and as such do not belong in the Academy edition. For instance, the “Essay on Being” (28:951-61) is clearly an essay of Herder’s, rather than lecture notes from Kant’s classroom; the notes in the “Blue Notebook” (28:935-46) may well be lecture notes, but are likely not from Kant’s classroom, and are quite possibly Herder’s own reflections on Crusius and other authors. Similarly, the “Introduction to Metaphysics” (28:155-66) is possibly not from Kant’s metaphysics lectures – the first part (printed at 28:155-60) is similar to what Kant would discuss at the beginning of the semester, while the seond part is most likely from a set of physics lectures (either by Kant or someone else).

Given this publishing history, the text in the Academy edition badly needs to be reorganized. The material from Menzer’s copy (printed in Lehmann 1968) is essentially useless, since the transcription in Lehmann 1970 is more reliable. And yet there is also material in the 1968 volume, transcribed from the original and therefore not repeated in the 1970 volume. And to make things appear even more confusing, Herder left us multiple versions of some of the notes – either multiple drafts from the same semester, or versions from different semesters. For instance, the text printed at Ak. 28:53-5 (Baumgarten §§7-20) and 28:924-31 (Baumgarten §§516-48, 593-644) all represent an additional version; for a complete list of overlapping texts, see the table below.

[1] Suphan [1967, 22: 12-13], repr. in Malter [1990, 59-60].

[2] Lehmann believed that Herder’s notes stem from 1762/63 and 1763/64, and that we have a large portion of the former, and a series of fragments from the latter [1966a, 552].

[3] This copy is part of the Erich Adickes Nachlaß housed in the archive of the Berlin Academy of Sciences (NL-Adickes 4).

Location [Herder (top)]

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

XX.188. The so-called Blaues Studienbuch (Blue Notebook). An octavo volume, 230 pp. (10 x 17 cm.; many sheets have come loose from the binding, including the paper covers), with a pale blue cover that reads: “Eigene Poesien und Excerpta.” Many pages are blank, and there are also various drawings and doodles. The ink is usually light brown, and finely written. The pagination in pencil was added later. In the period during and after WW II it was housed in the Tübingen depot. Excerpts are printed at Irmscher [1964, 51-64] and Ak. 28:155-66, 935-46.[1]
This notebook is primarily devoted to poetic exercises, but also includes various reflections on philosophical topics. Quite often, but not always, these notes on philosophy were written upside down (i.e., Herder turned the book upside down, and wrote from back to front) – presumably he was adding these notes to an already full notebook, adding them at the bottom of pages where there was space, and turning the book upside down so as to better keep the two kinds of notes separate — although it is not immediately obvious what the original orientation of the notebook, or whether either orientation should be seen as first in time or primary in important (the librarian pagination could be running the wrong direction). The immediate implication, however, is that the pagination of the philosophy material appears to run backwards. For instance, the text transcribed at Ak. 28:155-66 has marginal pagination running 123, 122, 121, 120, 119, 117, 116, 114, 113, 110 (pp. 118, 115, 112 are blank; p. 111 is blank except for six lines of a draft of a poem at the top; pp. 108-9 have a few scattered sums, and the two pages before that, and orientated the same direction as the philosophy notes is a poem). Preceding these pages: on p. 124 (also oriented with the philosophy notes) is a poem.
Irmscher observes that this text might stem from two different courses.
None of this text makes reference to Baumgarten’s Metaphysics (as the other metaphysics notes routinely do); the only citations to texts are on Mss. 3 and 7, and these are to Crusius. Proceeding in order of the text as printed in the Academy edition, I note the following: Ms. 123-22 (Ak. 28:1551-5737; the text is written upside down, thus the reverse pagination) concerns the history of philosophy, and as such could easily stem from the introductory sections of either Kant’s metaphysics or logic lectures. Fragments from mss. 121, 120, and 119 (Ak. 28:1581-16020) might come from either course of lectures, or neither. Ms. 118 is blank, and the fragments on mss. 117-16, 114, 113, and 110 (Ak. 28:16021-16611) discuss motion, inertia, velocity, and gravity (respectively), and include diagrams; these passages come from physics lectures – if not Kant’s, then either Teske’s or Buck’s.
There is even less reason to view the selections transcribed at 28:935-46 as notes from Kant’s classroom – especially the material on possibility and actuality, the concept of being, and innate versus empirical concepts – given the many references to Crusius (ms. 2-9; Ak. 28:935-41).[2] One also finds outlines of the connections between psychology and other disciplines (ms 10; Ak. 28:94312-37)[3] and of philosophy as a means to knowing God (ms. 25; Ak. 28:9441-38), and passages on animal souls and representations (ms. 46-47; Ak. 28:945), child rearing (ms. 179; Ak. 28:945-46) and infinity (ms. 187; Ak. 28:946). Much of these passages read like Herder’s own musings, and Irmscher/Adler [1979] regard some of the material at ms. 2-9 as an early draft of Herder’s “essay on being.”

XXV.38. 2 pp. (10 x 17.5 cm), ribbed paper with an eagle watermark, and a horizontal fold-crease in the middle. It appears to be the identical paper and format to the "Blaues Studienbuch" (XX.188), although the corners are not rounded (as they are in the notebook). Text only on one side, with a 2 cm margin at the bottom, in light brown ink. Concerns Baumgarten, §§589-91 (empirical psychology). Printed at Irmscher [1964, 65-66] and Ak. 28:143-44.

XXV.39. 2 pp. (10.25 x 15.5 cm), ribbed paper, text only on one side, with bottom 1/4 blank; both light and dark brown inks. Concerns Baumgarten, §§742-8 (rational psychology). Printed at Irmscher [1964, 69-70] and Ak. 28:144-45.

XXV.40. 2 pp. (11.5 x 19.5 cm), ribbed paper with a partial watermark. Text on both sides in brown ink, the second page is blank on the bottom 4/5. A margin on the left has sentences copied from the main text (so as to highlight the text). Concerns Baumgarten, §§742-45 (rational psychology). Printed at Irmscher [1964, 71-73] and Ak. 28:145-48.

XXV.41. 2 pp. (10 x 15.5 cm), ribbed paper with text on only one side (with a margin at the bottom), in pencil. The references to Baumgarten (§§ 844, 846/natural theology) are rewritten in ink. Printed at Irmscher [1964, 85-86] and Ak. 28:13730-13829.

XXV.41a. 8 pp. (15.5 x 20.25 cm), a vertical crease down the middle marks the margin on the left side of each page. Ribbed, with clearly visible watermark (a rising sun). Text in brown ink covers all but p. 3, which is blank on the bottom 4/5. Pencilled pagination was entered by a librarian. At the top of the margin on p. 1: “Prolegom. §1. / Der Gegenstand”. Across the top of the spread pages 4 & 5: “Ontologie” with a flourish. Baumgarten paragraph numbers written in margin (§§1-36/ontology), and sections also marked. Also marginalia near the top of p. 7. This appears to be a clean copy prepared at home, with the intention of developing a further draft (thus the wide margins). Some of the text (with a question/answer format, would seem to stem from a repetitorium. This fragment is almost certainly part of a larger manuscript prepared by Herder that includes NL-Kant #19.[4] Printed at Ak. 28:5-14.

XXV.41b. (These are photos of NL-Kant 19, housed at the archive of the Berlin-Brandenburg Akademie der Wissenschaften; see below.)

XXV.46a. This large collection of loose sheets includes notes on metaphysics (4 4° pages, 81 8° pages), physical geography (57 8° pages), physics (8 8° pages), and a few logic fragments (1 1/2 8° pages). The metaphysics notes consist of twelve signatures (a total of 42 sheets), plus one page from a signature of notes otherwise devoted to physical geography (see item 7, below). Two of these signatures (items 12 and13) also contain unpublished logic notes. These manuscripts are not cataloged in Irmscher/Adler [1979]. What follows is a list of these twelve signatures, the miscopied page of notes (item 7), and the single sheet (item 14). Items 2-5 have the appearance of belonging together, as do items 6-11. Printed at Ak. 28:53-55 (a single sheet) and at 28:843-931.
(1) 4 pp. (14 x 22.25 cm), numbered 1-4 by a librarian. Paper has a crown watermark. Each page is fully covered with notes in pencil (two words are rewritten in brown ink), most of which are clear, although the bottom half of ms 2 is badly smudged. Very likely written in the classroom, as it is almost certainly the basis of a set of notes re-written and amplified at home, in ink (about six pages of NL-Herder #19); the corresponding text is printed at Ak. 28:22-30. As such, this provides a good example of the extent to which Herder altered the notes written down in the classroom. Concerns Baumgarten, §§180-239 (ontology). Printed at Ak. 28:8431-8497.
(2) 16 pp. (9.5 x 17 cm), paginated 1-16 by a librarian. Text is legible, neatly written in pencil, without margins, and covers all pages. Holes in the fold suggest that it was bound at one time. At the very top of A1, written in dark brown ink: “VN. C. VIII.”. Concerns Baumgarten §§531-620 (empirical psychology). Printed at Ak. 28:8501-86715.
(3) 8 pp. (10 x 15.5 cm), numbered 1-8 by a librarian. Text is legible, written in pencil, and covers all pages. This appears to be a direct continuation of the previous signature, although the paper is different. The paper of this signature is identical in format and watermark with #4, #5, and #11, below, as well as XXV.41. Concerns Baumgarten §§621-49 (empirical psychology). Printed at Ak. 28:86716-8757.
(4) 8 pp. (10 x 15.5 cm), numbered 1-8 by a librarian. The text is legible, written in pencil, and covers all pages. See note to #3, above. Ms 1 begins mid-sentence, and the notes immediately preceding these are not available. Concerns Baumgarten, §§682-718 (empirical psychology). Printed at Ak. 28:8758-88233.
(5) 4 pp. (10 x 15.5 cm), numbered 9-12 by a librarian (consecutive with the previous signature). The text is legible, written in pencil. See note to #3, above. Baumgarten, §§722-32 (empirical psychology). Printed at Ak. 28:88233-8867.
(6) 16 pp. (10.5 x 16.5 cm), numbered 1-16 by a librarian. Text is legible on most pages, and covers all pages, with a few exceptions. A few ink blotches. Ms 1, written in pencil, is rubbed considerably; the remainder of the notes are written in ink. A photograph of ms 1 is inserted after Ak. 28:886. Concerns Baumgarten, §§763-92 (rational psychology). Printed at Ak. 28:8868-9013. NB: Items ##7-10 that follow share the same size of paper, lack of margins, and are written in ink (except for a few sentences, as indicated). Also, because item #7 is associated with Herder’s physical geography notes, this group of metaphysics notes likely stem from 1763/64 or 1764.
(7) 1 p. (11 x 17.5 cm), numbered 15 by a librarian. This is the next to the last page of a 16 pp signature of physical geography notes. Herder appears to have inadvertently copied the page of metaphysics notes here, suggesting that he prepared both sets of notes at the same time. Concerns Baumgarten, §792 (rational psychology). Printed at Ak. 28:9013-30.
(8) 8 pp. (10.5 x 16.5 cm), numbered 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 19, 20, 18 by a librarian.[5] Concerns Baumgarten, §§792-802 (rational psychology and natural theology). Printed at Ak. 28:90131-91112.
(9) 4 pp. (10.5 x 16.5 cm), numbered 25-28 by a librarian. The top third of the first page is in pencil; the rest is ink.&nesp;Concerns Baumgarten, §§812f (natural theology). Printed at Ak. 28:91113-9177.
(10) 4 pp. (10.5 x 16.5 cm), numbered 29-32 by a librarian. Concerns Baumgarten, §§820-44 (natural theology). Printed at Ak. 28:9177-9229.
(11) 4 pp. (10.5 x 16.5 cm), numbered 1-4 by a librarian. Ms 1-2 are filled; ms 3 has two lines of text at the top, all in pencil. Last page is blank. See note to #3, above; this signature shares the same format, pencil, and handwriting as XXV.41. Concerns Baumgarten, §§862, 945-6 (natural theology). Printed at 28:92210-92337.
(12) 4 pp. (8.25 x 14 cm). Badly worn; the paper is extremely heavy, a kind of cardboard with a hard smooth surface (three small tears in the fold suggest that it may have once served as the cover of a small notebook). The notes (in pencil) are written hastily, most probably in the classroom; there are no margins. All four pages are filled with notes on metaphysics concerning Baumgarten §§516-48 (empirical psychology; text printed at Ak. 28:9241-92822). On the last page (ms 4), only the top half belongs to metaphysics; a line appears to be drawn here, and the text below appears to be logic notes concerning Meier, §207. See also the logic notes in the following item.
(13) 4 pp. (10.5 x 16 cm, ribbed), numbered 1-4 by a librarian, although the content indicates that the sheet was folded backwards when paginated, so that the correct ordering of the pages is: ms 3, ms 4, ms 1, ms 2 (indeed, ms 3 and 2 are the most worn, indicating that they were the front and back pages. Notes (in pencil) completely fill all sides, without margins, and all are legible; they appear to have been written in the classroom. The notes on metaphysics, found on the first three pages, concern Baumgarten §§593-644 (empirical psychology; text printed at Ak. 92824-9317). The fourth page of the ms (ms 2) concerns Meier §§255-58. “Log.” is written in brown ink at the top of this page. None of the logic notes on this and the previous signature was published with Herder’s other logic notes in the Academy edition.
(14) 4 pp. (10.5 x 17.5 cm), unpaginated, no margins, in ink. Text is on p. 1 and top 1/3 of p. 2; pp. 3-4 are blank. Concerns Baumgarten, §§7-20 (ontology). At the top of p. 1 it reads: “Zum Cap. 1 Sect. 1. Ontol. §7. ad Dictat N.C. 1. p 5#” A very poor photocopy of this sheet is cataloged as XXV.41c, and its original was wrongly cataloged in Irmscher/Adler [1979, 195] as belonging to the Archive of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. Printed at Ak. 28:53-5. NB: Although published with Herder’s notes from Kant’s metaphysics lectures, and presented by Lehmann as such, a close inspection of this manuscript reveals it to be a brief summary prepared by Herder of Kant’s New Elucidation, Propositions 1-6, with a few scattered remarks on related paragraphs from Baumgarten (these references to Baumgarten are what perhaps lent it the appearance of lecture notes).

XXVI.5. This is a bound, brown notebook (17.5 x 20 cm), 70 sheets, paginated (apparently by Herder) as I-IV and then 1-137 (the inside back cover is p. 137). The text is all in ink (dark brown or black, on one page red), with pencilled markings by a later user. On the title-page (p. I): “Beiträge / fürs / Gedächtniß. / 1761. / 1762ff.” On p. II is a quote from Horace. This notebook is a collection of thoughts, notes on books read, sketches of letters, as well as a few lecture notes. Two entries are of particular interest. On p. 32: “bey Kant 1sten mal d. 21 Aug” followed by two pages of notes from Kant’s metaphysics lectures concerning Baumgarten, §§796-806 (rational psychology and natural theology),[6] printed at Irmscher [1964, 80-84] and at Ak. 28:148-51. The second entry is in the upper left corner of p. 123, and appears to be a brief recounting of that semester, repeating mention of his first visit to Kant’s classroom, and then giving what appears to be a list of textbooks needed that semester (including prices in florins and groschens).[7]

(2) Ms: Berlin, Ak.-Archiv (NL-Kant 19). Concerns Baumgarten, §§69-450 (ontology and cosmology). Also called “Metaphysikfragment #9.” Three signatures, each bearing marks in the seam where they had been sewn (the latter two still with the thread), of 3, 6, and 8 sheets (15.75 x 20.5 cm). A margin of one-half the page width is on the left, with no other margins. There are various blank spaces for text to be added later, other pages have the margin completely filled with additions Neatly written in brown ink; numbers referring to the Baumgarten paragraphs placed in the margin, with ornate headings for the sections, on a line by itself, in the body of the text. Unpaginated.  This has the same watermark as XXV.41a, and the text is similarly prepared.  It is clear that these are two fragments of a single manuscript prepared by Herder. Printed at Ak. 28:15-53.

(3) Copy: Berlin, Ak.-Archiv (NL-Adickes 4). Nine bound signatures for a total of 150 sheets (16.5 x 21 cm). This is the Menzer copy (prepared around the turn of the 20th century) that Lehmann used for his 1968 volume to supplement the unavailable portions of Herder’s notes.

(4) Photos/photocopies: Marburg Kant-Archiv (NL-GL 10).  This includes copies of NL-Herder XXV.46a (Herder’s notes corresponding to the text printed at Ak. 28:843-931, i.e. all of Herder’s metaphysics notes as printed in Lehmann 1970).

(5) Film: Göttingen, Academy of Sciences (Film “Metaphysik Fragment IX”, now listed as: NL-Kant 19). This film includes manuscript sheets corresponding to Ak. 28:151-5315 (pp. 9-43 as indicated in the margin of the Academy edition).

[1] Irmscher [1964, 51] reported that he was working only from a copy, since the notebook was unavailable.  Lehmann could not initially locate the notebook [1967, 150], but eventually found it for preparing the transcription in the Academy edition, where he also notes that Irmscher’s copy had been prepared by Lutz Machensen around 1953, and that the notebook had been in Lüneburg before being returned to Tübingen in 1967 [1972, Ak. 28:1350].

[2] Kant was, of course, engaged with Crusius’ criticisms of Wolffian rationalism, but these notes have the appearance of stemming from lectures on Crusius’ textbook itself. Puech [1990] finds in Herder’s notes (apart from these passages in the blue notebook) a staging ground of this debate between Crusius and Wolff. Daniel Weymann, a lecturer like Kant, was lecturing on Crusius, and may have used Crusius’s Entwurf der nothwendigen Vernunft-Wahrheiten (Leipzig, 1745), the text cited in these notes. Similarly, the full professor of logic and metaphysics, F. J. Buck, was using Crusius’s texts in his public (thus, free) lectures on logic and metaphysics. Beginning with WS 1770/71 he changed to J. G. H. Feder’s Logik und Metaphysik im Grundriß (Göttingen, 1769). On the use of Crusius’s texts at Königsberg, see Oberhausen/Pozzo [1999, xxv-xxvi].

[3] Similar material, as cataloged by Irmscher/Adler [1979], appears in three other unpublished manuscripts: NL-Herder XXV.49 (1 sheet), XXV.50 (4 sheets), and XXX.1 (sheet 27 recto of a 140 sheet notebook, 11 x 18 cm).

[4] A typed acquisition note (from a librarian, Dr. Stolzenberg) is included with the manuscript, dated 5 May 1967, that explains that Dr. Lehmann had given the library four sheets from the Herder notes (Prolegomena and beginning of the Ontology). A handwritten addition at the bottom of this note, and dated 26 May 1967, indicated that an additional eight sheets of Herder’s notes from Kant’s physical geography lectures was obtained.

[5] This signature is a long horizontal row of four sheets, folded twice. Herder filled these pages in such a way that, if you cut the row in half to make two four-page signatures, the text would then flow properly from page to page. The librarian paginating this signature (from 17-24) did not follow that sequencing, so the pencilled numbers now appear out of order. The proper line-up is as follows: 1 (17), 2 (21), 3 (22), 4 (23), 5 (24), 6 (19), 7 (20), 8 (18). When unfolded, the pages are (from left to right, with the reverse-side indicated in square-brackets): 23 [22], 17 [21], 18 [20], 24 [19]. Once this is straightened out we can see what Herder was doing on ms 24, where a line is drawn across the page about 2/3 down, and beneath which is found text (written in a smaller hand) that belongs immediately after that found on ms 18. Herder finished his notes on rational psychology on the top half of ms 24, and turned the sheet over (ms 19) to begin his notes on Natural Theology on a clean page, and after filling this and the remaining two pages, he still needed to write some notes, so he finished them at the bottom half of the first page, where there was still room. (When referring to the marginal pagination found in the Academy edition, note that mp 58 is the top half of manuscript p. 24, and mp 62 is the bottom half of that same page.)

[6] The bottom 1/4 of p. 33 is a sketch of a poem, and on p. 34 are Herder’s notes on the development of human understanding, and p. 35 is blank except for the words: “Etwas zur Praxis.” No other notes from Kant’s lectures were apparent.

[7] The text reads: “d. 10 1762 immatriculiert und im das Collegium zugezogen [the text “immatriculiert … zugezogen” is crossed out] / d. 21 Aug. bei Kant d. Coll. angefangen. / Gravesand Phil. Newton: Institut. 3 fl. 15 gl. / Crusius Schrifte 16 fl. Wüstemann 2 fl. / Hume 4 Abth. 1 fl / [additional title by Hume, listed under “4 Abth”] vermischte Schr. 7 fl. / Hutcheson Leidenschaft 1 fl. 15 / [two additional titles by Hutcheson, without price indicated] Schönh. / Moral / Baumgarten äesthetik 2 fl. 15 / [additional title by Baumgarten; a third title – “Logik” – is crossed out] Metaphy. 1 12. / Meiers Auszüge der ästh. 15. / Moldenh[auer] Antiquariat / Reimarius nat. Rel 2 fl. 15 / Heinicui [= Heineccius] Elementa stili 2 fl.” Irmscher/Adler [1979] indicates excerpts in Herder’s Nachlaß from Hume (XXV.54; 4 sheets), Reimarius (XXVIII.10), Heineccius (XXIX.1; sheets 38-40), Crusius (XXVI.5, pp. 66-83), and Baumgarten (XXV.48, XXV.57, and elsewhere). Their name index does not include additional entries for Gravesande, Hutcheson, Meier, Moldenhauer, or Wüstemann. 

The relevant texts include: Willem Jacob 's Gravesande, Philosophiae Newtonianae institutiones: in usus academicos (Leiden: Apud Joh. Arn. Langerak, Joh. & Herm. Verbeek, & Balthasarem Lakeman, 1723)[many editions; this work was translated into English (1735) as: An explanation of the Newtonian philosophy in lectures read to the youth of the University of Leyden]. […]

Publications [Herder (top)]

(1) Menzer [1911]. Fragments found on pp. 101-2, 107-8, 110-11, 129-33, 138-9, 149, and 319-23. These passages correspond to the following text in the Academy edition: 28: 89931-90015, 89126-39, 90020-90113, 89138-89523, 88431-88528, 9111-4, 9071-9111. Menzer did not specify which manuscripts he used, although they were housed in the Königliche Bibiliothek/Berlin (later the Preußischen Staatsbibliothek; now the Staatsbibliothek Preußischer Kulturbesitz or SBPK).

(2) Irmscher [1964, 51-86]. Irmscher provides physical descriptions of the manuscripts at the beginning of each of his transcriptions.

(a) pp. 51-64. From the original (NL-Herder XX.188). (= Ak. 28:155-66.)
(b) pp. 65-66. From the original (NL-Herder XXV.38). (= Ak. 28:143-4.)
(c) pp. 67-68. Reprinted from Menzer [1911, 138-39]. (= Ak. 28:9923-10021 / 88431-88528.)
(d) pp. 69-70. From the original (NL-Herder XXV.39). (= Ak. 28:144-5.)
(e) pp. 71-73. From the original (NL-Herder XXV.40). (= Ak. 28:145-8.)
(f) pp. 74-77. Reprinted from Menzer [1911, 107-8, 129-33]. (= Ak. 28:10727-11124 / 89126-89524.)
(g) pp. 78, 79. Reprinted from Menzer [1911, 101-2, 110-11].  (= Ak. 28:11527-11612, 11617-11715 / 89931-90015, 90020-90119.)
(h) pp. 80-84. From the original (NL-Herder XXVI.5). (= Ak. 28:148-51.)
(i) pp. 85-86. From the original (NL-Herder XXV.41). (= Ak. 28:137-40.)

(3) Lehmann [1968; Ak. 28:5-166]. Unlike with Irmscher [1964], who had access only to Menzer [1911], Lehmann also had access to Menzer’s handwritten copy of the Herder notes, and it is from this copy that the selections indicated below come. In general, the texts as published in Menzer [1911] are more reliable transcriptions than Menzer’s rough copy (as published by Lehmann); best, however, is simply to use the notes in Lehmann [1970], which transcribes the original manuscripts.

(a) 28:5-14. From the original (NL-Herder XXV.41a). Concerns Baumgarten, §§1-36.
(b) 28:15-53. From the original (NL-Kant 19). Concerns Baumgarten, §§69-450. NB: See the photograph of the manuscript sheet (text printed at 28:151-1614) inserted after Ak. 28:524.
(c) 28:53-55. From the original (NL-Herder XXV.46a). Brief summary of Kant’s New Elucidation, props. 1-6, with some reference to Baumgarten. These are not notes from Kant’s lectures.
(d) 28:591-8535. From Menzer’s copy.[1] Concerns Baumgarten, §§531-649, 946. (= Ak. 28:8501-757)
(e) 28:861-8831. From Menzer’s copy. Concerns Baumgarten, §§593-644. (= Ak. 28:92824-317)
(f) 28:8833-1012, 10131-379. From Menzer’s copy.[2] Concerns Baumgarten, §§682-732, 763-844. (= Ak. 28:8758-867, 8868-9229)
(g) 28:13730-3829. From the original (NL-Herder XXV.41). Concerns Baumgarten, §§844-46.
(h) 28:13830-4021. From Menzer’s copy. Concerns Baumgarten, §§862, 94. (= Ak. 28:92210-2337)
(i) 28:143-44. From the original (NL-Herder XXV.38). Concerns Baumgarten, §§589-91.
(j) 28:144-45. From the original (NL-Herder XXV.39). Concerns Baumgarten, §§740-45.
(k) 28:145-48. From the original (NL-Herder XXV.40). Concerns Baumgarten, §§740-45.
(l) 28:148-51. From the original (NL-Herder XXVI.5). Concerns Baumgarten, §§796-99, 806. The marginal pagination in the Academy edition is the actual pagination of the notebook from which this text is transcribed.
(m) 28:155-66. From the original (NL-Herder XX.188).[3]

(4) Lehmann [1970; Ak. 28:843-931].[4] This partially duplicates what was included in Lehmann [1968], although it is a new transcription prepared from the original manuscripts (NL-Herder XXV.46a) – see the description of that set of manuscripts for details. These notes are legible for the most part, although badly smudged on some pages, and typically written in pencil without any margins. Herder also used a great many abbreviations.

(5) Ameriks/Naragon [1997, 3-16]. Translation into English of Ak. 28:39-53 (Cosmology), as published by Irmscher [1964] and Lehmann [1968].

[1] The line of text at Ak. 28:8536 may well be written in the Menzer copy at this place (as Lehmann reports), but it clearly does not belong here. The identical line of text is found at 13936.

[2] The text at Ak. 28:1013-30 is not repeated in Lehmann [1970], and Lehmann notes (in his “Textänderungen und Lesearten”) that the original notes cannot be located. It turns out that the manuscript cannot be located because it never existed: the numbered sentences comprising this text appear to be quotations and near-quotations from the Herder notes that Menzer compiled on a sheet of paper (see the texts at 28:88732, 88735-36, 88835-38, 8892-3, 88920-21, 88926, 89131-33, 89222-23, 89231-32, 89320, 8956, 89535-36, 89718, 89826, 89931-33).

[3] The first few pages [28:1551-16020] of this selection is possibly from the introductory section of the metaphysics lectures. The second half (printed at Ak. 28:16021-16611) is possibly from physics lectures (either Kant’s, Teske’s, or Buck’s). The selections themselves are related to each other only in that they come from the same notebook.

[4] Lehmann also includes two additional texts — various passages from Herder’s Blue Notebook (28:935-46, NL-Herder XX.188) and Herder’s essay on being (28:951-61, NL-Herder XXV.52) — but these are almost certainly not to be understood as notes from Kant’s metaphysics lectures, and as such are out of place in this volume. The first is either Herder’s own reflections on texts he was reading, or stems from someone else’s classroom; the second may well have been an essay inspired by Kant or written for Kant.

Assessment of the above texts [Herder (top)]

There is considerable deviation between the text as found in Menzer [1911] and as found in Lehmann [1968], although Lehmann [1970] is much closer to Menzer. This is best explained by assuming that Menzer compared his quoted passages against the original Herder notes, making corrections to his excerpts without also correcting his original copy of the notes, which was merely a working copy, and not intended for publication as such. Whenever the Menzer copy (as reprinted in Lehmann 1968) and Lehmann [1970] disagree, the manuscript supports the latter. In general, Lehmann’s transcription of Menzer’s handwritten copy (28:59-140) should be ignored, and Lehmann’s transcription of the original notes (as found in the 1970 volume) should be used instead.

Irmscher flawlessly copies the fragments found at Menzer [1911, 101-2, 107-8, 110-11, 129-33, 138-39], although he does not copy the text printed on pp. 319-23. Lehmann [1968] offers a new transcription of the various Lose Blätter transcribed in Irmscher; the differences between Irmscher and Lehmann are minor but frequent, and Lehmann does not always note the variant readings. Thus it is helpful to consult Irmscher [1964] alongside Lehmann’s Academy edition.

Dating [Herder (top)]

Kant is presumed to have lectured on metaphysics five times during Herder’s stay in Königsberg: 1762, 1762/63, 1763/64, 1764, and 1764/65 (this last semester would have been interrupted by Herder’s departure on November 22). The notes found in his brown notebook (NL-Herder XXVI.5; printed at Ak. 28:1486) are almost certainly from the end of SS 1762; there we read: “with Kant the first time, the 21 August, on pneumatology.” This appears to have been Herder’s first visit to Kant’s classroom, and would have taken place soon after the summer break in August (Herder enrolled at the university August 10, 1762).[1] The notes that follow come from the end of the section on rational psychology in Baumgarten (§§796-99), followed by notes on the Natural Theology section – thus, the very material that one would expect at the end of the semester. There is also some evidence that some of the notes are from WS 1763/64 or SS 1764, since Herder was preparing clean copies of his notes from both metaphysics and physical geography at the same time (see item 7 under the description of NL-Herder XXV.46a, above). Two of the manuscript fragments (see items 12 and 13 listed under NL-Herder XXV.46a, above), which almost certainly were written in the lecture hall, also contain logic notes with them, indicating that Herder was attending Kant’s logic lectures the same semester; but since Kant is listed as teaching logic every semester during Herder’s stay, this does not help us date the notes.[2]

[1] Unfortunately, this date fell on a Saturday – a highly unlikely day for Kant to have been holding classes, and especially unlikely for the 1st day of classes after break. It appears that the university was still using the Gregorian calendar during the Russian occupation; but if for some reason Herder was using the Julian calendar, then August 10 would have fallen on a Wednesday – equally implausible. But then again, perhaps the notes were not from the first day after vacation, but simply from the first day for Herder.

[2] Lehmann [1966a, 552] claims that Herder left us a fairly complete set of notes from WS 1762/63 and a series of fragments from 1763/64; but in a publication the following year he claims that the notes must have come from WS 1762/63 and SS 1764 [1967, 150]. [See also Gregory Johnson’s dating based on the Swedenborg passage, which had to occur after August 10, 1763 (Kant’s letter to von Knoblauch), since Kant presumably didn’t have Swedenborg’s books prior to that letter.]

Contents [Herder (top)] [updated: 15 April 2007]

Despite the confusion of the various copies and fragments, we actually have available to us a fairly complete set of notes from Herder. If we ignore the transcription of the Menzer copy (in the 1968 volume), as well as the material that is almost certainly not from Kant’s metaphysics lectures (28:935-61 in the 1970 volume), we have the following line-up: Prolegomena (28:5-7, 155-60),[1] Ontology (28:7-39, 843-9),[2] Cosmology (28:39-53),[3] Empirical Psychology (28:143-4, 850-86, 924-31),[4] Rational Psychology (28:144-50, 886-906),[5] Natural Theology (28:137-8, 150-1, 906-23).[6]

There are seven points at which the Herder notes overlap, suggesting that either we have notes from two separate semesters, or else two drafts from the same set of notes. It is easiest to describe the overlapping texts in terms of the corresponding sections (§§) in the Baumgarten textbook. The number following “46a/” is the item number that the individual signatures are given in the above description of NL-Herder XXV.46a. More work needs to be done investigating these overlapping texts.

As for the sequencing of the lecture-content during the semester, some have suggested Kant was already following the sequence described in his “Announcement” of the lectures for WS 1765/66:

After a brief introduction, I shall begin with empirical psychology, which is really the metaphysical science of man based on experience. […] The second part of the course will discuss corporal nature in general. This part is drawn from the chapters of the Cosmology, which treat of matter and which I shall supplement with a number of written additions. […] I shall then proceed to ontology, the science, namely, which is concerned with the more general properties of all things. The conclusion of this enquiry will contain the distinction between mental and material beings, as also the connection or separation of the two, and therefore rational psychology. [...] At the end there will be a reflection on the cause of all things, in other words the science which is concerned with God and the World. [Ak. 2:208-9; Walford transl.]

In other words, Kant would begin with empirical psychology, then discuss cosmology, ontology, rational psychology, and natural theology – instead of the order found in Baumgarten, namely, ontology, cosmology, psychology (empirical and rational), and natural theology.

Both Irmscher [1964, 51] and Lehmann [1966a, 552; 1967, 150; 1972, Ak. 28:1350-1] suggest that text from the “blue notebook” (NL-Herder XX.188, printed at Ak. 28:157) indicate Kant was following this “new plan,” but this is ill-supported, since it is not clear that this text stems from Kant’s metaphysics lectures – it could be Herder’s own preparation notes for the classes he taught at the Collegium Fridericianum. Furthermore, none of the notes require that they be read according to this new ordering, and some most definitely appear to follow Baumgarten’s ordering (for instance, the manuscripts NL-Herder XXV.41a and NL-Kant 19 clearly belong together, and these move from the ontology to the cosmology).

A passage from the very beginning of the natural theology section printed at Ak. 28:9111-5 (from NL-Herder XXV.46a, #9) seems to refer to the new ordering:

This belongs to metaphysics, for the latter consists of: (1) anthropology, (2) physics, (3) ontology (of all things: but further than now), (4) the origin of all things: God and the world: thus theology – the last real ground, and is the highest metaphysics, since it considers the real grounds.

This manuscript belongs to a group (NL-Herder XXV.46a, #6-11) that likely comes from a later semester (thus, from WS 1763/64 or SS 1764) since some of these notes were physically connected to notes on physical geography. But this passage suggests only that the new ordering was on Kant’s mind – it certainly doesn’t exemplify the ordering itself. Thus, all of the notes that we have from Kant’s metaphysics lectures can be read as following the standard ordering as found in Baumgarten, and not as that described in Kant’s “Announcement” for WS 1765/66.

[1] Manuscripts: NL-Herder XXV.41a [28:5-7] and NL-Herder XX.188 [28:155-60].

[2] Manuscripts: NL-Herder XXV.41a [28:8-14], NL-Kant 19 [28:15-39], NL-Herder XXV.46a [28: 843-9].

[3] Manuscript: NL-Kant 19 [28:39-53].

[4] Manuscripts: NL-Herder XXV.38 [28:143-4], XXV.46a [28:850-86, 924-31].

[5] Manuscripts: NL-Herder XXV.39 [28:144-5], XXV.40 [28:145-8], XXVI.5 [28:148-50], XXV.46a [28:886-906].

[6] Manuscripts: NL-Herder XXV.41 [28:13730-3829], XXVI.5 [28:150-51], XXVV.46a [28:906-23].

Summary of the Overlapping Texts in the Herder Metaphysics Notes
Overlap Length and Location of Texts Evaluation
§§180-239 XXV.46a/1 (§§180-239), 28:843-9.
NL-Kant 19 (§§69-450), 28:15-53; here: pp. 22-30.
Texts closely related. XXV.46a/1 appears to be written in the classroom, and served as the basis for the corresponding text in NL-Kant 19, which appears to be a clean draft prepared at home.
§§531-48 XXV.46a/2 (§§531-620), 28:850-67; here: pp. 850-3.
XXV.46a/12 (§§516-48), 28:924-8; here: pp. 926-8.
No similar text, different examples. Likely from two semesters.
§§589-91 XXV.38 (§§589-91), 28:143-4.
XXV.46a/2 (§§531-620), 28:850-67; here: pp. 859-60.
No similar text. Likely from two semesters.
§§593-644 XXV.46a/2-3 (§§531-649), 28:850-75; here: pp. 860-75.
XXV.46a/13 (§§593-644), 28:928-31; here: pp. 928-31.
No similar sentences or examples.
§§742-45 XXV.39 (§§742-48), 28:144-5.
XXV.40 (§§742-45), 28:145-8.
No similar sentences or examples, but could easily stem from the same semester. XXV.39 has all the appearances of notes from the lecture hall, while XXV.40 appears to be prepared at home, perhaps in the context of a repetitorium. Also, unlike the former, the latter does not cite Baumgarten §§.
§§796-806 XXVI.5 (§§796-806), 28:148-51.
XXV.46a/8-9 (§§792-815), 28:901-11; here: pp. 902-11.
Some similar text, many different examples. XXVI.5 stems from 1762; XXV.46a/8-9 must be later.
§§844 XXV.41 (§§844-46), 28:137-38; here: p. 137.
XXV.46a/10 (§§815-44), 28:911-922; here: pp. 921-2.
No clear connection between texts.

(9) Motherby 1 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description

Title-page: “Metaphysik”. No further information.


Reported in 1972 by Lehmann as lost (Ak. 28:1339). Bruno Bauch [1914] reported the following: “Not long ago I learned from my recently deceased colleague, Herrn Geh. Justizrat Professor Dr. Danz, that there are yet two notebooks of Kant’s lectures being kept in the Motherby family. The one is on Metaphysics, the other on Moral Philosophy. They stem from the beginning of the 90s (1792 and 1793) and each comprise about 300 narrowly written pages. The current owner, Fräulein Helene Motherby, is a niece of Herrn Geh.-Rat Danz, whom I have to thank for this information. Her great-grandfather, William Motherby, from whom the lecture notes stem, was the son of Robert Motherby, the friend and dinner companion of Kant’s, and who later helped found the still existing Kant-Society in Königsberg.”

William Motherby (1776-1847) attended the Philanthropinum in Dessau before entering the university at Königsberg on March 8, 1792. His father, Robert, was a close friend of Kant’s, and his uncle, George Motherby (1732-93) had introduced pox vaccines in England. William eventually graduated with a degree in medicine at Edinburgh, and then led the movement to inoculate against pox in Königsberg, opening the first vaccination clinic in the city quarter of Sackheim [Gause 1996, ii.323].


(1) Ms: private possession. (Lost.)


Around 1792/93 (based on the matriculation date of the putative author

(10) Mrongovius 2 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description

Bound quarto volume (18 x 21 cm), 264 pp (of which 25 are blank, thus 239pp of text), consisting of 17 signatures (all are 16pp except for the eighth, which is 8 pp).[1] On the title-page: “Metaphysic / vorgetragen / vom / Prof. Imanuel Kant. / nachgeschrieben / von / C. C: Mrongovius. / 1783 d. 4. Febr.” Wide margins (almost one-half the page width, and marked by creasing the pages), with frequent marginalia, some quite long. The main text is often corrected or underlined. The paper is coarse, and the ink sometimes quite pale, making it sometimes difficult to read. Catch-words are used occasionally. Frequent abbreviations. Two hands are evident, one of which is likely Mrongovius. This manuscript was clearly not written in the lecture hall, but may well be a fair-copy prepared by Mrongovius at home. There are a few places where text was inadvertently omitted, and then inserted with a sign.

Lehmann believes that Kant ended this course early, in February rather than April 15, presumably because of the date on the title-page [1983; Ak. 29:1084]. That there are no notes on natural theology could suggest that Mrongovius stopped attending at the end of Kant’s discussion on rational psychology, although it is perhaps unlikely that Kant would have devoted over two months to the natural theology section of his metaphysics. In any event, February 4 fell on a Tuesday that year – an unusual day to end a course of lectures.

Three series of pagination are found in the manuscript: (1) a complete count of the sheets, in pencil and probably added by a librarian, in the upper-right corner (1-132); (2) in ink, pagination in the upper-left corner, beginning on the backside of the title page (the first page of text), ending with ‘39’ on the back of sheet 20, starting again with ‘40’ on the front side of sheet 25, ending with ‘53’ on the backside of sheet 31; (3) four pages of text on the last sheets with writing (sheets 125 and 126) are paginated in ink from 17 to 20 [Zelazny/Stark 1987].

[1] Menzer, in his list of 1912, puts the page count at 253.


Christoph Coelestin Mrongovius [bio] matriculated at the Albertina on March 21, 1782. He also left notes on anthropology (WS 1784/85), moral philosophy (WS 1784/85), logic (SS 1784?), physics (SS 1785), and natural theology (WS 1783/84).

The manuscript was reported by Lehmann as lost [1972; Ak. 28:1339], but was later recovered and published. See Günther [1909], Zelazny/Stark [1987].

The Lehmann transcription in Ak is unreliable in a variety of ways: (1) there are misplaced pages, (2) it fails to correct for later insertions within the ms., (3) it often misreads the text, (4) it often changes word-order, punctuation, and paragraph-breaks without note.

Lehmann did not have access to the manuscript (his name was not recorded at the archive in Gdansk, Erich Adickes having been the last person registered prior to Werner Stark’s visit), and so he worked either from a film or paper copies; various pagination errors in the “Prolegomena” section of his transcription suggest he was using photocopies, and that the page numbers were not visible in these copies.


(1) Ms: Gdansk/Poland, Biblioteka PAN (Ms. 2214).

(2) Film: Marburg Kant-Archiv (Film 4).


(1) Lehmann [1983; Ak. 29:747-940]. The marginal pagination appearing here is simply an indication of page breaks in the manuscript, and does not replicate the actual pagination.

(2) Ameriks/Naragon [1997, 109-286]. Translation of Ak. 29:745-940 (the complete set of notes), as published by Lehmann [1983].  The translators made extensive use of a microfilm of the ms. as a control for the Lehmann text.


WS 1782/83.


Mrongovius 2 closely parallels Volckmann 3, although unlike the Volckmann notes it lacks a section on natural theology. The ontology in Mrongovius 2 suffers from a few gaps in content.

Two kinds of pagination corrections need to be made to the notes as they appear in the Academy edition. The first is where the editor, Gerhard Lehmann, apparently misplaced some of his photocopied pages of the manuscript while preparing the transcription for publication. Here a simple inspection of the original manuscript makes the error evident. The second is where Mrongovius, in copying his notes, accidently omitted certain sections and then later inserted them with a sign indicating this (but ignored by the editor). Once both kinds of errors are corrected, one obtains the following sequence of text: Introduction (7471-75027, 7515-75238, 75027-7514, 75238-75314, 7556-75617, 75314-7555, 75618-76539, 7678-76839, 7661-76626, 77310-7846), Ontology (7847-82233, 76627-7677, 7691-7739, 82234-8487), Cosmology (8488-86424, 9212-93715, 86425-8753), Psychology (8756-9209), unassimilated text (93717-94010).

(11) Nicolai 2 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description

Two volumes, 136 pp. and 458 pp. On the title-pages: “Collegium / der Metaphysik bey Kant / nach der Nachschrift des Herrn Prorektor Nicolai.”, with the closing date: “Finis 29. März 1776”. Our only information comes from Menzer’s 1912 list of 1912.


Carl Ferdinand Nicolai [bio] matriculated at the university on 21 June 1770 .


(1) Ms: private possession of the Dohna-Schlobitten Family. (Lost.)


The closing date suggests WS 1775/76 (March 29 was the last day of the metaphysics lectures that semester).

(12) Rosenhagen [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

H [Heinze 1894], C [Adickes], Hamburger Metaphysik [Lehmann, 1968].

Physical Description

This manuscript is lost; the following description comes from Heinze [1894, 488-9] and from Menzer’s 1912 list. Quarto bound volume, 111 pages. On the title-page: “Immanuel Kants / ordentl. Prof. der Logic und Metaphysic / Vorlesungen über / Baumgartens Metaphysic.” To the left, under this heading: “Königsberg am 5. Junii 1788”. To the right: “Carl Gottf. Christian Rosenhayn aus Hirschberg in Schlesien” (Menzer reads: “Carl Christian Rosenhayn aus Hirschberg i. Schlesien”.) Very legible writing, but written quite narrowly (including on its 111 pages what an-Korff includes on 443 pages). The writing is too regular and complete to have been prepared during the lecture.


Carl Gottfried Christian Rosenhagen matriculated on May 1, 1788, during Kant’s second stint as university rector; so Kant would have entered him into the matriculation book. The date given on the title page (June 5, 1788) clearly has nothing to do with the source-lecture (insofar as Kant was by then offering lectures on metaphysics only in the winter semesters), and is either the date of the beginning or end of the period of copying, or most likely the date of Rosenhagen’s acquisition of the notes.

A copy of part of this manuscript (presumably from the Rational Psychology section) had been prepared by W. Sellin of Hamburg for Carl du Prel (1839-1899), who was preparing a new edition of the Rational Psychology of the published Pölitz metaphysics (this corresponds to the Psychology section of an-Pölitz 1). Du Prel apparently made no use of an-Pölitz 1, relying wholly on the published Pölitz edition; but he did compare his copy of Rosenhagen with the Pölitz edition, and noted that they agreed almost verbatim.

Max Heinze [1894] compared Rosenhagen with an-Korff and the an-Pölitz 1 portion of Pölitz’s published metaphysics lectures (1821), and argued that all three texts stemmed from the second half of the 1770’s. Heinze also claims that this manuscript was not used by Erdmann (who did not know of it), nor by Arnoldt (who could have known about it through du Prel’s book).[1]

The manuscript belonged to the pastor Dr. Albrecht Krause of Hamburg (thus the designation ‘H’) since 1888 and remained in his family after his death (Menzer notes, in his list of 1912, that the manuscript was still in Hamburg in the possession of Krause’s heirs). Krause had also acquired Kant’s opus postumum. The Rosenhagen manuscript was apparently destroyed during World War II in an air raid on Hamburg (July 1943), although the opus postumum had been secured elsewhere, and thus survived the war (this opus postumum manuscript is still in the possession of the family).

[1] Heinze [1894, 488-9]; Arnoldt [1908-9, v.67]; du Prel [1889, x], Schlapp [1900, 28]. See also Lehmann [1966; Ak. 24:973] and [1972; Ak. 28:1344-5].


(1) Ms: privately owned since 1888 by Dr. Albrecht Krause of Hamburg; presumably destroyed during World War II.


(1) Heinze [1894]. Fragments scattered throughout, as well as a complete transcription of the Prolegomena (Appendix I; this follows the Rosenhagen text, with variants from an-Korff noted), and the discussion on space and time found in the Ontology (Appendix II). A great many of these shorter fragments are not reprinted in Lehmann [1968].

(a) Prolegomena (Appendix I, pp. 663-69).
(b) Ontology: passage on space and time (Appendix II, pp. 670-74).

 (2) Lehmann [1968; Ak. 28:171-91]. Reprint of Heinze [1894, 663-74], above. This is listed by Lehmann as belonging to an-Pölitz 1.

Dating & Contents

c.1778-81. See the discussion at an-Pölitz 1.

(13) von Schön 2 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description

Fragmentary, unbound, without a title-page, and unpaginated (the sheets have recently been numbered in pencil).[1] 94 pp (18.5 x 21.5 cm), ribbed with the Trutenau watermark (includes the name plus a crown). This is the identical paper format and watermark as the Volckmann metaphysics notes. The sheets are grouped into seven signatures of 16, 8, 8, 14, 16, 16, and 16 pages. On the first page of each signature, in the top-right corner, and in the same hand as the notes: “Metaphysic, Pr. Kant. Vol” followed by the number of the signature in Roman numerals. Neatly written in dark brown ink with a fairly blunt tip, with occasional underlining and occasional additions by the same hand in the wide margins (nearly one-half the width of the page).[2] Catchwords are usually made from page to page, often just the last word of the previous page, and not a word in the bottom margin. Some abbreviations. Adickes views this manuscript as a copy.[3] A one-sheet almanac from 1787 is stored alongside with this manuscript; its relationship to the provenance of the manuscript is undetermined.

Five pages are completely blank: page 8 of signature 1 (follows Ak. 28:46932) and the last four pages of signature 7 (follows Ak. 28:47426). Lehmann re-arranges the text without explanation in his apparatus in two places: (1) two manuscript pages (Ak. 28:46826-46932) were displaced, and should be inserted after 28:4667 (with or without a paragraph break; none is indicated in the manuscript), (2) five manuscript pages (Ak. 28:4718-47426), which are found at the very end of the manuscript, should be moved back to the end and identified as a fragment.[4] Studying the penciled markings on the photocopies that Lehmann used in preparing the Academy edition suggests that his sheets become disordered before he was able to number them; at least his silence regarding the re-arranging of the text suggests that it was inadvertent.

A break in the text is marked at Ak. 28:4909, presumably because the catchword at the bottom of sheet 20 (Ratio) is not repeated at the top of sheet 20’; but here we find the text Der Grund, which is equivalent to the Latin Ratio, and the likeliest explanation is that the copyist slipped between the languages, translating or failing to translate in one place.[5]

[1] The marginal pagination used in the Academy edition is usually (but not always) a counting of those pages with text. See Lehmann’s “Textänderungen und Lesarten” for guidance. For instance, the backside of p. 5 is blank, with the next page of text being counted as p. 6; similarly, the page following p. 19 is blank, with its backside being p. 20. Menzer’s 1912 list described the manuscript as consisting of 91 pages, and in the possession of von Schön’s heirs.

[2] Lehmann describes this manuscript at 28:1369-70. One idiosyncracy in Lehmann’s preparation of this manuscript is his inconsistent treatment of marginalia, sometimes transforming them into asterisked footnotes, sometimes inserting them into the text. See also Lehmann [1967, 154], where he claims that the fifth signature is missing.

[3] Lehmann [1972; Ak. 28:1369].

[4] So, if we use the marginal pagination in the Academy edition, the pages should run: 1-5, 11-12, 6-10, 13-14, 20-89, 15-19.

[5] See also Lehmann’s description [1968/1970; Ak. 28:1369-70]. And Adickes’s note: “Metaphysic Pr. Kant Vol. I-VII aus dem Nachlaß des Oberpräsidenten von Schön, wohl keine Nachschrift, sondern Abschrift” (from his Nachlaß at the Ak-Archiv: NL-Adickes, U 2, item 41).


Heinrich Theodor von Schön [bio] matriculated October 25, 1788. No one was listed on the user sheet prior to my visit in May 1999. See also Schön's anthropology notes.


(1) Ms: Berlin, Ak-Archiv (NL-Kant 17). Also known as: Metaphysik Fragment X.

(2) Photos: Marburg Kant-Archiv (NL-GL 18). (These were made from the film at Göttingen, listed below.)

(3) Film: Göttingen Academy of Sciences.


(1) Lehmann [1968; Ak. 28:463-524]. Lehmann reports [Ak. 28:1339] that he made use of the manuscript in this transcription, but it appears he worked solely from photocopies.


Adickes dates the source lectures in the 1780s. If Schön attended Kant’s lectures at all, he would have done so during WS 1789/90 or 1790/91.


The text consists of the Prolegomena [28:463-469; ms 1-12] and most of the Ontology [28:469-524; ms 13-89], offering a full discussion until around Baumgarten (§319) and the topic of efficient causation. The Prolegomena is not as detailed as in Volckmann 3.

(14) von Schön 3 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

Three unbound quarto signatures (18 x 21 cm) of 16 pp. each, with metaphysics notes in only the first signature and top third of the first sheet of the second signature (the remainder of the 2nd signature is blank), for a total of seventeen pages of notes. The sheets are numbered with an ink stamp. All written in the same hand, with brown, then black (pp. 15-17), ink. No title page. Catchwords are used throughout. The three signatures are nested in a folded sheet of slightly heavier paper on which is written an outline in Latin on law (natural and civil, original and derivative). The third signature includes notes on David Hume’s History of England (concerning the years 1678 to 1688).

The ribbed paper bears a watermark of a crowned eagle holding a scepter and globe (on the left side of the sheet), and a crown over a ‘7’ or a ‘Z’ (on the right side). The pages with metaphysics notes have a 4 cm. right margin; a schema of the categories on p. 7’ is the only marginalium.

This fragment is closely related to von Schön 2 and was familiar to Lehmann, although he left it unpublished and unmentioned in the Academy edition.  These notes are housed in the Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz (in Berlin), along with many of von Schön’s other papers, because of his government career. Heinrich Theodor von Schön [bio] matriculated October 25, 1788.


(1) Ms: Berlin, GStAPK (Dep. 35. v. Brünneck #92).

(2) Film: Marburg Kant-Archiv (Film 4).


These notes have never been published.


See von Schön 2.


This partial set of notes includes the end of an Introduction section (about one-half of a page), followed by 16 pp. from the beginning of the Ontology. The Ontology section is identical to von Schön 2 (as printed at Ak. 28:46935-47114) up until the bottom of ms. 2a, after which the texts agree in order of presentation and material, but not verbatim. The ms. ends on side 9a, which is one-third full; the end corresponds to Ak. 28:4828.


(15) Vigilantius 3 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Nachschrift vom Semester 1794/95 [Arnoldt 1908-9], Metaphysik 1794-1795 [Schlapp 1901], F [Adickes], Metaphysik Arnoldt, K3 [Lehmann 1970].

Physical Description and History

The original manuscript, presumably written by Johann Friedrich Vigilantius [bio] is lost, but appears to have been 559 pages.[1] What remains is a fragmented copy prepared by Rudolf Reicke [bio] and two of his family members in 1883. The copy was rediscovered by Rudolf Malter in Torun [Malter 1977].[2]

This copy originally consisted of about 550 quarto pages [Arnoldt 1908-9, v.39]. It now consists of 100 sheets (thus, 200 pages), numbered continuously in the upper-right hand corner, most likely by a librarian. These sheets are collected into 22 signatures, the first two of which have been sewn (i.e., the nested pages have a thread binding them together at the crease); the remaining signatures show no sign of an earlier binding. Sheet 100 is blank on both sides. Four textual gaps, consisting of about 63% of the complete text, are easily accounted for by lost signatures. The first page of text has the heading: “Bemerkungen über Metaphysic nach Baumgarten, aus dem Vortrage des HE. Prof. Kant pro 1794/95 / d. 13.t. Oktbr.”. At the end: “20t. Febr.” [3]

The handwriting in the copy is neat and in two or three different hands. Occasional corrections by Rudolf Reicke, usually in pencil, can be found in the margins. Abbreviations that may have existed in the original were omitted, although it appears that the copyists hoped to preserve the marginal notes of the original, and much text is marked as being marginalia in the original manuscript. There is also marginal pagination given throughout the copy, counting the sheets (front and back) of the original manuscript (1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, etc.); vertical lines indicating the exact location of the page-break are found on the first few pages. This marginal pagination, because it is consistently noted, and because it marks the textual gaps, is the most helpful way to refer to the text.

Arnoldt used this copy for his Excursis [1908-9] but apparently not all of the signatures were returned. Consequently much of the text preserved in Arnoldt [1908-9; repr. at Ak. 28:821-34] comes from pages that have since been lost, although some of these pages were returned and are still extant (compare, for instance, the texts printed at Ak. 28:830-1 and at 29:1025-6). Consequently there are several gaps in the marginal pagination. The manuscript as it now stands includes the text from the following pages of the original manuscript: (1) 1a-62a (Ak. 29:9451-100116; the Prolegomena and part of the Ontology),[4] (2) 66a-70a (29:100116-100513; part of the Ontology), (3) 161a-180a (29:10095-102437; the latter half of the Empirical Psychology), (4) 203a-220a (29:102515-10404; most of the Rational Psychology, possibly missing only the first and last sheets), (5) 279a-280a (29:10405-33; the last page of the Natural Theology). The notes end on 280a (on the recto side of the sheet); the facing page is blank.

Lehmann notes most (but not all) of this marginal pagination in his apparatus (with a few errors), and most (but not all) of the other marginalia. Much of the marginalia is preceded with the words: “[Neben am Rand]”; this is always in square brackets, and is clearly a copyist’s note indicating that the marginalia in the copy was also marginalia in the original. Some marginalia is without this note. Occasionally, there are notes (again, in square-brackets) in the body of the text, introducing longer marginalia. There are also a host of question-marks in the margins, marks that resemble ‘cf.’, and other marks of unknown significance. Lehmann notes much (but not all) of this editorial material introduced by the copyists. Lehmann also suggests that Arnoldt (it was in fact Reicke) added words into the text (either as marginalia that is not introduced with an editorial device, or directly above a line).

Lehmann, in his transcription of Vigilantius 3, also draws on a few passages preserved in Arnoldt’s “Excursus” which he adds to the end of the ontology section (see Ak. 29:1005-1009; these passages had already been printed (and with fewer errors) at Ak. 28:825-29, and can be found in Arnoldt [1908-9]. Lehmann does not preserve much of the indentation and spacing of the manuscript, other than the standard paragraph-breaks. He generally adds blank lines around marginalia, which he inserts into the text (occasionally without note).

Johann Friedrich Vigilantius [bio] was Kant’s legal advisor. See also his notes on physical geography (SS 1793), logic (SS 1793), and moral philosophy (WS 93/94). All of his notebooks had belonged to the library of Friedrich August Gotthold [bio].

[1] Krauß [1926, 84-5], in examining Vigilantius 4 (moral), also examined these Vigilantius metaphysics notes, and found that the two sets of notes were identical in format and arrangement and were written by the same hand; as such, he provides us with the only known description of this manuscript. The original manuscript, a folio volume, had no title page; the first sheet was blank with a title at the top of the first page of text. Each sheet was creased in the middle: on the right was the text, on the left any marginalia. Pagination was added later, in pencil. There were fewer annotations than in the moral philosophy notes, and they were shorter. No name of the author or owner could be found on the manuscript. The two sets of notes were also roughly the same length: moral philosophy at 539 pages, metaphysics at 559 pages.

[2] Lehmann was under the erroneous impression that this manuscript was a copy prepared by Emil Arnoldt in the 1880s. In fact, the copy was prepared in 1883 by Rudolf Reicke, along with his oldest son Johannes (called ‘Hans’) and his cousin Ida — thus the note written in pencil on sheet 12 verso: “collat. 5/i 83 mit Ida u. Hans zusammen. R.”. Reicke had copied this manuscript perhaps in a manner similar to his copying of the opus postumum (preparatory to its publication); here Reicke copied those portions most difficult to read, his cousin Ida copied those portions least difficult to read, and Johannes copied the rest, with the copies carefully checked against the original (see Arnoldt’s letter to Kuno Fischer (20 Jun 1884), excerpted in Arnoldt 1908-9, iv.379). Reicke presumably made the Vigilantius 3 copy with the intention of publishing it.

[3] Arnoldt [1908-9, v.39], Stark [1985], Malter [1977], Lehmann [1983; Ak. 29:1091-3]. Menzer, in his 1912 list, gives a page count of 280.

[4] Lehmann fails to note that the text from about eight pages (62b-66a) is missing here. The break occurs at 29:100116 in the middle of a sentence. “Die Metaphysic” (from 62a of the Vigilantius ms) is at the bottom of the backside of one sheet, and “sieht also, daß hier …” begins the top of the frontside of the next sheet – except that this text stems from the middle of 66a of the Vigilantius manuscript. Clearly several sheets of the Reicke copy are missing, although one would never guess this from the Academy edition, which splices together these two sentence-fragments.


(1) Ms: Königsberg, SUB (Gotthold collection. Presumably destroyed in WWII.

(2) Ms: Torun (Poland), University Library (R 631). This is the “Reicke copy” of the original Vigilantius manuscript; prepared by Reicke in 1883. Its marginal pagination refers to the original ms.

(3) Film of the Reicke copy: Rudolf Malter (used by Lehmann for the Ak transcription).

(4) Film of the Reicke copy: a blurred copy was obtained from Torun by Naragon in Spring 1989.


(1) Arnoldt [1908-9, v.49-50]. Fragments of the Reicke copy.

(2) Schlapp [1901, 396-98] (fragments). [Is this of the Reicke copy or the original ms?]

(3) Lehmann [1970; Ak. 28:821-34]. Lehmann’s title: “Metaphysik K3. Auszüge Arnoldt.” Marginal pagination is to Arnoldt [1908-9]. Italicized text is Arnoldt’s commentary.

(4) Lehmann [1970; Ak. 28:837-8]. Lehmann’s title: “Metaphysik K3. Auszug Schlapp.” Marginal pagination is to Schlapp [1901]. Italicized text is Schlapp’s commentary.

(5) Lehmann [1983; Ak. 29:945-1040]. This repeats some – but not all – of the material from Lehmann [1970]. Lehmann did not have access to the Reicke copy, and worked instead from a microfilm (supplied by Rudolf Malter). Marginal pagination counts the pages of text in the Reicke copy (198 pp. total).

(6) Ameriks/Naragon [1997, 417-506]. Translation into English of Ak. 29:943-1040, as published by Lehmann [1983]. Translation based on Lehmann [1983], using Arnoldt [1908-9] and a microfilm of the ms. as controls.


WS 1794/95. This year is written at the top of the notes, along with the date “13.t. Oktbr.”, and at the end of the notes is written the date “20t. Febr.” Kant lectured on metaphysics four days each week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday), and we find that October 13, 1794 was a Monday, and February 20, 1795 a Friday – both appropriate days for beginning and ending such a course of lectures, although Feb. 20 seems early to end the winter semester (WS 1788/89 would be the next available year when these days fell on Monday and Friday.) Arnoldt also dates the lectures to WS 1794/95.


Prolegomena (Ak. 29:945-59), Ontology (29:960-1006; pages missing at the end), Cosmology (29:1006-9; these are reprints from Arnoldt 1908-9; all of the pages on cosmology from the Reicke copy are missing), Empirical Psychology (29:1009-24; pages are missing at both ends of this fragment), Rational Psychology (29:1025-40; pages are missing at both ends of this fragment), and Rational Theology (29:1040; only the last page remains). The original manuscript appears to cover the entirety of the semester.

The original manuscript consisted of 280 sheets (as evidenced by the marginal pagination that Reicke provided in his copy), which would have printed out to roughly 252 pages in the Academy edition, making it longer even than Mrongovius (which runs 189 Academy pages). About 62 percent of the copied sheets are missing.

One point concerning the natural theology section of these notes. In his letter of 12 October 1794 to King Friedrich Wilhelm II, Kant promised that he would “abstain entirely from all public lectures on religious topics, whether on natural or revealed religion, and not only from lectures but also from publications” [Ak. 11:530]. He viewed this as a promise to the King himself, which therefore was dissolved with his death on 16 November 1797. Since Kant kept this promise regarding his publications, one would have thought he would have kept it regarding his lectures, as well. Although his last course of lectures on natural theology were given in 1787, some 15% of the Vigilantius 3 notes — and so we might guess a roughly similar proportion of the class lectures — are devoted to natural theology.

(16) Volckmann 3 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description

Title-page: “Metaphysische Vorle / sungen / des Herrn Prof: Kant. / nachgeschrieben im Jahr / 1784 und 85 / von J. W. Volckmann d. G. G. Be.” [= der Gottes Gelehrtheit Beflissener]. The fragment consists of seven unbound quarto signatures, totalling 55 sheets or 110 pages (18.5 x 21.5 cm).[1]  At least two signatures are missing from the original manuscript. Of the extant signatures, the first four are housed with the Deposita of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences in Manuscript Division of the Niedersächsischen Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek (#7); the remaining three are in the archive of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (NL-Kant 18).[2] The pages are unnumbered, and the marginal pagination in the Academy edition simply counts the pages of text. With reference to this marginal pagination, the seven signatures consist of 16 (title page, 3 blank pages, and 12 pages of text, so ms. 1-12), 18 (ms. 13-30), 12 (ms. 31-42), 16 (ms. 43-58), 16 (ms. 59-74), 16 (ms. 75-90), and 16 pages (ms. 91-106).  The catchword at the bottom of Ms. 58 corresponds with Ms. 59 (from the Berlin fragment). Between Ms. 90 and Ms. 91 there are likely several signatures missing (containing notes from the end of the ontology (§§250-350), all of the cosmology and empirical psychology, and the first page or two of the rational psychology), and after Ms. 106 there is at least one signature missing (containing the last part of the natural theology). The catchword at the bottom of Ms. 58 (the last page of the Göttingen fragment) corresponds with Ms. 59 (the first page of the Berlin fragment).

The ribbed paper is off-colored, thin, flecked, and bearing the Trutenau watermark (some sheets with a crown, some with the name) – a mill that sold its paper through Hartung in Königsberg, and whose paper of this sort would have been available in the early 1780s. This is the identical format, weight, and mill of paper as that used for von Schön 2 (metaphysic). Because of the cheapness of the paper, and the narrowness of the writing, it is fairly certain that these notes were not intended to be bound and sold.

The sheets were folded to mark the inner and outer margins (roughly .75 cm and 4.5 cm, respectively), also with fairly uniform margins top (1 cm) and bottom (1.5 cm). The notes are very neatly written in brown ink with a fine tip, well-spaced, and all in the same hand, with a modest use of abbreviations. All sheets containing text are completely filled (i.e., there are no half-filled sheets where the notes break off). The first pages, covering the Prolegomena, are without marginalia and with very few corrections. The later pages have more corrections and insertions (both between the lines and as marginalia), but all is written in the same hand as the main text and almost certainly at the same time. About half of the marginalia are inserted into the text with a sign (only in the latter three signatures do we find marginalia that are uninserted). Lehmann reproduces these marginalia in a variety of ways: as asterisked footnotes, as unmarked insertions into the text (with or without added parentheses), or as separate paragraphs separated by blank lines (all of which he duly notes in his apparatus).

[1] This number includes the title page and three blank pages that follow. There are 106 pages of text. Lehmann inadvertenly reports 116 pp [1972; Ak. 28:1368]. In his 1912 list, Menzer describes this as a fragment of 106 pp.; so the signatures were missing at that point.

[2] Lehmann’s description at 28:1369 is of the fragment housed at Göttingen, corresponding to the text printed at Ak. 28:3551-41129. It appears that he may have seen only a photocopy of the Berlin fragment. See also his report of its discovery in the Academy of Science archive [Lehmann 1967, 150].


Johann Wilhelm Volckmann [bio] matriculated on 13 August 1782. The manuscript was once owned by Johannes Theodor Paul Wendland (born 1864 in Hohenstein, East Prussia), a professor of classical philology at Göttingen since 1908, who also owned Volckmann’s logic and natural theology notes. The text is too neatly written, with too few abreviations, to have been written in the lecture hall; at the same time, it is written in too small a hand and on too cheap a paper to have been intended for sale. It is likely a fair copy written at home from rough notes, or else a copy from someone else’s fair copy. The Göttingen fragment was deposited in the archive of the Akademie der Wissenschaften (in the university library) on February 3, 1971, presumably by Gerhard Lehmann, who would have removed it from Berlin. See also Volckmann’s notes on logic, natural theology (WS 1783/84), and physical geography (SS 1785).


(1) Ms: Göttingen, StUB (Deposita der AdW #7). Corresponds to Ak. 28:3551-41129.

(2) Ms: Berlin, Ak.-Archiv (NL-Kant 18). Corresponds to Ak. 28:41129-4599. Also called “Metaphysik Fragment VII”.

(3) Photocopy: Marburg Kant-Archiv (NL-GL 19) – of both (1) and (2).

(4) Film: Göttingen Academy of Sciences. This is of the fragment in Berlin.


(1) Lehmann [1968; Ak. 28:355-459]. Lehmann reports [Ak. 28:1339] that he made use of the manuscript in this transcription.

(2) Ameriks/Naragon [1997, 289-96]. Translation into English of Ak. 28:440-50 (Rational Psychology), as printed in Lehmann [1968].


We have found no reason to doubt the date suggested by the title page: WS 1784/85.


Although consisting of two fragments, these offer fairly complete discussions that read quite well. The first covers the prolegomena [28:355-390] and ontology [28:390-440] sections, breaking off in a discussion of finitude and infinitude (Baumgarten, §§ 246-64). The second fragment [28:440-50] is from the rational psychology (Baumgarten, §§740-99), beginning in mid-sentence but clearly near the beginning of this section and continuing through the first half of the rational theology, and concerns the concept of God [28:450-59]. Thus, the last third of the ontology, all of the cosmology and empirical psychology, and the latter half of the natural theology are missing.

(17) Willudovius [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Metaphysik Marienstift-Gymnasium Stettin [Lehmann 1972].

Physical Description & History

Title-page: “Metaphysik / vorgetragen / von / Herrn Professor Immanuel Kant / nach / Baumgartens Lehrbuch.”; below and to the right: “B. Willudovius.” 600 pp. This information comes from Menzer’s 1912 list (who gives the name as “B. Willudorius”). Adickes mentioned these notes in the edition of Kant’s reflections on metaphysics [Ak. 17:253, 18:343].

August Ludwig Bogislaus Willudovius (Wildowski; in his memoirs, “von Wildowski”) matriculated March 14, 1791. Lehmann reported the manuscript as lost [1972; Ak. 28:1339].


(1) Ms: Stettin, Marienstiftgymnasium. (Lost.)

(2) Ms copy: Berlin, Ak-Archiv (NL-Adickes 2, items 29 and 46). Brief selections copied by Adickes.

Copyright ©2006 Steve Naragon (Manchester University)
Last modified: 22 Jul 2014.
Please send comments and questions to: ssnaragon@manchester.edu