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

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Philosophical Encyclopedia Notes

Kant taught a course on the so-called “Philosophical Encyclopedia” a total of ten semesters, beginning with SS 1767 and ending with WS 1781/82. We have mention of three sets of notes, but only an-Friedländer 4.1 is still available. See the Encyclopedia lectures.

The Philosophical Encyclopedia Notes [top]

Manuscript Location A Date Published Translations

(1) an-Friedländer 4.1

Berlin + 77/78, 79/80, or 81/82 Lehmann 1961; AA 29:5-45 Garelli; Petrone/Balbiani; Pelletier; García Gómez del Valle

(2) an-Hippel 2


(3) an-Pillau 2

NA (Pillau)        

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

Bibliography: García Gómez del Valle: Immanuel Kant, Enciclopedia filosófica. Translation into Spanish, introduction, and notes by José M. García Gómez del Valle (Girona: Palamedes, 2012). Garelli: Immanuel Kant, Lezioni di enciclopedia filosofica. Translated into Italian and edited by Gianluca Garelli (Udine: Campanotto, 2002). Lehmann 1961: Gerhard Lehmann, ed., Vorlusungen über Enzyklopädie und Logik, Bd. 1: Vorlesungen über Philosophische Enzyklopädie (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1961). [This is not a volume of the Akademie-Ausgabe.] Petrone/Balbiani: Immanuel Kant, Enciclopedia filosofica: Con un'appendice sull'attività didattica di Kant. Translated into Italian and with an introduction to the text by Laura Balbiani, introductory essay and apparatus by Giuseppe Landolfi Petroni (Milan: Bompiani, 2003). Pelletier: Immanuel Kant, Abrégé de philosophie, ou leçons sur l'encyclopédie philosophique. Translated into French and edited by Arnauld Pelletier (Paris: J. Vrin, 2009).

(1) anonymous-Friedländer 4.1 [top]

Other Names

Philosophische Enzyklopädie [Lehmann 1980].

an-Friedländer 4-1

Physical Description and History

Bound quarto volume, 840 pp. Title on the spine: “Phylosophische Encycopädie aus den Vorlesungen von I. Kant”. The volume contains four texts: (1) the 144 page set of notes on philosophical encyclopedia (an-Friedländer 4.1), (2) a nine-page student essay originating from one of Kant’s metaphysics lectures,[1] (3) an 840 page set of anthropology notes (an-Friedländer 4.3), and (4) a 52 page set of physics notes (an-Friedländer 4.4). Each manuscript is paginated separately.

The title-page reads: “Philosophische-Encyclopedie / oder / ein kurtzer Inbegrif aller philosophischen / Wißenschaften / aus / den Vorlesungen / des / Herrn Profeßors Immanuel Kant” (verso is blank). At the top of the page, in two different inks and hands (no doubt of librarians): “ms. germ. quart. 400.” and “Acc. Cat. 757.”; and at the bottom of the page, the red-ink accession stamp of the library: “Ex / Biblioth. Regia / Berolinensi”.

David Joachim Friedländer [bio], owned lecture notes on anthropology (two sets), physical geography, moral philosophy, and physics, apart from these notes on philosophical encyclopedia. [Lehmann 1980; AA 29: 663]

[1] Richter [1974, 65] identifies this fragment as coming from Kant’s logic lectures (as does Kuehn [1983)]), and counts eight sheets. It is in fact a 9 page untitled student essay, and appears to be prepared in conjunction with Kant’s metaphysics lectures — specifically, §§7-18 (on possibility) of Baumgarten’s Metaphysics. The manuscript contains four marginalia written in Kant’s hand, and the student essay along with Kant’s marginalia — Reflections ##3718-3721 — are printed at AA 17: 262-69.


(1) Ms: Berlin, SBPK, Haus II [Ms. germ. quart. 400.1].

(2) Film: Marburg Kant-Archiv [Film 25].


(1) Lehmann [1961, 31-68].

(2) Lehmann [1980; AA 29: 5-45]. Corresponds to Ms. 3-144.

(3) Garelli [2002]. Translation into Italian of AA 29:5-45, 672-682, 721-23.

(4) Petrone/Balbiani [2003]. Translation into Italian of AA 29:5-45.

(5) Pelletier [2009]. Translation into French of AA 29: 5-45.

(6) García Gómez del Valle [2012]. Translation into Spanish of AA 29: ##-##.


WS 1777/78. Kant lectured on this topic ten times, beginning with WS 1767/68 and ending WS 1781/82. Kuehn [1983] argues for 1775 as the date of the note’s source lecture.[1] Stark [1985b, 631-32] reports a reference in the notes (AA 29:26) to a Berlin Academy prize essay question — “On whether the government should deceive the people for their own good” — that was announced in November 1777 (with the prize awarded in 1780) [see]; this suggests a dating no earlier than WS 1777/78; that the reference to the question is not put in the past tense (as are references in the Hechsel and Warszawa logic notes) suggests that these encyclopedia notes stem from WS 1777/78.

This could be the set of notes that Kant gave to his former student Kraus (who was traveling to Berlin) to give Herz at the end of 1778 (see Kant’s letter to Herz of 15 December 1778). Kant would have lectured the previous winter semester, and says in his letter that it was difficult to procure the notes, and that he lacked the time to read through, much less correct or amplify, them. In his letter to Herz the following month (January 1779), Kant expressed dismay at the poor material in the manuscript.

[1] In brief, Kuehn argues that the note’s content limits the possible semesters to 1775, 1777/78, 1779/80, or 1781/82. The last date was favored by Lehmann [1961], but for faulty reasons that Kuehn and Tonelli [1962, 513] make plain. Kuehn also notes that the lectures must have pre-dated Kant’s exposure to Tetens (at the latest, early spring of 1778). Because these notes are bound together with three other manuscripts (two other sets of notes from Kant’s lectures — on anthropology and on physics — as well as a short student essay that bears marginalia in Kant’s hand), Kuehn also makes use of clues in these other manuscripts, such as the mention of “Basedow’s institute” in the anthropology notes (this reference would have likely pre-dated Basedow’s resignation from the Philanthropinum in 1776). This evidence, however, is not decisive; it isn’t even suggestive of much. The anthropology notes have since been dated to WS 1775/76, but they could still have been bound with notes stemming from lectures given many years before or after that semester.


The notes are based on the textbook: Johann Georg Heinrich Feder, Grundriß der Philosophischen Wissenschaften nebst der nöthigen Geschichte, zum Gebrauche seiner Zuhörer (Coburg: Findeisen, 1767, 21769). Kant used Feder in 1767/8, 1768/9, 1769, 1770/71, 1775, 1777/78, 1779/80, and 1781/82. The topics covered include: Systems vs aggregates/kinds of knowledge [Ms 3-9]; nature and brief history of philosophy [Ms 9-28]; on genius [Ms 29-31]; logic in general [Ms 31-33]; innate ideas [Ms 34-42]; concepts [Ms 43-50]; judgments [Ms 50-52]; inference [Ms 52-4]; nature of truth [Ms 54-57]; means for arriving at truth [Ms 57-69]; prejudice [Ms 70-84]; learning and thinking [Ms 85-93]; history of logic [Ms 93-100]; metaphysics [Ms 100-34]; monads [Ms 135-41]; empirical psychology [Ms. 141-4].

Wundt [1924, 163] suggests that Kant would have relied on Jakob Brucker’s Historia critica philosophiae, 2nd ed. (1766-67) for a survey of the history of philosophy. A useful background on Brucker’s history of philosophy and Kant’s knowledge of it can be found in Fistioc [2002]. An extended discussion of these notes and the source lectures can be found in Zammito [2002, 286-92].

[updated: 25 Jan 2015]

(2) anonymous-Hippel 2 [top]

See an-Hippel 1 (anthropology).

(3) anonymous-Pillau 2 [top]

Physical Description and History

Bound quarto volume. On the spine: “Kunowsky, logicalischer Katechismus. Auch einige Bemerkungen über phyisische Geographie.” The first part of this volume is a handwritten copy of a book by G. S. Kunowsky [Berlin: Gottlieb August Lange, 1775]. At the top of the first page (?) of the second part of this volume: “II. Teil. Prolegomena Phylosophiae.” This part consists of three chapters, consisting of 15, 8, and 8 sheets, respectively: (a) Prolegomena Logices, (b) Prolegomena Psychologiae, and (c) Kurze Darstellung der Praktischen Philosophie. A third part contains notes on physical geography [Vaihinger 1899a, 253-55].

See the related notes on anthropology and physical geography, discussed at an-Pillau 1 (anthropology). All three volumes were located together and reported by Vaihinger; the two other volumes (of anthropology and physical geography notes) are now in Berlin.


(1) Ms: Pillau, Realprogymnasium. Lost.