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Moral Philosophy Notes

1. Summary Table of the Moral Philosophy Notes
2. Earlier Scholarship on the Moral Philosophy Notes
3. Textbooks used in Kant’s Moral Philosophy Lectures
4. The Manuscripts

Fourteen of the twenty-three sets of notes on moral philosophy are available. Ten are extant, an eleventh (Vigilantius 4) exists as a handwritten copy from the late 1800s, a twelfth (Brauer 2) was published before the manuscript was lost, a thirteenth (an-Bering 2), if it ever existed, survives as a handful of copied fragments, and an-Hippel 4 consists of (yet to be sorted out) fragments that made their way into Hippel’s novels. All of three manuscripts (Brauer 2, Collins 2, Vigilantius 4), and most of two others (Herder 5, Mrongovius 4.2), have been translated into English.

Research by Krauß [1926] demonstrated that twelve of these manuscripts were copies of a common ancestral set of notes, and a thirteenth manuscript (Kaehler), uncovered by Schöndörffer in 1924 but apparently unknown to Krauß, can be added to this list. Included in this group is Brauer 2, the text Menzer based his 1924 publication of Kant’s lectures on ethics (subsequently translated into various languages, including Infield’s translation into English).

There are five distinct sets of notes, once the duplication is set aside: Herder 5 (1763/64), the Kaehler group[1] (1774/75-1776/77), an-Powalski (1782/83?) Mrongovius 4.2 (1784/85), and Vigilantius 4 (1793/94) — along with the fragments an-Bering 2 and an-Hippel 4. See the Moral Philosophy lectures.

[1] The Kaehler notes appear to be the most closely related to the original set of notes, and thus the most reliable of the group of thirteen. On the dating of these notes, see especially Stark [1999a, 75, 84-89] and Stark’s Afterword to his publication of the Kaehler notes [2004a, 371-404].

The Moral Philosophy Notes [top]

Manuscript Location A Date Published Translation

(1) an-Bering 2

Marburg (copy) -      

(2) an-Berlin 2

Berlin 1774-77 AA 27: 1248-67 (var)  

(3) an-Dilthey

Berlin 1774-77 AA 27: 1267-1316 (var)  

(4) an-Friedländer 3

Berlin 1774-77 AA 27: 1220-48 (var)  

(5) an-Gotthold 2

NA (Kön)   1774-77    

(6) an-Gotthold 3

NA (Kön)   1774-77    

(7) an-Hippel 4

NA -   Hippel?  

(8) an-Königsberg 6

NA (Kön)   1774-77    

(9) an-Mrongovius

Gdansk 1774-77 Menzer (var.); AA 27: 1395-1581 H/S, 68-73, 81-82*

(10) an-Pockels 2


(11) an-Powalski

Berlin 1782/83? AA 27: 93-235  

(12) an-Reicke 7

NA (Kön)   1774-77    

(13) an-Vollmer 5


(14) Brandt

Berlin 1774-77 AA 27: 1206-20 (var)  

(15) Brauer 2

NA 1774-77 Menzer Infield; Konishi/Nagano; Guerra; Aramayo/Panadero; Langlois

(16) Collins 2

Riga 1774-77 AA 27: 243-471 H/S, 41-222

(17) Dohna-Schlob. 3


(18) Herder 5

Berlin + 1763/64? Irmscher; AA 27: 3-89 H/S, 3-36*

(19) Kaehler J. F.

Marburg 1774-77 AA 27: 1205-6 (var); Stark  

(20) Kutzner

NA   1774-77 Menzer (var.)  

(21) Motherby 2

NA   1793/94?    

(22) Mrongovius 4.2

Gdansk + 1784/85 AA 29:597-642 Mrongovius; H/S, 225-48*; Jiménez

(23) Vigilantius 4

NA (Kön)
Göttingen (copy)
1793/94 AA 27: 479-732(c) H/S, 251-452

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, AA = Akademie-Ausgabe, an = anonymous, (c) = published from a copy, Kön = Königsberg, NA () = not available (last known location), rpt. = reprint of, var = published as a variant reading.

Bibliography: Aramayo/Panadero: Immanuel Kant, Lecciones de ética, translation into Spanish by Roberto Aramayo Rodríguez and Concha Roldán Panadero of Menzer 1924 (Barcelona: Crítica, 1988). Guerra: Immanuel Kant, Lezioni di etica, translation into Italian by Augusto Guerra of Menzer 1924 (Roma-Bari: Laterza, 1971). H/S: Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Ethics, edited by Peter Heath and J. B. Schneewind, translated by Peter Heath (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). Hippel: Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel, Lebensläufe nach aufsteigender Linie nebst Beylagen A, B, C. 4 vols. (Berlin: C. F. Voss, 1778-81). Infield: Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Ethics, transl. by Louis Infield (London: Methuen and Co., 1930). 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). Jiménez: Immanuel Kant, Lecciones de filosofía moral: Mrongovius II, translated and edited by Alba Jiménez (Salamanca: Sigueme, 2017). Konishi/Nagano: Immanuel Kant, Kanto no rinrigaku kôgi, translation into Japanese by Kunio Konishi and Mitsuko Nagano, of Menzer 1924 (Tokyo: Sanshû-sha, 1968). Langlois: Immanuel Kant, Leçons d’éthique, translation in Frency by Luc Langois of Menzer 1924 (Paris: Librairie Générale Française, 1997). Menzer: Eine Vorlesung Kants über Ethik, in Auftrage der Kantgesellschaft, edited by Paul Menzer (Berlin: Pan Verlag, 1924). Mrongovius: Krzysztof Celestyn Mrongovius, Rozprawa filozoficzna o religii I moralnosci miana przez Imanuela Kanta a na jezyk polski przelozona przez Mrongoviusa [Philosophical Treatise on Religion and Ethics, from Immanuel Kant and translated into the Polish language by Mrongovius] (Danzig: Szrota, 1854). Stark: Immanuel Kant, Vorlesung zur Moralphilosophie, edited by Werner Stark (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2004).

Earlier scholarship on the Moral Philosophy Notes [list of notes] [top]

Emil Arnoldt (1828-1905)[bio] was able to examine three manuscripts, all housed in Königsberg: an-Gotthold 3, an-Reicke 7, and Vigilantius 4. Arnoldt’s descriptions of the first of these is all that we know of it [1908/9, 174, 321].

Krauß’s List

A (an-Berlin 2)

B (an-Gotthold 2)

C (an-Friedländer 3)

D (an-Reicke 7)

E (an-Königsberg 6)

F (an-Mrongovius)

G (Kutzner)

H (Brauer 2)

I (Collins 1)

K1/K2 (an-Gotthold 3)

L (an-Dilthey)

M (Brandt)

P (an-Powalski)

R (Mrongovius 4.2)

Z (Vigilantius 4)

Paul Menzer (1873-1960): see Menzer [1924]. Adickes reports in his “evaluation” of Krauß’s doctoral dissertation [1926] that Menzer had available to him all 15 of the manuscripts examined by Krauß (see below). Menzer included in his 1912 list (prepared for the Kant Commission with an eye towards publication of the lecture volumes of the Academy edition of Kant’s works) all of the manuscripts used by Krauß except for an-Königsberg 6; and included in addition Dohna-Schlobitten 3 and Herder 5. Nevertheless, Menzer chose to use an-Mrongovius, Kutzner, and Brauer 2 in preparing a set of ethics lectures for publication (this publication was commissioned by the Kant-Gesellschaft to celebrate the 200 anniversary of Kant’s birth). Menzer found all three sets of notes in near-verbatim agreement, with Brauer and Kutzner standing in closer agreement with each other than either with an-Mrongovius.[1] Menzer found this agreement explicable only on the assumption that they were copies from some earlier set of notes. Menzer also had the opportunity to cursorily compare an-Reicke 7 with the other manuscripts and found them all in general agreement. Brauer served as the main text for Menzer’s publication, with an-Mrongovius and Kutzner serving as controls (supplementing Brauer whenever the latter appeared to be confused or in some way defective). Menzer suggested that the source-lecture for these notes fell between 1775-1780: the earliest date is set by mention of Basedow’s Philanthropinum (founded in 1774); the latest date set by dates written on the manuscripts themselves. Within this period, Kant lectured on moral philosophy during WS 1775/76, 1776/77, SS 1777 or WS 1777/78, WS 1778/79, and 1780/81. Gerhardt [1990] offers an updated edition of Menzer’s publication, including Collins as a third control and supplemental text.

Wilhelm Krauß [1926]. In preparing Kant’s “Reflexionen” on moral philosophy for vol. 19 of the Academy edition, neither Erich Adickes nor Friedrich Berger (who completed the volume after Adickes’s death) cited or quoted any of the lecture notes on moral philosophy. Adickes did, however, supervise the writing of Wilhelm Krauß’s doctoral dissertation — Untersuchungen zu Kants moralphilosophischen Vorlesungen (Tübingen 1926) — which took the same approach to these notes as Adickes’s Untersuchungen zu Kants physischer Geographie did to the notes on physical geography. Krauß collected in Tübingen all the currently-available notes (of those available to us, only two were not available to Krauß: Herder and Kaehler). He examined fifteen sets of notes in all, and using traditional philological methods was able to show that twelve of these sets — designated A through M in Krauß’s list — were in such close agreement that they almost certainly stemmed from some common text, and further, that the lecture from which these notes ultimately came had to have been held between WS 1774/75 and WS 1778/79. Krauß also divided these twelve sets of notes into three groups: AB, CDEF, and GHIKLM, arguing that the second group was the most reliable (with an-Friedländer as the best), and the third the least reliable. Menzer’s publication, unfortunately, relied most heavily on Brauer 2, one of the least reliable of the notes.

Gerhard Lehmann (1900-1987), the editor of the Academy edition of the moral philosophy notes [1974, 1975, 1979], had available to him all the notes shown as extant in the above table, with the exception of Kaehler (for which he possessed only a list of variant readings prepared by Schöndörffer in 1924). Unfortunately, Lehmann was unaware of Krauß’s work [Stark 1984a, 348; Schwaiger 2000, 183].

[1] Brauer and Kutzner shared some of their provenance, having been owned by Erich Prieger and then later by Rudolf Hirsch, who made them available to Menzer.

Textbooks used in Kant’s Moral Philosophy Lectures [list of notes] [top]

Kant used a combination of two textbooks — both by Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten — in his moral philosophy lectures beginning in the mid-1760s; prior to that he appears to have used only a single text of Baumgarten’s — presumably his Ethica philosophica. An entry for WS 1763/64 lists Baumeister, but this is likely a mistake. This is also the first year that two texts appear to be used (here: “Ethik und Moral”). Herder’s notes on moral philosophy (from WS 1763/64 and/or WS 1764/65) show evidence of both texts. A typical formulation in the Lecture Catalog was: “Allgemeine praktische Philosophie und Ethik nach Baumgarten.” The two texts are:

Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten, Initia philosophiae practicae primae acroamatice (Halle: Carl Hemmerde, 1760)

A. G. Baumgarten, Ethica philosophica (Halle: Carl Hemmerde, 11740, 21751, 31763).

Kant typically began his lectures with the more abstract Initia, followed by more specific discussion in the Ethica philosophica. The following summaries of the textbooks make use of translations provided in Heath/Schneewind [1997, xxiii-xxv].

Baumgarten, Introduction to Practical First Philosophy (1760). [Initia philosophiae practicae … ]

Prolegomena (§§1-9).

Chapter One: Obligation.

1. Obligation in general (§§10-49).

2. Moral constraint (§§50-9).

Chapter Two: What Obligates.

1. Law (§§60-75).

2. Skill in law (§§76-86).

3. Principles of law (§§87-99).

4. Legislator (§§100-4).

5. On rewards (§§106-14).

6. Punishments (§§115-24).

7. Imputation of action (§§125-48).

8. The author (§§149-58).

9. Degrees of imputability (§§171-9).

10. Imputation under law (§§171-9).

11. Forum (§§180-5).

12. External forum (§§186-99).

13. Conscience (§§200-5).

Baumgarten, Philosophical Ethics (21751, 31763). [Ethica philosophica]

Prolegomena (§§1-10)

I. General

A. Religion

1. Internal: knowledge of God, inner worship and prayer, pious habits (§§11-109).

2. External: confession, studying to promote religion, pious examples and ceremonies, etc. (§§110-49).

B. Duties toward oneself

1. General: knowledge and judgment of oneself, duties towards conscience, and self-love (§§150-200).

2. Special: duties towards the soul (intellect and appetites), the body, one’s reputation (§§201-300).

C. Duties toward others

1. General (§§301-3).

2. Special, both human (§§304-90) and non-human (§§391-99).

II. Special

D. Special duties regarding the soul: learned/unlearned (§§400-25), virtuous/vicious (§§426-50).

E. Special duties regarding the body: different ages (§§451-60), healthy/sick (§§461-70).

F. Special duties regarding one’s external standing (§§471-500).


(1) anonymous-Bering 2 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

The evidence for these notes is circumstantial and is presented in Stark [1996]. Johann Bering [bio], a young professor of philosophy at Marburg and early promoter of Kant’s philosophy, had written marginalia into his copy of K. C. E. Schmid’s 1786 metaphysics textbook (a book based on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason). Some of these marginalia begin with the abbreviation “Mor.” and closely resemble passages from other sets of moral philosophy notes, such as an-Mrongovius. Several students from Marburg had studied in Königsberg in the late 1780s, and are likely candidates for having brought the notes back to Marburg.


(1) Ms: Lost.

(1) Copy: Universitäts-Bibliothek Marburg (XIV C 233). Very brief fragments written as marginalia into Bering's copy of Carl Christian Erhard Schmid, Critik der reinen Vernunft im Grundrisse zu Vorlesungen, nebst einem Wörterbuche zum leichtern Gebrauch der Kantischen Schriften (Jena: Cröker, 1786).

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

Other Names

A [Krauß 1926], Moralische Vorlesung 1791 [Lehmann 1979].

Physical Description and History

Hardbound, quarto volume, 522 pp. + blank endpaper, 17 x 20 cm (listed at the archive as 263 sheets [+ title page + one endpaper]).[1] Paper bears the Trutenau watermark. On the front side of the endpaper, in red ink: “Eigentum der Kantkommission”. On the title-page, very ornate: “Eine / Moralische Vorlesung / von / Immanuel Kant / Professor der Phylosophie, / zu Königsberg / 1791”. Neatly written, by the same copyist as wrote an-Gotthold 2. There are no marginalia from the writer, although there is a 3.5 cm. creased outer margin, and there are occasional remarks in English written in pencil. There is pagination by the copyist, and catchwords are used throughout. This manuscript was listed by Menzer in 1912 as belonging to the Kant Commission, with a page count of 512.

[1] Krauß [1926, 3] notes that there are actually 522 pages, although the manuscript ends with “512” (the error occurs at p. 192, which is wrongly paginated as “182”; this mispagination was corrected in part. Lehmann gives the page count as 510 [1979; AA 27: 1058-9]; Menzer’s 1912 list gives the count at 512, as does Stark [1999a, 97].


(1) Ms: Berlin, Ak-Archiv (NL-Kant 20).


(1) Lehmann [1979; AA 27: 1248-67]. These are variant readings, using Collins 2 as the model text.


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler).


Krauß considered these notes the most reliable of the set of twelve known to him.

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

Other Names

L [Krauß, 1926], Philosophische Moral Dilthey [Lehmann, 1979].

Physical Description and History

Half-leather quarto volume, 358 pp., 18.5 x 22.5 cm., followed by a blank endpaper. Badly worn, with some water damage. On the spine: “Kants / philosoph. / Moral”. On the title-page, written later in pencil in Dilthey’s hand: “Kant, philosoph / Moral” and above that: “Dilthey”. The first page of text has at its top: “Prooemium”. Very neatly written text in pale brown ink and small script, with some corrections, and much underlining; headings are underlined twice. There is a 3 cm. creased outside margin. Pagination is by the copyist. The hand appears to be the same as wrote an-Gotthold 3 [Krauß 1926, 7; Lehmann 1979; AA 27: 1059-60].

Menzer’s 1912 list shows this manuscript owned by Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911), the originating force of the Academy edition of Kant’s writings. At the time of Krauß’s study [1926], the manuscript was still in the hands of Dilthey’s heirs.

An 1898 issue of Kant-Studien [2:144] ran a notice of a lost manuscript [pdf] that mentions a catalog from the 1880s indicating that a set of notes was to be sold to an unidentified person. The entry reads, on p. 17 under “Kant”: “Philos. Moral. Gleichzeitiges Collegienheft n. seinen Vorlesungen in Königsberg. 4 Halblederband. 358 S. (4 M.).” This is presumably referring to the an-Dilthey, as there is no other recorded manuscript with this page count.


(1) Ms: Berlin, Ak-Archiv (NL-Kant 22).


(1) Lehmann [1979; AA 27: 1267-1316]. These are variant readings, using Collins 2 as the model text.


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler).

(4) anonymous-Friedländer 3 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

C (Krauß 1926), Philosophia practica Marburg (Lehmann 1979).

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume, 813 pp. On the spine: “Practische Philosophie aus den Vorlesungen von I. Kant”; on the title-page: “philosophia practica”. The title-page is written in a different hand than the text itself, which is one of the clearest to read in this group of twelve identified by Krauß. Various abbreviations, with corrections and marginalia added by the copyist [Krauß 1926, 4; Lehmann 1779; AA 27: 1059]. Krauß reports that there were various pagination errors; thus, although the last page is numbered ‘847’, there are in fact only 813 pp. Stark [1999a, 97] lists 814 pp.

The manuscript was stored after WW II in Marburg (in the east wing of the castle along with about 80% of the holdings from the Berlin SBPK, before being returned in the 1970s) — thus the name given it by Lehmann. David Joachim Friedländer [bio], owned lecture notes on anthropology (two sets), physical geography, philosophical encyclopedia, and physics, apart from the notes on moral philosophy.


(1) Ms: Berlin, SBPK, Haus II (Ms. germ. quart. 401).


(1) Lehmann [1979; AA 27: 1220-48]. These are variant readings, using Collins 2 as the model text.


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler).

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

Other Names

B [Krauß 1926].

Physical Description and History

Folio volume, 244 pp. (Menzer’s 1912 list gives the page count at 247); 123 sheets total, the title-page counting as sheet 1,, and text beginning on sheet 2. On the title-page: “Moralische Vorlesung / von / Immanuel Kant. / Doctor et Professor Phylosophiä”. The sheets (rather than individual pages) are numbered in pencil, and this by someone other than the copyist. Clearly written, with only a few corrections made by the copyist [Krauß 1926, 4]. This copyist also wrote the an-Berlin 2.


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Gotthold, Ub 1 (G) 14551). Lost.


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler). It had once belonged to the library of Friedrich August Gotthold [bio].

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

Other Names

K1, K2 [Krauß 1926].

Physical Description and History

Two quarto volumes, 234 pp. and 325 pp. On their title-pages: “P. Kants Moral / 1ter Teil”; “P. Kants Moral / 2ter Teil”. Both volumes are written by the same hand. This was one of two sets of moral philosophy notes described by Arnoldt (the other was the an-Reicke 7). Quite legible; many corrections by the writer, as well as a few marginalia in pencil written by a second hand. Volume one is divided into “Philosophiae practicae universalis” (pp. 3-139) and “Ethica” (pp. 140-234). Volume two is subtitled “Tugendlehre.” [Krauß 1926, 7; Arnoldt 1894/1909, 289-90]


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Gotthold, Ub 2 (G) 14555 & 14555.1). Lost.


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler). It had once belonged to the library of Friedrich August Gotthold [bio].

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

See an-Hippel 1 (anthropology).

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

Other Names

E [Krauß 1926].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume, 118 sheets. On the title-page: “Vorlesungen / des / Herrn Professor Kant / über / die philosophische Moral / nach / Baumgartens ethica phi / losophica”. Text begins on p. 2. Both text and title come from the same hand. Pagination of the sheets is in pencil, and from a later user. Narrowly written, but legible; many corrections by the copyist [Krauß 1926, 4-5]. This notebook is listed in Seraphim’s catalog of manuscripts held at the city library in Königsberg [1909, 291].


(1) Ms: Königsberg, StB (S. 65. 4°). Lost.


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler).

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

Other Names

C [Menzer 1924], F [Krauß 1926], Moral Mrongovius [Lehmann 1979].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume (17.5 x 21 cm), 301 pp. (Menzer’s 1912 list gives the page count at 305). On the title-page: “Des berühmten Professor Kant zu Koenigsberg in Pr. / philosophische Moral / wie er sie vorgelesen / eine treue Nachschrift von vielem Werth. / Mrongovius.”; at the end is the date: “1782 d 11 Febr.” This date fell on a Monday, in the middle of a winter semester during which Kant was not lecturing on moral philosophy. So the date has little to do with the source lecture, and likely refers to when the copy was completed. See Mrongovius 4.2 (below), where he appears to have included text from this set of notes (in marginalia found on Ms pages 8-11).

Written neatly in one hand, occasional corrections, once by a second hand; various errors in sense and spelling. Pages are numbered in ink by the copyists; the sheets were later numbered in pencil. This manuscript was used by Menzer [1924] as a control while preparing his set of Kant’s lecture notes [Krauß 1926, 5; Günther 1909, 213 (see entry); Lehmann 1979; AA 27: 1052].


(1) Ms: Gdansk/Poland, Bibliotheka PAN (Ms. 2213).


(1) Lehmann [1979; AA 27: 1395-1581].

(2) Heath/Schneewind [1997, 68-73 and 81-82]. These brief passages (corresponding to AA 27: 142532-143011 and AA 27: 143812-43) supplement/replace the corresponding passages in Heath and Schneewind’s translation of the Collins notes.


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler).

(10) anonymous-Pockels 2 [list of notes] [top]


See an-Pockels 1 (anthropology).

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

Other Names

P [Krauß 1926], Praktische Philosophie Powalski [Lehmann 1974].

Physical Description and History

Hardbound quarto volume, 280 pp. followed by one blank sheet, 17 x 20 cm (the archive lists 135 sheets). On the spine: “Kant’s / Pract. / Philosophie”. As with the other manuscripts ascribed to Powalski, the title page bears a round black stamp with a “P”. Also on the title-page: “Prof. Imman. Kants / Practische Philosophie”; in the middle to the right: “Gottl. Powalski / Rector Schol. Moewen”. On the inside cover in pencil: “Dieses Heft gehort nach Mittheilung des H. Prof. Adickes vom 28/2 28 in die Pfarrsbibliothek Straßburg in Westpreußen”.[1] On the backside of the title-page is a table of contents, likely from Powalski’s own hand.

Some of the letters were cut off when the pages were bound. Text is neatly written and thorough, with numerous added underlinings. It was paginated by the same hand as wrote it. Occasional underlinings with a red pencil, as well as markings in the margin.

The title-page suggests that Powalski purchased these notes once he was a rector, or perhaps received them from a student returning from Königsberg. Krauß found the notes of poor quality, with many errors (e.g. ‘Mastenbury’ instead of ‘Shaftesbury’), and a jumping about in the order of presentation, suggesting a poorly executed compilation from different sets of notes [Krauß 1926, 74-80; see also Lehmann 1979; Ak 27: 1043].

Schwaiger [1998] may be correct in claiming that the title-page of this and the Powalski notes on physical geography are written in the same hand, and he is certainly correct that the moral philosophy notes themselves stem from a different hand. It also appears that the (few) marginalia are written in the same hand as wrote the table of contents. Thus, if Adickes is correct in ascribing the physical geography notes to Powalski, then the moral philosophy notes were procured by Powalski from someone else (as Krauß surmised). Schwaiger also found the marginalia written in the same hand as the title-page, and that these often stand in opposition to the notes, giving them the appearance of having been written sometime after the lecture — perhaps years later — rather than as additions that a student might write while attending the lecture and using the lecture notes as a guide. (This also fits with Krauß’s picture of Powalski as rector, as opposed to Powalski as student, working through the notes.)

Gottlieb Bernhard Powalski [bio] matriculated at Königsberg on 29 August 1777.[1] At the time of Menzer’s list (1912) and Krauß’s study (1926) the manuscript was housed in the Pfarrbibliothek in Straßburg (what was then West Prussia). It was later moved to Berlin.

[1] Erler [1911-12, ii.546]: (29 Aug 1777) “Powalcka Theophil., Johannisburg. Boruss.”.


(1) Ms: Berlin, Ak-Archiv (NL-Kant 23).


(1) Lehmann [1974; AA 27: 93-235].


Based on claims found in the notes regarding the good will and transcendental freedom, Krauß believes the source lecture for the majority of the notes to lie sometime after the Critique of Pure Reason but before the Groundwork to a Metaphysics of Morals — namely, WS 1782/83 [Krauß 1926, 83]. Schwaiger [2000] is less convinced the notes all stem from the same period.

[1] Strasburg, West Prussia, is now Brodnica, Poland, and lies about 200 km southwest of Königsberg/Kaliningrad.

(12) anonymous-Reicke 7 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

D [Menzer 1924; Krauß 1926].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume, 152 sheets. Menzer’s 1912 list gives the page count at 305. Without a title-page (likely lost). Heading at the top of p. 1: “Einleitung in die practische / Weltweisheit”. The sheets were later numbered. The handwriting is so poor that it was almost certainly meant to be used by the copyist himself (thus, a student or professor, rather than a professional copyist) [Krauß 1926, 4].

This was one of two moral philosophy Nachschrift described by Arnoldt (the other was the an-Gotthold 3). He describes it as a quarto volume, unpaginated, and difficult to read. The first fourth of the pages concerns general practical philosophy, the end of which is marked by: “Finis Philosophiae practicae universalis”. Below this, the heading: “Ethica”, and from here to the end of the manuscript is a discussion of the doctrine of virtue [Arnoldt 1908/9, v.290]. Arnoldt finds that this manuscript agrees with an-Gotthold 3 — usually not verbatim, but the sense of the sentences is the same throughout. An-Reicke is more complete, with fewer conceptual imprecisions. Arnoldt believed that they stemmed from different note takers attending the same semester, rather than being copies of a third set of notes [291]. Menzer [1924] reported examining this manuscript and spot-checking it against Brauer 2, Kutzner, and an-Mrongovius, and that he found them all in general agreement. Krauß [1926] was able to show that all these notes did in fact stem from a single, now lost, set of notes.

The manuscript belonged to Rudolf Reicke [bio], and was later acquired by the Königsberg university library along with several other Nachschriften in the Reicke estate.


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Ms. 2581). Lost. (Lehmann [1979; 27: 1057] inadvertently lists the signature as 2521.)


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler). Arnoldt [1908-9, 291-9] offers a summary of the content, but given its relationship to Menzer’s published text, recapitulating this summary is unnecessary.

(13) anonymous-Vollmer 5 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

Four manuscripts on moral philosophy; no further information. Their existence is suggested by a comment by Johann Jakob Wilhelm Vollmer [bio] in the preface to vol. 1 of his unauthorized publication of Kant’s physical geography lectures:

“Should my undertaking find approval, I am able to present his logic and his moral philosophy in the same way. I have four sets of notes on moral philosophy, five on logic, from various years and, because they are so popularly written, will certainly cast a new light on his system.”

“Sollte mein Unternehmen Beifall finden, so bin ich erbotig, auch seine Logik und seine Moral auf eben die Art heraus zu geben. Von der Moral habe ich vier, von der Logik fünf Handschriften, aus verschiedenen Jahren, und sie werden, weil sie ohnehin so populär sind, gewiß ein neues Licht über sein System verbrieten.” [1801, 1.1.iv]


(1) Ms: (Lost.)

(14) Brandt [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

M [Krauß 1926], Philosophische Moral v. Brandt/Aron [Lehmann 1979].

Physical Description and History

Hardbound quarto volume, 255 pp. (17 x 20.5 cm), with a blank endpaper; listed in the archive as 127 sheets. Top right corner of the back endpaper, in pencil: “330”; on the reverse side, also in pencil: “Nach Mittheilung der H. Prof. Adickes v. 28/2 28 Besitz der [illegible] Kehrbachs.” On the spine: “I. Kants / Philosophische / Moral”. On the title-page: “Philosophische / Moral / von / HE. Imanuel Kant / Profess. Ordin. der Philosophie”; below, to the right: “d 4 aprill / 1789”; above, to the right: “C. F. v Brandt. In the lower margin, in a different hand and a blacker ink: “R. Aron”; and in pencil, in the middle of the page: “Prof. Kehrbach”. It is possible that the name “Brandt” is from a different hand than the title and date, but they look very similar. Neatly written; no marginalia. Pagination is in the same hand as the text, and is erratic. One sheet (pp. 31-32) is missing. In all, three hands wrote the text: (1) the title-page and pp. 1-201, (2) pp. 202-213, and (3) pp. 214-55. There are corrections by these three writers, as well as by a fourth (perhaps the end user) [Krauß 1926, 7; Lehmann 1979; AA 27: 1058]. Almost certainly a purchased copy. The date on the title-page fell on a Saturday during the Easter holiday (Easter was April 12).

Carl Friedrich von Brandt (17??-1817?) matriculated on March 28, 1792.[1] At the time of Menzer’s 1912 list and Krauß’s study [1926], the manuscript was in the possession of Professor Kehrbach.

[1] Erler [1911-12, ii.618]: (28 Mar 1792) “Brandt de Car. Frdr., Mariae-Insulan., eques Boruss.”.


(1) Ms: Berlin, Ak-Archiv (NL-Kant 21).


(1) Lehmann [1979; AA 27: 1206-20]. These are variant readings, using Collins 2 as the model text.


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler).

(15) Brauer 2 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

A [Menzer 1924], H [Krauß 1926], Menzer [various authors].

Physical Description and History

A leather-bound octavo volume, 487 pp., including a table of contents. On the spine: “Immanuel Kant’s Vorlesungen über Prakt. Philosophie 1780-81”. On the title-page: “Philosophia practica universalis / una cum / Ethica / substrato compendio Baumgartenii / docente / Excellentissimo Domino P. I. Kant / Calamo excerpta est a Theodoro / Friderico Brauer. ss. Theol. cult.” Below, to the right: “incept: d 12 8ber 1780”. The notes are carefully written, and in the same hand as the title [Menzer 1924; Krauß 1926, 5].

Theodor Friedrich Brauer (1761-1830) matriculated as a theology student on March 4, 1779,[1] and later served as a pastor in Riga. The date on the title-page would have been the first Thursday of the semester, the day Kant would have begun lecturing. Menzer includes this and Kutzner in his 1912 list as belonging to Erich Prieger, also noting that they have not been made available for the Academy edition. Menzer’s handwritten note next to this entry claims that both manuscripts were sold to Hirsch. So it must have been from Hirsch that Menzer gained access to Brauer 2, which he eventually used as the basis of his 1924 publication of Kant’s lectures on ethics. See also Brauer 1 (anthropology).

[1] Erler [1911-12, ii.554]: (4 Mar 1779) “Brauer Theodor. Frdr., Silberbach ad Liebstad. Boruss., theol. stud.”.


(1) Ms: Private possession of Erich Prieger (of Bonn), then of Rudolf Hirsch (of Berlin Lichtenberg). Lost.


(1) Menzer [1924].

(2) Infield [1930]. Translation into English of Menzer [1924].

(3) Konishi/Nagano [1968]. Translation into Japanese of Menzer [1924].

(4) Guerra [1971]. Translation into Italian of Menzer [1924].

(5) Gerhardt [1990]. Reprint of Menzer [1924], with additional notes, and supplemented with Collins 2.

(6) Aramayo/Panadero [1988]. Translation into Spanish of Menzer [1924].

(7) Langlois [1997]. Translation into French of Menzer [1924].


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler). The date on the title-page makes WS 1780/81 a plausible source-lecture, but comparison with other manuscripts indicates that it is a copy, and that the date likely refers to when Brauer attended the lectures.


See the introductory remarks (above) on Krauß’s work; in summary, he found Brauer 2 to be among the least reliable of the texts in this set, being infected with the most errors [1926, 66].

(16) Collins 2 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

I [Krauß 1926], Moralphilosophie Collins [Lehmann 1974].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume, 612 pp., with two title-pages. On the first title-page: “Collegium philosophicum / auctore Kantio / Riomonti die XIX Aprilis. 1785.” On the second title-page: “Moralphilosophie / nach den acad: Vorlesungen / des / Herrn Prof: Kant. / Königsberg im Wintersemestre / 1784 u. 1785. / Georg Ludw. Collins / d:GG:S. / über Baumgarten.”; at the end: “Finis Königsberg d. 19ten Aprill / 1785.” (The abbreviation “d:GG:S.” is likely expanded as: “der Gottes Gelahrtheit Student.”) The carefully drawn margins contain various annotations; words in the main text are underlined. Krauß reports that three copyists contributed to this manuscript: the first wrote pp. 1-27 (difficult to read), the second pp. 28-610 (much easier to read), and a third added a table of contents on the unnumbered pp. 611-12, as well as various marginalia, and possibly also both title-pages. It would not be a far reach to believe that Collins, the end-user, is this third hand. Krauß judged the two copyists to be uneducated, given the nature of their errors [Krauß 1926, 5-6, 60].[1]

This manuscript serves as a good example of how deceptive the lecture notes can be. It has every appearance of having been prepared and written by Georg Collins during WS 1784/85. The closing date — 19 April 1785 — was the 1st Tuesday of the following semester, offering a plausible amount of time for the completion of the final copy of his notes. What is more, we know that Collins was at the university this semester, and it appears that the closing date and title-pages are written in the same hand. The content of the notes, however, show them to fall in the same group as those published by Menzer [1924], thus stemming from between 1774/75-1776/77. The best explanation is perhaps that Collins bought the notes, then annotated them during the WS 1784/85. These annotations warrant a closer examination. Georg Ludwig Collins [bio] matriculated 9 September 1784 as a theology student.[2] See also his anthropology notes.

[1] See also Lehmann [1979; AA 27: 1050-1]. Krauß lists the marginalia at ms pp. 27-43, 46-49, 53-54, 56, and elsewhere, as stemming from the same hand as the table of contents, and possibly both title pages.

[2] Erler [1911-12, ii.582]: (9 Sep 1784) “Collins Geo. Ludov., Regiomontan. Pruss., e lyceo imperatorio Rigensi, theol.”.


(1) Ms: Riga/Latvia, Academy Library (R 2878).


(1) Lehmann [1974; AA 27: 243-471]. Lehmann had use of the manuscript in April 1967. There is considerable marginalia printed only in the apparatus [AA 27: 1168-86].

(3) Gerhardt [1990]. Reprint of Menzer [1924], with additional notes, and supplemented with Collins 2.

(3) Heath/Schneewind [1997, 41-222]. Translation into English of Lehmann [1974; AA 27: 243-471]. The translators chose to supplement this with two brief passages from anon-Mrongovius (viz., at pp. 68-73 and 81-82).


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler). The marginalia may stem from WS 1784/85.

Lehmann appears to believe that the notes date from WS 1784-85, the semester shown on the title page; but Krauß [1926] has shown that Collins must stem from 1774-77 (as does the rest of this group). See also Schwaiger’s criticisms of such a dating [1998, 6]. See also Gerhardt’s 1990 re-edition of the Menzer notes, indicating variant readings in Collins.


Despite the various gaps in the text (Krauß viewed Collins as among the least reliable of the group), Lehmann chose this manuscript as his model text for the group of thirteen sets of notes sharing a common ancestral set. Variant readings given in the apparatus of the Academy edition [AA 27: 1205-1316] are all based on Collins 2.

(17) Dohna-Schlobitten 3 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

Our only information comes from Menzer’s 1912 list. On the title-page (?): “Erster Theil der Moral. / Von den Pflichten gegen sich selbst. / Erster Auszug. / 2. Theil der Moral / Von den Pflichten gegen unsere Nebenmenschen. / Zweiter Auszug.” 101 pp. The title suggests that these notes are in two volumes, in which case the 101 pp. refers to the first of the two.

Wilhelm Heinrich Maximilian Graf zu Dohna-Schlobitten (1773-1845) matriculated as a law student on October 8, 1790.[1] Notes on anthropology and logic attributed to Dohna-Schlobitten are also lost.

[1] Erler [1911-12, ii.614]: (8 Oct 1790) “Dohna-Schlobitten Sacri Romani Imperii comes Maximilian. Guilielm. Hnr., cum testimonio maturitatis, stud. iur.”.


(1) Ms: Privately held by Fürst Dohna. Lost.

(18) Herder 5 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Praktische Philosophie Herder [Lehmann 1974].

Physical Description and History

Johann Gottfried Herder [bio] matriculated on August 10, 1762,[1] and remained in Königsberg until November 22, 1764. He attended all of Kant’s lectures, and notes from the metaphysics, physical geography, physics, logic, and mathematics lectures are all extant, as well as these from moral philosophy. As with all the Herder notes other than physical geography, these notes consist of loose sheets, typically folded once to make a four page signature, sometimes nested one inside the other. The moral philosophy notes consist of two manuscript groups [Irmscher 1964, 89, 99; Lehmann 1979; AA 27: 1046-47].

[1] Erler [1911-12, ii.484]: (10 Aug 1762) “Herder Joh. Godfr., Mohrunga Boruss.”.


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

•XXV.42. One signature with 8 pp (10 x 16.5 cm), on ribbed paper with an indiscernible watermark. Text in light to dark brown ink covers all pages (no margins). Sheets are numbered in pencil by a librarian. At the very top of p. 1, in Herder’s hand: “IV. Prakt. Phil.”. Printed at Irmscher [1964, 89-98] and AA 27: 3-122.
• XXV.43. Thirty-two sheets, some of which are in groups, some separate, and of varying size. Format varies from 9.5 x 16.5 cm to 19 x 23.5 cm. The eight 4° signatures account for 31 pp. of text, while the five 8° signatures account for 28 pp. The type of paper also varies; most watermarks are not identifiable. Most text is written in brown/black ink. Printed at Irmscher [1964, 99-178] and AA 27: 12-89.

(1) 1 p. (17 x 21.5 cm). Margin is one-fourth the page width. Bottom half of front, and all of the back, is blank. At the top of the first page: “Einleit. in d. Prakt. Philos.” Printed at AA 27: 123-36 (mp 9).
(2) 4 pp. (17 x 21.5 cm). Two sheet signature; margin is one-fourth the page width. Printed at AA 27: 131-198 (mp 10-13).
(3) 8 pp. (17 x 21.5 cm). Four sheet signature; margin is one-fourth the page width. This signature is a single printer’s sheet folded twice to make four sheets. Printed at AA 27: 198-324 (mp 14-21).
(4) 4 pp. (16.25 x 21 cm). Four sheet signature; margin one-fifth the page width [with blank pages??]. Printed at AA 27: 324-399 (mp 22-25).
(5) 2 pp. (17 x 22 cm). One sheet, no margin. The abrupt changes in ink strongly suggest that these notes were written in the classroom. Printed at AA 27: 3910-4320 (mp 26-27).
(6) 2 pp. (19 x 23 cm). One sheet, no margin. The abrupt changes in ink strongly suggest that these notes were written in the classroom. Printed at AA 27: 4321-4819 (mp 28-28’ — the marginal pagination of the Academy edition errs here; mp 29 is counted as mp 28).
(7) 4 pp. (16.5 x 21 cm). Two sheets, no margin. The abrupt changes in ink strongly suggest that these notes were written in the classroom. Printed at AA 27: 4820-5618 (mp 29-32).
(8) 2 pp. (16.5 x 21 cm). Two sheets, no margin. The second sheet is blank on both sides. No margin on the first sheet. Printed at AA 27: 5618-5925 (mp 33-34). NB: There are two blank pages following this text; not indicated in the Academy edition.
(9) 8 pp. (10.5 x 16 cm). This signature is one-half a printer’s sheet (16 x 42 cm) folded twice to make four sheets. No margins. Printed at AA 27: 5926-6725 (mp 35-42).
(10) 3 pp. (10 x 17.25 cm). Two sheets, no margin. The bottom one-fourth of the front of the second sheet, and all of its back side, is blank. Printed at AA 27: 6725-713 (mp 43-45). NB: This break (one and one-fourth blank pages) in the text is not noted in the Academy edition.
(11) 8 pp. (10 x 17.25 cm). A single printer’s sheet folded twice to make four sheets. No margins except for the third page of text. Printed at AA 27: 714-7933 (mp 46-53).
(12) 8 pp. (10 x 17.25 cm). A single printer’s sheet folded twice to make four sheets. No margins. Printed at AA 27: 7933-891 (mp 54-61).
(13) 1 p. (10 x 16.5 cm). One sheet, no margins. Text on only top half of the front side. This sheet appears to be the endpaper from a book owned by Haberkant (presumably the student friend of Herder’s that is mentioned in letters from 1765, and who matriculated at the Albertina on May 3, 1762).[1] At the bottom-right corner of the first side of this sheet, in a hand other than Herder’s, we find the inscription: “Hunc Librorum possidet / Jure mentorus / C. Haberkant. / const. 1 fl. 6 gr.” The sheet also has red on its outer edges (again suggesting it came from a bound book). Irmscher speculated that Herder had run out of paper mid-lecture and so borrowed a sheet from his friend. Printed at AA 27: 891-27 (mp 62).

[1] Erler [1911-12, ii.483]: (3 May 1762) “Haberkant Joh. Jac., Gilgenburg. Boruss., e gymnasio Thorunensi dimissus”.


(1) Irmscher [1964, 89-178].

(a) pp. 89-98: “Practical Philosophy, following Hutcheson and Baumgarten.” From the original (NL-Herder: XXV.42).
(b) pp. 99-178: “Practical Philosophy, following Baumgarten.” From the original (NL-Herder: XXV.43).

(2) Lehmann [1974; AA 27: 3-89].

(a) AA 27: 31-122. From the original (NL-Herder: XXV.42).
(b) AA 27: 123-8927. From the original (NL-Herder: XXV.43). Lehmann does not count the blank pages in his marginal pagination. While the marginal pagination is continuous with the previous manuscript, it is not obvious that these two manuscripts form a continuous set of notes. Two items to watch for: First, there is an error in the marginal pagination of the Academy edition: p. 29 is numbered as “28,” and the error is continued to the end. Second, there are occasional breaks in the text (between certain sheets) that are not clearly indicated. The sheets in the manuscript are listed above against the Academy marginal pagination (for simplicity, we maintain the Academy marginal pagination, and read 28 & 28’ for the doubled entry).

(3) Heath/Schneewind [1997, 3-36]. Abridged translation into English of Lehmann [1974; AA 27: 3-78]. This material is reprinted in Frierson/Guyer [2011, 263-303]

(4) A draft of a new transcription of the notes is available here.


WS 1763/64 and/or WS 1764/65 (the only semesters Kant lectured on moral philosophy during Herder’s stay, according to Arnoldt’s lists), although likely not the latter, given Herder’s Nov. 22 departure.


Kant’s course for WS 1763/64 was listed as “Ethik und Moral nach Baumeister,” but the reference to Baumeister is likely an error; Baumgarten was mentioned in WS 1759/60, and again in WS 1764/65.

Irmscher [1964, 89] suggests that the first few pages of NL-Herder XXV.42 [AA 27: 3-6], consisting of an introduction to moral philosophy, uses Francis Hutcheson’s An Inquiry Concerning Moral Good and Evil (London 1725) as a text; a German translation by Johann Heinrich Merck: Untersuchung unsrer Begriffe von Schönheit und Tugend in zwo Abhandlungen (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1762), would have been available for this purpose. Lehmann [1979; 27: 1049-50] contests this, pointing out that similar references to Hutcheson appear in later semesters, and that there is thus inadequate evidence that Hutcheson was being used as a text [see also Schwaiger 2000].

The remainder of the notes in XXV.42 refer to Baumgarten’s Initia [AA 27: 633-122]. The notes comprising NL-Herder XXV.43 [AA 27: 123-8927] refer to Baumgarten’s Ethica Philosophica, although some of the section and paragraph references are a bit difficult to make out, and want further study. Lehmann’s endnotes are often helpful here [AA 27: 1069-90].

(19) Kaehler J. F. [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Moralphilosophie Kaehler [Lehmann 1979].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume, half-leather, 454 pp. On the spine: “KANT / PHILOSOPHIAE / PRACTICA / VNA CUM ETHICA”. On the title-page: “Collegium / Philosophiae practicum universalis / una cum Ethica / a / Viro Excellentissimo Professore Ordinario / Domino Kant / privatim pertractatum / studio vero persecutum / ab / Joanne Friderico / Kaehler / Iur. utrq. et Phil. Cultore. / Regiomonti / per Semestre / Aestivum 1777.” At the end of the text: “Finis Ethicae.” and then at the bottom left of the page: “Regiomonte / die XIX. Septbr. / MDCCLXXVII.” and to the right: “Johann Friedrich Kaehler / Iur. utrq. et Philosoph. Cultor.” [image] The pages are numbered. Black ink, neatly written by a single hand. The carefully drawn margins are free of notes. There are only occasional corrections and these are by the same hand, except for two instances: p. 149 (‘Religion’ changed to ‘Theologie’) and p. 344 (‘Person’ changed to ‘Zustandes’) [Stark 1999a, 74-75].

Johan Friedrich Kaehler (or Kehler) matriculated on 10 April 1772 as a theology student,[1] although the inscription in the notes indicates that he was (in 1777) enrolled in the law school instead. He may be a relation of Johann Sigismund Kaehler, also from Friedland, who matriculated on 17 October 1775 as a law student,[2] and who left us a set of physical geography notes. “J. Berdau” — the name of a previous owner — is written on both the title page and the inside of the front cover.[3] Also on the inside of the front cover, in pencil: “Krakat, / Hint. Tragheim 52 b” — possibly the name and address of yet another Königsberg owner (‘Hintertragheim’ is a Königsberg street name).

The manuscript was most recently owned by a physician in Münster until April 1997, when it was purchased by the Marburg Kant Archive. Otto Schöndörffer had examined the notes and described them in a letter of 10 December 1924, to Paul Menzer, suggesting that he might include an appendix with variant readings from the Kaehler notes. By the time the moral philosophy lectures were being transcribed for the Academy edition, however, it was believed to be lost, and Lehmann was able to include only this list of variant readings in the Academy edition [Lehmann 1979; AA 27: 1044].

[1] Erler [1911-12, ii.522]: (10 Apr 1772) “Kehler Joh. Frdr., Friedland Boruss., stud. theol.”.

[2] Erler [1911-12, ii.538]: (17 Oct 1775) “Kaehler Joh. Sigism., Fridland. Pruss., stud. iur.”.

[3] Stark identifies this as Johann Christoph Berdau (1754-1844) from Mohrungen [2004a, 373-75], who was the sole matriculant at the university on 29 May 1772: “Berdau Joh. Chrisoph., Morungen. Boruss. ob proprium sibi scriptum testimonium et falsum commissum matricula privatus et iterum in collegium Fridericianum, in quo gratis per quatuor annos informationem habuit, missus est.” [Erler 1911-12, ii.524].


(1) Ms: Universität Marburg, Zentralbibliothek <4> Signatur: Ms 1038, 2. Available online.


(1) Lehmann [1979; AA 27: 1205-6]. This is a brief selection of variant readings, using Collins 2 as the model text; the variants were originally prepared by Otto Schöndörffer in comparison with Menzer [1924]. Lehmann did not have access to the notes.

(2) Stark [2004a].


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between WS 1774/75 and WS 1777/78; Stark makes a good case that the source lecture was WS 1774/75 [2004a, 403-04]. The earliest date is determined by the mention of Basedow’s Philanthropinum school, which opened near the end of 1774; the latest date is a possible semester that Kaehler attended Kant’s lectures. The date entered at the end of the notes (September 19, 1777) is the date of the last lecture (a Friday) as reported in Arnoldt [1908/9, v.244], so it would actually seem that the notes stem from SS 1777, written down by Kaehler, or that at least Kaehler attended the lectures this semester, with his copy from an earlier semester in hand. Arnoldt notes, however, that moral philosophy was not announced in the Lecture Catalog for that semester, and Schöndörffer adds that the course is also missing in the records of the Budget Ministry in Königsberg. We have only two reasons to believe that Kant actually taught this course in SS 1777: Kant himself listed it as having taken place in the Senate minutes, and the dates on the Kaehler notes fit nicely with the dates for that semester.

Stark offers two reasons to doubt that Kant taught moral philosophy during SS 1777. First, records from the law faculty listing students from WS 1777/78 include a “Joh. Frdr. Kaehler aus Friedland 22 Jahr alt,” with the note that he matriculated Easter 1772 and that, in the current semester (= WS 77/78), he is attending Kant’s lectures on metaphysics, moral philosophy, and anthropology (see the discussion and references to the government records given at AA 25:lxiii-lxiv).[1] Second, Kant’s lectures assumed a certain pattern after WS 1772/73 (his first semester to teach anthropology), and three of these patterns are disturbed if he indeed taught moral philosophy during SS 1777 rather than WS 1777/78: Kant never taught moral philosophy without also teaching anthropology, he never taught moral philosophy and natural law at the same time, and he never taught the same course two semesters in a row.

In any event, the notes are clearly a copy stemming from the same 1774/75-77 set of notes as twelve other extant manuscripts, so we must assume that these notes are in fact Kaehler’s own copy of that earlier set of notes, and that he either copied the notes himself or else bought a copy, and which he then brought with him into the lecture hall during WS 1777/78 (or, possibly, SS 1777).


The Kaehler notes appear to stand closest to the original set of notes from which all thirteen sets of notes in the 1774-77 group are derivative.

[1] This record from WS 1777/78 is itself questionable, since there is no other known indication that Kant lectured or intended to lecture on moral philosophy this semester; all we have are established patterns, as mentioned below; for this reason, I do not show such a course in either the list or the table of lectures. Apart from that, even if Kaehler had in fact attended Kant’s lectures in WS 1777/78, that does not preclude him having also attended the same lectures during SS 1777, as it was not unusual for students to hear a set of lectures a second time, and it was understood that the honorarium paid the first time around allowed one repeated enrollment at no extra cost.

(20) Kutzner [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

B [Menzer 1924], G [Krauß 1926].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume, 304 pp. On the title-page: “Vorlesungen / über die / Philosophische Moral / von / HE. Prof. Kant / in Königsberg.” Below and to the right: “G. Kutzner / S. S. T. C. 1781”; at the end, bottom-right: “finitum d. 9 Septbr. 1780. / Theophilus Kutzner”. Both entries and the text itself come from the same hand (perhaps Kutzner himself). Pagination appears to be contemporaneous with the notes. Many corrections by the writer, only occasionally by a second hand. Many abbreviations. Clearly written. [Krauß 1926, 5]

Gottlieb Kutzner matriculated 21 July 1779.[1] The first he could have attended Kant’s moral philosophy lectures would have been WS 1780/81, which began that semester on Thursday, 12 October 1780, and ended on Friday, 6 April 1781. The date appearing on the title page (“9 Septbr. 1780”) was a Saturday. The manuscript may well have come from Kutzner himself (with corrections in the text stemming from another hand), but the date has nothing to do with the source lectures, which in any event took place in the mid-1770’s.

This manuscript was used by Menzer [1924] as a control along with an-Mrongovius; Brauer 2 served as the main text in preparing the lectures for publication.

[1] Erler [1911-12, ii.556]: (21 Jul 1779) “Kutzner Theophil., Mego-Kotzenavia-Siles.”.


(1) Ms: private possession of Erich Prieger (of Bonn), then of Rudolf Hirsch (of Berlin Lichtenberg). Lost.


This manuscript belongs to the family of copied notes, the original of which stemmed from between 1774/75-1776/77 (see the discussion at Kaehler).

(21) Motherby 2 [list of notes] [top]

Physical Description and History

Bruno Bauch [1914][text] reported the following (translated): “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) matriculated on March 8, 1792.[1]

[1] Erler [1911-12, ii.618]: (8 Mar 1792) “Motherby William, Regiomontan. Boruss., mercatoris Angli filius, med.”.


(1) Ms: private possession. Lost.


WS 1793/94 (the same semester as Vigilantius 4).

(22) Mrongovius 4.2 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

R [Krauß 1926], Moral Mrongovius II [Lehmann 1980].

Physical Description and History

Quarto volume (17 x 10.5 cm), 30 sheets, from a 170 sheet volume including the following: notes from Kant’s physics [Mrongovius 4.1] (sheets 1-51, followed by blank sheets 52-54), Kant’s moral philosophy (sheets 55-84, with 85-86 blank), notes from Kraus’s lectures on ancient history, based on Schloetzer (sheets 87-97, with 98-102 blank), notes from Hagen’s natural history of mammals, dated 27 Nov 1784 (sheets 103-115, with 116 blank), notes from Kant’s logic [Mrongovius 4.3] (sheets 117-121, with 122-24 blank), notes from a course on “Astrognosie” (sheets 125b-132,), and a fragment from a natural science course, possibly Hagen’s natural history of mammals (sheets 133-170) [Günther 1909, 214 (see entry)].

On the title-page: “Die Moral des HE Prof Kant / gelesen / nach Baumgartens Practische Philosophie / im Winterhalben Jahre Mich. 1784 / bis Ostern 1785”; at the very bottom: “CC Mrongovius d 3 Jan 1785”. Margins are one-fifth the page width. Occasional marginalia, with the longer being inserted into the text with a sign (cf. ms 8-9). There is some brief marginalia by a second hand; also, pencilled marginalia (by Krauß?). The text begins on p. 3 and continues until p. 60 (the bottom two-thirds is blank, as is p. 61). Text and title-page all from the same hand, and is identical to the title-page of an-Mrongovius.

Krauß suggests that this text was likely written by Mrongovius, and the date and abbreviated content suggests that he prepared a clean copy during the following Christmas break (the date at the end — Monday, January 3, 1785 — being when he finished). Notes from a different hand can be found in a few places, as well as notes from Mrongovius himself. Mrongovius’s marginalia found on Ms pages 8-11 agree nearly verbatim with the Menzer (1924) text, suggesting that Mrongovius was supplementing his own notes with a copy (most likely the an-Mrongovius) [Krauß 1926, 95; Lehmann 1979; AA 29:651-52].

Christoph Coelestin Mrongovius [bio] matriculated on March 21, 1782.[1] See also his notes on anthropology (WS 1784/85), metaphysics (WS 1782/83), logic (SS 1784?), physics (SS 1785), and natural theology (WS 1783/84), as well as an additional set of moral philosophy notes, the an-Mrongovius (late 70s).

[1] Erler [1911-12, ii.569]: (21 Mar 1782) “Mrongovius Chrisoph. Coelestin., Hohenst[ein]. Boruss.”.


(1) Ms: Gdansk (Poland), Biblioteka PAN (Ms. 2218).

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


(1) Mrongovius [1854]; reprint in Zelazny [2006, 201-497]. Translation of the notes into Polish.

(2) Lehmann [1980; AA 29:597-642]. Corresponds to Ms 56-84’ (using recto/verso pagination).

(3) Heath/Schneewind [1997, 225-48]. Translation into English of Lehmann [1980; AA 29:597-633].

(4) Zelazny [2006, 201-497]. Photomechanical reprint of Mrongovius [1854], with facing German text.

(5) Jiménez [2017]. Translation into Spanish of Lehmann [1980; AA 29:597-642], with facing German text.


WS 1784/85, with some passages from the Kaehler group (1774-77). It is likely that these notes originated with Mrongovius’s own notes taken in the classroom during WS 1784/85, with insertions likely added from an-Mrongovius,[1] a set of notes that Mrongovius owned and that belongs to the Kaehler group. The discussion in Mrongovius of the absolute value of the good will, a prominent theme in Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals [writings] (published in 1785, but finished in the fall of 1784), also speaks for this date of 1784/85.

[1] Timmerman [2015, 68] locates the added material at AA 29:6015-11 (cf. 27: 140224-31), 29:60112-33 (cf. 27: 140322-14041), and 29:60323-27 (cf. 27: 140313-19).


This is a fragmentary copy from the beginning of the semester.

(23) Vigilantius 4 [list of notes] [top]

Other Names

Z [Krauß 1926], Metaphysic der Sitten Vigilantius [Lehmann 1975].

Physical Description and History

Folio volume; 539 pp.[1] There is no title page; the first sheet is blank. At the top of the first page of text: “Bemerkung aus dem Vortrage des Pr. Kant über Metaphysic des Sitten; to the left of this: “d 14 8ber 93/94.” (Menzer’s 1912 list gives: “14. Feb. 93/94”.) Each sheet is creased in the middle: on the right is the text, on the left any marginalia. The pagination was added later, in pencil. There are more, and longer, annotations than in Vigilantius’ metaphysics notes. The script is nearly illegible, written hastily, and is occasionally crossed out or re-arranged. The text is divided into 148 paragraphs (§§), which are likely of Vigilantius’ own devising (they do not refer to the Baumgarten text, although the occasional references to Baumgarten also use this §-sign).[2] On ms. p. 184 (next to text printed at AA 27: 57619) is entered the date “d.6.Jan.94” — a Monday, and likely the first day after the Christmas holidays. No name of the author or owner can be found on the manuscript. Krauß was familiar as well with Vigilantius’ metaphysics notes, and reported that these volumes were written in the same hand and were similar in their size and arrangement (e.g., sheets creased down the center, divided into numbered sections).

The above folio volume as described by Krauß [1926] is lost. It was almost certainly written by Johann Friedrich Vigilantius [bio]. What remains is a copy prepared by several different people of (yet) undetermined identity, but presumably associated with Rudolf Reicke or Emil Arnoldt, and prepared in the late 1800s. Lehmann claims to recognize Arnoldt’s handwriting in various marginalia.

Physical description of the copy. The entire copy consists primarily of unnested folded sheets (thus, each sheet consisting of four pages) with various pagination schemes. There are also six half-sheets (with text front and back, thus with two pages each), which typically are partially blank on the back-sides. Underlined, at the top of p. 1 of the copy: “Bemerkungen aus dem / Vortrage des Herren Kant / über Metaphysik der Sitten.” Next to this, in the outside margin: “Angefangen / den 14 Okt. / 93/94.” The copy consists of 1220 pages (this number includes the last two pages, which are blank, as well as three other blank pages found elsewhere). The pages are 16.5 x 21 cm (i.e., the size of the sheet, once folded), with inner margins of a little over 1 cm and outer margins a little over 3 cm (these margins were marked by creasing the paper). The paper itself is variable: some sheets are smooth, others laid, and with various watermarks. Almost all the sheets are in good condition, the first sheet showing the most wear. The ink throughout is black. At least two different hands prepared the copy, with a third (Arnoldt?) making occasional corrections.

The marginal pagination in the Academy edition, which runs to 1205 pages, counts the pages of the copy, and has nothing to do with the pagination found in either the manuscript or the copy; and although Lehmann repeatedly claims in his “Textänderungen und Lesarten” that he does not include the occasional blank pages into his page count, he in fact does (these blank pages are easy to find: whenever Lehmann places two marginal page numbers on top of each other, the top one indicates a blank page). Lehmann’s 1205 page count is 15 pages short of the entire manuscript page count because he doesn’t include the very last two pages of the manuscript, which are blank, and there are 13 pages where the copy was duplicated.[3] The copyists did not use catchwords to insure the proper ordering of the sheets, but the occasional indications of section and manuscript page numbers allows for a fairly reliable ordering.

The copyists mark the pagination of the original manuscripts, but only sporadically. This is usually indicated in the margin (although towards the end of the copy, often in the text itself) with an ‘S’ (Seite or page) or “Fol.” (folio) with the number. Usually only every other page is indicated, although this varies, and there are stretches with no pagination given. Also, because the original manuscript included some long marginalia, there are sometimes exceptionally long stretches in the copy between page break indicators. Also, the pagination of the copy itself consists of several series and contains some errors. Consequently, the marginal pagination supplied in the Academy edition is perhaps the best means to locate text.

Krauß discusses these annotations in some detail [1926, 90-94], quoting many of them at length. Several of these marginalia are quite long, the first running alongside ms. pp. 12-19 (this is the text discussing Schiller’s Anmut und Wurde printed at AA 48817-49131). Lehmann does not indicate this as marginalia, although it is indicated as such in the copy. Krauß finds these marginalia to read like notes from Kant’s lectures, rather than commentary on it, and suggests that they may have arisen from days when the writer missed class, and then entered notes from another student — although he finds this problematic, since the writing style is so similar to the main text, and also because these notes often improve upon or otherwise engage with the main text. Perhaps the likeliest source for this material is one that Krauß does not not consider: the Saturday repetitorium. In any event, Krauß notes the care Kant devoted to his lectures, shown by his inclusion of new material, and his constant improving on past remarks. The marginalia of the original are indicated in the copy; these are sometimes quite long. Many of the marginalia begin with “NB:” although not always. Lehmann typically sets off marginalia with blank lines (as well as indicating it in his apparatus).

There are two gaps in the text, one of which Lehmann was unaware as well as a third spurious gap that Lehmann reports:

(1) AA 27: 6276: About 22 pages from the original notes appear to be missing here (judging by the marginal pagination supplied in the copy), equivalent to about 11 pages of Academy edition text. Lehmann properly marks this break in the text.

(2) AA 27: 52326: A folded sheet is missing from the copy at Göttingen, which is equivalent to about one page of Academy edition text. Although this missing sheet occurs in a run of neatly written and clearly paginated sheets, Lehmann does not report this gap, but instead splices together two sentence fragments. Between the words “unserer” and “Begriffe” stands quite a bit of text. The possibility of a pagination error by the copyist is discounted by examining where the page markings fall from the original manuscript; it is clear that about two original manuscript pages worth of text is missing here. The context of the surrounding text also suggests this gap, as does the absence of a ‘4’ in the numbered series of six points. Unfortunately, the Cambridge edition translation follows Lehmann in this error, and so at Heath/Schneewind [1997, 285], 2nd line from the bottom, in the phrase ‘the legitimacy of our concepts’, there are two pages of missing text that fall between ‘our’ and ‘concepts’.

(3) AA 27: 64035: Lehmann claims here that the text breaks off, when in fact all that breaks off is a duplicate copy that he used for the preceding pages (beginning with §100). The main copy has no break in it; the text is continuous.

There was not time to check much more than the pagination of the Academy edition against the copy at Göttingen, but in doing this I stumbled upon one inadvertent omission of text,[4] leading me to view Lehmann’s transcription with the same caution as his transcriptions of the metaphysics lectures. A good rule of thumb: if the text reads oddly, the transcription may well be at fault.

Johann Friedrich Vigilantius [bio] was Kant’s legal advisor. See also his notes on metaphysics (WS 1794/95), physical geography (SS 1793), and logic (SS 1793). All of his notebooks had belonged to the library of Friedrich August Gotthold [bio]. Records at the archive show that the Vigilantius copy was last borrowed in 1968 (although not by Lehmann, who may have enjoyed special borrowing privileges).

[1] Krauß [1926, 84-5] provides the only known description of this manuscript (which was lost in the 1945 bombing of Königsberg — the manuscript remaining is a copy made by Reicke or Arnoldt or an associate), other than the few comments made by Arnoldt [1908-9, v.174], who had hoped to publish it. Arnoldt likewise described it as a folio volume, 539 pp., although he gives the title as: “Bemerkungen aus dem Vortrage des Prof. Kant über Metaphysik der Sitten / der 14. Oktbr. 93/94”.

[2] Krauß notes that “§24” was inadvertently entered twice (at ms. pp. 75 and 76) (this duplication does not appear in the copy). Section-numbers 6 and 7 are missing (in the Academy edition, as well as in the copy); presumably they were in the original, or Krauß likely would have mentioned their absence. The section markings in the copy are irregular at the beginning of the copy, variously indicated as “I., 2, 3., N.4, §5” for the first five, so it is not surprising that the next two might be inadvertently omitted altogether. Beginning with §8, the numbers are always accompanied by the ‘§’. Vigilantius used a similar numbering system in his metaphysics notes (see the explanatory note at Ameriks/Naragon 1997, 417). Lehmann [1979; AA 27: 1046] suggests that these section numbers were added by “editors,” but we know from Krauß that these in fact were in the original manuscript, and their presentation in the copy also suggests this.

[3] The Academy edition marginal pagination is intended to run continuously; those pages where it does not [AA 27: 673, 675] are typos. The twice-copied text is that printed at AA 27: 63727-64035; this matter is complicated by the fact that Lehmann made use of the 14 page duplicate (found on four folded-sheets) rather than the continuous main copy. The break in the text that Lehmann reports at the end of this duplication [at AA 27: 64035] is thus simply the end of the duplicated text, and not a break in the copy at all. There wasn’t time to thoroughly compare these two versions, but it appeared that the copy used by Lehmann is less reliable. Lehmann notes this duplication in his introduction [AA 27: 1046], but not in the relevant section of his “Textänderungen und Lesearten.”

[4] At AA 27: 52734: “niemandem das Seinige vorenthalten” should read “niemandem das seine zu nehmen und jeden das Seinige geben hießt nur Niemandem das Seinige vorenthalten.”


(1) Ms: Königsberg, UB (Gotthold, Ub 11 (G) 14563). Lost.

(2) Copy: Göttingen, StUB (Dep. der AdW #4; deposited 13 October 1967).


(1) Lehmann [1975; AA 27: 479-732]. Transcription of the copy in Göttingen of Vigilantius 4.

(2) Schneewind [1990, 653-62]. Translation into English of passages from Lehmann [1975; AA 27: 479-513].

(3) Heath/Schneewind [1997, 251-452]. Translation into English of Lehmann [1975; AA 27: 479-732].


WS 1793/94.


In the one exception to Kant’s schedule of lecturing on metaphysics every winter semester, begun after he assumed the chair of logic and metaphysics in SS 1770, Kant lectured on “Metaphysik der Sitten oder Allgemeine praktische Philosophie samt Ethik nach Baumgarten.”[1] during WS 1793/94. On no other semester did Kant announce his ethics lectures as “Metaphysik der Sitten,” and from this title and the content of the notes, we see that the cause of Kant’s deviation from his normal routine was a desire to work through some of the themes later to appear in his 1797 publication of the same name.

The notes were divided by Vigilantius into 148 paragraphs (§). These paragraph numbers do not refer to Baumgarten’s Ethica Philosophica (§§1-500), although there are references to Baumgarten’s paragraphs scattered throughout the text. Nor does the order of presentation follow Baumgarten (for instance, Kant moves discussion of our duties to God to the very end, while Baumgarten discusses this at the very beginning). The manuscript covers the following broad areas: foundations of morality (§§1-63), duties to others (§§66-71), duties to the self (§§72-112), unenforceable duties to others, involving virtue (§§113-37), and duties to God (§§138-48). Krauß viewed this set of notes to be the most valuable of all those notes he had examined [1926, 94, 104].

[1] The Latin entry in the Lecture Catalog: “Metaphysicam morum, sive Philosophiam practicam universalem, una cum Ethica, ad compendia Baumgarteniana, h. VII. proponet Log. et Met. Prof. Ord. Kant.”. Followed by the entry for the affiliated Examinatorium held every Saturday: “Examinatorium eiusdem d. Sat. instituet Idem.”.