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David Hume – the translation which first woke Kant from his dogmatic slumbers

4 volumes, 8vo, viii, 392; [xxiv], 374; [iv], 280; [iv], 380 pp., particularly well rebound in contemporary style, the first 3 title-pages with library stamps and shelfmarks, the fourth underlaid with corner torn away and loss of text, uniform light browning, heavier in the last volume which also has taped repairs to the final leaf, overall a reasonable set, very seldom found complete in any condition.

Vermischte Schriften über die Handlung, die Manufakturen und die andern Quellen des Reichthums und der Macht eines Staats. Leipzig: Adam Heinrich Hollens Witwe, 1766 [with] Philosophische Versuche über die Menschliche Erkenntniß. Hamburg und Leipzig: Georg Christian Grund und Adam Heinrich Holle, 1755 [and] Sittenlehre der Gesellschaft. Hamburg und Leipzig: Georg Christian Grund und Adam Heinrich Holle, 1756 [and] Moralische und politische Versuche. Hamburg und Leipzig: Georg Christian Grund und Adam Heinrich Holle 1756.

All four parts of Hume’s Vermischte Schriften, the first translations into German of his ‘Political Discourses’, ‘Enquiry concerning Human Understanding’, ‘Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals’ and ‘Essays Moral and Political’. Volume 1 is the second edition (first 1754), the others are all first editions. The translators are thought to have been J.G. Sulzer and H.A. Pistorius.

Immanuel Kant had a set of these first editions in his personal library (Warda, Immanuel Kants Bücher, X, 56), and it was through them that he had his primary access to Hume’s philosophy. Kant himself did not read English, and a German translation of Hume’s Treatise was not available until 1790-92. Thus it was through this very translation that, as Kant famously wrote, he was first woken from his dogmatic slumbers (Prolegomena, 1783, p. 13).

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