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Eclectic Endeavours of 18th-century Popular Philosophy

Scottish Philosophy in the reviews of the Göttingen professor J.G.H. Feder
Friederike Frenzel


L’université de Göttingen était le produit d’une union personnelle entre la Grande-Bretagne et l’Électeur de Braunschweig-Lüneburg, établissant de ce fait un lien institutionnel et un réseau germano-britannique. Sa bibliothèque et sa revue, Göttingische Anzeigen, tira grand profit de ces échanges. Le contexte était favorable à la croissance d’un marché de la publication et des critiques d’ouvrages ainsi qu’au développement d’une langue allemande littéraire. S’attachant à décrire les influences écossaises sur la Philosophie populaire à Göttingen, cet article étudie trois recensions que le Professeur de philosophie Johann Georg Heinrich Feder publia au sujet des œuvres de James Beattie, d’Adam Ferguson et de Thomas Reid. Il met l’accent sur la relation entre le journalisme de la première modernité et la philosophie éclectique en établissant des ponts entre le travail de traduction et l’intégration, voire la transformation, des concepts, ainsi que les débats académiques et les entreprises de vulgarisation.

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1The Anglophilia that culminated in the second half of the 18th century in German-speaking territories was a decidedly asymmetrical transfer process. British science with its foundations of empirical and rational observation and what was interpreted as a distinctive British political perspective of “public spirit”, national consciousness and freedom were declared role models and examples (Archenholz 204). In the midst of it, the Electorate of Hanover towered as “an outpost of English civilization” (Maurer 44), and the university town of Göttingen as “a piece of England”, a centre of Anglomania (Müllenbrock 144-48).

2Following the Act of Settlement in 1701, the Acts of Union in 1707 and the death of Queen Anne, Prince-Elector George Louis of Brunswick-Lüneburg was crowned George I, King of Great Britain, in 1714, establishing the personal union of Great Britain and Hanover (Harding). His successor George II ordered the founding of a university in his German territory in 1733, and put the Hanoverian minister Gerlach Adolph von Münchhausen, who had lobbied for this project for years, in charge of it. As a result of the dynastic union, the new university aspired to mimic the success of British academies and secure royal influence in the electorate. The little town of Göttingen, agricultural and modestly wealthy owing to its cloth trade but institutionally insignificant, was chosen as a location, and a university was built – literally – from the ground up (Geyken 10-12). Münchhausen recognised this as a unique opportunity. He had studied at the University of Halle, which had Pietist traditions, and which had now become both a role model and a rival institution for him (Saada 23, 31-33).

3While developing his ideas for the university in Göttingen, Münchhausen adopted the recruitment of renowned lecturers that had made Halle so successful. He also learnt from mistakes made in Halle: the constitution, privileges and statutes in Göttingen were drafted clearly and firmly. Unlike Halle, the Faculty of Theology in Göttingen was positioned alongside its philosophical, legal and medical counterparts. Still, the “Protestant character of the university as a whole” was left untouched by formal regulations (Selle 40). This went hand in hand with a certain “Göttingen liberality”: a freedom of thought and speech, still bound within tight institutional frameworks and mutual supervision by the officials. It elevated, in a very concrete, secular sense, the newly founded university beyond the position of a mere teaching institution for young noblemen: it promised advanced, secure and continuing research, linked to and embedded in teaching (Rössler 23-26; Tütken 18). It thus established the University, which was named Georgia Augusta after its royal founder, in the following decades as a centre of the German-speaking Enlightenment, alongside the Berlin of Frederick the Great and Friedrich Nicolai and Immanuel Kant’s Königsberg. Münchhausen’s Göttingen distinguished itself by developing and following a concept of public good, and an undogmatic, popular, eclectic philosophy that specifically left room for doubts and mistakes (Heyne 95). A philosophy “for the world” was the explicitly stated goal: it had to be pragmatic, practical, useful, and further the common good. This concept was embedded into a university culture, institutionally as well as scientifically (Zimmerli 59).

4In the following, I suggest that the reviews of English books that the Göttingen professor of philosophy, Johann Georg Heinrich Feder, published anonymously in the University journal, the Göttingische Anzeigen, are insightful examples of a growing modern, multi-lingual Republic of Letters that was reflected in the development of both the book and the journal markets of the 18th century. In the little university town, this distinctly international trend was met with a specific, local enthusiasm for British culture, literature and thought – Scottish philosophy, in particular, found admirers in Göttingen, Feder among them. This enthusiasm, I argue, implied the active appropriation and transformation of the source concepts it worked with. I will point eventually to a fundamental correlation of the ever searching, always attempting, concept of truth, formulated by the popular and eclectic philosophers in Göttingen, and a journalistic truth concept that had just taken shape at that time. But before discussing three of Feder’s reviews to explore this further, it is necessary to contextualise the role of English literature in Göttingen and to establish the convergence of the concepts of usefulness and openness that were, at once, abstract philosophic and practical journalistic goals.

“Everybody in Göttingen reads”: The English Book as a News Item

5Right from the foundation of the university, wealthy students with wellborn or aristocratic backgrounds made up a significant proportion of the students in Göttingen – at times, they exceeded one third of the total student body (Hammerstein 178). For the university, they were a significant source of funds, and were thus purposefully recruited and accommodated on the basis of their educational requirements and financial resources. The rest of the students, who were unable to pay as much in matriculation fees, had to make do with non-private lessons and chairs that were not as comfortable as those of their noble peers (Saada 37-39). Still, they benefited from the same curriculum and the same excellent, up-to-date university facilities: the teaching clinics, the botanical garden, the laboratory and the collections, as well as the University’s own research library that was open to all University members – quite an unusual move at the time and in line with the democratisation of teaching (Fabian Göttingen 209). This, in addition to the marked religious freedom, made the Georgia Augusta attractive, not only to German-speaking students, but also to Swedish, Russian, Dutch, and – above all – British students (Oehler).

  • 1 See here the comprehensive Catalogue of English Books Printed before 1801. Held by the University L (...)

6In its early years, the Georgia Augusta reflected the travel, printing and reading booms that took place at the beginning of the 18th century; the university town was also a town of books and libraries. Starting off with approximately 9,000 books in the early days of the University (Pütter 210-14; Seraphim), there were over 200,000 books in the University library by the end of the century, and countless others in private libraries. Over 12,000 books were borrowed from the University library alone in the year 1793, by 44 professors and around 900 students (Raabe 144-45). Even today, the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB) houses one of the most extensive early modern collections of English books outside the English-speaking world: around 17,000 items from 1500-1800 alone.1 From 1763 to 1812, for almost half a century, Christian Gottlob Heyne was the librarian in Göttingen. His dynamic research compilation method, as opposed to the more rigid collection method, accounts for the remarkable expansion of the library under his management (Jefcoate XXII-XXV).

7From the 1730s onwards, linked closely with the growth of the book market, there was a noticeable surge in German journal production (Pettegree 332). In this decade, the nascent Göttingen production accounted for “as many as nine percent of all German-language entertaining and teaching journals” (Gierl & Pröfener 982). The first weekly journal in Göttingen appeared years before the official inauguration ceremony of the University in 1737: The Citizen (Der Bürger) published its first edition on 1 May 1732, and cited the English Spectator and the French Misanthrope among its role models. Only a few issues were produced, just like the journals that followed, such as the Free-Thinker (Freydencker, 1734/35), the Collector (Sammler, 1736), the Scatterer or Distracter (Zerstreuer, 1737) and the Minerva (1741). The approach of these journals was popular: they aimed to be useful – to promote moral and literary education – while entertaining their readers. Furthermore, their journalistic activities were a determinedly civic engagement, an attempt to mediate between the university and the town’s public sphere (Wellenreuther 14; Gierl &Pröfener 979-97).

8Decidedly more successful and persistent was a journal that, through its initial publisher Abraham Vandenhoeck, was even more closely connected to the Göttingen University and library alike, with links that only strengthened with time: the Göttingische Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen (Göttingen Journals of Scholarly Matters). It was founded in 1739 and renamed Göttingische Anzeigen von Gelehrten Sachen (Göttingen Announcements of Scholarly Matters) in 1747, when it was taken over and published officially by the Königliche Sozietät der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen (Royal Society of Sciences in Göttingen). This warranted further financial and institutional security. For a while, in the 1770s, it had a print-run of over 700 copies (Fambach VIII). After 1802, it was renamed yet again: Göttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen (Göttingen Scholarly Announcements) is still published under this title (Oppermann).

9For the Göttingische Zeitungen as well, foreign periodicals were indispensable as literary role models, as examples as well as source material (Gierl, “Kompilation und die Produktion von Wissen” 75). It initially appeared twice weekly. As its editors confidently described in a “notice” preceding the very first number (“Nachricht von den Neuen Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen”, GZS), it would focus on timely relayed news from the English academic world specifically, as well as review Italian, English, French, Dutch and German publications. This new journal was also supposed to concentrate on the “efforts” of the Göttingen scholars in particular, making it a sort of “scholarly diary”. What Martin Gierl calls the “Göttingen model” was a specific state-oriented, university-bound civil service (“Kompilation und die Produktion von Wissen” 92). In the context of this institutionalized scholarship, the journal was to represent and advertise the University itself, advancing the popularisation of knowledge, and promoting what was described – in a markedly English choice of words – as “good taste” (“guter Geschmack”). The journal was thus solely written in German, and reviewed scientific texts as well as belles lettres in a short, pointed manner. The central purpose was to inform the interested reader if a book was worth the time, effort and expense – valuable information in the context of an ever-expanding book market, making the expense of a journal subscription a worthwhile investment.

Fig. 1: Title page of the first volume of the Göttingische Zeitungen von gelehrten Sachen, 1739

Fig. 1: Title page of the first volume of the Göttingische Zeitungen von gelehrten Sachen, 1739

Public Domain, Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek: Sign. 8 EPH LIT 160/5,​purl?PPN319732576_1739

10The Göttingische Zeitungen or Anzeigen gave prominence to Göttingen’s local scholarship, putting it on an equal footing with concisely presented compilations of international material. The journal book review as a medium is in itself comparative, transformative and interpersonal – it engages with its source material in a highly subjective, normative manner. The reviewers of the Göttingische Zeitungen or Anzeigen added another layer of culture and language by positioning themselves emphatically in a local context, while opening up to a multi-lingual, border-crossing Enlightenment movement. Journal reviewers preselected, compiled and prepared the reviewed texts with their readership in mind. They thus adopted and popularised a format, adding their own commentaries on and perspective to the source material. If “compilation” was the “scholarly civic duty” of the eighteenth century (Gierl, “Kompilation und die Produktion von Wissen” 93), then the subsequent ordering and valuing of this compilation by the reviewer was a continuation of this duty, as well as the contribution of a personal standpoint. As a significant number of journal readers were themselves either members of the academic world or authors, or both, journal editors and reviewers were not only formative regulators that authoritatively prescribed standards for their readers but as compilers, writers and opinionated scholars, they entered into a dialogue with their readership. One part of this discourse was dealt with in the repetitive, one-sided framing of journal reviews, the other part can be found in the sprawling Respublica literaria, comprising subsequent reviews, articles, personal letters or talks.

11In the context of Göttingen philosophy, which was aware of being shaped by the world, and in turn opened up and operated for the world, the Göttingische Anzeigen exemplified this “reality of eclectic knowledge administration” in its output (Gierl, “Kompilation und die Produktion von Wissen” 92). Its authors strove to play an active and vital role in Göttingen’s lively popular philosophy, which Walther Zimmerli called a “world philosophy from the lectern” (“Weltphilosophie vom Katheder” 58). Consistently anti-dogmatic, it purported to be usable and applicable to the everyday world. No blatant limitations were accepted in the selection of material to be reviewed, only timeliness and usefulness. Still, as teachers who complied with curricula and conventions and as reviewers who wrote for the learned and interested public, the authors were the ones that sorted and selected material for their audience. The result is a unique variation of eclecticism, while the polarity of freedom and restriction, of autonomy and authority is inherent in Enlightenment thinking as a whole.

12With a scholarly eye that was thus trained and refined, subtler changes in the scientific and philosophical trends and movements of the admired neighbour could be spotted, picked up and discussed. Göttingen’s anglophile scholars appreciated philosophical movements like the Scottish “science of man” (Meyer). As outsiders who were on the receiving end of an adopted philosophy, they were able to reconcile the seemingly opposing schools of the Scottish Enlightenment: the common sense philosophy of Thomas Reid, James Beattie and James Oswald was formulated explicitly in reaction to the sceptic problem that David Hume’s “Treatise of Human Nature” posed (Kuehn 13-14). As we will see, while not denying these contrasting positions, Göttingen scholars like Feder combined them into an encompassing Scottish philosophy. Following their eclectic program, they were free to focus on individual thinkers, and to pick and choose among their theories (Oz-Salzberger 230): the moral sense of Francis Hutcheson; Reid’s, Beattie’s and Oswald’s common sense; the civic, commercial societies proposed by Adam Ferguson and Adam Smith, combined or contrasted with Hume’s psychological and epistemological scepticism.

13For the production of the Göttingische Anzeigen, the union with Britain proved to be an undeniable advantage: institutions such as the Deutsche Kanzlei in London enabled fast and secure communications and deliveries. From 1746 onwards, book consignments compiled in London for the Göttingen University library took the official diplomatic postal route. Within two months, an order could be placed and the desired books delivered, which was unusually fast and thus made prompt reviews possible (Willenberg 98-100). This communication route was complementary to another exchange that took place on a very personal level: “decades of correspondence” between German and English scholars as well as frequent visits undermined political demarcations and disciplinary guidelines (Biskup 366-67). While insisting on a de facto political independence, especially against the backdrop of the Seven Years War (see e.g. Hollmann 412-13), the scientific transfer and its movement from Great Britain to Hanover – and especially to Göttingen as a University – had an intrinsically cultural and transformative dimension (Stockhorst 21).

  • 2 “In den Wissenschafften scheint kein Land Engelland izt vorzugehn. […] Alleine in der Erforschung d (...)

14“In the sciences, no nation is currently ahead of England. […] In the study of nature alone, in good experiments and in all that to which the art of measurement and the nature of beings extend, they surpass all previous times and all other countries,”2 declared the botanist, physician, and poet Albrecht von Haller enthusiastically while staying in London in 1727. This passage is preceded by a description of how he had purchased “beautifully printed” and “richly bound” English books (Haller 132). Haller was one of the first and the most influential of the Göttingen professors and, together with his colleague Johann David Michaelis, he took over the management of the Göttingische Anzeigen after 1747. He stands exemplarily for a new generation of scholars that accepted, read and spoke English as a scientific language.

15The University of Göttingen employed John Tompson as an associate professor of English from 1734, and as a full professor from 1762, and language and study trips, like the ones taken by Haller or Michaelis, were common (Krake 105, 110). Still, English was a new and foreign language even to highly educated people in the German-speaking regions. For the majority of them, French was their second language, and Latin the language of scholarship, even if works in Latin were translated into German relatively early in the 18th century (Stockhorst 18). German as a literary language, fit for academic usage and exact translation, was still in development. Reprints in English or translations into French were often preferred over “faulty translations” into German that regularly failed to stay close to the original (Fabian, The English Book 62; Stockhorst 16-17). French translations were still necessary as a “carrier” and an intermediate step for English books to obtain a broad German reception. This makes the development of the German written language itself a multi-lingual process of perpetual translation that shifted between languages and national borders (Fabian, The English Book 56, 72). Paradoxically, it was through the acceptance, appreciation and reception of English books and English culture that the German Enlightenment was able to develop and sharpen its own program and its own language (Fabian, The English Book 78). Later in the century, it was the turn of German translations to become an intermediary between English originals and secondary translations, especially into Eastern European languages (Stockhorst 16).

Beattie, Ferguson and Reid in the Göttingische Anzeigen

16The above outlines a specific historical backdrop that enabled the anonymous book reviews of the Göttingen professor Feder. As a frequent and longtime contributor to the Göttingische Anzeigen, he reviewed hundreds of book publications in German, French, English, Latin, and Italian from 1769 to 1797. We know about Feder’s involvement – as we do with all other contributors – through the remarkable efforts of Jeremias David Reuß, who recorded the authors of each review in his copies of the Göttingische Anzeigen by hand (Oppermann VI; Fambach VIII-IX). His personal copy, bequeathed to the University of Tübingen, repositions the question of the meaning and negligibility of anonymity in the historical-literary reappraisal of journal articles in an interesting way.

  • 3 For a list of Feder’s publications, see the bibliography in Nowitzki, Roth, Stiening 395-453. For a (...)

17After publishing his Outline of the Philosophical Sciences, along with the necessary history (Grundriß der Philosophischen Wissenschaften nebst der nöthigen Geschichte) in 1767,3 he was recommended to the University of Göttingen and appointed there as professor of philosophy a year later. His “Outline” was, as its subhead (“for the use of his audience”) already suggests, an unmistakably didactic venture: the history of philosophy as well as the philosophy of Feder’s own time were broken down and presented concisely and in a straightforward manner in what he called a “philosophical encyclopaedia” (“philosophische Encyclopädie” 342), providing an easy and fast access for students. In the third chapter, Feder presents a “contribution” to the contemporary “philosophical book knowledge” from 1740 to 1767 (“Beytrag zur philosophischen Bücherkenntniß” 342). Mainly books in German, French and Latin are listed in the respective sections on the history of philosophy, systematic philosophy (“Weltweisheit” 345) and metaphysics. “On Logic” records a mention of Locke’s “Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” although the English original is listed on par with its translations in Latin, French and German (348). Newton is mentioned in a section on science, and with him the third, continental edition of his Principia Mathematica from 1740, alongside the popularised editions of this work in French and German (357). Finally, in the section for “Practical” (“Socratic”) philosophy, we can find recommendations of German translations of the works of Francis Hutcheson and David Hume (364).

  • 4 A fairly unusual but relevant indicator for his success is the sheer number of unauthorised and pir (...)

18As a university professor, Feder was highly successful and published pedagogical writings (e.g. his “New Emil,” a response to Rousseau’s Émile) as well as philosophical works with clear educational emphasis (like his Lehrbuch der praktischen Philosophie).4 After he had arrived and settled in Göttingen, Feder studied English (Leben 73) and began writing reviews of Italian, Latin, German and French publications. His first review of an English work discussed the Philosophical Essays of the Scottish philosopher James Balfour (GAS 1769 (72): 658). Therein, he commends Balfour for a nuanced and practical approach to the problems of philosophical uncertainty, doubt and scepticism, but criticises the way Balfour deals with the problem Locke posed to early modern philosophy (the effect of bodies and things on the human mind), judging it too dogmatic and too shallow (659-60).

19Later in 1769, Feder got the opportunity to present and summarise his own publication Logik und Metaphysik (Logic and Metaphysics). He did so, writing about himself in the third person and with the same anonymity that characterised all contributions in the Göttingische Anzeigen (GAS 1769 (118): 1065-67).

20Feder’s special interests were related to what initially brought him a solid and respected standing in Göttingen. He largely focused on reviewing books about philosophy, psychology and pedagogy in the following years, and for instance discussed different writings by and about the German pedagogues Johann Bernhard Basedow and Joachim Heinrich Campe. When he eventually published his own magazine, the Philosophical Library (Philosophische Bibliothek), together with his colleague and friend Christoph Meiners in 1788, these were also the areas of interest the two concentrated on.

Feder’s Review of Beattie’s Essay

21In January 1771, Feder reviewed a German translation of Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (Theorie der moralischen Gefühle, after the third edition of Smith’s work). In his review, he highlights Smith’s concept of sympathy, especially with regard to Francis Hutcheson, another Scottish philosopher, who did “notice and name,” but not “explore and apply” the term nearly enough (GAS 1771 (11): 86). He welcomes the translation by “pastor Rautenberg” as a way to further circulate Smith’s thoughts, although he considers Smith’s work to be already known to many of his readers through various English editions or French translations (85). He criticizes how one crucial term has been translated (“selfish” as the stilted “selbstisch” instead of the common though slightly ambiguous “eigennützig”), but is satisfied with the sparse yet valuable commentary provided by the translator.

  • 5 Die gesunde Vernunft und ihre Grund- und Haupt-Wahrheiten wider die verführerischen Räsonnements s (...)

22Two days later, Feder discussed the work of yet another Scottish philosopher, James Beattie, now directly and without taking a detour through a translation: An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth. In Opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism was published in Edinburgh in 1770, and ordered and received by Heyne in the autumn of 1770 (Catalogue I 190). Feder first puts Beattie’s work into the context of the Scottish philosophy of its time: to “defend common sense and its fundamental and main truths against the seductive reasonings of sophist sceptics”5 is what unites the concepts of Beattie, Reid (with his Inquiry into the Human Mind) and James Oswald (Feder mentions his Appeal to Common Sense in Behalf of Religion). All three oppose both Hume’s “sophist unbelief” as well as Berkeley’s “well-intentioned idealism” (92). Expanding on the writings of Descartes, Malebranche and Locke, Hume and Berkeley call into question the human perception of the world as reality. Hume translates this into an epistemological form of scepticism: humans simply cannot know how the world truly is structured. Berkeley’s position is metaphysical and idealistic – humans have no direct sensory access to reality, as it is composed purely of ideas. As both thinkers factually deny human capacity to grasp reality through sensible experiences, the Scottish common sense school, consisting of Reid, Beattie and Oswald, who insist on the everyday perception of the world being fundamentally correct, opposes them sharply.

23According to Feder, Beattie stands out because of his radically worded and fundamental criticism of Hume’s scepticism. Beattie regards Hume’s doctrines as dangerous and positions his own concept of common sense against them: this concept means a general, human, instinctive ability to recognise certain fundamental truths which are inaccessible to the argumentative, deducing human reason (Beattie 32-38). It is noteworthy here that Feder hesitates to translate Beattie’s term “common sense” into German, settling for the Latin “sensus communis” and thus borrowing an Aristotelian expression. He dismisses the already known and accepted German terms “gemeiner Verstand” and “gesunde Vernunft,” making the “common sense” of the “Essay” something original, linked to Beattie’s work. The reasons for this become clearer when Feder expresses misgivings relating to Beattie’s separation of common sense and reasoning ability that, for Feder, seems all too strict and rash (93).

24Feder commends Beattie’s style, his “warm heart” (94). The authors’ style is something that Feder comments frequently on in his reviews: in his review of Joseph Priestley’s Examination of Dr. Reid’s Inquiry into the Human Mind, Dr. Beattie’s Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, and Dr. Oswald’s Appeal to Common Sense” (1774), published in the Göttingische Anzeigen in 1775, Feder highlights Reid’s “fine and witty way,” Beattie’s “strong eloquence” and “shining noble heart,” and Oswald’s “insulting impetuosity” (GAS 1775 (92): 777). Stylistically well equipped, the three thinkers attacked early modern philosophy right at its Lockean, rational, positivistic foundations and sought to restore them to the bodily embedded foundation of human common sense.

  • 6 “Mit Vergnügen werden es einige lesen und mit völliger Beystimmung, wie der Verfasser zuletzt behau (...)

25Feder finds in Beattie’s Essay something that he misses in Hume’s texts: his wide reading and knowledgeable citations, particularly from ancient philosophy (GAS 1771 (12): 94). “Some will read with delight and full agreement,” Feder writes, “when the author states that metaphysicians are thoroughly shallow heads, and people without genius and taste.”6 He thus turns Beattie, and with him Reid and Oswald, into advocates of a common sense school in the philosophical debate, not only against empiricist sceptics like Hume, but also against metaphysical rationalists like Malebranche. Feder’s own position is somewhat more differentiated: for him, geniuses like Shakespeare, Bacon, Montesquieu and Rousseau need the “metaphysical heads” of Hume, Hobbes, Leibniz and Spinoza as a kind of supervising and reassuring entity (96).

  • 7 “Genaue Seelenforscher wissen ohnedem, wie selten die recht eigentlichen unmittelbaren und reinen E (...)

26What Feder misses most in Beattie’s work is a certain astuteness, a reasoning power (“Scharfsinn”) in the ongoing philosophical dispute – a grave error when one is up against Hume (94). Fundamentally, Feder is in agreement with Beattie, Reid and Oswald: there is a certain intuitive quality to the human perception of truth. But to formalise these truths in fixed sentences is a mistake, Feder argues. He fears that these “first principles,” because they are presented in a form that is all too rigid and specified, will not stand up to sceptical scrutiny and might even be used by the sceptics in their inevitable rebuttal. “Psychologists know how rare the actual, immediate and pure judgements of perception are”7 – and so Feder favors a system of only a few immediate principles every human is able to agree on: he calls them “principia formalia veritatis,” and describes them further in his Logic and Metaphysics (Logik und Metaphysik 126). In the philosophical debate of his time, Feder casts himself in the role of mediator: with his additional pointing towards the deceptiveness of the human senses, and his reference to hypotheses and truth searching through judging probability (GAS 1771 (12): 95), he suggests a position that is somewhere between Locke and Beattie that he refuses to label. By searching for a corrective between conflicting views, their productive potential can be realised. All in all, Feder concludes, Beattie is a “good disputant” (“guter Streiter” 96), but he has to win over his opponents by demonstrating in what sense his concept of truth is “necessary,” and, importantly, how “useful” or “beneficial” for all it is.

Ferguson’s Institutes and Garve’s Grundsätze

27Among the “Supplements” (“Zugabe”) to the Göttingische Anzeigen of the year 1771, three months later, we find a review of yet another Scottish author, Adam Ferguson, and his Institutes of Moral Philosophy, which was published in 1769 and received in Göttingen in February 1771 (Catalogue II 312). Ferguson is a “man of known excellent insights,” writes Feder, with “a truly stoic soul,” and his name alone warrants a notification of the publication, even if it is a “foreign” one (GAS(Z) 1771 (14): CXIII). It is evident that Feder was familiar with Ferguson’s work, and trusted that many of his readers would recognize the name too. Most likely, this was in connection with Ferguson’s Essay on the History of Civil Society, which had brought him fame throughout Europe and had been in Göttingen’s collections since December 1767 (Catalogue II 312).

28Feder highlights Ferguson’s empirical-psychological approach as well as his tracing of the “natural history of man” (GAS(Z) 1771 (14): CXIII-CXIV). It is Ferguson’s psychology that is the philosopher-pedagogue Feder finds particularly interesting. Still, he criticizes Ferguson’s discussions of law and liberty. Feder indicates some “unacceptable sentences,” such as the still binding nature even of an enforced contract, the legal status of slavery, and the status of a despot as something other than just usurper – all of which Ferguson explicitly denies, but which exists for Feder (CXIV).

  • 8 “Daß des Punktes von der zweckmäßigen Gleichheit der beyden Geschlechter mit gar keinem Worte Erwäh (...)
  • 9 Which always has to be useful in a greater societal framework, see Feder’s reference to Ferguson’s (...)

29Fania Oz-Salzberger points to the German rejection of Ferguson’s progressive political demands that centre around individual liberty (170-313). Feder is very much in line with this and thus chooses to concentrate on the “stoic” and classical interpretation of Ferguson’s thoughts rather than confronting his conception of human liberation and happiness – which is remarkable, not only because Feder does indeed give a flippant remark about how Ferguson ignores the “purposeful” or “appropriate equality of the sexes in the human development,”8 but also because he describes politics as being Ferguson’s “true profession” and commends him for it (GAS(Z) 1771 (14): CXV). Ferguson’s argument that the happiness of the individual is a direct part of the public good and happiness of the whole of society (Ferguson Institutes 171-173) suits Feder’s own conceptions of good and happiness.9 Still, when Ferguson applies these psychological and social foundations to a tangible context concerning the “rights of men” (Ferguson, Institutes 193), Feder hesitates. In a way, this conservative faltering is mirrored at a later point by Feder’s stance on the French Revolution, and once again in his critical reflections about his own position (Batscha 298-324).

Fig. 2: First page of Feder’s review of Ferguson’s Institutes, with added author name

Fig. 2: First page of Feder’s review of Ferguson’s Institutes, with added author name

Public Domain, Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek: Sign. 8 EPH LIT 160/7,​purl?PPN31973076X_1771_02

  • 10 “Das Buch könnte auch wohl unter uns zum Unterrichte, wenigstens zum Privatunterrichte, mit Nutzen (...)

30By closing his review with a remark about the possibility of incorporating Ferguson’s Institutions into an educational programme, Feder presents himself once more as an enthusiastic teacher. He also indirectly picks up on the origin of the Institutions, which started out as a handbook for Ferguson’s Edinburgh students. For teaching purposes, Feder muses, a translation into German would be highly valuable, but it had to be made by a “man who had the terms in his head” – who knows both concept and context.10

  • 11 “Bereicherung oder Berichtigung der unentbehrlichen wissenschaftlichen Sprache, neues Licht für die (...)

31Christian Garve proved to be that man when he provided a translation of Ferguson’s Institutions a year later: Feder reviewed his Grundsätze der Moralphilosophie in the Göttingische Anzeigen on 22 August 1772. Garve’s translation, he states, exceeds the hopes he had: it “enriches and corrects the indispensable scientific language,” and “through the effort to transfer them from one language to another” a “new light” is cast on “ideas.”11 This new light is one of perspective, but also one of popularisation: the Grundsätze was Garve’s first translation and generated a response in the German-speaking scholarly world that surpassed even the reactions to Ferguson’s Essay – the major work that had made Ferguson famous in the rest of Europe. The success of the Grundsätze was grounded in the reviews produced on the occasion of its publication – most were favourable, some not so much. Feder’s was one of the first, and one of the most favourable (Waszek 64; Falduto 37-41).

  • 12 Translators like Garve struggled with the translation of the phrase and concept of “public spirit” (...)
  • 13 “Hier merkt man in der That den Mangel unsrer und fast einer jeden Sprache, wenn die Verschiedenhei (...)

32Garve decided to add a supplement to Ferguson’s original work where he provided extensive commentary (Ferguson, Grundsätze 285-420). As he introduced Ferguson’s thoughts into the debates of the German-speaking Enlightenment, he did so from a decidedly German standpoint, in a local, cultural and linguistic sense, critically and without holding back his own objections. In his addendum, he lingers on concepts and terms he perceives as typically English – like the “public spirit” (Ferguson, Grundsätze 330)12 –, explains his own translation choices and puts them into context, for instance when he translates Ferguson’s “sentiment” as “Empfindniß” (Ferguson, Grundsätze 325). All languages are inadequate when it comes to expressing the “differences in mental states,” Garve remarks, but German might have an even greater disadvantage, for it is not able to properly incorporate the scholarly Latin, and its scientific state does not match its language development – it “received” a science “completed by the hands of a foreign language.”13 Terms “expand and change” when they are translated from one language into another, and this is what makes the task of translation so interesting, and so problematic (Ferguson, Grundsätze 329).

33For Feder, this addendum by the translator is a very valuable contribution to Ferguson’s original text. He emphasizes Garve’s discussion of the concept of freedom and its restrictions, of animalistic instincts and the human capability for introspection. Crucial as well is the human sophistication through evolution and the human capacity to love: rather than using or exploiting fellow humans as mere means to an end, humans are capable of feeling true benevolence and sympathy (GAS 1772 (101): 861-62). The German “Empfindung,” that Garve struggles so much to translate (from “perception,” “sensation,” “sentiment;” Ferguson, Grundsätze 326), implies for Feder a certain “warmth” that he misses at times in Garve’s text, but which is essential, especially when discussing Ferguson in moralistic, Stoic and Epicurean contexts, as Garve does. Garve’s fixation on the “immateriality of thinking substances” as the groundwork for a “natural theology” leads Feder to advise caution and prudence: although it is a good defence against “atheistic reasoning,” there does seem to be a danger of relativism and misguidance (GAS 1772 (101): 862-863). He meets Garve again when he argues that the human “soul” cannot be “uplifted” alone to “perform his duties” by the studies of ancient, Epicurean philosophic systems (862) – teaching morality and acting morally are two very different things.

Feder’s Review of Reid’s Essays

  • 14 “Eine Uebersetzung verdient das Ganze nicht. Aber Auszuge daraus gedenkt Rec. irgendwo mitzutheilen (...)

34After an applauded translation came an English publication supposedly not worth any applause: “The whole thing does not deserve a translation,” Feder writes about Thomas Reid’s Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, published in 1785, received in the Göttingen library in September 1786 (Catalogue II 514), and reviewed in the Göttingische Anzeigen in April of 1787. But “the reviewer intends to share excerpts somewhere.”14 This gives an indication that the reason for Feder’s harsh assessment is in no way a fundamental disagreement. On the contrary, Feder trusts that Reid is already known as a “defender” against the “subtleties” of speculative philosophy, against scepticism and dogmatics. For Feder, he is the “leader” of the Scottish philosophers (GAS 1787 (63): 626). But compared to Reid’s Inquiry into the Human Mind, first published in 1764 (Hamilton I 93-211) and probably received in the Göttingen library in 1766 (Catalogue II 514), it falls short for Feder. It is repetitive on a systematic as well as a stylistic level, Feder criticizes, and reiterates Reid’s own apology and explanation for this: his advanced age (GAS 1787 (63): 627; Hamilton I 216). Feder misses the “mocking, witty tone” of Reid’s earlier work that does not even appear when Reid answers one of his most sharp-tongued critics, Joseph Priestley, and his Examination that Feder reviewed in 1775 (GAS 1775 (92): 777-83).

35In his Essays, Reid repeats his attacks against Hume and Berkeley – and, more indirectly, against Locke, Malebranche and Descartes – by, above all, tackling and rejecting their concept of “ideas” as an intermediary between perceptions of the world and mental cognitions (“[…] daß bey allen Erkenntnissen der Seele der nächste Gegenstand ihrer Wahrnehmung Ideen seyn”; GAS 1787 (63): 627). But Feder argues that this misrepresents the makeshift term of “idea.” On the one hand, Reid is right to criticise the term where it is overused and employed as factual instead of hypothetical but, on the other hand, he goes astray by deposing the term altogether. What Feder regards as a very plausible, usable philosophy that is effective against the extremes of dogmatism and scepticism alike is spoiled by declaring fundamental truths where Feder only sees reasonable conclusions by analogy (628). This way, Reid falls into the same dogmatic trap he set out to combat, and is helpless when confronted with problems he only has futile arguments against. For Feder, Reid’s moral objections against an idealism that has detached itself from everyday life are insufficient and his arguments for fundamental truths illusive. Feder points out that Reid on the one hand depicts the laws of physics and science as mere truths owed to chance and the human capability of “induction”, but that he also, on the other hand, defends “geometrical demonstrations” against a zealous scepticism attributed to Hume (629).

  • 15 “Ein eigenes Verdienst hat dieß Werk in Beziehung auf die englische Sprache und die Aufklärung und (...)

36It seems that Feder does not have any major complaints about Reid’s remarks on “taste” and “beauty.” Reid supposes that a sense of what is “good” and “beautiful” is universal for all people, but might still be refined further all the same by educational means (Hamilton I 490-508). This is in line with Feder’s own musings (Über das moralische Gefühl 140-71). The “merit” of Reid’s Essays lies finally in their “relation to the English language and the determination” they bring to the “meaning of its philosophical expressions.”15 In turn, Feder is slightly disgruntled that the “English philosopher” knows so little about “foreign literature” – “as usual” (GAS 1787 (63): 630).

  • 16 “Dieß Werk ist das wichtigste ausländische Product der speculativen Philosophie, das in den letzten (...)

37Feder kept his word and shared translated excerpts of Reid’s Essays. The “somewhere” of his choosing was the first volume of his own paper, Philosophische Bibliothek. Auszüge aus Thomas Reid’s Essays on the intellectual powers of man was published there “with comments” in 1788 (PB 1788 43-62). In his comments, Feder states that “this is the most important foreign work of speculative philosophy known in recent years” and that it is “the work of an old fine thinker who has long been famous in and outside of England.”16 Feder then refers to his own review in the Göttingische Anzeigen and repeats that a translation of the whole book into German would be “redundant.” He describes Reid’s concept of common sense principles and common notions as being self-evident, or, as Feder translates, “fundamental truths” (“Grundwahrheiten” 43). They are the result of an innate, universal human capability. However plausible this concept might be for Feder, the specific expression of “fundamental truths” remains controversial (44). In a way, Feder ponders, the only lead for formulating “fundamental truths” is their necessity – for abstract sentences, this means that they have to be self-evident (and so, to an extent, trivial), and for empirical principles it means that they must be strictly subjective. All other possibilities lack certainty; Feder’s citing “common, practical prejudices” that could taint any knowledge and conviction is reminiscent of Hume – but without going back to Hume’s concept of habit. Instead, he invokes an approach to truth by probability that brings Locke to mind (55). Human common sense (and here, Feder uses the German term “gemeiner Menschenverstand” 57) in an everyday context does not care about idealistic and philosophical disputes and quarrels around terms. This makes truth and reality as abstract concepts pseudo-phenomena: the external world and its ideas are one and the same, and even the most abstract notions can be visualised. “Sympathy, imagination, and the association of ideas” (“Sympathie, Imagination, Ideenassociation” 59) take effect well before reason formulates its first abstract thought, but they are always fallible – something that Reid’s “fundamental truth” cannot afford.

Book Reviews as Combinations of Philosophical Eclecticism and Eclectic-Journalistic Work

  • 17 Was hilft es denn, wenn wir in der Schule und in unsern Büchern den Worten andere Bedeutungen gebe (...)

38“What is the use, then, if in school and in our books we give words other meanings than they have in common life; and want to hunt for ideas that do not occur in our knowledge?”, Feder asks in his annotated translation excerpts of Reid’s Essays, and adds: “What do we achieve by this?”17 For him, it is one of his tasks as a reviewer, and all the more as a translator, to untangle some of the confusions that surround the philosophical terms of his time – or, at least, to take away the fear and illusions surrounding them. This is necessary to achieve a philosophical language that one can use, work and communicate with – and not just speculate. For Feder, no one is safe from the dangers of a paralysing dogmatism that hinders lively philosophical debate, not even the Scots of the common sense movement that Feder appreciates for its world orientation and its closeness to everyday life. Still, Feder applauds the commotion the Scots of the common sense school caused in the philosophical world as one that opens up discussion while also being relevant, in content and in form. One important factor is clarity – philosophy has to be useful after all – another is a pleasant reading experience. Reid’s wittiness (even if it is lacking in his later works) and Beattie’s sincere persuasion elevate already strong philosophical contributions even further.

39Because of the ever-expanding book market of their time, 18th-century German readers who had the means to do so faced difficult choices: who and what to read? As a multi-lingual, multi-disciplinary writer and reviewer in one of the book and journal centres of the German Enlightenment, Feder took on his intermediary role between languages, cultures and perspectives with overt enthusiasm. He never left the German-speaking territories in his lifetime, which makes him and his work both exemplary results of a communication process and a cultural shift that occurred to a great extent via a printed medium. As Feder himself states rather candidly in his autobiography, his own philosophical stance was not at all established when he arrived in Göttingen, and had to be developed and refined there. The study of English books, the discovery and integration of Scottish philosophy in his thinking was a significant part of that. At the beginning of his career, Feder admits that he “wavered” between the dogmatism of the Wolffian school and a scepticism grounded in disposition and reading matter alike (Leben 71-72). These are the two opposites Feder continued to position himself between, searching for a way to incorporate the useful and leave out mistakes. Disputing and opposing views are needed in order to approach truth by an irenic reconciliation and a prudent counterbalance.

40As Michael Albrecht points out, Feder never explicitly referred to himself or his work as eclectic (592-94). Instead, in his Outline, he lists eclectic contemporary philosophers, and calls Samuel Christian Hollmann, his colleague in Göttingen, the “model of a reasonable doubter” (Grundriß 44). Refusing a philosophical label for himself as well as rejecting a sceptical doubt that destroys everything but itself, he still holds onto both – reason and doubt, the schools and the critical discussion alike, always in moderation.

Fig. 3: Philosophy as a multi-lingual work of integration – detail of Feder, Untersuchungen über den menschlichen Willen, Volume 1, p. 21

Fig. 3: Philosophy as a multi-lingual work of integration – detail of Feder, Untersuchungen über den menschlichen Willen, Volume 1, p. 21

Public Domain, Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek: Sign. DD94 A 243:1,​purl?PPN897775708

  • 18 Auch dieß habe ich immer so vom Catheder gelehrt” (Leben 290).s

41In his autobiography, Feder gives a short account of his philosophical and political convictions. He ends his statement that no innocent should be sacrificed for the supposed greater good with these words: “This, too, I have always taught from the lectern.”18 Feder’s philosophical work was intertwined with his work as a teacher. For him, this laid an empirical-psychological groundwork which defined humans as sensory beings, grounded in body and matter, something that Feder recognised in Scottish philosophy. His works purposefully target and break down what he saw as overambitious idealistic systems that are communicable and teachable only in a limited way – and therefore not useful enough. There is a decidedly patronising aspect to this that is essential in education and didactics, and, to some extent, also evident in journalistic work. When Zimmerli speaks of a Göttingen “world philosophy from the lectern,” the question arises as to whether there is another way tof teaching popular philosophy in an academic setting. The university teacher, institutionally secured and standing behind a lectern, is one further structuring and systematizing step ahead of the journalist. In Feder’s writings, we find both eclectic academic and eclectic journalistic work. Both share the modern, paradoxical struggle for an impartiality that eventually has to circle back and recognize its own partiality. This might be one of the reasons why Feder rejected the defined, certain truth concepts of Reid and Beattie so explicitly and instead preferred Adam Smith’s concepts of sympathy and moral sentiment that are decidedly more open in an interpersonal sense.

42Usefulness is what unites and keeps both doubt and dogmatism in check: this is why, eventually, Reid and Beattie need the “speculative systems” they are fighting – the common sense thinkers ground the overly systematic approaches while philosophical speculation examines and verifies their thoughts (GAS 1789 (46): 457). The eclectic method that Feder adopted in Göttingen allowed him to approach the philosophical work of thinkers like Beattie and Reid, and to isolate and separate the “good and truthful” things, so they might be combined with and integrated into other systems – as long as these systems are open enough to do so (PB 1789 115). A systematic openness is thus what propels this deliberate, eclectic knowledge conglomeration. In this way, it corresponds with and complements the technique of eclectic knowledge compilation of early modern journal production that Martin Gierl describes. While the sheer amount of early modern book production led to overload and confusion for interested readers, the compilation that journals offered was a starting point, providing a first classification and orientation. In doing so, it also created a new problem: after all, the bias that guides the compiling and selecting hand is the same one that is reflected in translation, review and commentary. It is a fundamental insight of early modern eclectic readers that the writing subject is dependent on their own subjective point of view – and that this concurrently means that readers have their own biases as well. The hesitant approach to impartiality and the critique of prejudice go hand in hand with the realisation of its inevitability. Thus, the newly introduced concept of truth has to be accepted as a journalistic one: both prosaic and contextually embedded (Warner 27). Journal readers are at once confined and liberated by their reading matter. In the three steps of Feder’s review of Garve’s translation of Ferguson’s work, there is a glimpse of an opportunity: if no one is impartial and everything a matter of perspective, then transparent explanation, inclusive discussion and mindful compilation might allow an approach to an intersubjective, “common” truth nonetheless. Translation efforts always include ideas and concepts and thus bring an element of cultural transformation that affects all involved languages. This philosophical discussion in a journalistic framework does not need the author’s name as an authoritative signum, it just needs a reference, a reliable source. It is up to the journal’s reader to further select, analyse and scrutinise. Eclectic thinking is, just like journalistic writing and reading, an emancipative effort that is, deliberately, never completed nor exhausted.

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Leben, Natur und Grundsätze. Zur Belehrung und Ermunterung seiner lieben Nachkommen, auch Anderer die Nutzbares daraus aufzunehmen geneigt sind. Ed. Karl August Ludwig Feder. Leipzig; Hannover; Darmstadt: Schwickert, Hahnsche Hofbuchhandlung, Leske, 1825.


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Hollmann, Samuel Christian. Lob des Krieges. In einigen Gesprächen entwickelt. Zweyter und letzter Theil. Frankfurt: Leipzig 1770.

Pütter, Johann Stephan. Versuch einer academischen Gelehrten-Geschichte von der Georg-Augustus-Universität zu Göttingen. Göttingen: Verlag der Wittwe Vandenhoek, 1765.

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1 See here the comprehensive Catalogue of English Books Printed before 1801. Held by the University Library at Göttingen, 3 Parts, 7 Volumes, 1987-1988. Only the newest edition will be mentioned hereafter as Catalogue I and II, as it also lists provenances and purchases: A Catalogue of English Books Printed before 1801. Held by the University Library at Göttingen. Part 4, 2 Volumes, 2017.

2 “In den Wissenschafften scheint kein Land Engelland izt vorzugehn. […] Alleine in der Erforschung der natur, treflichen Versuchen und allem deme, wohin die Meßkunst und die Natur der Wesen sich erstreckt, übertreffen sie alle vorige Zeiten und izige Länder (Haller 132). All translations from German into English made by the author.

3 For a list of Feder’s publications, see the bibliography in Nowitzki, Roth, Stiening 395-453. For a biographical overview, see also the chronological table there (389-94). For biographical details, see Feder’s autobiography: Leben, Natur und Grundsätze.

4 A fairly unusual but relevant indicator for his success is the sheer number of unauthorised and pirated reprints of his works (see Zöllner).

5 Die gesunde Vernunft und ihre Grund- und Haupt-Wahrheiten wider die verführerischen Räsonnements sophistischer Skeptiker zu vertheidigen,” GAS 1771 (12): 91.

6 “Mit Vergnügen werden es einige lesen und mit völliger Beystimmung, wie der Verfasser zuletzt behauptet, daß die Metaphysiker ordentlich seichte Köpfe sind, und Leute ohne Genie und Geschmack” (GAS 1771 (12): 96).

7 “Genaue Seelenforscher wissen ohnedem, wie selten die recht eigentlichen unmittelbaren und reinen Empfindungsurtheile sind” (GAS 1771 (12): 95).

8 “Daß des Punktes von der zweckmäßigen Gleichheit der beyden Geschlechter mit gar keinem Worte Erwähnung geschehen, hat uns doch befremdet” (GAS(Z) 1771 (14): CXIV).

9 Which always has to be useful in a greater societal framework, see Feder’s reference to Ferguson’s Essay on the History of Civil Society in Untersuchungen über den menschlichen Willen 642-43.

10 “Das Buch könnte auch wohl unter uns zum Unterrichte, wenigstens zum Privatunterrichte, mit Nutzen gebraucht werden. Daher wir eine Uebersetzung nicht ungerne sehen würden, wenn sie von einem Mann, der die Begriffe im Kopf hätte, unternommen würde” (GAS(Z) 1771 (14): CXV).

11 “Bereicherung oder Berichtigung der unentbehrlichen wissenschaftlichen Sprache, neues Licht für die Ideen, durch die Bemühung aus einer Sprache in die andere sie überzutragen” (GAS 1772 (101): 860).

12 Translators like Garve struggled with the translation of the phrase and concept of “public spirit” (Oz-Salzberger 197). In the German debate, the term adopted an almost spiritual, transcendent quality (Archenholz 204).

13 “Hier merkt man in der That den Mangel unsrer und fast einer jeden Sprache, wenn die Verschiedenheiten, die wir in dem Zustande der Seele gewahr werden, ausgedrückt werden sollen. Aber unsre Sprache ist darinn wirklich noch weiter zurück, als irgend eine; theils weil wir keine lateinische Worte aufnehmen können, und im lateinischen doch zuerst philosophirt worden; theils weil unre Sprache nicht mit unsern Wissenschaften zugleich kultiviert worden ist, sondern dieselben so zu sagen schon ganz fertig aus den Händen einer fremden Sprache erhalten hat” (Ferguson, Grundsätze 326).

14 “Eine Uebersetzung verdient das Ganze nicht. Aber Auszuge daraus gedenkt Rec. irgendwo mitzutheilen” (GAS 1787 (63): 630).

15 “Ein eigenes Verdienst hat dieß Werk in Beziehung auf die englische Sprache und die Aufklärung und Festsetzung des Sinns ihrer philosophischen Ausdrucke” (GAS 1787 (63): 630).

16 “Dieß Werk ist das wichtigste ausländische Product der speculativen Philosophie, das in den letzten Jahren bekannt geworden ist, die Arbeit eines alten, in und außer England schon lange berühmten feinen Denkers” (PB 1788 43).

17 Was hilft es denn, wenn wir in der Schule und in unsern Büchern den Worten andere Bedeutungen geben, als sie im gemeinen Leben haben; und nach Vorstellungen haschen wollen, die in unserer Erkenntniß nicht vorkommen? Was richten wir damit aus?” (PB 1788 59).

18 Auch dieß habe ich immer so vom Catheder gelehrt” (Leben 290).s

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1: Title page of the first volume of the Göttingische Zeitungen von gelehrten Sachen, 1739
Crédits Public Domain, Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek: Sign. 8 EPH LIT 160/5,​purl?PPN319732576_1739
Fichier image/png, 69k
Titre Fig. 2: First page of Feder’s review of Ferguson’s Institutes, with added author name
Crédits Public Domain, Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek: Sign. 8 EPH LIT 160/7,​purl?PPN31973076X_1771_02
Fichier image/png, 83k
Titre Fig. 3: Philosophy as a multi-lingual work of integration – detail of Feder, Untersuchungen über den menschlichen Willen, Volume 1, p. 21
Crédits Public Domain, Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek: Sign. DD94 A 243:1,​purl?PPN897775708
Fichier image/png, 116k
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Friederike Frenzel, « Eclectic Endeavours of 18th-century Popular Philosophy  »XVII-XVIII [En ligne], 79 | 2022, mis en ligne le 31 décembre 2022, consulté le 05 décembre 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Friederike Frenzel

Friederike Frenzel is a PhD candidate at Technical University Dresden (Germany). Her thesis focuses on the “Common Sense”-concept at the University of Göttingen in the 18th century. She has published papers on the European debate about the “New Wars”-term (2017), about the “Common Sense”-concept in the digital sphere (2019), and about Gender Fluidity motifs in Victorian children’s literature (2021).

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