[lit-ideas] early modern texts [fwd]

This is to inform you that www.earlymoderntexts.com. has acquired four texts since I last reported (in February 2005):

1. Mill’s beautiful On Liberty. Hardly ‘early modern’; but Mill’s writing, excellent as it is, presents obstacles to today’s readers, so that it seemed worthwhile to include it in my project.

2. Leibniz’s ‘Making the Case for God’; this is his Causa Dei Asserta, a tough little Latin appendix to the Theodicy, stating compactly the main doctrines of the larger work.

3. Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. In some translations of this work’s title, ‘Foundation(s)’ is used, but it is wrong. Grundlegung can refer to (i) a foundation or to (ii) the laying of it. Near the end of the Preface, Kant explicitly describes ‘the present Grundlegung’ as a certain task - an activity, not an object; and when he wants to refer to the object he uses Grundlage, as when he speaks of this work as diese Vorarbeitung der Grundlage, ‘this preparatory work on the foundation’. I am indebted to Petra von Morstein for putting me onto this point. -This text is undergoing severe scrutiny right now, but I have decided not to wait. If revisions are needed, they will be done.

4. Descartes’s Discourse on the Method.

This website, which is just a year old, has had a bit over 55,000 visits. Since the start of March it has averaged over 1,300 visits per week.

I want now to start on two further texts. The members of the Reid Society are being asked for advice about which of two major Reid works should get priority. I would be glad to have suggestions from anyone about what else it would be good to tackle at this point. Bacon’s Novum Organum?

Jonathan Bennett

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Robert Paul
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