Universal Natural History and Theory of Heaven
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Mode of access: Online. OTA website
The text contains links to Kant's footnotes, together with links to some additional footnotes provided by the translator. There are also occasional references to two earlier translators of Kant's text: Stanley L. Jaki and William Hastie. The translator of the present text would like to acknowledge the great help he has received from these two earlier translations. The original lines from Alexander Pope and Addison are used in those places where Kant quotes from the German translations of these English poets. The major purpose of this translation is to provide undergraduates a readily accessible version of Kant's work in a modern idiom. Hastie's translation, although very fluent, is seriously incomplete and in places suffers from a curious choice of words; and there are some odd errors of terminology. Jaki's translation is scrupulously faithful to Kant's text, but is doggedly literal and thus, in many places, very difficult to read, especially since it contains many denoted editorial insertions. These two translations clearly reflect the very different attitudes of the translators to Kant's work: Hastie is an enthusiastic apologist for Kant's scientific genius; Jaki, by contrast, believes the scientific value of Kant's work here has been seriously exaggerated (to say the least). I take no stand on this issue (which I am ill equipped to judge), and I refer anyone interested in the debate to consult Jaki's excellent introduction and detailed commentary on Kant's text. His remarks on Kant's theory in context are (for me) extremely persuasive.