Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Philosophical Writings

By Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Edited and translated by Steven Tester
Introduction by Steven Tester

Subjects: Philosophy, German Idealism
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438441962, 223 pages, January 2013
Hardcover : 9781438441979, 223 pages, June 2012

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Table of contents

Note on the Edition, Text, and Translation
Notebook A: 1765–1770
Kέρας ’Aμαλθείας: 1765–1772
Notebook B: 1768–1771
Notebook C: 1772–1773
Notebook D: 1773–1775
Notebook E: 1775–1776
Notebook F: 1776–1779
Notebook G: 1779–1783
Notebook H: 1784–1788
Golden Notebook: Winter 1789
Notebook J: 1789–1793
Notebook K: 1793–1796
Notebook L: 1796–1799
Further Reading

The definitive scholarly edition of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg’s philosophical aphorisms.


Admired by philosophers such as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Freud, Benjamin, and Wittgenstein, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799) is known to the English-speaking world mostly as a satirist. An eminent experimental physicist and mathematician, Lichtenberg was knowledgeable about the philosophical views of his time, and interested in uncovering the philosophical commitments that underlie our common beliefs. In his notebooks (which he called his Waste Books) he often reflects on, challenges, and critiques these philosophical commitments and the dominant views of the Enlightenment, German idealism, and British empiricism. This scholarly collection of Lichtenberg's philosophical aphorisms contains hundreds of trenchant observations drawn from these notebooks, many of which have been translated into English here for the first time. It also includes a historical and philosophical introduction to his writings, situating him in the history of philosophy and ideas, and is supplemented with a chronology, suggestions for further reading, and extensive introductory and textual notes explaining his references.

Steven Tester is a joint PhD candidate in philosophy at Humboldt University in Berlin and in German at Northwestern University. .


"This is a great project by an extremely knowledgeable translator. Tester does a fine job making the case for Lichtenberg and explaining his thinking. " — Carl Niekerk, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign