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  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: December 2020

Translators’ Remarks


One principle lying behind the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant is consistency of translation across volumes. The particular relation between some of the materials in this volume – the drafts of Theory and Practice, Towards Perpetual Peace, the Metaphysics of Morals, and Conflict of the Faculties – and the translations of their published versions in the Cambridge volume Practical Philosophy by Mary Gregor made consistency particularly important for this volume. We have tried to retain as much of Gregor's terminology as possible while still allowing for occasional differences when context or clarity warranted a different term. Gregor's translations are a model of elegance and accuracy; she captures Kant's style extremely well while conveying the philosophical content accurately. Our rendering of the drafts in the stages nearest to publication attempt to reflect this combination but cannot match the level of excellence she was able to achieve. Our focus on consistency of terminology and clarity of philosophical content should enable the reader to discern the most important similarities and differences between these drafts and the published works in Gregor's volume.

The other material in this volume is less directly related to Gregor's translations. The Reflections themselves were written in a direct tone given that Kant generally intended them as notes for his lectures or as sketches of arguments; in this material our policy naturally favored a more literal rather than ornate style. The other material translated in this volume was not even penned by Kant but by a student reproducing Kant's course lecture; the style of the translations follows suit, with very direct discussions of specific points and few rhetorical flourishes.We of course maintained consistency of terminology across all these different types of material.

The key term Naturrecht rarely appears in the material Gregor translated but figures prominently both in the lecture and in Kant's notes for it.We translate it as “natural right” in part to link it to the term Recht, which is itself best rendered as “right” as Gregor notes in her remarks on the terminology she used in her translation.