Universal Natural History and Theory of Heaven
An Exploration of the Constitution and the Mechanical Origin of the Entire Structure of the Universe
Based on Newtonian Principles
Immanuel Kant


The text of this work is available here in two versions, a German text from the complete works edited by Georg Reimer (1905) and an English text, which is a fairly recent translation (1998) by Ian Johnston of Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia.

The German text is unchanged except for the correction of a few typographical errors in the printing and for the change from the old Gothic script to a standard modern alphabet convertible to HTML.

In both versions the Table of Contents also been altered slightly (to include the dedication and the preface) and moved to the front, before the dedication and the preface, so that the reader can more easily select particular portions of the text. And all footnotes have been moved to the end.

The English text contains links to Kant's footnotes, together with links to some additional footnotes provided by the translator (the latter are not provided in the German text). 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.

In the English translation I have used the original lines from Alexander Pope and Addison in those places where Kant quotes from the German translations of these English poets. The translations of von Haller quotations are my own.

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.

This translation has certain copyright restrictions.  For information please use the following link: Copyright.  For comments or question please contact Ian Johnston.

I would appreciate hearing any and all suggestions for improvements in the accuracy and the style of the English translation, since editing the translation is an ongoing project.

Ian C. Johnston
Liberal Studies Department
Vancouver Island University
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 6K3

Please click on the appropriate phrase: German Text (355 KB) or English Text (321 KB)




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