Kant: AA XI, Briefwechsel 1791 , Seite 253




Text (Kant):




  01 2nd That the representation of the foggy stars, as a like number remote      
  02 milky ways is not, as Erxleben says in his natural philosophy 1772 p. 540,      
  03 and as is still extant in the new edition, augmented by the counsellor Lichtenberg      
  04 as an idea, ventured by Lambert, who rather supposed them (at least one of      
  05 them) to be obscure bodies, illuminated by neighboring suns.      
  06 3rd That I have represented a long time ago, very nearly to that, what      
  07 recent observations have taught, the production and conservation of the ring of      
  08 Saturn, according to mere laws of the centripetal force, which appears now to      
  09 be so well confirmed, viz: a mist, moving round its centre, (which in the same      
  10 time is that of Saturn), which is composed of particles, not steady, but independently      
  11 revolving and performing their orbits in times, different according to      
  12 their distance from the centre; whereby at once the time of Saturn's revolution      
  13 on its axis, which I inferred from it, and its flatness, seem to be ratified.      
  14 4th That this agreement of the theory of the production of yon ring from      
  15 a vaporous matter, moving after the laws of the centripetal force, is somewhat      
  16 favorable to the theory of the production of the great globes themselves according      
  17 to the same laws, except that their property of rotation is originally produced      
  18 by the fall of this dispersed substance by the general gravity. It does      
  19 so chiefly, if the later opinion, added as supplement to the theory of the      
  20 heavens, which is approved by the important applause of Mr. Lichtenberg, is      
  21 connected with it, that: yon prime matter, vaporously dispersed through the      
  22 universe, which contained all stuffs of an innumerable variety in an elastic      
  23 state, forming the globes, effected it only in this manner, that the matters of      
  24 any chemical affinity, if in their course, they met together according to the      
  25 laws of gravitation, destroyed mutually their elasticity, produced by its bodies      
  26 and in them that heat, joined in the larger globes, (the suns) externally with      
  27 the illuminated property, in the smaller ones (the planets) with the interior heat.      
  28 In the same time I beg you to entitle the appendix about in the following manner.      
  29 Appendix.      
  30 Occasion of it.      
  31 The apprehension, that several inquiries, both public and private, for      
  32 Kant's natural history and theory of the heavens, Michael 1755, might occasion      
  33 any unbidden new edition of it, moved its author to propose to me, to make      
  34 an extract of it, containing the most essential, however with regard to the great      
  35 progress of astronomy since its publication; with I lay down here, after his      
  36 review and with his approbation.      
  37 Here follows the extract.      
  38 Besides I beseech you, not to be offended at the trouble, I occasion you;      
  39 and to favor me with your company, if possible, tomorrow at the dinner.      
  40   I. Kant      
  41   Apr. 19. 1791.      

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