25 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2023
    1. One of his most famous students was Alexander von Humboldt, who thanked his mentor Lichtenberg with these words: “I do not merely regard the sum of positive insights that I was able to gather from what you told me – what I value even more is the general direction that my train of thoughts took under your guidance. Truth in itself is precious, but even more precious is the skill to find it.”

      Did Lichtenberg pass along note taking practice to Humboldt?

  2. Oct 2023
    1. Possible further answers to your open questions are in »›Schmierbuchmethode bestens zu empfehlen.‹ Sudelbücher?«, in: Ulrich Joost et al. (eds.), Georg Christoph Lichtenberg 1742–1799. Wagnis der Aufklärung, München 1992, 19–48. PDF in GermanThere’s plenty more at the Lichtenberg society.And a fascinating online exhibition. See display no. 20 for an example of one of Lichtenberg’s annotated bibliographies, which he had published specially in an interleaved edition, and, wouldn’t you know it, some of his loose slips!
    2. Each page just has a page number at the top corner, as far as I can see. The German Wikipedia entry says that from notebook E, he numbered the front pages with Arabic numerals and the back pages with Roman numerals, so his notes began at both ends and met in the middle of the book. This is clear in the original, but hard to understand. And he would at least have been able to refer to his notes in the form {volume letter, page number}.It seems he didn’t number consecutive entries himself, but that in later Lichtenberg scholarship there developed an editorial convention to do so. After his death they only published his ‘aphorisms’, organised by theme, and later re-organised by date, but still missing his scientific and other writings.
    3. Analysis of Lichtenberg’s methods is in: McGillen, P. Wit, bookishness, and the epistemic impact of note-taking:. Dtsch Vierteljahrsschr Literaturwiss Geistesgesch 90, 501–528 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41245-016-0025-8
  3. Sep 2023
    1. (~6:00) Discussion of messiness as a record of working - notes don't need to be "perfect".

      (9:08) He shows the wikipedia page for waste book with my additions :)

      (late) quote from Georg Christoph Lichtenberg's waste books about waste books


      A brief overview of Newton's note taking in his waste book

    1. Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg: Philosophical Writings. Edited and translated by Steven Tester. SUNY Series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy, 1.0. State University of New York Press, 2012.

    2. Merchants and traders have a waste book (Sudelbuch, Klitterbuch in GermanI believe) in which they enter daily everything they purchase and sell,messily, without order. From this, it is transferred to their journal, whereeverything appears more systematic, and finally to a ledger, in double entryafter the Italian manner of bookkeeping, where one settles accounts witheach man, once as debtor and then as creditor. This deserves to be imitatedby scholars. First it should be entered in a book in which I record everythingas I see it or as it is given to me in my thoughts; then it may be enteredin another book in which the material is more separated and ordered, andthe ledger might then contain, in an ordered expression, the connectionsand explanations of the material that flow from it. [46]

      —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Notebook E, #46, 1775–1776

      In this single paragraph quote Lichtenberg, using the model of Italian bookkeepers of the 18th century, broadly outlines almost all of the note taking technique suggested by Sönke Ahrens in How to Take Smart Notes. He's got writing down and keeping fleeting notes as well as literature notes. (Keeping academic references would have been commonplace by this time.) He follows up with rewriting and expanding on the original note to create additional "explanations" and even "connections" (links) to create what Ahrens describes as permanent notes or which some would call evergreen notes.

      Lichtenberg's version calls for the permanent notes to be "separated and ordered" and while he may have kept them in book format himself, it's easy to see from Konrad Gessner's suggestion at the use of slips centuries before, that one could easily put their permanent notes on index cards ("separated") and then number and index or categorize them ("ordered"). The only serious missing piece of Luhmann's version of a zettelkasten then are the ideas of placing related ideas nearby each other, though the idea of creating connections between notes is immediately adjacent to this, and his numbering system, which was broadly based on the popularity of Melvil Dewey's decimal system.

      It may bear noticing that John Locke's indexing system for commonplace books was suggested, originally in French in 1685, and later in English in 1706. Given it's popularity, it's not unlikely that Lichtenberg would have been aware of it.

      Given Lichtenberg's very popular waste books were known to have influenced Leo Tolstoy, Albert Einstein, Andre Breton, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. (Reference: Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph (2000). The Waste Books. New York: New York Review Books Classics. ISBN 978-0940322509.) It would not be hard to imagine that Niklas Luhmann would have also been aware of them.

      Open questions: <br /> - did Lichtenberg number the entries in his own waste books? This would be early evidence toward the practice of numbering notes for future reference. Based on this text, it's obvious that the editor numbered the translated notes for this edition, were they Lichtenberg's numbering? - Is there evidence that Lichtenberg knew of Locke's indexing system? Did his waste books have an index?

  4. Nov 2022
  5. Oct 2022
    1. Blumenberg quotes GeorgChristoph Lichtenberg’s reaction to William Herschel’s 1781 discovery ofUranus: “Inventing an unfailing means against toothache, curing itinstantly, would be well worth as much and more than discovering anotherplanet.”
    2. he limited hisdiscussion of Kuhn to a short article crediting Georg Christoph Lichtenbergwith a much more sophisticated concept of “paradigm.” 9

      Hans Blumenberg felt that Georg Christoph Lichtenberg had a more sophisticated conceptualization of the idea of "paradigm" than the one which Thomas Kuhn delineated in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

      Cross reference the original mention of this:

      9 Borck, “Begriffene Geschichte: Canguilhem, Blumenberg und die Wissenschaften,” in Borck, Blumenberg beobachtet, 168–95, 179, outlines Blumenberg’s criticism of Kuhn’s model of paradigm change as too schematic. On the notion of paradigm, Blumenberg, “Paradigma, grammatisch,” in Wirklichkeiten in denen wir leben (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1981), 157–62.

  6. Jul 2022
    1. He explains the purpose of his "waste book" in his notebook E: Die Kaufleute haben ihr Waste book (Sudelbuch, Klitterbuch glaube ich im deutschen), darin tragen sie von Tag zu Tag alles ein was sie verkaufen und kaufen, alles durch einander ohne Ordnung, aus diesem wird es in das Journal getragen, wo alles mehr systematisch steht ... Dieses verdient von den Gelehrten nachgeahmt zu werden. Erst ein Buch worin ich alles einschreibe, so wie ich es sehe oder wie es mir meine Gedancken eingeben, alsdann kann dieses wieder in ein anderes getragen werden, wo die Materien mehr abgesondert und geordnet sind.[2] "Tradesmen have their 'waste book' (scrawl-book, composition book I think in German), in which they enter from day to day everything they buy and sell, everything all mixed up without any order to it, from there it is transferred to the day-book, where everything appears in more systematic fashion ... This deserves to be imitated by scholars. First a book where I write down everything as I see it or as my thoughts put it before me, later this can be transcribed into another, where the materials are more distinguished and ordered."
  7. May 2022
    1. He excerpted continually, and everything that he read went from one book next to his head and into another.— Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Sudelbü cher , Book G 181, 1779
  8. Apr 2022
    1. 7 Notes could also focus on original thoughts, as in the Pen-sées of Blaise Pascal, the “commonplace book” of George Berkeley, or the Sudel-bücher of Georg Lichtenberg, which were devoted to original reflections ratherthan to excerpts from the writings of other authors.

      Examples of notes focusing on one's original ideas and reflections rather than excerpts of others' works.

    2. On William Webster, An essay on book-keeping (1719) and on Lichtenberg’s com-parison, see Te Heesen (2005). Te Heesen also notes a case of influence in the oppo-site direction, in a cabinet of commercial samples modeled on cabinets of curiosities;see Te Heesen, (2002), 147. Zedelmaier argues that scholarly methods of informa-tion management inspired bureaucratic information management; see Zedelmaier(2004), 203. On Lichtenberg, see von Arburg (2003)

      references worth peeling apart here!! :)

  9. Nov 2021
    1. The comparison also occurs in GeorgChristoph Lichtenberg, as discussed in Anke te Heesen, “Die doppelte Verzeichnung: Schriftlicheund ra ̈umliche Aneignungsweisen von Natur im 18. Jahrhundert,” inGeha ̈use der Mnemosyne:Architektur als Schriftform der Erinnerung,ed. Harald Tausch (Go ̈ttingen, 2003), pp. 263–86.
  10. Sep 2021
  11. Aug 2021
    1. After a long and influential career, commonplace books lost their influence in the late seventeenth century. Classical passages were relegated to the anti- quarian scholar; they no longer molded discourse and life. Men who sought confirmation in empirical evidence and scientific measurement had little use for commonplace books.

      I believe that Earle Havens disputes the idea of the waning of the commonplace book after this.

      I would draw issue with it as well. Perhaps it lost some ground in the classrooms of the youth, but Harvard was teaching the idea during Ralph Waldo Emerson's time during the 1800s. Then there's the rise of the Zettelkasten in Germany in the 1700s (and later officially in the 1900s).

      Lichtenberg specifically mentions using his commonplace as a scientific tool for sharpening his ideas.

      Can we find references to other commonplacers like Francis Bacon mentioning the use of them for science?

  12. Jul 2021
    1. Your post says nothing at all to suggest Luhman didn’t “invent” “Zettelkasten” (no one says he was only one writing on scraps of paper), you list two names and no links

      My post was more in reaction to the overly common suggestions and statements that Luhmann did invent it and the fact that he's almost always the only quoted user. The link was meant to give some additional context, not proof.

      There are a number of direct predecessors including Hans Blumenberg and Georg Christoph Lichtenberg. For quick/easy reference here try:

      If you want some serious innovation, why not try famous biologist Carl Linnaeus for the invention of the index card? See: http://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/history/research/centres/medicalhistory/past/writing/

      (Though even in this space, I suspect that others were already doing similar things.)

  13. May 2021
    1. Blair’s previous work demonstrated that the practices of literary reading and writing were central to the rise of scientific method. Focusing on the lawyer and scientist Jean Bodin in the sixteenth century, she meticulously examined how Bodin collected commonplace reading notes and then stored and analyzed them as scientific evidence.

      I really do need to create a historical timeline for commonplace books already.

      Georg Christoph Lichtenberg also did this in the late 1700's and became famous for it after his death and the publication of his Waste Books. Worth looking into who his influences may have been?

    1. Cringing at your own memories does no one any good. On the other hand, systematically reviewing your older work to find the patterns in where you got it wrong (and right!) is hugely beneficial — it’s a useful process of introspection that makes it easier to spot and avoid your own pitfalls.

      This idea is far from new and is roughly what Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was doing with the science portions of his Waste Books in the late 1700's where he was running experiments, noting wins, losses, and making progress using the scientific method.

    1. “He who hasn’t lost anything in his head can’t find anything in there either,” Lichtenberg joyfully declared (a few days after praising the word ‘nonsense’ over weightier notions such as ‘chaos’ or ‘eternity’).
    2. “penny’s worth of thought” as Lichtenberg had called his entries

      a good name for entries in a commonplace