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.
Los aforismos de Lichtenberg son una creación marginal: fueron escritos con paciencia y gusto en los márgenes de unos cuadernos. Del margen pasaron a formar libros enteros: Lichtenberg ya es uno de los grandes de la literatura alemana. Sus aforismos contienen todas las delicias del arte de la miniatura, entre otras, la sabiduría, el buen humor y la justicia.