Philosophy

The Fisher's philosophy holdings are strong in the works of early philosophers - including Aristotle, Bacon, Locke and Hobbes - as well as the writings of nineteenth- and twentieth-century thinkers, which are included in the Bertrand Russell Collection, John G. Slater Collection of British and American Philosophy, Einstein Collection and the Michael Polayni Collection. The Michael Walsh Philosophy Collection, which is detailed below, further strengthens the holdings in all areas of Western philosophical thought.

Walsh Philosophy Collection

Image from Duns Scotus' Scriptum in quartum librum SententiarumThe gift of Dr Michael and Virginia Walsh of Toronto, and assembled over a period of some thirty-five years, this major collection comprises a wide and valuable survey of Western philosophical thought from ancient Greece, through the early Middle Ages, to the current day. The collection ranges widely from the incunabule period to important works of the 20th century. There are some fifteen books printed before 1500. More important than the number, however, is the rarity and condition of these items. Among others, they include fine copies of the first edition of the first part of Aquinas' Summa Theologica (Padua, 1473), no copy having appeared at auction in America or England since 1914. Similarly, one may peruse the first dated edition of his Summa contra gentiles (Rome, 1475), for which there is no Canadian copy (and only three in each of England and the United States), or the only known copy printed on vellum of Duns Scotus' Scriptum in quartum librum Sententiarum (Venice, 1476), formerly in the Doheny Collection. The collection also includes the first edition of Aquinas' Commentum in libros politicorum Aristotelis (Barcelona, 1478) for which there are only eleven recorded copies, and the second edition of the second part of Aquinas' Summa theologica (Venice, 1478) with its exceptional binding from the Benedictine Abbey of Weingarten.

There are twenty 16th century books, including, among others: a beautiful sammelband containing Augustine's De civitate Dei and De Summa Trinitate (Basel, 1515) in a contemporary dated binding; a copy of Swinehead's very rare Calculator (Venice, 1520); the first Zimara edition of Aristotle (Pavia, 1521) in a contemporary binding; Pompanazzi's Tractatus acutissimi . (Venice, 1525); the first edition of the Greek text of Diogenes Laertius' Lives of the Philosophers (Basel, 1533); the first edition of Proclus' commentary on Plato's Timaeus (Basel, 1534); the first edition of any work of Aristotle published in English, his Ethiques (London, 1547); a fine copy of the first edition of Gessner's authoritative edition of Aristotle (Basel, 1550); the very rare 1550 Lyons edition of Plato's Opera in five "pocket sized" volumes; and the first publication of Plato in French (Paris, 1555). Augustine's De civitate Dei

The collection of 17th century books is extensive. In addition to important first editions of standard authors, such as Aristotle, the Collection contains the first editions, among others, of Arnauld and Nicole's Logique ou l'Art de penser (Paris, 1662); of Bacon's Of the proficience and advancement of learning (London, 1605); of Campanella's Athiesmus Triumphatus (Rome, 1631); Erigena's De divisione naturae (Oxford, 1681); the first English translation of Machiavelli's political works (London, 1675); and the first edition in Greek of Sextus Empiricus (Orleans, 1621). Of exceptional importance, rarity, and value is the fine copy of Descarte's Discours de la methode (Leiden, 1637), the work which launched "modern" philosophy. Hobbes is represented by first editions of several works, including a fine copy of Leviathan (London, 1651). There is an extremely rare legal dissertation by Leibniz (Leipzig, 1665). The collection of first editions of Locke, again almost always in fine contemporary bindings, is virtually complete, including, of course, his Essay concerning humane understanding (London, 1690), as well as twenty other works. Spinoza is represented not only by a fine copy of his Opera (Amsterdam, 1677), but also by Principiorum Philosophiae (Amsterdam, 1663) and the Tractus Theologico-Politicus (Amsterdam, 1670). Lastly, a fine and very rare 1657 Hebrew edition of the Summa contra gentiles rounds out the library's already strong Aquinas holdings.

Even more extensive and comprehensive are the holdings of 18th century philosophers, there being few important works not included for this and later periods. To list only a few examples: almost all of Berkeley's books are present in fine first edition copies, including his very rare Treatise concerning the principles of human knowledge (Dublin, 1710) and a copy of Siris (Dublin, 1744) presented by him to his close friend, the Earl of Egmont; Condillac's Essay on the origin of human knowledge in both its original French (Amsterdam, 1746) and very rare English editions (London, 1756); a representative selection of Fichte, including his first book, Versuch einer Critic aller Offenbarung (Königsburg, 1792); Godwin's chief work, Enquiry concerning political justice (London, 1793), rare especially in such fine condition. There is also a fine selection of the works of Herder, including his Ideen (Riga, 1784), Baron d'Holbach's Systeme de la nature in both its French (Amsterdam, 1770) and exceedingly scarce English editions (London, 1795), and Lessing's Laokoon (Berlin, 1766). The collection of Hume is essentially complete in fine first editions, including, for example, not only his scarce Treatise of human nature (London, 1739-40), but also one of the few known copies of the Abstract of that work, prepared and published anonymously by Hume in 1740, as well as fifteen other of his works. Similarly, the collection of Kant contains all the works from his critical period, such as the Critik der Reinen Vernunft (in both the first, 1781, and second, 1787, editions), Critik der Practischen Vernunft (1788), and Critik der Urtheilskraft (1790). As well, exceptionally scarce earlier works such as his first book Gedanken von der Wahren Schätzung (1746), the Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels (1755), of which there are only six recorded copies in Germany, and his extremely rare inaugural dissertation De mundi sensibilis (1770), are all present in fine condition. In all, over twenty first editions of Kant are included, as well as the very rare sale catalogue of his library and many early German commentaries on his work. Price's extremely rare Review of the Principal Questions . in Morals (London, 1748) is included, as are near complete collections of the works of Hutcheson, Reid, Stewart, and Rousseau, including first editions of the latter's Émile (Amsterdam, 1762) and Confessions (1782 and 1790). Lastly, the Collection also boasts first editions of Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and Essays on Philosophical Subjects (1759).

Nineteenth century philosophy is equally well represented. To touch upon just a few of the major works or authors: George Bentham's extremely rare Outline of a New System of Logic (1827), Bolzano's Wissenschaftslehre in four volumes (1837), Boole's Mathematical Analysis of Logic (1847), Cabanis' Rapports du Physique (1802), Comte's Cours de philosophie positive in six volumes (1830-42), De Morgan's Formal Logic (1847), Feurbach's Das Wesen des Christenthums 91841), Hanslick's Vom Musikalisch-Schonen (1845), James Mill's Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind (1829) and Fragment on Mackintosh (1835), eleven of John Stuart Mill's books in first editions, a representative selection of works by Schelling, Stirner's Der Einzige und Eigenthum (1845), and Ueberweg's own interleaved and heavily annotated copy of his System der Logik (1857) all grace Fisher's shelves. All of Hegel's major works are held in the Collection, including his Ph¨anomenologie des Geistes (1807) and the three-volume Logik (1812-16). The collection of Schopenhauer's books is unique, holding all of the editions issued in his lifetime, including a fine presentation copy of his first book (1813). In all there are twenty-two 19th century editions of Schopenhauer and twenty-one 19th century secondary works concerning his thought, most of extreme rarity. Finally, the Collection has a large holding of the translations of Thomas Taylor, including his extremely rare nine-volume quarto edition of Aristotle's Works (London, 1806-12), of which only fifty copies were printed, and the five volume Plato's Works (London, 1804). In all, there are sixteen separate published editions by this English Platonist.

A number of rare and outstanding items from the late 19th and 20th centuries also form part of this collection. These include the original "Minute Books" of the Aristotelian Society for the period 1901-1936, an item that offers unique research opportunities. There are also a number of first editions by such figures as Bradley, Brentano (11 German firsts), Carnap, Carrol, Cassirer, Frege, Heidegger, Husserl, Moore, Nietzche, Popper, Quine, Royce, Sartre, and Schweitzer. Not to be overlooked are some exceptional Wittgenstein items including a typescript prepared by Bertrand Russell of Wittgenstein's 1913 discussion on logic; Herbert Feigl's annotated copy of the Tractatus as first published (1921) in Annalen der Naturphilosophie, the only known copy associated with a member of the Vienna Circle; and both the Blue Book and the Brown Book, typescripts of Wittgenstein's lectures of 1933-34 and 1934-35 prepared for circulation to a select group of his students.

The Collection also includes a comprehensive selection of the monuments of philosophical scholarship, such as Brucker's five-volume history of philosophy (Leipzig, 1742-1767), Stanley's in three volumes (London, 1655-1662), and Ueberweg's in five (Berlin, 1923-28), as well as many important secondary sources.

Given the university's traditional strength in philosophical research and teaching, the presence of this Collection at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is an invaluable aid to modern scholarship, and complements the other philosophical collections at the Fisher, including the Aristotle, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Slater Collection of Bertrand Russell. In addition, from a bibliophile's point of view, the Walshes' emphasis on the preservation of contemporary bindings and insistence on a uniformly high standard of condition, coupled with the presence of many notable association copies, makes this collection an exceptional addition to the University of Toronto Library. In addition to their contribution of rare and historic volumes, the Walshes have also endowed a fund to help grow and maintain their philosophy collection.