- Jul 2021
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.)
- May 2021
“Sibi scribere: The reasonable author writes for no other posterity than his own, for his own old age, in order to take pleasure in himself even then,” Blumenberg quotes Nietzsche (here, 83).
Filed on a card under the key word cogitare, Blumenberg quotes Kant: “Thinking is conversation with oneself… Listening inside.”
Hans Blumenberg carefully read Luhmann’s piece on ‘Communication with note card boxes’ in 1981. He compared their respective systems, and did not fail to record that he had “collaborated” with his own Zettelkasten for forty years, compared to Luhmann’s mere twenty-six.
So Blumenberg predates Luhmann by quite a bit.
Two hundred years later, Blumenberg’s note cards, each of them number-stamped by him and thus carrying along a trace of their temporal order of origin, could be moved and rearranged continuously in ways that weren’t open to the entries confined to the bound pages of Lichtenberg’s books. Blumenberg relied on the new connections and constellations generated within his Zettelkasten throughout his life as a writer.
Another major example of a significant zettelkasten.
- commonplace books
- tools for thought
- Niklas Luhmann
- Immanuel Kant
- Hans Blumenberg
- Friedrich Nietzsche