Collection of Rare Editions of Philosophical Books

Why are philosophers today more interested in certain problems than others? Where did modern formulations of philosophical questions come from? And why in everyday life do we think in some categories and not in some others? The Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies Collection of Rare Editions of Philosophical Works of the XVII–XX centuries, assembled with the support of SDV Arts & Science Foundation, is conceived as an answer to these questions.

It is based on the idea of ​​the progressive development of Thought: we, modern people, did not become what we are all of a sudden, for no reason. It is the works of great thinkers of the past, some of which are gathered in our Collection, that determined how and what we think about nowadays, formed the culture of modernity and allow to trace the history of the formation of modern thought.

This history is a history of philosophical progress, of the development of the ideas of classical modern European philosophy, the heir of the philosophy of Antiquity. Today, its successor is analytic philosophy, and the Collection contains works most important for its history. The core of this philosophy today is metaphysics and philosophy of mind, trying to find answers to questions about what underlies the reality and how our consciousness is connected with it. The MCCS Book Collection is designed to trace the path of intellectual searches in the philosophy of mind—from the moment the field was born in Modern times to the present day, from the emergence of the problem of consciousness and related questions about free will, personal identity and moral responsibility to their contemporary solutions—to show the progress reached by philosophical thought along this path.

The presented catalog of MCCS Book Collection is not just a set of photographs of books and their bibliographic descriptions. It is an attempt to reveal the principles and ideas that underlie our collection.

The collection contains books, articles and handwritten sketches of philosophers of the XVII–XX centuries. There are unique items in the collection: John Locke. Experience about human understanding. In four books / Second edition, substantially supplemented. London: for Awnsham & John Churchil and Samuel Manship, 1694; Rene Descartes. Primary philosophy. Amsterdam: A.L. Elzevirium, 1644. The first edition; David Hume. The study of human knowledge—from the author of "Moral and political essays." London: for A. Millar, 1748. First edition; Immanuel Kant. Critique of Pure Reason / Second edition, revised and enlarged. Riga: Johann Friedrich Hartknoch, 1787. Second edition; etc.

Most of the items of the Collection are unavailable even in the richest public libraries. As a modest contribution to preservation and distribution of cultural heritage, we are currently digitizing the copies of our Collection to make them accessible to anyone interested in the history of philosophical thought. At the moment it has already been published:

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s autograph comments and corrections in an offprint of Ludwig Hänsel's essay 'Sense of Value and Value', one of the main sources of direct statements of the later Wittgenstein on the philosophy of value.
The First Edition of "Freedom and Resentment" by Peter Strawson — an article that made a revolution in the research of moral responsibility, setting the pace in modern discussions on this topic.

New items are coming soon. Meanwhile, photos and descriptions of some of them can be found on SDV Arts & Science Foundation webpage.

In the winter of 2019–2020, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art hosted an exhibition of the MCCS Book Collection. You can find more about this event on our website. All the news about the upcoming exhibitions of the Collection will also be posted here.