Peter  Forsskål (1732–1763) was a Swedish philosopher, linguist, botanist and controversialist.

David Shaw is a member of a team which is researching and publishing aspects of his life and publications. This project has a web site at

The team’s main publication is an edition and English translation of the text of Forsskål’s Tankar om borgerliga friheten (1759) , a pamphlet advocating freedom of speech and civil liberties which was banned by the Swedish authorities on the day of publication.

David Shaw’s main contributions to the project are:

  • a census of copies of the 1759 and 1792 editions of the Tankar om borgerliga friheten
  • a table of variants between the manuscript and the two printed editions of theTankar om borgerliga friheten, prepared in collaboration with Gunilla Jonsson.
  • a census of copies of the three editions (1756, 1760) of Forsskål’s Göttingen PhD dissertation, Dubia De Principiis Philosophiae Recentioris
  • a translation of the broadside announcing the award to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 1756
  • a transcription and translation of the draft of the diploma making Forsskål a corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Göttingen, in 1756.
  • further documents on the award of his doctorate are in preparation by David Shaw and Gunilla Jonsson