New work in early modern philosophy and science. A symposium on Experimental philosophy and the origins of empiricism by Peter Anstey and Alberto Vanzo and Kant and the naturalistic turn of 18th Century philosophy by Catherine Wilson

November 20, 2023
Merton College, Oxford

John Roberts Room
Merton College, Merton Street
Oxford OX1 4JD
United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


University of Sydney
King's College London
Paderborn University
University of Exeter
CUNY Graduate Center



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The session on Anstey and Vanzo's book will take place from 2 to 4pm, the session on Wilson's book from 4 to 6pm. Each session will consist of a précis by the author, commentaries, a response, and Q&A. You are welcome to attend either or both sessions. Please register by e-mailing Eric Sheng at [email protected].

An accessibility guide for Merton College, Oxford:

Anstey and Vanzo’s Experimental philosophy and the origins of empiricism is a history of experimental philosophy, one of the most important developments in early modern European intellectual history. The fruit of a research programme pursued over many years, the book follows the experimental philosophy movement (in England, Scotland, France, Germany and beyond) from its early history in the early Royal Society in the seventeenth century, through its heyday, to its eclipse in historiography in the age of Kant, and considers moral as well as natural philosophy. Challenging the received rationalism–empiricism distinction, the book aims to provide a new framework for understanding early modern philosophy and science.

Wilson’s Kant and the naturalistic turn of 18th Century philosophy applies a contextualist method to Kant's philosophy, more commonly studied as a self-contained system or in relation to a few earlier rationalist and empiricist philosophers. Ranging widely in Enlightenment psychology, anthropology, biology, natural history and cosmology, Wilson’s account aims to show how many of the major themes of Kant’s theoretical and practical philosophy are motivated by disquiet about trends towards naturalism and pessimistic hedonism in 18th-century thought. Topics include Kant’s transcendental idealism and his views on matter and mind, life, freedom, moral motivation, human nature and diversity, and war and human extinction.

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November 19, 2023, 9:00am BST

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