The Current Relevance of Kant's Method in Philosophy

July 8, 2016 - July 9, 2016
Campus Westend, Goethe University Frankfurt

Seminarhaus, Raum SH 5.104 (Friday 8 July), Raum SH 3.104 (Saturday 9 July)
Max-Horkheimer-Straße 4
Frankfurt am Main

All speakers:

Gabriele Gava
Goethe University Frankfurt
Dietmar Heidemann
University of Luxembourg
Thomas Land
Ryerson University
Jessica Leech
University of Sheffield
Michela Massimi
University of Edinburgh
Tobias Rosefeldt
Humboldt University of Berlin
Nicholas Stang
University of Toronto
Thomas Sturm
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Eric Watkins
University of California, San Diego
Lea Ypi
London School of Economics


Gabriele Gava
Goethe University Frankfurt

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Does Kant’s philosophical approach provide methodological concepts that can be relevant from a contemporary metaphilosophical point of view? Is it possible to find in him a model of philosophical argument which can still be useful today? Is this model detachable from particular doctrines he defended in his metaphysics? In the last 50 years various philosophers have thought that it was possible to answer these questions in the positive. For instance, they have tried to use the Critique of Pure Reason to obtain a model of transcendental argument which could be employed to answer different forms of skepticism. However, these attempts have also faced various criticisms; in particular, some interpreters have claimed that Kantian transcendental arguments cannot provide a definitive refutation of skepticism and can only be successful when they are reinterpreted along much more modest lines. The criticisms and the related demand of modesty for transcendental arguments have brought many to regard transcendental arguments with suspicion and to question whether a Kantian approach to philosophical problems can be useful today. The workshop aims to show that this latter suspicion is unjustified. On the one hand, the potential of Kantian transcendental arguments for the solution of current problems in various fields of philosophy has not been exhaustively investigated yet. In particular, the prospects of transcendental arguments have been discussed almost exclusively with respect to the problem of skepticism, where the question whether it is possible to devise transcendental arguments with other purposes in view is still largely unanswered. On the other hand, Kant has introduced numerous methodological innovations for the investigation of diverse phenomena, innovations whose current relevance has remained comparatively unexplored. Accordingly, the workshop will emphasize the originality and contemporary relevance of Kant’s approach to themes such as: modal judgments and modal knowledge, the nature of scientific knowledge, the metaphysics of grounding, the role of mental powers in epistemology and philosophy of mind, the concept of conceivability, etc.

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June 30, 2016, 9:00am CET

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