Transcendental Philosophy and Naturalism

May 15, 2018 - May 18, 2018
University of Parma

Centro Congressi S. Elisabetta
Parco Area delle Scienze, 95 - Campus Universitario

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

View the Call For Papers

Keynote speakers:

Mario De Caro
University of Roma Tre
Wolfgang Huemer
University of Parma
Dermot Moran
University College, Dublin


Sebastian Luft
Marquette University
Konstantin Pollok
University of South Carolina
Andrea Staiti
University of Parma

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Transcendental Philosophy and Naturalism

University of Parma (Italy)


Naturalism has been described as the dominant worldview of contemporary philosophy. It is variously defined as the rejection of supernatural entities, as the view that the method of philosophy does not (or must not) differ from the method of natural science, and as the epistemological claim that science offers all the knowledge that is humanly possible. Despite its wide acceptance, in recent years a loose chorus of critics of naturalism has emerged. Many of them associate their work with the tradition of transcendental philosophy, i.e., the manner of philosophizing inaugurated by Immanuel Kant and recast creatively by a variety of leading philosophers of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Critics of naturalism from the transcendental philosophical camp broadly construed typically claim that normativity cannot be reduced to natural causality, that consciousness as condition of access to the world is not a natural fact in the world, that the validity of knowledge rests on a priori truths, i.e., truths that are not empirical in nature. Yet some philosophers identifying themselves with the transcendental tradition have expressed sympathy to naturalistic views. Early on thinkers such as Fries, Herbart, Bona Mayer, Helmholtz, and Riehl tried to connect Kantian claims about a priori knowledge with considerations about human psychology and with the deliverances of natural science. Similarly, early-day pragmatists, such as C. S. Peirce, held Kant’s philosophy in great esteem but advocated a fundamentally naturalistic view on the relationship between philosophy and science. Among the largely anti-naturalistic Neo-Kantians, members of the so-called Marburg school (Cohen, Natorp, Cassirer) held that, while there is a difference between philosophy and science, there is a thoroughgoing continuity between both. Nowadays, the landscape is even more diverse. While it is customary to associate naturalism with analytic and anti-naturalism with Continental philosophy, despite the intrinsic vagueness of these labels, one can find naturalistically-minded thinkers, such as Evan Thompson, within the ranks of phenomenology (which founder Edmund Husserl unambiguously declared a form of transcendental philosophy hostile to naturalism), and anti-naturalists, such as Thomas Nagel, among the ranks of analytically trained philosophers. Hence, the relationship between transcendental philosophy and naturalism is still a contentious issue, both historically and systematically.

We are soliciting papers from senior and junior scholars, as well as post-doctoral and doctoral students that explore the connections and tensions between transcendental philosophy, broadly construed, and naturalism.

Conference venue: Parma (Italy), May, 15th 2018 (Tuesday) to May, 18th 2018 (Friday).

The conference will also serve to launch a new philosophical journal, called Journal of Transcendental Philosophy (De Gruyter, 2019) whose first issue will host a selection of papers from the conference.

Please, send an abstract (max. 500 words) or a full-blown paper (max. 3,000 words) for sessions of 30 minutes presentation plus 15 minutes Q&A no later than February, 15th 2018 (by midnight). The language of the conference will be English.


Andrea Staiti (Università di Parma/Boston College)          (For questions/information)

Scientific board

Sebastian Luft (Marquette University, Milwaukee)

Konstantin Pollok (University of South Carolina)

Invited speakers

Dermot Moran (UCD/Boston College)

Wolfgang Huemer (Università di Parma)

Mario de Caro (Università di Roma Tre)

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