Wolff's German Ethics
- Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
- Wolff Gesellschaft
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The 300th anniversary of the publication of Christian Wolff’s Vernünfftige Gedancken von der Menschen Thun und Lassen (‘Deutsche Ethik,’ 1720) is an excellent occasion to take a fresh look at the text. This is especially true given Wolff’s practical philosophy is still somewhat neglected by scholars of many varieties, at least compared to his theoretical philosophy. This conference aims at remedying this deficiency by exploring systematically pertinent issues in Wolff’s ‘German Ethics,’ such as the question of how perfection relates to happiness, the role of pleasure in (moral) motivation, and Wolff’s conception of normativity and ‘natural obligation.’ In this context, questions concerning the relation of Wolff’s ethics to that of his predecessors and contemporaries, such as Leibniz, are also of interest. Wolff owes his conception of perfection, for example, to Leibniz. The conference has the further goal of providing historically and systematically robust interpretations of Wolff’s practical philosophy in order to (1) better understand the contours of his philosophy in relation to the larger 18th-century philosophical landscape; and (2) shed light on issues in contemporary practical philosophy, e.g. the normativity of practical reasons and the difference between motivating and justifying reasons.
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