CFP: Kant’s Transcendental Idealism and the Problem of Metaphysics

Submission deadline: December 31, 2020

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Call for Papers (Book Chapters)

Kant’s Transcendental Idealism and the Problem of Metaphysics

Abstracts (200 words) submission deadline: July 30, 2020

Editors

Paul Nnodim (Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, USA)

Kenneth Amaeshi (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Bongo Adi (Lagos Business School, Nigeria)

Ephraim-Stephen Essien (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria)

 

Introduction

The major thrust of the book is Immanuel Kant’s critical philosophy, especially his transcendental idealism concerning the distinction between appearance (phenomenon) and the thing-in-itself (noumenon) in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781, 1787). We also welcome papers on the broader issues of Kant’s critical philosophy, especially those dealing with his methodological refutation of the metaphysical dogmatism of both his predecessors and contemporaries. We are also interested in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary applications of Kant’s critical philosophy.

 

Background

“To avoid all misapprehension, it is necessary to explain, as clearly as possible, what our view is regarding the fundamental constitution of sensible knowledge in general. What we have meant to say is that all our intuition is nothing but the representation of appearance; that the things which we intuit are not in themselves what we intuit them as being, nor their relations so constituted in themselves as they appear to us, and that if the subject, or even only the subjective constitution of the senses in general, be removed, the whole constitution and all the relations of objects in space and time, nay space and time themselves, would vanish. As appearances, they cannot exist in themselves, but only in us. What objects may be in themselves, and apart from all this receptivity of our sensibility, remains completely unknown to us. We know nothing but our mode of perceiving them…. Even if we could bring our intuition to the highest degree of clearness, we should not thereby come any nearer to the constitution of objects in themselves. We should still know only our mode of intuition, that is, our sensibility. … What the objects may be in themselves would never become known to us even through the most enlightened knowledge of that which is alone given us, namely, their appearance…”

(Immanuel Kant – Critique of Pure Reason translated by Norman Kemp Smith, 2007, 81: General Remarks on Transcendental Aesthetic.)

 

As the excerpts indicate, the focus of this book is on Immanuel Kant's (1724-1804) distinction between appearance (phenomenon) and the thing-in-itself (das Ding an sich or noumenon) in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781) – hereafter Critique. For some of Kant’s critics (including some German idealists, such as Fichte and Hegel), the hermeneutical debacle that accompanies this juxtaposition marks the crisis of metaphysics. If the scope of metaphysical inquiry encompasses the potential unraveling of ultimate reality, they argue, then a plausible corollary of Kant’s unknowable noumenon is the futility of the metaphysical enterprise. In distinguishing appearance from the thing-in-itself, does Kant suggest the existence of two ontological worlds, one phenomenal and the other noumenal, or two aspects of the same thing? Does his critical philosophy make ontological claims or merely espouse epistemic propositions? And what does metaphysics mean for Kant? The Kantian Copernican Revolution was a relatively unproblematic thesis, but one injudiciously mired in the circuitousness and irresolution of its author. Kant’s doctrinal inconsistencies, even in the revised second edition of the Critique (1787), encourage his detractors to galvanize the “two-worlds” and the “two-aspects” debate. Nonetheless, in the letters he wrote to some of his associates, Kant appeared to lend more support to the “two-aspects” interpretation. If one considers Kant’s transcendental idealism as merely a reflection upon the synthetic a priori conditions of human cognition and the fallibilism of experiential knowledge, would it be enough to save his critical philosophy from possible charges of empirical idealism?

 

Call for Papers

We welcome scholarly works from experts in the field of Kant’s studies. Papers must be original (not previously published), written in English, and be at least five thousand (5000) words to merit consideration. They will be peer-reviewed for publication with a reputable US academic publisher. Our book chapter contributor must have an affiliation with a higher institution of learning, and hold a Ph.D. (or ABD) in philosophy or related areas. Submissions will be accepted or declined based on merit. We intend to submit the final book manuscript to the publisher in early 2021. Therefore, the deadline for the submission of accepted papers is December 31, 2020.

 

Please send all inquiries or abstracts by email to:

Paul Nnodim, Ph.D.

Email: paul.nnodim@mcla.edu

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