Submission deadline: January 17, 2022

Conference date(s):
May 26, 2022 - May 28, 2022

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Conference Venue:

Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven
Leuven, Belgium

Topic areas


Leuven Kant Conference 2022

Debates on Kant’s philosophy that took place during his lifetime largely played out between (a) Kant’s followers, (b) critics aligned with Lockean empiricism, Humean skepticism, or Leibnizian rationalism, and (c) early post-Kantians who attempted to overcome the perceived limits of Kant’s achievements. Drawing on a distinction made by Kant himself, Reinhold in The Foundation of Philosophical Knowledge (1791) framed the reception of Kant’s philosophy by distinguishing between those who dogmatically accepted its ‘letter’ and independent minds, like himself, who sought to grasp its ‘spirit’. However, this influential distinction obscures the enormous variety of the positions that were adopted at the time as well as their complex interrelations. Self-proclaimed Kantians also moved beyond the letter of Kant’s text; Kant was attacked from many different directions; and those who appealed to the ‘spirit’ of Kant’s philosophy often defended widely diverging positions. Moreover, early post-Kantians may well have been indebted to Kant’s predecessors, defenders, and critics to a larger extent than is commonly acknowledged. Finally, various philosophers who took Kant’s insights in new directions during his lifetime do not fit Reinhold’s distinction and are today mostly forgotten by anyone but a few specialists.

The conference aims to foreground aspects of Kant’s early reception that tend to be overlooked by scholarship on either Kant or German idealism and, thus, to shed light on the full spectrum of responses to Kant’s critical philosophy from 1781 until his death in 1804.

We intend the conference to provide a space for open exchange between established scholars, early career researchers, and PhD students. Unlike most preceding editions, the 2022 edition of the conference is devoted to a particular topic and will not distinguish between keynote speakers and participants selected on the basis of their abstracts.

The conference will feature a combination of on-campus and online talks. The on-campus talks will be livestreamed. The online talks will be fully online, i.e., all participants will join a Zoom meeting regardless of their location. All talks will take place between 1 pm and 7 pm to accommodate different time zones.

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