The Theories of Capacity in Classical German Philosophy

December 6, 2021 - December 7, 2021

This event is online


  • College of Liberal Arts, National Chengchi University


University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury
National University of Singapore
Sogang University
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Chinese University of Hong Kong
University of Sydney
Hong Kong Baptist University
National Taiwan University


National Chengchi University

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The development of Classical German Philosophy has seen some important transformations in its understanding of the capacity (Vermögen, traditionally translated as “faculty”) of the human mind. Kant’s Critical Philosophy, at least insofar as how he conceives it, marks a transition from Leibniz and Wolff’s one-capacity view to a three-capacities theory. Kant’s theory of capacity is underlined by an epistemological dualism, which is also part and parcel of his Copernican revolution in philosophy. Objects of possible experience are explained by, though not reduced to, gnoseological functions; capacities of the mind and their modes (e.g., active and passive) thereby gain an explanatory priority. Perhaps it can be said that the subsequent development of post-Kantian idealism was founded on the controversial conviction that Kant’s epistemological dualism was unable to pull off the Copernican revolution. Reinhold and Maimon initiated in their own ways a reconciliation between the Leibniz-Wolffian view of capacity with transcendental philosophy. Fichte offered a more holistic approach to the capacities by embedding them in a transcendental-genetic account of experience. Although Schelling and Hegel were critical of what they perceived as the subjective idealism of Kant and Fichte, their theories of capacities remain nevertheless an essential part of their philosophical systems. The aim of this conference is to look into the development of the “philosophy of mind” in Classical German Philosophy by focusing on the theories of capacity advanced by philosophers such as Kant, Reinhold, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, as well as other less well-known figures.

On 6 December, the event will start at 9:15 am (GMT+8), featuring talks by Stephen Palmquist, Chong-fuk Lau, Halla Kim, and Kienhow Goh. The second day will start at 13:15 (GMT+8), featuring talks by Dalia Nassar, Gregory Moss, Diego Bubbio, and Christian Wenzel. To join the video meeting, click this link:

Otherwise, to join by phone, dial +1 845-663-1957 and enter this PIN: 471 631 928#

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