Freedom, Action and Control: Conceptions of Rational Agency in Kant and the German Enlightenment

June 9, 2022 - June 10, 2022

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University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Nebraska, Lincoln


University of Bucharest
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

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Thursday, 9 June 2022

17.00—18.00 Andree Hahmann (Tsinghua University)

Tetens on Self-Power (Selbstmacht) and

Self-Activity (Selbstthätigkeit) (keynote talk)

18.00—18.10 Break

18.10—18.45 Iziah C. Topete (Penn State University)

Kant’s Turnspit Charge against Leibniz

18.45—18.50 Break

18.50—19.25 Álvaro R.G. Barredo (University Carlos III Madrid)

Making Sense of our Timeless Wills

19.25—19.30 Break

19.30—20.05 Levi Durham (Baylor University)

Kant’s Causal Principle and Free Actions

Friday, 10 June 2022

17.00—18.00 Markus Kohl (UNC-Chapel Hill)

Kant on Moral Responsibility (keynote talk)

18.00—18.10 Break

18.10—18.45 Guus Duindam (University of Michigan)

Maxims and Phantom Puzzles

18.45—18.50 Break

18.50—19.25 Adam Jurkiewicz (Catholic University of America)

From a Time of Scattered Perceptions to a Time of Experience

19.25—19.30 Break

19.30—20.30 Colin McLear (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Kant on Rationality as Controlled Activity (keynote talk)


Recently, there has been a surge of interest in Kant’s conception of rational agency. In the last decade, interpreters of Kant have shed important light on some of his central concepts of rationality in thinking and action, ranging from self-consciousness and deliberation to transcendental freedom and autonomy. Additionally, a wide array of influential positions in contemporary philosophy—e.g., agentialist approaches to self-knowledge, or constitutivist strategies in metaethics—have claimed a (more or less pure) Kantian descent. Yet not many philosophers have also embarked on a mission to situate Kant’s views in the larger intellectual context of the German Enlightenment, an era imbued with reflections on human freedom and rationality. This conference aims to address this issue and invites contributions from graduate students on (i) Kant’s conception of rational agency, (ii) Kant’s relation to his contemporaries and predecessors, and (iii) the theories of the latter in their own right. 

Keynote Speakers:

Andree Hahmann (Tsinghua University)

Markus Kohl (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Colin McLear (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

If you wish to receive the Zoom link or if you have any queries, please email Cristian Vulpe at [email protected]

Organizers: Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet and Cristian Vulpe.

The conference is organized within the research project Between Truth and Freedom: Enlightenment Answers to ‘Thinking for Oneself’ (funded by UEFISCDI).

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University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

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