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Dimensions of Normativity: Kant on Morality, Legality and Humanity

It was not so long ago that the dominant picture of Kant’s practical philosophy was predominantly, almost exclusively focusing on his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and Critique of Practical Reason. However, the overall picture of Kant’s wide ranging philosophy and its internal nexus has been both broadened and deepened. We now have a much more complete understanding of the range of Kant’s practical interests and of his contributions to areas of practical philosophy as diverse as anthropology, pedagogy, and legal theory.

What remains somewhat obscure, however, is how these different contributions hang together in the way that Kant suggests that they must. The normativity that Kant evokes in his writings on political philosophy and the Enlightenment, for example, seems to be related to the categorical imperative, yet this connection is far from clear. Some questions concern the way how unconditional normative demands can be applied in specific circumstances; other questions relate to the way normative demands arise from our specific human nature and human needs. In this workshop we will explore the different conceptions of humanitymorality and legality in Kant as main ‘manifestations’ or ‘dimensions’ of normativity. These interrelated terms play a crucial role highlighting different rational obligations and their applicability in face of changing circumstances, which has yet to be understood. This includes a broad array of themes and questions, for example:

  • How do morality (Ethik, Sitten) and legality (Recht) relate to each other? Is legality an application of morality or an independent sphere of normativity that nonetheless shares some foundation with morality?
  • How does the formal conception of morality as such relate to the substantive conception of an ethics of virtue?
  • How do human nature and the concept of humanity figure into Kant’s account of uncon­ditional normativity?
  • Is there a form of theoretical normativity for Kant, and does that form interact with forms of practical normativity?
  • How does Kant’s conception of transcendental philosophy developed in the three Critiques relate to his other writings?
  • How do normative and descriptive accounts of humanity and human nature relate to each other?
  • How do Kant’s writings concerning practical philosophy relate to his other writings concerning anthropology, history, politics, and the Enlightenment?

The workshops will take place at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana from Monday, February 19 to Wednesday, February 21, 2018 (i.e., in the days immediately before the Central APA meeting in Chicago).

Organized by: Christopher Yeomans (Purdue University) and Ansgar Lyssy (LMU Munich)

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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