XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

The Space of Reason: Kant's Theory of Normativity

Konstantin Pollok

Edificio: Palazzo dei Congressi
Sala: Auditorium
Data: 23 maggio 2010 - 17:00
Ultima modifica: 12 aprile 2010


Was Kant a naturalist? – On the one hand, Newton’s physics was the main concern of his numerous works in the philosophy of science and, more generally, his strong endorsement of a “scientific method” should be seen as one of the underlying drives of his entire philosophy. Moreover, Kant’s epistemological rejection of supernatural entities – the soul, the world as a whole, and God – clearly was the primary target of the first Critique’s Dialectic. On the other hand, one could argue that Kant’s insistence on the ‘synthetic a priori’ rendered his naturalism either incoherent or turned it straight into a non-naturalism, and, more substantially, any version of the ‘thing in itself’ not only tarnished his Kritizismus but made it unpalatable for us today. As a result of these competing views naturalism has become the basis for both defending and dismissing Kant’s philosophy. By way of clarifying the different notions at work here, this paper aims at an answer that is quite contrary to both the support of Kant’s naturalism and the dismissal of his anti-naturalism. I shall argue, first, that Kant’s philosophy should not be seen as naturalistic by any recognizable meaning of that term, and secondly, that his anti-naturalism is a live option. In the first part, I shall outline Kant’s references to what he takes to be naturalistic accounts, whereas the second part explores what his stance on naturalism in the present day use of the term amounts to.