We are glad to announce that a CFP is open for papers to be delivered at a conference in Oslo, September 6th to 9th, on the topic of Kant and political change.
The section is organised by the ECPR Kantian Standing Group (convenors: Sorin Baiasu and Howard Williams) as part of the European Consortium for Political Research Annual Conference.
The call’s full text can be found below.
University of Oslo, 6-9 September 2017
We invite paper proposals for panels on the following themes:
1. The History of Pure Reason (Convenors: Sorin Baiasu and Avery Goldman)
2. Rights and Duties in Kantian Legal and Political Philosophy (Convenors: Alyssa Bernstein and Christoph Hanisch)
3. From State of Nature to Civil Society (Convenors: Luke Davies and Paola Romero)
4. Realism and Idealism in Kant’s Political Thought (Convenors: Daniel Tourinho Peres and Alice Pinheiro Walla)
5. Kant on Revolution (Convenors: Jakub Szeczepanski and Christian Rostbøll)
6. From Cosmopolitanism to the Closed Commercial State (Convenors: Howard Williams and Reidar Maliks)
7. Rawls on Kantian Cosmopolitanism (Convenor: Ruhi Demiray)
In addition, panel proposals on new themes (3-5 papers) can also be submitted.
Paper proposals (title, a 500-word abstract and 3-8 keywords) can be submitted here:
Panel proposals (title, 3-8 keywords, 500-word abstract, and 3-5 paper proposals) can be submitted here:
Deadline: 15 February 2017
Please note: To submit a paper or panel proposal, you need to be a member of the ECPR: joining is free and easy: complete the online form at: https://ecpr.eu/LoginCreateNew Account.aspx and click ‘Submit’.
Also: once a member, please consider joining the Kantian Standing Group: again, it is free and easy: after you login, click on MyECPR (top right) and select ‘My Groups’; click on the ‘Renew Membership’ button corresponding to the Kantian Standing Group.
You can see the section’s abstract below.
It is certainly obvious that change will play a certain role in Kant’s thinking, particularly in his political writings; after all, Kant himself witnessed important political and more generally social changes during his lifetime. What critics usually point to is not the lack of an account of change in Kant’s thought, but the significance or rather lack of significance this seems to be given from the perspective of Kant’s account of the a priori structures through which he thinks we are in interaction with the world. Given the epistemic significance of these structures, as having an absolute validity from the perspective of our limited capacities, they appear to us as unchanging and not to be changed. From this limited perspective, change would seem a contingent inconvenience, rather than a necessary, meaningful and important aspect of our lives.
As a result, difficulties seem to surface at various junctures in Kant’s thinking. For instance, Kant’s account of the a priori structures of interaction with the world or, in short, his account of pure reason (whether theoretical or practical, moral-political) seems in contradiction with his attempt to discuss the “The History of Pure Reason”; if pure reason consists of a priori structures which make possible our cognition of the world and of its natural and moral laws, then there can be no history of pure reason.
Moreover, in his account of political revolution, Kant acknowledges it as a historical phenomenon, but dismisses it as not legitimate from a normative point of view. As a radical change in a society, a revolution is a focal point for a discussion of political change and, yet, Kant seems to reject it not only as unable to achieve what it sets out to do, but also as clearly detrimental to that aim. Furthermore, Kant’s account of the transition from the state of nature to a juridical condition acknowledges the provisional character of rights in the state of nature, but also enjoins us to leave the state of nature and move towards a juridical condition. And, yet, the provisional character of many of our rights can be easily observed as an enduring feature of our social and political existence.
What is more, Kant’s comments on cosmopolitanism and the closed commercial state indicate that a similar tension can be found at work in Kant’s discussion of the relations between states. More generally perhaps, Kant offers priority to ideal theory and then seems to find it difficult to account for the clear significance of non-ideal theorising. As a result, in many instances in the literature, the debate between ideal and non-ideal theory has worked with a shared assumption that Kant’s and other Kantian theories are idealised and focus on the necessity of the laws they consider, to the detriment of the contingent, and non-ideal circumstances in which we actually live our lives.
This Section is designed to attract contributions on these and related issues. The plan to submit a Section proposal on political change in Kant has already attracted considerable interest with 7 potential Panel proposals on the topics above.