Classical german philosophy. University of Padova research group

CFP: “The Architectonic Role of the Highest Good in Kant’s Philosophy” (Leuven, 12-13 November 2020)

We are pleased to give notice that a Call for Papers has been opened for the Conference The Architectonic Role of the Highest Good in Kant’s Philosophy, that will take place at the Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven on November 12th-13th, 2020.

Deadline for submission: June 15th, 2020.

Conference Organizers: Luciano Perulli (KU Leuven), Luigi Filieri (University of Pisa).

Registration is possible at this link.

Below you can find the text of the call, the list of the keynote speakers and the terms for submission


The concept of the highest good appears at many important junctures of Kant’s critical philosophy in 1780s and 1790s. However, Kant’s system underwent significant changes during this period. This conference seeks to explore whether and how the concept of the highest good plays a systematic function in the various phases and domains of Kant’s mature thought. The first Critique presents the highest good as an object of hope and as the final end of pure reason. In the Critique of Practical Reason, the highest good is the object of pure practical reason that gives rise to a specific duty and allows for a distinct kind of a priori synthesis. The Critique of Judgment refers to the highest good as the outcome of teleological reflection on nature and grants it a key role in the moral proof of God’s existence. In the Religion, Kant conceives of the highest good as the unity of all ends, while stating that its function is in principle independent of God’s existence. Finally, Toward Perpetual Peace and the Doctrine of Right point toward the political relevance of the concept of the highest good.
The idea of the highest good is often considered from the perspective of a single agent, but it is arguably an intersubjective notion too. Indeed, it pertains to the idea of a world encompassing a totality of moral subjects. Furthermore, in its political and religious formulations, the concept of the highest good refers to a world to be realized by the collective effort of individuals and institutions.
Kant’s various accounts have been challenged particularly as regards the highest good’s immanent or transcendent character, its individual or cosmic meaning, and the need to assume the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. As a consequence, it is controversial whether such a concept can be conceived as the cornerstone of the system of ideas and a priori principles while being at the same time the overarching telos of reason’s worldly realization.

The aim of this conference is to explore the problematic architectonic status of the highest good, in order to discuss its relevance for the consistency of Kant’s critical system. Possible topics of the contributions include, but are not limited to:

  • The highest good as object of individual and/or collective pursuit
  • The political, institutional, religious and historical connotations of the highest good
  • The relevance of the highest good for a theory of human reason above and beyond its strictly practical meaning
  • The function of the highest good in Kant’s system of ideas and a priori principles
  • The influence of Kant’s accounts of the highest good on subsequent thinkers in different traditions
  • The relation between Kant’s theory and those of his predecessors and contemporaries

Keynote speakers

Luca Fonnesu (University of Pavia)
Pauline Kleingeld (University of Groningen)
Lea Ypi (London School of Economics)

Terms for submission

Abstracts of no more than 500 words can be submitted only through the electronic form by the 15th of June. The abstracts, including the title, should be prepared for double-blind review by removing any identification details. Presentation time will be 25 minutes + 20 minutes for discussion.

We plan to notify acceptances by the 8th of July 2020. If you have any questions related to the conference, do not hesitate to contact us at highestgood2020@kuleuven.be.

For further information, please visit the website of the conference.


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