Workshop: Kielmeyer and the Organic World (London, 23-24 April 2019)

We are pleased to give notice that a workshop entitled Kielmeyer and the Organic World will be held at the Royal Holloway, University of London on April 23rd-24th, 2019. The workshop is funded by the British Society for the History of Philosophy.

Organisers: Lydia Azadpour and Daniel Whistler.

Invited speakers: Lydia Azadpour, Benjamin Berger, Andrew Cooper, Andrea Gambarotto, Iain Hamilton Grant, Jocelyn Holland and Susanne Lettow.

Registration is now open and free: to register (as well as for accommodation and travel information), please contact Daniel Whistler.

Below you can find a brief presentation and the program of the event.


Carl Friedrich Kielmeyer (1765-1844) was the ‘father of philosophy of nature’ due to his profound influence on German Idealist and Romantic Naturphilosophie. This workshop is devoted to reconsidering his philosophical significance in light of the recent return to Idealist and Romantic philosophies of nature in the UK and abroad. The workshop takes as its starting-point Kielmeyer’s era-defining speech On the Relations between Organic Forces in the Series of Organisations and uses it to evaluate Kielmeyer’s conceptual framework for understanding the nature of the living world and its interactions. Speakers will cover topics such as: the laws of nature, the concept of force, the meaning of ‘organism’, the logic of recapitulation, Kielmeyer and ecology, sexual differentiation in animal life, Kielmeyer’s relationship to Kant, Schelling, and Hegel, and his role in the development of biology as a distinct branch of scientific inquiry.



All talks will be taking place in FW101, Founder’s Building, Royal Holloway campus, Egham Hill


Tuesday 23rd April

12.50 Welcome/coffee

13.00 Lydia Azadpour (RHUL), The ‘Great Machine of the Organic World’: Dynamics in Schelling and Kielmeyer

14.00 Benjamin Berger (Haverford College), Hegel and the Philosophy of Nature: The Case of Kielmeyer

15.00 Coffee

15.15 Andrew Cooper (University of Warwick), Force and Law in Kielmeyer’s 1793 Address

16.15 Susanne Lettow (FU Berlin), Reproduction, Procreation and the Earth. The Place of ‘Sex’ in Kielmeyer’s ‘Economy of Organic Nature’

17.15 Coffee

17.30 Jocelyn Holland (California Institute of Technology), Kielmeyer between Mechanics and Organicism


Wednesday 24th April

9.45 Coffee

10.00 Andrea Gambarotto (Louvain), Comparative Physiology and the New Era of Natural History: Kielmeyer as the Father of Romantic Biology

11.00 Iain Hamilton Grant (UWE), Recapitulation All the Way Down? Morphogenesis without Final Form in Kielmeyer’s ‘new epoch in Natural History’


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