Cfa: Leuven Kant Conference 2022, “The Early Reception of Kant’s Critical Philosophy (1781–1804)” (May 26-28, 2022)

We are glad to give announce the Call for Abstract for the Leuven Kant Conference 2022: The Early Reception of Kant’s Critical Philosophy (1781–1804), which will take place on-campus in Leuven and online (Zoom), May 26th-28th, 2022.

Submission deadline is January 17th, 2022.

Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted through an electronic form which will be made available shortly. 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 offer limited travel grants to PhD students and other early career researchers without funding of their own.

Notification of acceptance by February 14, 2022.

Contact: Leuven Kant Conference. For further information, please visit the KU Leuven website.

Organizers: Karin de Boer (KU Leuven), Pierpaolo Betti (KU Leuven), Luis Fellipe Garcia (KU Leuven), Pavel Reichl (KU Leuven).


The Leuven Research Group in Classical German Philosophy (LCGP) invites abstracts for the yearly Leuven Kant Conference. We intend the conference to provide a space for open exchange between established scholars, early career researchers, and PhD students. Unlike most preceding editions, the 2022 edition of the conference is devoted to a particular topic and will not distinguish between keynote speakers and participants selected on the basis of their abstracts.

Debates on Kant’s philosophy that took place during his lifetime largely played out between (a) Kant’s followers, (b) critics aligned with Lockean empiricism, Humean skepticism, or Leibnizian rationalism, and (c) early post-Kantians who attempted to overcome the perceived limits of Kant’s achievements. Drawing on a distinction made by Kant himself, Reinhold in The Foundation of Philosophical Knowledge (1791) framed the reception of Kant’s philosophy by distinguishing between those who dogmatically accepted its ‘letter’ and independent minds, like himself, who sought to grasp its ‘spirit’. However, this influential distinction obscures the enormous variety of the positions that were adopted at the time as well as their complex interrelations. Self-proclaimed Kantians also moved beyond the letter of Kant’s text; Kant was attacked from many different directions; and those who appealed to the ‘spirit’ of Kant’s philosophy often defended widely diverging positions. Moreover, early post-Kantians may well have been indebted to Kant’s predecessors, defenders, and critics to a larger extent than is commonly acknowledged. Finally, various philosophers who took Kant’s insights in new directions during his lifetime do not fit Reinhold’s distinction and are today mostly forgotten by anyone but a few specialists.

The conference aims to foreground aspects of Kant’s early reception that tend to be overlooked by scholarship on either Kant or German idealism and, thus, to shed light on the full spectrum of responses to Kant’s critical philosophy from 1781 until his death in 1804. While we welcome contributions on any aspect of this theme, we are particularly interested in papers that question the letter-spirit distinction mentioned above and/or address underinvestigated figures, issues, and developments. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • The relation between relatively well-known early post-Kantians and lesser-known or forgotten philosophers who responded to Kant during his lifetime
  • The relation between works by so-called Kantians (e.g., Jakob, Schütz, Schmid, Schultz, Beck) and Kant’s own philosophy and/or early post-Kantian responses to Kant
  • The relation between a wide range of critics of Kant’s philosophy (e.g., Feder, Schulze, Hamann, Jacobi, Eberhard, Flatt) and Kant’s own work and/or early post-Kantian responses to Kant
  • The interactions between Kant and contemporaries who engaged with his work and their possible impact on Kant’s late works
  • The impact of pre-Kantian movements (e.g., empiricism, pietism, Wolffianism) on Kant’s defenders, critics, and/or early post-Kantian responses to Kant
  • Underinvestigated contemporaries of Kant who developed Kantian ideas into new directions (e.g., Fülleborn, Erhard) and their relation to Kant and/or early post-Kantian responses to Kant
  • Responses to Kant’s philosopy by early Romantics (e.g., Schiller, Herder, Von Hardenberg, Friedrich Schlegel)
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