CFP: Workshop: Rational Cosmology from the German and French Enlightenment to Kant

We are pleased to give notice that a Call for Papers has been opened for the Workshop Rational Cosmology from the German and French Enlightenment to Kant (KU Leuven), which will take place on 25-26 February. 

Deadline for submission: 21 December 2020.

Invited speakers: Courtney Fugate (American University of Beirut), Christian Leduc (University of Montréal) and Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (University of Bucharest).

Organizer: Stephen Howard (KU Leuven).

Below you can find the text of the call and the terms for submission.


Recent studies by Alfredo Ferrarin (2015) and Alison Laywine (2020) have drawn attention to the importance of doctrines and themes from the earlier metaphysical tradition of rational cosmology for Kant’s critical philosophy. Ferrarin attributes to Kant a “cosmic concept” of philosophy, according to which reason is a teleological whole with systematic and practical ends. Laywine reads the Transcendental Deduction as a “cosmology of experience” that transforms aspects of prior rational cosmology into an argument for the unified whole of appearances. This workshop aims to deepen these insights through closer attention to eighteenth-century cosmological debates and Kant’s critical engagement with rational cosmology. The metaphysical discipline of general cosmology, which Wolff claimed to have invented, was elaborated and contested by a range of German philosophers and by the philosophes in Paris and at the Berlin Academy. During the workshop we will explore these debates and three strands of Kant’s response to them: his writings on cosmological topics, his critique of rational cosmology, and the more subtle or subterranean influence of cosmological doctrines on the critical philosophy.

We have a small number of slots for additional papers. We invite abstracts for 20-minute talks on topics that may include, but are not limited to:

  • General/rational cosmology in eighteenth-century German metaphysics
  • Criticisms of and alternatives to Wolffian rational cosmology developed in Germany and France
  • Kant’s cosmological writings and/or his critique of prior cosmology in their historical context
  • The cosmological aspects of Kant’s critical philosophy

Please submit an anonymized abstract of up to 500 words by 21 December via this electronic form.


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