St. Andrews Kant Reading Party: “Kant and Leibniz” (St. Andrews, 30 July-2 August)

We are pleased to give notice of the 12th edition of the Saint Andrews Kant Reading Party, that will be held from July 30th to August 2nd at The Burn (Scotland). After the Reading Party a workshop will be held at the University of St. Andrews, on August 3rd.

The reading will have at its theme “Kant and Leibniz on the Ontological Argument”. 

Further information can be found at this link. 


From the website of the event:

The St Andrews Kant Reading Party is an annual academic retreat in the Scottish Highlands aimed at bringing together scholars of various career stages to discuss the works of Immanuel Kant and another prominent philosopher. The theme of this year’s edition is Kant and Leibniz on the Ontological Argument, the argument to the conclusion that God exists.

We will focus on the relation between Leibniz’ and Kant’s treatments of the ontological argument, with an eye towards a better understanding of their modal commitments as being central to their general metaphysics.


The concept of metaphysical modality (i.e. what is really possible, actual, or necessary) and the puzzle of our knowledge of it are traditional topics in philosophy that have recently experienced a resurgence of interest. The Leibnizian treatment of modal notions is usually understood as grounded in logic, while Kant’s novel notion of real modality is taken to be grounded in extra-logical “transcendental” metaphysics. However, it is far from settled how radical the differences between the two thinkers are.

The innovative ideas of Kant and Leibniz on matters modal are best exhibited through their respective treatments of the ontological argument. Does Kant’s view on existence constitute an essential break with the rationalist position embodied by Leibniz, or is it rather a development thereof? Is there a more nuanced position in Leibniz that introduces a notion of existence closer to Kant’s? What grounds Kant’s real modality and supports the rejection of the ontological argument in his mature philosophy?

Our aim is to provide a forum for the discussion and debate on a range of issues related to the ontological argument as it was understood by Leibniz and Kant. We invite paper presentations that are by no means restricted to a historical perspective. Kant’s objection to the ontological argument draws attention to a major theme discussed in contemporary (post-Kripkean) epistemology of metaphysical possibility, namely, the unreliable connection between conceivability and real possibility. We encourage contributions that make progress in integrating aspects of the modal theories of Kant and Leibniz with contemporary sub-disciplines, such as metaphysics and epistemology.

The Reading Party at The Burn (30.07 – 02.08)
The event involves a combination of group discussion sessions based on pre-circulated key readings from Kant and Leibniz chaired by faculty members and paper sessions in which graduate students and early-career researches have the opportunity to present their work on the topic of the Reading Party. For those who are interested there will be an opportunity to join a half-day hike.

Workshop at the University of St Andrews (3.08)
On the day following the Reading Party at the Burn, there will be a one-day workshop at the University of St Andrews, which gives all participants of the Reading Party the opportunity to present on their work-in-progress.

We will open the workshop with Dr Uygar Abaci (Penn State) presenting on his most up to date take on Kant’s refutation of the ontological argument, which provides the core of his reading of Kantian modality offered in his new book Kant’s Revolutionary Theory of Modality (Oxford UP, 2019).


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