WORKSHOP: Rational Cosmology from the German and French Enlightnment to Kant (Leuven, 25-26 February)

We are very pleased to give notice of the Leuven online Workshop on Rational Cosmology form German and French Enlightnment to Kant, which will take place on 25-26 February, 2021. The workshop is organized by Stephen Howard (KU Leuven). Invited speaker are Courtney Fugate (American University of Beirut), Christian Leduc (University of Montréal) and Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (University of Bucharest).

Registration is now open for the workshop. Please register here to receive the Zoom link:


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.


The programme is as follows:


Day 1. Thursday, 25.2.2020

14.00 – 15.00
Teleology and Laws of Motion in Lambert’s Cosmological Letters
Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (University of Bucharest)

15.15 – 16.00
Wolff’s Nexus and the Concept(s) of Space
Bryce Gessell (Southern Virginia University)

16.00 – 16.45
Cosmological Logic as the Key to the Transcendental Dialectic
Marco Russo (University of Salerno)

17.00 – 18.00
Kant and the Law of Continuity
Christian Leduc (Université de Montréal)


Day 2. Friday, 26.2.2020

14.00 – 14.45
The Nature of Principles of the Sensible World
Rima Hussein (Johns Hopkins University)

14.45 – 15.30
The Cosmological Problem of Kant’s Inaugural Dissertation
Stephen Howard (KU Leuven)

16.00 – 16.45
On the Idea of World in Fascicle I of Kant’s Opus Postumum
Franziska Aigner (CRMEP, Kingston University London)

16.45 – 17.45
The Teleological Interpretation of the Transcendental Deduction
Courtney D. Fugate (American University of Beirut)

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