Workshop: “The Paradox of Autonomy” (Frankfurt, 31 October-1 November, 2019)

We are pleased to announce that the workshop The Paradox of Autonomy will take place on October 31st and November 1st at the Goethe University in Frankfurt.
The workshop’s venue will be at the Eisenhower Saal (Room IG 1.314) Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1, Institut für Philosophie.
Please find below a description of the workshop, which includes the list of the confirmed speakers.



This workshop will bring together practical philosophers with different backgrounds and preferences to discuss a number of issues concerning the debate on the alleged paradox of autonomy. This debate is premised on a widespread interpretation of Kant’s moral project—the Standard View, for short—in accordance to which for Kant the fundamental principle of morality is the product of individual subjects’ autonomy, or capacity for self-legislation. Insofar as the Standard View is upheld, some philosophers have argued, at the core of Kant’s project in moral philosophy lays a statement that is not just highly problematic but indeed paradoxical. For, how can the obligatory force of a standard that holds necessarily and unconditionally—this is the Moral Law as it is understood by Kant—be claimed to ultimately depend on an act of self-legislation and so on the will of moral selves? The debate among those arguing for the inherent paradox of autonomy and those defending the statement that self-legislating principles of action can nonetheless be unconditionally binding has most recently been joined by a third group of scholars arguing that the whole debate is shaped by an untenable reading of Kant’s original project. On this alternative view, the Moral Law, as Kant understands it, is not a self-legislated principle at all; it is rather a fundamental a priori principle of pure practical rationality that is not grounded in anything more basic. The proposed workshop is meant to explore this three-pronged debate in depth.

Confirmed speakers:

Stefano Bacin (University of Milan)
Pauline Kleingeld (University of Groningen)
Thomas Khurana (University of Essex)
Andrews Reath (University of California, Riverside)
Robert Stern (University of Sheffield)
Jens Timmermann (St Andrews University)

Registration is not required, but please let the organisers, Stefano Bacin and Stefano Bertea, know if you are planning on attending so that the appropriate catering and layout can be arranged.

Further information: if you have any questions about the workshop, do not hesitate to contact Stefano Bertea.

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