January 18: James Messina (Wisconsin, Madison)

The German Philosophy Workshop is delighted to present:

“Kant’s Spinozism Charge”

James Messina (Wisconsin, Madison)

Friday, January 18, 3-5:20 pm

Wieboldt 408


In the Critique of Practical Reason and other texts, Kant claims that transcendental realism leads inevitably to “Spinozism” and that the only way of avoiding it is to be a transcendental idealist. In contrast to other commentators who have called the Spinozism charge a “gimmick” and “patently problematic,” I try to show that Kant’s claim here rests on a serious argument – in fact, it rests on two such arguments, corresponding to two distinct forms of “Spinozism” (whose various Kantian meanings I clarify). I also try to explain how exactly transcendental idealism about space and time rules out these forms of Spinozism. I think exploring these issues sheds light on important aspects of (and interconnections between) Kant’s views on space and time, substance, Nature, God, and moral accountability.

The paper is available in the Papers section of this website. A light reception will follow in the Anscombe library.

The German Philosophy Workshop is committed to being a fully accessible workshop. For any questions or concerns about accessibility, please contact Amy Levine at amylevine@uchicago.edu

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