Friday, February 16th: Anastasia Berg

The German Philosophy Workshop is happy to present:

Practical Reason in Kant: Self-Conscious or Self-Opaque?

Anastasia Berg (University of Cambridge)
 Friday, February 16th, 2:00-4:30
Wieboldt 408

Most interpreters attribute to Kant the claim that we can never know whether even our own actions are performed merely in accordance with the moral law or from it and that therefore we never know whether our actions are merely legal or have genuine moral worth. This claim, however, poses not only a threat of  skepticism concerning the possibility of moral self-knowledge, but seems to fly in the face of Kant’s philosophical teaching concerning our rational capacities: namely, that they are self-conscious. In this paper, I evaluate Kant’s so-called ‘self-opacity’ thesis and argue that, firstly, his claim applies asymmetrically to good and bad cases: when I act from the motive of self-love I may not know that I am not acting from duty, but it does not follow that when I do act from duty, I do not know that I do.  Secondly, and more importantly, I argue that the uncertainty Kant is concerned with is essential to his account of practical reason. This is so because the end of acting from the motive of “happiness,” or the sum of all my subjective and contingent desires and inclinations is an indeterminate concept, at any moment potentially self-contradictory, and therefore impossible to pursue coherently: it cannot guide practical reasoning and does not offer standards for its attainment. But precisely because pursuit of her ends is self-conscious, in order to pursue her ends, the subject pursuing happiness will be tempted to pursue the objects of her subjective inclinations and desires as if they were not derived from the unintelligible end of happiness, but from the moral law. Thus, far from undermining the self-consciousness of practical reason, we see that the self-opacity characteristic of bad action is not only consistent with self-consciousness, but is born of it.

The paper will be presented at the workshop. A light reception will follow in the Anscombe Lounge.

Friday, February 2nd: Jonas Held

The German Philosophy Workshop is happy to present:

Kant on Syllogistic Reasoning

Jonas Held (Universität Leipzig)
 Friday, February 2nd, 2:00-4:30
Wieboldt 408


The paper can be found under “papers”. A light reception will follow in the Anscombe Lounge.

People who need assistance, please contact me at koschel at uchicago dot edu.

Friday, November 3rd: Karen Ng

The German Philosophy Workshop is happy to present:

Life as Ground: Hegel’s Critique of Judgment

Karen Ng (Vanderbilt University)
 Friday, November 3rd, 2:00-4:20
Social Sciences 401


There is no paper to be read in advance. There will be a handout, which is available under “papers.” A light reception will follow at the venue of the presentation.

Friday, October 13th, Rachel Zuckert

The German Philosophy Workshop is happy to present:

Why (not) have a systematic theory of the arts?
Reflections on the aesthetic theory of Johann Gottfried Herder

Rachel Zuckert (Northwestern University)

 Friday, October 13th, 2:00-4:20

Wieboldt 408

The paper will be read at the workshop and is available under “papers.” A light reception will follow in the Anscombe Lounge (Stuart 216).

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Friday, May 19th, Jessica Tizzard

The German Philosophy Workshop is very happy to present:
“Practical Reason and the Call to Faith: Kant on the Postulates of Freedom, God, and Immortality”
Jessica Tizzard (University of Chicago)
 Friday, May 19th, 1:30-4:20
Foster 305
The paper will be read at the workshop and is available under “papers.” A lively discussion will follow!
I look forward to seeing many of you at our last student presentation (and my last GPW workshop as coordinator!)

Friday, March 31st, Matthew Boyle

The German Philosophy Workshop, in collaboration with the Wittgenstein Philosophy Workshop, is happy to hold a special Prospectives’ Week session on:
“Self-Knowledge, Self-Concern, and the First Person Perspective”
 Matthew Boyle (University of Chicago)
 Friday, March 31st, 1:30-4:20
Foster 305
The paper is available under the “papers” tab and will be read out at the workshop.

Friday, March 17th, Simon Gurofsky

The German Philosophy Workshop is happy to present:
“On Recent Metaphysical Interpretations of the First Critique.
 Simon Gurofsky (University of Chicago)
 Friday, March 17th, 1:30-4:20
Foster 305
The paper will be read at the workshop and is available here under the “papers” tab. A discussion will follow.

Friday, March 3rd, Gilad Nir at GPW

“The Disunity of Aristotle’s Metaphysics and the Unity of Heidegger’s Being and Time”
Gilad Nir (University of Chicago)
 Friday, March 3rd, 1:30-4:20
Foster 305
The paper will be read at the workshop and is available here under the “papers” tab. A discussion will follow.
The central failure of the metaphysical tradition which stems from Aristotle, according to Heidegger, consists in the subordination of general ontology to the account of a special, exemplary entity (theology). But Being and Time itself privileges an exemplary entity, namely human Dasein. It thus opens itself to the charge that its overarching concern with human existence can only lead to a reductive and parochial account of Being. This paper argues for a novel understanding of the methodology of Being and Time and shows that it provides an adequate response to this charge. I first show that Heidegger finds in Aristotle the seeds of resistance to the onto-theological systematization of metaphysics. I then show that he adopts a similar approach in Being and Time. Alongside the method of fundamental ontology, Heidegger develops a method of historical critique called Destruction. The two methods are meant to counterbalance each other, and to prevent the collapse of the ontological difference between Being as such and the Being of Dasein. It is only through an engagement with the historical manifestations of Dasein’s desire for understanding that we learn what understanding it may hope for.