•  528
    Considered in light of the reader’s expectation of a thoroughgoing criticism of the pretensions of the rational psychologist, and of the wealth of discussions available in the broader 18th century context, which includes a variety of proofs that do not explicitly turn on the identification of the soul as a simple substance, Kant’s discussion of immortality in the Paralogisms falls lamentably short. However, outside of the Paralogisms (and the published works generally), Kant had much more to say…Read more
  •  147
    The Priority of Judging: Kant on Wolff's General Logic
    Estudos Kantianos 4 (2): 99-118. 2016.
    In this paper, I consider the basis for Kant's praise of Wolff's general logic as "the best we have." I argue that Wolff's logic was highly esteemed by Kant on account of its novel analysis of the three operations of the mind (tres operationes mentis), in the course of which Wolff formulates an argument for the priority of the understanding's activity of judging.
  •  97
    In this paper I argue, contrary to a widely influential account of Kant’s development in the “silent decade,” that key changes in his empirical and rational psychology throughout the 1770’s are traceable to changes in the scope he assigns to inner sense. Kant’s explicit inclusion of our access to the I or soul within the scope of inner sense in the early 1770’s (after its apparent exclusion in the Dissertation) yields a more robust empirical psychology. Given the Wolffian character of Kant’s pre…Read more
  •  120
    In the Anthropology, Kant wonders whether the genius or the individual possessing perfected judgment has contributed more to the advance of culture. In the KU, Kant answers this question definitively on the side of those with perfected judgment. Nevertheless, occurring as it does in §50 of the KU, immediately after Kant’s celebration of the genius in §49, this only raises more questions. Kant rejects the genius in favour of the individual of taste as an advancer of culture, yet under what condit…Read more
  •  672
    In attempts to come to grips with Kant’s thought, the influence of the philosophy of Christian Wolff (1679-1754) is often neglected. In this paper, I consider three topics in Kant’s philosophy of mind, broadly construed, where Wolff’s influence is particularly visible: consciousness, self-consciousness, and psychology. I argue that we can better understand Kant’s particular arguments and positions within this context, but also gain a more accurate sense of which aspects of Kant’s accounts derive…Read more
  •  74
    Review: Lee, The German 'Mittelweg': Garden theory and philosophy in the time of Kant (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (3). 2009.
    Kant's dismissive reference in the Critique of Judgment to landscape gardening as "nothing but the ornamentation of the ground" is puzzling since, as an art that seems like a product of nature, the garden should be a paradigm case of fine art. Additionally, it runs counter to a growing academic interest in garden theory in the late 1700s, as Michael Lee documents in this often overwrought but useful volume. After Kant, German academic philosophy was bedevilled by irresolvable oppositions between…Read more
  •  122
    Materialism in the mainstream of early German philosophy
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (5): 897-916. 2016.
    ABSTRACTDiscussions of the reception of materialist thought in Germany in the first half of the eighteenth century tend to focus, naturally enough, upon the homegrown freethinkers who advanced the cause of Lucretius, Hobbes, and Spinoza in clandestine publications and frequently courted the ire of the state for doing so. If the philosophers belonging to the mainstream of German intellectual life in that period are accorded a place in the story, it is only insofar as they actively set themselves …Read more
  •  281
    Kant's Transcendental Deduction and the Ghosts of Descartes and Hume
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (3): 473-496. 2011.
    This paper considers how Descartes's and Hume's sceptical challenges were appropriated by Christian Wolff and Johann Nicolaus Tetens specifically in the context of projects related to Kant's in the transcendental deduction. Wolff introduces Descartes's dream hypothesis as an obstacle to his account of the truth of propositions, or logical truth, which he identifies with the 'possibility' of empirical concepts. Tetens explicitly takes Hume's account of our idea of causality to be a challenge to t…Read more
  •  827
    While there is good reason to think that Mendelssohn's Morgenstunden targets some of the key claims of Kant’s first Critique, this criticism has yet to be considered in the appropriate context or presented in all of its systematic detail. I show that far from being an isolated assault, Mendelssohn’s attack in the Morgenstunden is a continuation and development of his earlier criticism of Kant’s idealism as presented in the Inaugural Dissertation. I also show that Mendelssohn’s objection was more…Read more
  •  204
    In this paper, I challenge the assumption that Kant’s Third Paralogism has to do, first and foremost, with the question of personal identity.
  •  56
    Kant and the Leibnizian Conception of Mind
    Dissertation, Boston College. 2006.
    In what follows, I will detail Kant's criticism of the Leibnizian conception of mind as it is presented in key chapters of the Kritik der reinen Vernunft . Approaching Kant with such a focus goes against the current predominant in contemporary Kant scholarship. Kant's engagement with Leibniz in the KrV is often taken as limited to the refutation of the latter's relational theory of space and time in the Aesthetic and the general criticism presented in the Amphiboly chapter, inasmuch as Kant is t…Read more