•  9
    These three robust volumes make available in its entirety a collection of correspondence, held at the University of Leipzig library and comprising nearly five hundred letters, between Christian Wolff and Ernst Christoph, Graf von Manteuffel. At the time of the correspondence, Wolff was the most famous philosopher of the German Enlightenment, having taken a position in Marburg after his exile from Prussia in 1723. Manteuffel was a Saxon diplomat, advocate for the Wolffian philosophy at the Prussi…Read more
  •  52
    These comments are my contribution to the author-meets-critics session on Katharina Kraus' recently published Kant on Self-Knowledge and Self-Formation, at the APA Pacific meeting. In my comments, I challenge Kraus' characterization of my fictionalism concerning the idea of the soul, and contend for the importance of transcendental illusion in that idea's function of guiding the empirical investigation of inner appearances.
  •  82
    When attempting to capture the concept of enlightenment that underlies and motivates philosophical (and political and scientific) developments in the 18th century, historians of philosophy frequently rely upon a needlessly but intentionally exclusive account. This, namely, is the conception of enlightenment first proposed by Kant in his famous essay of 1784, which takes enlightenment to consist in the “emergence from the self-imposed state of minority” and which is only possible for a “public” t…Read more
  •  62
    Kant's Canon, Garve's Cicero, and the Stoic Doctrine of the Highest Good
    In Stefano Bacin & Oliver Sensen (eds.), Kant's Moral Philosophy in Context, . forthcoming.
    The concept of the highest good is an important but hardly uncontroversial piece of Kant’s moral philosophy. In the considerable literature on the topic, challenges are raised concerning its apparently heteronomous role in moral motivation, whether there is a distinct duty to promote it, and more broadly whether it is ultimately to be construed as a theological or merely secular ideal. Yet comparatively little attention has been paid to the context of a doctrine that had enjoyed a place of promi…Read more
  •  1
    Tetens as a Reader of Kant’s Inaugural Dissertation
    In Violetta L. Waibel, Margit Ruffing & David Wagner (eds.), Natur Und Freiheit. Akten des Xii. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses, De Gruyter. pp. 857-866. 2018.
  •  198
    Christian Wolff
    with Matt Hettche
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2019.
  •  198
    In this paper, I provide an account of the role of the associative function of the imagination in causal cognition for Kant. I consider, first, Kant’s treatment of the imaginative faculty in the student notes to Kant’s lectures on anthropology in the 1770s, with the aim of working up a more-or-less comprehensive taxonomy of its various sub-faculties. I then turn to Kant’s account of the activity of the imagination, particularly in accordance with the law of association, in the theory of cognitio…Read more
  •  83
    Über die Unsterblichkeit der Seele (edited book)
    with Georg Friedrich Meier
    Olms. 2018.
    Meier’s Gedancken von dem Zustande der Seele nach dem Tode (Gedancken) deserves a prominent place among treatments of the immortality of the soul in 18th century German philosophy, both within and without the Wolffian tradition of rational psychology. It does not wilt next to Mendelssohn’s Phädon in its quality of expression, and might even be compared with Kant’s discussion in the Paralogisms chapter of his Kritik der reinen Vernunft in terms of the boldness of its argument and its philosophica…Read more
  •  135
    Kant's A-Edition objective deduction is naturally (and has traditionally been) divided into two arguments: an " argument from above" and one that proceeds " von unten auf." This would suggest a picture of Kant's procedure in the objective deduction as first descending and ascending the same ladder, the better, perhaps, to test its durability or to thoroughly convince the reader of its soundness. There are obvious obstacles to such a reading, however; and in this chapter I will argue that the arg…Read more
  •  14
    Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 109 Heft: 2 Seiten: 249-250.
  •  132
    In this chapter, I consider the largely overlooked influence of E. W. von Tschirnhaus' treatise on method, the Medicina mentis, on Wolff's early philosophical project (in both its conception and execution). As I argue, part of Tschirnhaus' importance for Wolff lies in the use he makes of principles gained from experience as a foundation for the scientific enterprise in the context of his broader philosophical rationalism. I will show that this lesson from Tschirnhaus runs through Wolff's earlies…Read more
  •  186
    Women and Philosophy in Eighteenth-Century Germany (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2021.
    Women and Philosophy in 18th Century Germany gathers for the first time an exceptional group of scholars with the explicit aim of composing a comprehensive portrait of the complex and manifold contributions on the part of women in 18th century Germany. Amidst the re-evaluation of the place of women in the history of early Modern philosophy, this vital and distinctive intellectual context has thus far been missing. As this volume will show, women intellectuals contributed crucially (directly and …Read more
  •  370
    This collection of new essays, the first of its kind in English, considers the ways in which the philosophy of Immanuel Kant engages with the views of lesser-known eighteenth-century German thinkers. Each chapter casts new light on aspects of Kant's complex relationship with these figures, particularly with respect to key aspects of his logic, metaphysics, epistemology, theory of science, and ethics. The portrait of Kant that emerges is of a major thinker thoroughly engaged with his contemporari…Read more
  •  86
    : Mendelssohn’s Philosophische Gespräche, first published in 1755, represents his first philosophical work in German and rather surprisingly for a debut, in the first two dialogues of that work Mendelssohn attempts nothing less than a defense of the legacy of the most controversial philosopher of his day, Benedict de Spinoza. In this paper, I attempt to enlarge the context, and if possible to raise the stakes, of Mendelssohn’s discussion in order to bring out what I take to be a much more ambiti…Read more
  •  123
    Israel Gottlieb Canz’s Uberzeugender Beweiß, first published in 1741 and reprinted here in its second, expanded edition stands as his most influential discussion of the soul’s immortality, with one contemporary pronouncing it to be “one of the best [treatments of immortality] that we have.” In this text, Canz seeks to augment and supplement traditional Wolffian proofs by considering, first, the grounds for the soul’s immortality that are contained in its own nature and, second, the grounds for t…Read more
  •  213
    In this paper, I challenge the assumption that Kant’s Third Paralogism has to do, first and foremost, with the question of personal identity.
  •  67
    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
  •  242
    In this paper I consider Tetens' reaction to Kant's Inaugural Dissertation in his two most important philosophical works, the essay “Über die allgemeine speculativische Philosophie” of 1775 and the two-volume Philosophische Versuche of 1777. In particular, I focus on Tetens’ critical discussion of Kant's account of the acquisition of concepts of space and time.
  •  353
    Between Wolffianism and Pietism: Baumgarten's Rational Psychology
    In Courtney Fugate & John Hymers (eds.), Baumgarten and Kant on Metaphysics, Oxford University Press. pp. 78-93. 2018.
    In this paper, I consider Baumgarten’s views on the soul in the context of the Pietist critique of Wolff’s rational psychology. My primary aim is to account for the largely unacknowledged differences between Wolff’s and Baumgarten’s rational psychology, though I also hope to show that, in some cases, the Pietists were rather more perceptive in their reading of Wolff than they are typically given credit for as their criticisms frequently succeed in drawing attention to significant omissions in Wo…Read more
  •  348
    Kant’s introduction in the Kritik der reinen Vernunft (KrV) of a spontaneity proper to the understanding is often thought to be one of the central innovations of his Critical philosophy. As I show in this paper, however, a number of thinkers within the 18th century German tradition in the time before the KrV (including the pre-Critical Kant himself) had already developed a robust conception of the spontaneity of the mind, a conception which, in many respects lays the groundwork for Kant’s later,…Read more
  •  214
    In this paper, I attempt to trace the broader contours of a putative Leibnizian psychology by adopting the rather unusual, and perhaps historically dubious, strategy of outlining the continuities between Leibniz’s discussion of the soul and the much more detailed and systematic psychological writings of his German successor, Christian Wolff.
  •  92
    Morning Hours, or Lectures on God's Existence
    with Moses Mendelssohn and Daniel Dahlstrom
    Springer. 2011.
    Morning Hours is the first English translation of Morgenstunden by Moses Mendelssohn, the foremost Jewish thinker of the German Enlightenment. Published six months before Mendelssohn's death on January 4, 1786, Morning Hours is the most sustained presentation of his mature epistemological and metaphysical views, all elaborated in the service of presenting his son with proofs for the existence of God. But Morning Hours is much more than a theoretical treatise. It also plays a central role in t…Read more
  •  200
    The divorce of reason and experience: Kant's paralogisms of pure reason in context
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (2). 2009.
    I consider Kant's criticism of rational psychology in the Paralogisms of Pure Reason in light of his German predecessors. I first present Wolff's foundational account of metaphysical psychology with the result that Wolff's rational psychology is not comfortably characterized as a naïvely rationalist psychology. I then turn to the reception of Wolff's account among later German metaphysicians, and show that the same claim of a dependence of rational upon empirical psychology is found in the publi…Read more