•  7
    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
  •  38
    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.
  •  62
    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
  •  53
    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.
  •  195
    Christian Wolff
    with Matt Hettche
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2019.
  •  185
    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
  •  69
    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
  •  124
    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
  •  10
    Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 109 Heft: 2 Seiten: 249-250.
  •  118
    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
  •  179
    Women and Philosophy in Eighteenth-Century Germany (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    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
  •  365
    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
  •  79
    : 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
  •  110
    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
  •  671
    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
  •  289
    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.
  •  112
    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
  •  152
    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
  •  693
    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
  •  91
    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
  •  127
    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
  •  293
    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