• 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
  • Über die Unsterblichkeit der Seele (edited book)
    with Georg Friedrich Meier
    Olms. forthcoming.
    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
  • 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
  • Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 109 Heft: 2 Seiten: 249-250.
  • 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
  • Review essay
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (5): 613-619. 2009.
  • Review essay
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (5): 613-619. 2009.
  • Review essay: Paul Guyer's, Knowledge, Reason, and Taste: Kant's Response to Hume (review)
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (5): 613-619. 2009.
  • 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
  • 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
  • : 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Between Wolffianism and Pietism: Baumgarten's Rational Psychology
    In Courtney Fugate & John Hymers (eds.), Baumgarten and Kant on Metaphysics, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • In this paper, I challenge the assumption that Kant’s Third Paralogism has to do, first and foremost, with the question of personal identity.
  • The Principles of Apperception
    In Udo Thiel & Giuseppe Motta (eds.), Immanuel Kant: Die Einheit des Bewusstseins (Kant-Studien Ergänzungshefte), Degruyter. pp. 32-46. 2017.
    In this paper, I argue that there are multiple principles of apperception which jointly constitute the foundation of Kant's argument in the transcendental deduction.
  • Early Modern German Philosophy (1690-1750): A Reader
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    This volume makes some of the key texts and debates in Germany in the first half of the 18th century available to an English-language audience, in most cases for the first time. The translations include texts by Thomasius, Wolff, Crusius, and Meier, as well as texts by consequential but less familiar thinkers like Theodor Ludwig Lau, Friedrich Wilhelm Stosch, Dorothea Christiane Leporin, and Joachim Lange. The topics covered range across a number of areas of theoretical philosophy, including met…Read more
  • 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
  • Few of Kant’s doctrines are as difficult to understand as that of self-affection. Its brief career in the published literature consists principally in its unheralded introduction in the Transcendental Aesthetic and unexpected re-appearance at a key moment in the Deduction chapter in the B edition of the first Critique. Kant’s commentators, confronted with the difficulty of this doctrine, have naturally resorted to various strategies of clarification, ranging from distinguishing between empirical…Read more
  • Power, Harmony, and Freedom: Debating Causation in 18th Century Germany
    In Frederick Beiser & Brandon Look (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Eighteenth Century German Philosophy, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    As far as treatments of causation are concerned, the pre-Kantian 18th century German context has long been dismissed as a period of uniform and unrepentant Leibnizian dogmatism. While there is no question that discussions of issues relating to causation in this period inevitably took Leibniz as their point of departure, it is certainly not the case that the resulting positions were in most cases dogmatically, or in some cases even recognizably, Leibnizian. Instead, German theorists explored a ra…Read more
  • 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
  • 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