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Con-Textos Kantianos. International Journal of Philosophy Nº 01, Noviembre 2014, pp. 167-178

ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18461


Kant and Philosophy in a Cosmopolitan Sense.

th

The 11 Kant Congress in Pisa

Kant y la filosofía en sentido cosmopolita.

El 11.º Congreso Kant de Pisa



GABRIELE GAVA

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany


Review: Stefano Bacin, Alfredo Ferrarin, Claudio La Rocca, Margit Ruffing (eds.), Kant und die Philosophie in weltbürgerlicher Absicht: Akten des XI. internationalen Kant-Kongresses, 5 vols., Berlin/Boston: DeGruyter 2014.


The 11th Kant Congress took place in Pisa from the 22ndto the 26th of May 2010 (www.kant2010.it) and was attended by hundreds of registered participants. It was organised on behalf of the Kant- Gesellschaft by the Società Italiana di Studi Kantiani in collaboration with the University of Pisa.The organizers chose Kant’s cosmopolitan concept of philosophy as the general topic of the congress. This choice was more then appropriate, insofar as this is a theme which is of central importance for understanding the unity of Kant’s thought. The selected topic thus offered an ideal unifying framework for a congress that aimed at representing the state of the art of the research on Kant and Kantian philosophy. This of course does not mean that the contributions were all related to the main theme. They were divided in 14 different sections, which reflected the current research on Kant on a multiplicity of subjects: from metaphysics to ethics, from epistemology to political philosophy, from the philosophy of science to the philosophy of law, from Kant’s place in the history of philosophy to the philosophy of religion, etc. The congress counted also 23 keynote addresses (by Henry Allison, Karl Ameriks, Manfred Baum, Rémi Brague, Robert Brandom, Reinhard Brandt, Mario Caimi, Wolfgang Carl, Bernd Dörflinger, Jean Ferrari, Alfredo Ferrarin, Paul Guyer, Barbara Herman, Norbert Hinske, Claudio La Rocca, Béatrice Longuenesse, Eiji Makino, Massimo Mori, Onora O’Neill, Thomas Pogge, Hans Jörg Sandkühler, John Searle and Riccardo Terra), while one section was of course dedicated to Kant’s concept of philosophy. The scientific sections were accompanied by some side events organized in Pisa and in neighbouring


Researcher at the University Goethe of Frankfurt a.M. (Germany). E-mail for contact: [email protected]

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cities. These included some conferences open to the wider public (one on human right with Thomas Pogge and one on cosmopolitanism) and a presentation of a posthumous collection of some of Silvestro Marcucci’s papers. Additionally, the 6th “Siegener Kant-Kurs” (a course focused on the interpretation of relevant passages of Kantian texts) took exceptionally place in Pisa immediately before the congress (www.uni-siegen.de/phil/philosophie/zetkik/skk6.html). The guest professors were Dennis Schulting and Niko Strobach. The congress also hosted the assignment of two awards,

which were conferred during a special ceremony in the city of Lucca. The Kant-Prize of the Kant- Gesellschaft, sponsored by the Thyssen Foundation, was assigned to Mario Caimi, while the “Kant- Nachwuchspreis” of the Silvestro Marcucci Foundation was conferred to Jens Timmermann. This is just to provide a quick outline of the form andstructure of the congress. In order to discuss more in details its contents I will now turn my attention to the published proceedings, which appeared in 2014 by De Gruyter.

The proceedings are divided in five volumes and contain more than 350 contributions in total. Given this size, it is impressing how high is the average level of the articles. The first volume includes the introductory speeches, the speeches given at the prizes ceremony, all the keynote addresses and the papers dedicated to the main topic of the congress, that is, to Kant’s concept of philosophy. It offers a multi-layered and interconnected discussion of the latter topic, just as of Kant’s account of cosmopolitanism. But we also find excellent contributions in the other four volumes of the proceedings, which contain 14 other sections: Theory of Knowledge and Logic, Ontology and Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion (Volume 2); Ethics, Law and Justice (volume 3); Aesthetics, Anthropology and Psychology, Politics and History (volume 4); Science, Mathematics and Philosophy of nature, Kant and the Leibnizian Tradition, Kant and the Philosophical Tradition, Kant and Schopenhauer, and Kant’s Heritage (volume 5).In what follows, I will focus my attention on the first volume in particular, because it provides an unifying framework for the congress. I will then comment very briefly on the other volumes. Of course I will not be able to discuss all the papers, not even all the good papers, and my choice will inevitably be influenced by my personal interests. However, I will try to give priority to those papers that are particularly noteworthy for their originality and rigour and to those that, being connected to one another, form a relatively systematic discussion of a particular topic.

Turning now to volume 1, I will concentrate my attention on the papers directly related to the main themes of the congress. This means that I cannot but avoid considering many valuable contributions, even among the keynote speeches. I start with the papers on Kant’s concept of

philosophy. In his article “The Unity of Reason: On Cyclopes, Architects, and the Cosmic

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Philosopher’s Vision” Alfredo Ferrarin engages in an insightful discussion of Kant’s conception of reason and philosophy. He uses the image of a cyclops, an image used by Kant himself, in order to illustrate Kant’s understanding of the role of philosophy according to its cosmic concept (this is Ferrarin’s preferred translation of Weltbegriff). Kant distinguishes between philosophy according to its scholastic concept (Schulbegriff) and philosophy according to its cosmic concept (Weltbegriff). The latter is characterized by the fact that it takes into consideration the relationship of our cognitions to the essential ends of human reason (cf. KrV A 838-9 B 866-7). What philosophy according to its cosmic concept should thus do is to give us a new perspective to consider our various scientific achievements, a perspective which allows us to see them as belonging to a unitary whole, where every cognition gains a new role in its relationship with the essential ends revealed by philosophy (cf. 225ff.). In this sense philosophy gives back the second eye to cyclopes. Cyclopes are scientists that are immersed in their own field of research without taking into consideration the value of their work for the whole of humanity. Philosophy should give back to science and reason this perspective, which is the only one that can allow us to look at the edifice of science as a systematic whole directed toward a unifying purpose (cf. 215-7). Ferrarin also discusses some problems related to Kant’s concept of philosophy, like for example the apparent contrast between the architectonic and the organic metaphors used by Kant for presenting the systematicity of the philosophical perspective (cf. 218ff.), or the problematic role of history in Kant’s position (cf. 222ff.). Yet Kant’s own characterization of the cosmic concept of philosophy gives us a way out to these problems.

Norbert Hinske’s paper “Kants Verankerung der Kritik im Weltbegriff. Einige Anmerkungen zu KrV B 866 ff.” also provides important materials for understanding Kant’s account of philosophy according to its “Weltbegriff”. He engages in a textual analysis of the Critique of Pure Reason and related lecture notes in order to understand what Kant actually meant by using the Latin expression “conceptus cosmicus” to characterize Philosophy according to the “Weltbegriff.” This task is more difficult than it might appear at first sight, because the appearance of the form “in sensu cosmico” in various lecture notes and in the Jäsche Logic is probably imputable to the indirect influence of the passage in the Critique itself (cf. 268).The Fact that Kant understands philosophy according to its Weltbegriff as a discipline that “concerns that which necessarily interests everyone” (KrV A 839n. B 867n.) might however suggest that he meant “conceptus cosmopoliticus” more than “cosmicus” (cf. 270-1). Hinske recommends also a useful distinction between the Weltbegriff used in the Dialectic and the one used in the Architectonic (cf.

269ff.). He then places the latter Weltbegriff in the context of Kant’s contemporaries and suggests

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that a possible related use of the concept of world is to be found in Johann Jakob Engel (cf. 272-3). Kant links philosophy according to its Weltbegriff to the idea of the “Bestimmung der Menschen” (cf. KrV A 840 B 868). Hinske argues that Kant’s use of this latter notion substantially agrees with Johann Joachim Spaldings’ characterization of it (cf. 273-4). Besides, according to Hinske, Kant’s employment of the word “Weltbürger” was influenced by Johann Bernhard Basedow’s pedagogy (cf. 274-5).

The concept of systematicity is of central importance for understanding Kant’s conception of philosophy (according to both the Schul- and the Weltbegriff) and its methods. In the article “Methode und System in Kants Philosophieauffassung” Claudio La Rocca shows how Kant’s account of the philosophical method is radically original and still relevant for philosophy today. According to Kant, philosophy cannot proceed dogmatically and deductively as the Wolffian school has argued. Strictly speaking it cannot even reach the secure premises that are open to mathematics (cf. 284-6). Philosophy is better understood as the highest expression of the systematic proceeding of reason. Reason is itself a system for Kant, but not in the sense that we can see it as a static structure of interrelated parts. Reason is rather systematic in its procedures. In its inquiries, philosophy is nothing less than a reflexive activity of reason which is teleologically guided by its ultimate ends (cf. 286-92). This procedural understanding of the systematicity of reason and philosophy (and the related priority of the method with respect to a particular set of doctrines) is also reflected in Kant’s claim that we should rather learn to philosophize than apprehend a particular philosophical system (cf. 295-7).

Among the keynote addresses, the contributions of Wolfgang Carl and Paul Guyer should also be mentioned in this context. They do not directly address Kant’s cosmopolitan concept of philosophy, but they analyse two concepts that are relevant for understanding Kant’s own account of philosophical inquiry, that is, the ideas of a Copernican revolution and that of essential ends. In his article “Kants kopernikanische Wende” Carl argues that Kant’s “revolution in the way of thinking” is often misunderstood. It is not something that he proposes for our cognitions in general, but only for metaphysics (cf. 164). When we have understood this, it would also be wrong to think that Kant wants to identify two exhaustive alternatives when he stresses that in our cognition either the object makes the concept possible or vice versa (cf. KrV A 92 B 124). Kant rather introduces a third alternative, according to which representations that are conditions of the possibility of experience determine a priori the form of an object (cf. 166ff.). This is very different from arguing that a representation is the cause of an object. Carl then adds a very useful discussion of the

distinction between form and matter in the context of Kant’s transcendental standpoint (cf.

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168ff.).Turning now to Paul Guyer’s contribution, we have seen that the essential ends of humanity are of central importance for philosophy according to its cosmopolitan concept. Guyer has dedicated his article “Freedom and the Essential Ends of Mankind” exactly to Kant’s treatment of this notion in the context of his lectures and notes on moral philosophy. One can see how Kant identifies freedom as the essential end of mankind, even though his account of freedom as an essential end varies substantially (cf. 230ff.).It goes from conceptions of freedom that seem naturalistic in essence to an account which emphasizes our capacity to autonomously give laws to ourselves. However, it is only around the end of the 1770’s that Kant explicitly says that the freedom he is concerned about is the freedom of all human beings (not the personal freedom of single agents) and that this must be treated as the essential end of humanity (cf. 239ff.). This latter view will form the basis for Kant’s published writings on morality of the 1780’s and 1790’s (cf. 242ff.).

Interesting articles on Kant’s concept of philosophy are also to be found in the section with contributed papers dedicated to this topic. Here there are various contributions that would deserve to be mentioned, but I must limit myself to just three. Already in our discussion of Hinske’s paper, we saw that there is an ambiguity in Kant’s use of the term Weltbegriff in relation to philosophy, an ambiguity that is sometimes reflected in the translations. Thus, it is not easy to understand if Kant means philosophy according to a cosmic or to a cosmopolitan concept. In his contribution “Differentiating Worldy and Cosmopolitan Senses of Philosophy in Kant. According to a World- Concept and his Cosmopolitanism” Rudolf Makkreel suggests that both notions play a role in Kant’s philosophy. According to him, the cosmopolitan perspective encompasses an anthropological standpoint which focuses on the human species as a whole, while the cosmic point of view concerns individuals in their moral relationships with their humanity (cf. 651-2). In her paper “Zwischen Wissenschaft und Weisheit. Die Hinwendung zum Praktisch-Anthropologischen in Kants Verständnis der Philosophie” María Jesús Vázquez Lobeiras shows how Kant’s distinction between the scholastic and the cosmopolitan concepts of philosophy can be better understood in the context of Kant’s lectures on logic. By focusing on the latter, one can see how Kant wants to distance himself from Georg Friedrich Meier’s understanding of philosophy as “lernedness” (Gelehrsamkeit) (cf. 755-9). In contrast to this limited understanding of philosophy, Kant favours an account which combines science and wisdom (cf. 759-60). Another perspective on Kant’s two definitions of philosophy in the Architectonic of Pure Reason is provided by Lea Ypi in her paper “The Problem of Systematic Unity in Kant’s Two Definitions of Philosophy.” In contrast to the

other papers on this topic just discussed, Ypi argues that Kant’s cosmopolitan concept of

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philosophy as it is presented in the first Critique has various problems and entails some rationalist assumptions that he only later will abandon. The basic assumption that Ypi attributes to Kant affirms that nature and morality form a unitary and teleological system. This is the only way in which philosophy, according to the conceptual framework of the first Critique, could become a system of cognitions unified by their reference to essential human ends. However, for Ypi this is an assumption that we cannot make within Kant’s critical philosophy (cf. 780ff.).

Turning now to Kant’s cosmopolitanism, which is the second key topic in the first volume, there are

6 keynote papers dedicated to it: Karl Ameriks’ “Kant’s Ambivalent Cosmopolitanism,” Jean Ferrari’s “Le cosmopolitisme de Kant et le fins ultimes del la raison humaine,” Eiji Makino’s “Weltbürgertum und die Kritik an der postkolonialen Vernunft,” Massimo Mori’s “Reine Vernunft und Weltbürgertum – Recht, Politik und Geschichte in Kants Kosmopolitismus”, Onora O’Neill’s “Cosmopolitanism Then and Now,” Thomas Pogge’s “Kants Vision einer gerechten Weltordnung” and Hans Jörg Sandkühler’s “Moral, Recht und Staat in weltbürgerlicher Perspektive. Überlegungen im Anschluss an Kant.” These papers together offer a nuanced and interesting discussion of this central concept from very different perspectives. For example Karl Ameriks considers some ambiguities in Kant’s account of the place of human beings in the world. If in a sense one could claim that Kant’s critical philosophy requires a language of total immanence (cf. 56-7), there are also clear hints that Kant regarded the human subjects as partially, but essentially, “outside the world” (cf. 58ff.). A quite different perspective is taken by Massimo Mori who shows how Kant’s cosmopolitanism is distinctive for its essential legal character (cf. 340). However, he claims that Kant does not succeed in providing a foundation of cosmopolitanism on only legal grounds. Kant thus integrates his reflections on cosmopolitanism with considerations on politics and history (cf. 342, 347ff.). Onora O’Neill provides a clarification of Kant’s account of international and cosmopolitan justice in order to prevent its misuse in contemporary accounts. She claims that for Kant international and cosmopolitan justice should be differentiated. The former concerns the relationships between states (cf. 362f.), the latter the interactions between individuals and states they do not inhabit (cf. 364ff.). She shows how Kant’s account of international and cosmopolitan justice is much more circumscribed than many contemporary conceptions of this matter (cf. 364). I must now turn my attention to the other volumes of the proceedings. In this discussion of the first volume I had to overlook many valuable contributions in order to give more attention to the two main topics of the congress. However, I want at least to mention the titles of the other keynote addresses that are included in the volume: Henry Allison’s “The Singleness of the Categorical

Imperative,” Manfred Baum’s “Freiheit und Recht bei Kant,” Rémi Brague’s “Kant e la tentation

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gnostique,” Robert Brandom’s “From German Idealism to American Pragmatism – and Back,” Reinhard Brandt’s “Kants ewiger Friede als Natur- und Vernunftzweck,” Mario Caimi’s “Der Gegenstand, der nach der Lehre vom Schematismus unter die Kategorien zu subsumieren ist,” Bernd Dörflinger’s “Eine neuere Religionsaffassung im Licht einer älteren – Habermas und Kant,” Barbara Herman’s “Making Exceptions,” Béatrice Longuenesse’s “Kant and Freud on ‘I,’” John Searle’s “Reconciling the Basic Reality and the Human Reality – Post Kantian Themes” and Riccardo Terra’s “Hat die kantische Vernunft eine Hauptfarbe?” These papers all present relevant material for the understanding of Kant’s thought and for its application to contemporary issues in philosophy.

I will now comment the four remaining volumes of the proceedings. Since it is here difficult to find themes able to associate different articles, I will limit myself to mentioning those papers that I found interesting and helpful. This listing cannot of course be considered exhaustive or objective and it will inevitably overlook various valuable contributions. The papers in the second volume of the proceedings are divided in three sections: Theory of Knowledge and Logic (which is the longest one of the volume), Ontology and Metaphysics, and Philosophy of Religion (which is the shortest). In the first section I found particularly interesting the papers of John Callanan, Mirella Capozzi, Dietmar Heidemann, Camilla Serck-Hanssen, Marcus Willaschek and Falk Wunderlich. In his contribution “Kant on Innate Ideas. Another Look at B 167 – 168” Callanan argues that Kant’s refutation of innatism should not be understood as a rejection of innatism tout court, but as a rejection of a particular kind of innatism. Moreover Kant could be seen as defending a kind of innatism focused on innate capacities (cf. 53ff.). Mirella Capozzi provides a useful discussion of the categories of quantity in her “The Quantity of Judgments and the Categories of Quantity. A problem in the Metaphysical Deduction.” In particular she provides an explanation of the reason why Kant associates universal judgments to the category of unity and singular judgments to that of totality (cf. 65ff.). Dietmar Heidemann takes into consideration a thorny question in the paper “‘Das Ich bin.’ Zu Kants Begriff des reinen Existenzbewusstseins.” He considers whether Kant’s claim that we posses a non-empirical conscience of the existence of ourselves as a pure apperception implies the reference to an intellectual intuition, which seems contradictory within Kant’s critical philosophy (cf. 153ff.). The article “The Significance of Infinite Jugment” by Serck-Hanssen convincingly argues that infinite judgments, the third form of the judgments of quality, play a much more central role in Kant’s critical philosophy than it is normally assumed. In particular, they are essential for establishing boundaries between different domains of objects, a task which is essential

in Kant’s criticism. (cf.409ff.). In his paper “Kant’s Two Conceptions of (Pure) Reason in the

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Critique of Pure Reason” Marcus Willaschek shows that Kant’s distinction between a wider and a narrower sense of reason is not so straightforward as it is normally assumed in the literature. In particular Kant approaches the distinction between reason in general and pure reason in two different ways: one based on the discernment of two kinds of a priori principles (a priori and purely a priori), and one based on the identification of two different uses of reason (as providing systematic unity to our cognitions or as generating synthetic a priori principles from mere concepts) (cf. 483ff.).I close my discussion of the section on theory of knowledge and logic by mentioning Falk Wunderlich’s paper “Kant and Hume contra Materialist Theories of the Mind.” He provides a useful comparison of Kant’s and Hume’s criticisms of materialist account of the soul which highlights both similarities and differences between the two (cf. 493ff.). Before turning to volume 3 I want also to briefly consider two papers that are contained in the section on ontology and metaphyisics. Dina Emundts “Kant über Wahrheit” provides an helpful consideration of Kant’s account of truth. She asks if Kant could be considered a weak verificationist on truth. A weak verificationist would attribute a truth value only to those statements that are in principle verifiable, or, better, that could in principle belong to possible experience. There are hints toward a position of this kind in Kant, however a consideration of his claims on things-in-themselves reveals a more realist account of truth. Emundts concludes by suggesting how these two strands can be put together (cf. 563ff.). To finish with my consideration of volume 2 I want also to mention Toni Kannisto’s paper “Modality and Metaphysics in Kant” which provides a reassessment of the importance of Kant’s theory of modality for the understanding of his philosophy and, more generally, for contemporary accounts of modality.

Volume 3 of the proceeding is composed of the sections on ethics (which fills the most part of the volume) and on law and justice (which is much shorter). In the former section I found the contributions of Stefano Bacin, Sorin Baiasu, Claudia Blöser, Jochen Bojanowski, Andrea Esser, Luca Fonnesu, Andrews Reath, Dieter Schönecker and Jens Timmermann particularly informative. Bacin provides a convincing clarification of the relationship between duties of love and duties of respect in his article “Kant on the Relation between Duties of Love and Duties of Respect.” Kant’s identification of duties of respect as a particular kind of duties to others is original in the context of the moral philosophy of his time. The fact that duties of respect and duties of love should be distinguished does not mean that they are not essentially interrelated, so that the former seem to require the commitment to the latter and vice versa. However, what is important to keep in mind in considering Kant’s account of duties of respect is the fact that they can enter the sphere of ethical

duties only thanks to their connection with the end of promoting the happiness of others (cf. 15ff.).

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In “The Deontic Force of the Formula of Universal Law” Baiasu argues that Mark Timmons’ objections against the decision procedure interpretation of the formula of universal law are not conclusive. This latter interpretation maintains that the universal law formulation of the categorical imperative should be able to guide our judgment concerning specific actions. Timmons objects to this interpretation by showing that the formula of universal law cannot meet the requirements of a decision procedure in a moral theory. However, according to Baiasu, Timmons’ objection fails because it is based on an account of a “mere decision procedure” that is self-contradictory (cf. 41ff.). In her paper “Grade der Tugend und Rigurismus” Blöser takes into account an apparent contradiction in Kant’s moral philosophy. Kant argues that in the evaluation of the moral character of men we should consider men either good or evil and there is no middle way between these two opposites. This seems to contradict Kant’s claim that we can identify different grades of virtue. Blöser tries to overcome this apparent tension by using the distinction between an intellectual and an empirical evaluation of human beings (cf. 51ff.). The paper “Evil by Nature. Does Kant Owe Us Yet Another Transcendental Deduction?” by Bojanowski focuses on the question of the moral evilness of human being as a species. He argues that, contrary to what is normally assumed, Kant’s contention that human beings are evil by nature is sustained by adequate arguments. Andrea Esser points out the relevance of Kant’s account of the capacity of judgment for contemporary discussions on practical judgments. In her article “Die Urteilskraft in der Praxis – Reflexion und Anwendung” she builds on Kant’s theory of judgment in order to show that our practical capacity to judge should not only be understood as a capacity to apply general rules to particular cases, but also as a creative capacity for identifying ethical principles (cf. 147ff.).In “Entwicklung und Erweiterung der praktischen Absicht” Luca Fonnesu presents a useful historical reconstruction of the development of Kant’s views on the practical standpoint in philosophy from the Critique of Pure Reason to his writings of the 1790’s. He shows how, while in the first Critiquethe realization of morality was only achievable in the noumenal world, later it becomes a result that we must see as realizable in the historical world we live (cf. 173ff.).In his paper “The ground of practical laws” Reath tries to explain Kant’s claim that rational nature, as an end in itself, is a necessary ground of practical laws. Reath suggests that this claim can be understood by first making clear what it means to say that rational nature is an end in itself. If by this latter contention we mean that practical reason necessarily see its proper exercise as a formal end of absolute worth, then we might be able to grasp the reason why rational nature as an end in itself must count as a necessary ground of practical laws (cf. 571ff.). A very useful discussion of Kant’s account of duties to oneself is

provided by Dieter Schönecker in “Kant’s Argument for the Existence of Duties to Oneself in § 2 of

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the Tugendlehre.” He offers a detailed reconstruction of the argument and claims that it aims at showing that every obligation, including obligation to others, is also a self-obligation (cf. 609ff.). To conclude my survey of volume 3 I wish now to briefly comment on Timmerman’s article “Divine Existence and Moral Motivation.” Timmermann considers Kant’s argument at the end of the Dialectic of the Critique of Practical Reason that it is better for human being not to have the cognitive powers to theoretically cognize the existence of God and immortality. It is not easy to understand why Kant thinks that we would not be able to act on moral grounds if we were able to reach such theoretical knowledge. According to Timmermann, Kant’s point is that if we know that God exists our moral action would not be based on moral grounds, but on self-interest, insofar as we would recognize that acting morally coincides with our best interest (cf. 669ff.).

Volume 4 of the proceedings contains the sections on aesthetics, anthropology and psychology, and politics and history. In the aesthetics section I found the articles of Alix Cohen, Georg Mohr, and Gabriele Tomasi particularly interesting. In her paper “Kant’s Categories of Ugliness” Cohen challenges the common assumption that there is no space for ugliness in Kant’s aesthetics, and she argues that he is instead committed to recognize what she calls “impure ugliness” (cf. 25ff.).Also Georg Mohr dedicates his paper to what seems to be an aspect that Kant neglected in his aesthetics, that is, music. “Kant über Musik als schöne Kunst” tries to show that the sporadic character of Kant’s comments on music notwithstanding, it is possible to identify a Kantian account of music which is both adequate and consistent (cf. 153ff.). In his “Kant’s on the Reality of Beauty” Tomasi argues that, despite what it might appear at a first sight, Kant’s theory of beauty should be read as a form of “moderate realism,” insofar as in judgments on beauty the predicate “is beautiful” tracks a property, even though this property is relational and not conceptually describable (cf.289ff.).Turning now to the section on anthropology and psychology I will limit myself to commenting on Riccardo Martinelli’s paper, insofar as it focuses on the relationship between Kant’s anthropology and Kant’s cosmopolitan concept of philosophy, thus providing another perspective on the main theme of the congress. In “Vom Ich zum Welt. Formen der Weltbeziehung in Kants Anthropologie” Martinelli shows how some interpretative problems that have often been discussed in relation to Kant’s anthropology, as for example the relationships between “didactic” and “characteristic,” can gain new light by a consideration of the development of Kant’s views on the relationship between human beings and the world in the context of his pragmatic anthropology. From this perspective, Kant’s anthropology should be approached from the standpoint of Kant’s cosmopolitan concept of philosophy. The didactic and the characteristic gain thus a new meaning,

where the latter considers the relation of human beings to the historically and socially constituted

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world (cf. 413ff.).In the last section of volume 4, which is dedicated to politics and history,Thomas Sturm’s article is also related to one of the main topics of the congress, that is, cosmopolitanism. In “What Did Kant Mean by and Why did He Adopt a Cosmopolitan Point of View in History?” Sturm shows how, with his account of history, Kant reacted to theories of historiography that were defended at his times, where the issue of cosmopolitanism was also discussed. Kant’s cosmopolitan point of view in history is thus better understood, and possibly made more plausible, if seen from this background (cf. 863ff.). Unfortunately, for space constraints, I must avoid commenting other papers in volume 4 and move to volume 5, which contains the sections on science, mathematics and philosophy of nature, Kant and the Leibnizean tradition, Kant and the philosophical tradition, Kant and Schopenhauer, and Kant’s heritage. I will limit my comments to the papers in the first section by considering the articles by Angela Breitenbach, Ina Goy, Heiner Klemme and Eric Watkins. Breitenbach argues that Kant’s account of the teleology of living beings as only analogical and regulative provides a valuable tool for the contemporary philosophy of biology. In her paper “Kant on Biology and the Experience of Life” she maintains that Kant’s theory of biology, a theory which claims that we cannot have actual knowledge of the purposefulness of living beings, is extremely powerful for a time in which the boundaries between living and non-living beings seem to become thinner and thinner because of our always improving capacities to technically manipulate both (cf. 19ff.).Also dedicated to Kant’s account of biology is Goy’s paper “On Judging Nature as a System of Ends. Exegetical Problems of § 67 of the Critique of the Power of Judgment.” She shows the importance for Kant’s account of biology of the claim, made in the just mentioned paragraph, that not only single products of nature, but nature as a whole has to be judged as a system of ends. The centrality of this thesis has been often neglected by commentators. It deservers however close consideration because it presents various interpretative problems, which Goy tries to solve by means of a strong reading of the aforementioned claim (cf. 65ff.). Klemme also dedicates his article “Zweckmäßigkeit mit Endzweck. Über den Übergang vom Natur- zum Freiheitsbegriff in Kants Kritik der Urteilskraft” to a central problem of the third Critique, namely, the transition from the concept of nature to that of freedom. Klemme suggests that the possibility of this transition can be approached by focusing on the relationship between the reflecting power of judgment and practical reason, which takes place when we judge on particular forms of nature as teleologically organized. In fact, by means of the reflective power of judgment the practical concept of a final cause, which is given by reason, finds an application in our theoretical account of nature. Reason eventually provides also the concept for the resolution of the conflict between the two basic kinds of causality,

that is, the concept of the supersensible (cf. 113ff.). Let me conclude my consideration of volume 5

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ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18461


by mentioning Watkins’ contribution “Kant on Infima Species.” He first shows why Kant’s contention that there cannot be any lowest or next species is problematic and then tries to find a solution to this problem with the help of Kant’s logic lectures and of the Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic. This solution is offered by Kant’s account of reason as a faculty that looks for the totality of conditions in its systematization of nature. The claim that there is no lowest and next species are thus reducible to Kant’s contention that it is for us impossible to cognize the unconditioned. (cf. 283ff.).

This survey of the papers contained in the proceedings of the Kant Congress in Pisa is of course limited in scope. It had to avoid considering many valuable contributions and to limit itself to brief comments for the papers it mentioned. This was inevitable in the evaluation of a work of this size with so many different authors. What I hope is however clear is that the volumes contain various materials that enhance and broaden our understanding of Kant in many respects. This is particularly true for the first volume and for the papers dedicated to Kant’s concept of philosophy, which together form a multifaceted discussion of this topic: a topic that deserves a central place in our approach to Kant. It is a merit of the organisers, the editors, and the participants, to have made this once again clear.


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