Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk in Istanbul: Uygar Abaci (University of Richmond) on ‘Modality and Morality in Kant: A Theory of Practical Cognition’ 24/12/2013

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Uygar Abaci (University of Richmond) will give a talk at Istanbul Technical University, on Tuesday  December 24, 2013 at 13:30 in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.

ABSTRACT: In his preface to the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant defines “the enigma of the critical philosophy” in terms of the following conundrum: how can we, as epistemic subjects, retain a theoretical agnosticism with respect to the reality of objects such as freedom, God and the immortality of the soul that lie beyond the limits of our possible experience, and yet assert the reality of these objects “from a practical point of view”, that is, when it comes to considering ourselves as moral subjects (5:5). The solution to the enigma, I suggest, lies in the practical application of Kant’s critical conception of modality. According to this conception, modal concepts such as possibility, actuality and necessity signify the ways in which objects are related or given to the subject rather than the ways objects themselves are. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant insists that in the theoretical domain objects can only be given to us through a connection with sensible intuition, which makes it impossible for us to grant a real modal status to these supersensible objects and thus renders their concepts merely “problematic” ideas for theoretical reason. However, Kant’s account of moral action in the Critique of Practical Reason assumes that in the moral-practical domain objects are given to us through a connection with the moral law. I argue that it is this special relation that enables us to make modal assertions even of those objects that cannot be given to us in sensible intuition.

 

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Written by Lucas Thorpe

December 23, 2013 at 4:08 am

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