Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Bilkent 30 Apr: Saniye Vatansever on Kant and Stoicism (Online Event)

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Consolation of Kant’s Philosophy: The Stoic Elements in Kant’s Letter to Maria von Herbert

By Saniye Vatansever (Bilkent, Philosophy) 

Date: Thursday April 30, 2020 

Time: 1640-1800 GMT+3

Zoom link: This is an online event. All are welcome. If you would like to listen to the talk please click on the following link when the event is due to begin:  https://zoom.us/j/767639034

Abstract: In this paper, I examine the letter correspondence between Kant and Maria von Herbert, an Austrian woman who is well-versed in Kant’s moral philosophy. Herbert writes three letters to Kant and we only have access to Kant’s reply to her first letter. In her letters, Herbert explains her misery and seeks consolation from Kant in person as she claims that she couldn’t find comfort in philosophy. Thus, she raises interesting philosophical questions regarding the immorality of suicide, the dullness of leading a dutiful life, and consolation of philosophy. Whether Kant provides satisfactory answers to her questions is a matter of controversy. According to Rae Langton, Kant’s reply to Herbert simply ignores Herbert’s questions and that negligence on Kant’s part might be due to the underlying assumption that the less said on suicide, the less likely the morbid thoughts will arise. Contra Langton, I argue that by analyzing the nature of Herbert’s actions and the underlying causes of her feelings, Kant attempts to change Herbert’s negative emotions leading to suicidal thoughts. In other words, Kant aims to provide consolation and comfort to Herbert by helping her rationally analyze the causes of her destructive emotions. By doing so, Kant acts as a stoic philosopher attempting to transform the false judgments leading to negative emotions with the correct ones.

About the speaker:  click here.

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

April 28, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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