Prof. Dr. Eric Watkins

Professor für Philosophie an der University of California, San Diego

Aufenthalt:

Juni bis Juli 2014

Forschungsprojekt:
Autonomy and the Legislation of Laws in the Prolegomena

In Zusammenarbeit mit Prof. Dr. Marcus Willaschek

Die Fellowship findet statt in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

Eric Watkins ist einer der führenden Kant-Forscher der Gegenwart und ein exzellenter Kenner der Philosophie der Neuzeit. Der Schwerpunkt seiner Forschung liegt auf den Themenfeldern Wissenschaft, Metaphysik und Philosophie des Geistes, wobei ihn vor allem die metaphysischen Implikationen und Voraussetzungen neuzeitlicher Wissenschaftskonzeptionen interessieren. Wie fruchtbar eine solche Herangehensweise ist, hat er in besonders eindrucksvoller Weise in seinem Buch Kant and the Metaphysics of Causality  (2005) gezeigt, das schnell zu einem Standardwerk geworden ist. In seinem aktuellen Forschungsprojekt geht es um die normative Dimension von Kants Naturbegriff, die er anhand der kantischen Metapher der Selbstgesetzgebung untersucht. Ein weiteres Projekt widmet sich der Aufnahme des kantischen Begriffs des Unbedingten in der Philosophie des Deutschen Idealismus und der Romantik.

Abstract:
In the Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, Kant never used the word “autonomy” or, for that matter, any of its cognates. Further, its subject matter (theoretical cognition) and primary goal (ascertaining whether metaphysics can be a science) differ significantly, at least at first glance, from the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, which concerns morality and establishing its supreme principle. It would be a mistake, however, to infer that the development of Kant’s moral philosophy runs on a track that is separate from that of his theoretical philosophy and thus that the Prolegomena is irrelevant to understanding the emergence of the notion of autonomy in the Groundwork. For Kant was writing the Prolegomena in 1782 and 1783, just as he was thinking about how to compose the metaphysics of morals that finds preliminary expression in the Groundwork. More importantly, the Prolegomena builds into its basic argument the view that reason legislates, or prescribes, laws to nature, a view that parallels the Groundwork’s claim that autonomy involves reason legislating the moral law. As a result, it is worth considering the possibility that Kant developed his doctrine of practical autonomy in the Groundwork on the basis of the parallels he discovered with the account of reason’s legislation of laws to nature while composing the Prolegomena.
To determine whether this developmental thesis is tenable, one must investigate Kant’s account of the legislation of the laws of nature in the Prolegomena and compare it to the account of autonomy that he works out in the Groundwork. But even more importantly, one must investigate the notions of normativity that are involved in both the legislation of the laws of nature, on the one hand, and practical autonomy, on the other hand. Prima facie, these theoretical and practical contexts seem very different, so it is not a trivial matter to describe the different notions that go into each notion so as to be able to determine whether there is some relatively abstract core notion that they share. I hope to make progress on this project while in Frankfurt. Marcus Willaschek, who is working on the emergence of autonomy by looking at the Naturrecht Feyerabend manuscript (written at the same time as the Prolegomena), is an ideal Gesprächspartner for this project.

Veröffentlichungen (Auswahl):
Books:
Watkins, Eric, Kant and the Sciences (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) xii + 291 p.
Watkins, Eric, Kant and the Metaphysics of Causality (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005)  xiv + 451 p.
Watkins, Eric, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason: Background Source Materials (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Watkins, Eric, (ed.) The Divine Order, the Human Order, and the Order of Nature: Historical Perspectives (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013) xvi + 240 pages

Select Articles:
“Kant’s Theory of Physical Influx,” Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 77 (1995): 285-324.
 “Kant’s Third Analogy of Experience,” Kant-Studien 88 (1997): 406-441.
“Autonomy in and after Kant,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (2004): 727-740.
“Kant’s Model of Causality: Causal Powers, Laws, and Kant’s Reply to Hume,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (2004): 449-488.
“On the Necessity and Nature of Simples: Leibniz, Wolff, Baumgarten, and the pre-Critical Kant,” Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 3 (2006): 261-314.
“Kant and the Myth of the Given,” Inquiry 51 (2008): 512-531.
“Kant on the Hiddenness of God,” Kantian Review 14, 1 (2009): 81-122.
“The System of Principles,” in The Cambridge Companion to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, ed. P. Guyer, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010): 151-167.

Veranstaltungen:
3. Juli 2014
Paper Presentation
Autonomy and the Legistlation of Laws in Kant's "Prologomena"
Ort: Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, Bad Homburg

26. bis 27. Juli 2014
Workshop
Die Einheit der Natur. Kant's "Anhang zur Transzendentalen Dialektik"


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