Dynamics and Reason: A Workshop on Du Châtelet and Kant

Despite a recent surge of scholarly interest in Du Châtelet, we are far from adequately understanding many dimensions of her work and its influence. Kant’s relation to Du Châtelet raises particular challenges. Kant read her work and responded to it in his first publication on “Living Forces.” It remains unclear, however, to what extent he was influenced by other central ideas of hers, such as her theory of space and time, her distinctive version of idealism, and her account of mathematical objects as partly dependent on our faculty of imagination. There is also the possibility of indirect influence on Kant and his contemporaries, especially via participants in the 1740s ‘monad controversy’ (which Kant engaged with in early works such as the Physical Monadology, ‘Prize Essay,’ and Dreams of a Spirit-Seer). More broadly, more work can be done on the intellectual context of these philosophers, or with connecting figures such as Euler, Maupertuis, Formey, and Kästner. Other fruitful topics include, but are not limited to: the theory of hypotheses; matter theory and infinite divisibility; the nature of fire and imponderable fluids; the historical background to Kant’s Phoronomy; the Kant–Eberhard controversy; and critical responses to Descartes and Cartesianism.

Please find the call for abstracts here. The due date for abstracts is November 1.

The workshop will take place on the 9th–10th February 2023, at Paderborn University and online.

The authors of accepted submissions will be invited to contribute papers to an edited volume, to be published by Springer.

Confirmed speakers so far include:

Emily Carson (McGill University)

Katherine Dunlop (University of Texas, Austin)

Hartmut Hecht (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences)

 

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