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The Disunity of Reason: On Kant's Antinomies



Organizer: Reed Winegar (Volkswagen Fellow at the Dahlem Humanities Center)

In the Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Kant claims that human thought naturally leads to an antinomy of pure reason - that is a conflict between the laws of reason itself. According to Kant this antinomy “works the most strongly of all to awaken
philosophy from its dogmatic slumber, and to prompt it toward the difficult business of the critique of reason itself.” Indeed in a famous letter to the philosopher Christian Garve, Kant claims that his discovery of the antinomy of pure reason led to his development of the entire Critical Philosophy. The central role of antinomies in Kant’s Critical Philosophy is further signaled by the inclusion and discussion of antinomies in nearly all of Kant’s major works, including the Kritik der praktischen Vernunft, Kritik der Urteilskraft, Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der bloßen Vernunft, Zum ewigen Frieden, and Die Metaphysik der Sitten. The importance of Kant’s antinomy theory was immediately recognized by thinkers such as Fichte, Hegel, Hölderlin, Maimon, Maaß, and Schelling, and Kant’s antinomy theory has subsequently exerted a powerful influence on metaphysical, epistemological, scientific, religious, moral, political, historical and aesthetic theories. This workshop proposes to examine both the historical and systematic importance of Kant’s antinomies; participants are encouraged to consider Kant’s concept of an antinomy in relation both to Kant’s own intellectual context and to our current intellectual situation today.

The program is available here.

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