Rationality as

Pragmatic Worldly Prudence:

Kant’s Anthropology

and the Modern Social Sciences

DFG Project, May 2021 – April 2024

Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute of Philosophy

Chair of Modern Philosophy (Prof. Dr. Marcus Willaschek)

Kant’s Anthropology and the Genesis of the Social Sciences

International Workshop, Goethe University Frankfurt

September 29 (Thursday) – October 1 (Saturday) 2022

IG-Farbenhaus, Campus Westend

Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Room 1.314

The foundations of the modern social sciences were laid during the Enlightenment, when the notion that it was possible to know the world through the application of reason and experience became widely held. Kant’s ideas played a special role in this context, but their contribution has often been neglected in previous research. For Kant considered his pragmatic anthropology to be an empirical discipline, the aim of which was to provide important empirical ‘knowledge of the world’: knowledge of the human mind and its functioning in the social context whose purpose is to support the integration of the individual into social life. Kant’s anthropology represents his independent attempt to formulate a human science which, on the one hand, systematically examines various aspects of the ‘civilization, cultivation and moralisation’ of man, while, on the other, also seeking to offer practical support to those processes in a manner that is fundamentally guided by values. The workshop aims, on the one hand, to shed light on the emergence of the sociological and political elements of Kant’s anthropology in its own contexts and to analyse these elements. The programme will focus on topics such as the interaction of self-understanding and social norms, social role-playing, ‘unsocial sociability’ or the ‘pragmatic’ rationality behind actions; however, the methodological procedures or objectives of the human sciences will also be discussed. On the other hand, the workshop will seek to assess the influence of these elements on the early phase of the development of various social sciences, ranging from ethnology and (social) psychology to sociology and political science. The aim of the workshop is to bring about an interdisciplinary collaboration between Kantian research and the history of the social sciences and their philosophy.

Thursday, September 29


14.30 – Alexey Salikov, Thomas Sturm, Alexey Zhavoronkov: Greetings and Introduction

Chair: Marcus Willaschek (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)


15:00 – Robert Louden (University of Southern Maine): The Eye of True Philosophy: On the Relationship Between Kant’s Anthropology and His Critical Philosophy


16:00 – Thomas Sturm (ICREA & Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona): Reason in Hume’s ‘Science of Man’ versus Kant’s ‘Pragmatic Anthropology’


17:00 – coffee break


17:30 – Werner Stark (Philipps-Universität Marburg): Thesen und Beobachtungen zum Verhältnis von Anthropologie und Moralphilosophie bei Immanuel Kant


Friday, September 30


Chair: Thomas Sturm (ICREA & Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)


10:00 – Andree Hahmann (Tsinghua University): The Development of Reason and History in Schlözer, Herder and Kant


11:00 – Achim Brosch (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt): Worth of a Salesman: Elements of Economic Sociology and Political Economy in Kant’s Pragmatic Anthropology


12:00 – lunch break


Chair: Alexey Zhavoronkov (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)


13:00 – Peter Baumann (Swarthmore College): From Kant’s Anthropology to Simmel’s Sociology


14:00 – Fiorella Battaglia (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München): Kant on the Human Species’ Character: Empathy, Respect, and the Social Sphere of Interaction


15:00 – coffee break


Chair: Fiorella Battaglia (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)


15:30 – Alexey Salikov (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt): The Concept of World Citizen in Kant’s Pragmatic Anthropology and in John S. Mill’s Political Utilitarianism


16:30 – Ana Marta González (Universidad de Navarra): Kant on Pragmatic Reason and the Art of Pleasing


Saturday, October 1


Chair: Peter Baumann (Swarthmore College)


10:00 – Alexey Zhavoronkov (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt): The Concept of Game in Kant’s Anthropology and in George H. Mead’s Symbolic Interactionism


11:00 – Christopher Thornhill (University of Manchester): Kant and the Sociology of Law


12:00 – Final discussion


© Alexey Salikov, Thomas Sturm, Alexey Zhavoronkov 2022-2024