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 Modern Social Sciences

International Workshop, Goethe University Frankfurt
Juli 6 (Thursday) – Juli 8 (Saturday) 2023
Online, via Zoom

As with other figures of the Enlightenment, Kant’s interest in disciplines such as anthropology, historical research and legal studies anticipates to some extent the emergence and development of social sciences such as sociology and political science. Since then, however, the social sciences have undergone considerable change. Which of Kant’s reflections on human sciences can still be relevant to modern discussions in the social science arena? What might contribute to the further development of these sciences? The workshop is dedicated to determining whether connections can be made in particular between Kant’s pragmatic anthropology and its concept of rationality, on the one hand, and current debates in the social sciences, on the other. The first area of exploration concerns the relevance of Kantian anthropological assumptions and arguments to contemporary sociology and political science. This concerns both theoretical debates between different currents and discussions on individual problems and current developments in social science. The second area relates to the potential contribution of Kant’s concept of pragmatic reason in particular to current sociological and political debates. To what extent have contemporary social sciences – notwithstanding their frequent reference to Kant’s more general concept of reason – overlooked his concept of pragmatic reason or even implicitly or explicitly adopted it? Where do similar thoughts arise in different garb? The aim of the workshop is to bring about an interdisciplinary collaboration Sturm between Kantian research and the social sciences and their philosophy. 

July 6, Thursday


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


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


11:15 –  Catherine Wilson (University of York, emerita): Kant and the Anthropology of Warfare


12:15 – David Inglis (University of Helsinki): Kant’s Unavoidability? Between Philosophy of History and Globalized Common-sense


13:15 – lunch break


15:00 – Marcus Willaschek (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main): Kant’s Answer to the Question “What Is the Human Being?”


16:00 – Rafael Ziegler (HEC Montréal): Kant, Capabilities and Future Making


July 7, Friday


Chair: Alexey Salikov (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)


11:00 – Oliver Eberl (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main): Kant’s Negative Anthropology of the State of Nature


12:00 – Nuria Sánchez Madrid (Universidad Complutense de Madrid): Kant on Labour Relations. An Anthropological and Legal Approach


13:00 – lunch break


Chair: Alexey Zhavoronkov (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)


14:30 – Luigi Caranti (Università degli studi di Catania / Ruhr-Universität Bochum): How Can a Radically Evil Species Be Guaranteed to Achieve Perpetual Peace? A Reconsideration


15:30 – Alexey Salikov (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main): Kant and Anthropological Foundations of Jürgen Habermas’ Theory of Deliberative Democracy


16:30 – coffee break


17:00 – Faviola Rivera Castro (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Méxiko): Kant and Rawls on Religion, Politics, and Enlightenment


July 8, Saturday


Chair: Alexey Salikov (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)


11:00 – Roey Reichert (University of California, Los Angeles): Kant and Ernest Gellner: From Critical Philosophy to a Social Theory of Modernity


12:00 – Alexey Zhavoronkov (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main): Kant’s Anthropology in the Debates on Anthropological Deficits of Contemporary Sociology


13:00 – Final discussion

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