“Enlightenment is the human being’s emergence from his self-incurred minority. Minority is inability to make use of one’s own understanding without direction from another. This minority is self-incurred when its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude! Have courage to make use of your own understanding! is thus the motto of enlightenment.“ 
— Kant, An Answer to the Question: What Is Enlightenment?, AA VIII: 35




3rd Kantian Rationality Lab Conference

15-17 October, 2021

Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (IKBFU), Kaliningrad

Organized by:
Prof. Dr. Thomas Sturm, Prof. Dr. David Bakhurst & Dr. Andrey Zilber

Kant clearly thinks that the power of reason can and ought to play a central role in education of new generations and in the Enlightenment that is still a vital social project of today. But how can and should his famous demand to “think for oneself” be strengthened in today’s world? What strategies of teaching promote adequate reasoning or critical thinking skills, and thereby help to cope with information overload, populism and propaganda, or strengthen the authority of science, the rationality of society and democracy? When should the teaching of norms of both epistemic and moral rationality start, with what methods, and how long does it take for such education until such norms become sufficiently internalized? How does teaching such norms and skills differ from other areas of education? Can such education make possible a “New Enlightenment”, and what shape should it take? How does philosophy in these areas relate to empirical science? The conference aims to present and critically discuss Kantian perspectives on these and related issues.

Participation is free, but please register with Andrey Zilber (azilber [at] kantiana.ru) for receiving a Zoom link.

Abstracts of the conference

Program (CET=Kaliningrad time)

October 15 – Chair: Thomas Sturm

14:30 David Bakhurst & Thomas Sturm: Welcome

14:45 Kate Moran (Brandeis University): Do Children Have Common Sense? Morality, Pedagogy, and Common Human Reason

15:45 Sergio Alberto Fuentes Gonzalez (Kaliningrad): Redeeming Knowledge – The Potential of a Kantian Account on Thought Experiments in Polydisciplinary Classrooms

16:45 Break

17:15 Mikhail Zagirnyak (Kaliningrad): Sociability and Education in Kant and Hessen

18:15 David Bakhurst (Kingston, CA & Kaliningrad): Sapere Aude! On Thinking for Oneself

19:15 End of Day 1


October 16 – Chair: Polina Bonadyseva

14:30 Andrea Kern (Leipzig): Kant on Virtue Acquisition

15:30 Martin Sticker (Bristol & Kaliningrad): Kant’s Ethics and (Cultural) Pluralism

16:30 Break

17:00 Andrey Zilber (Kaliningrad): The Negative Wisdom of Political Enlightenment

18:00 Peter Baumann (Swarthmore, PA): Enlightenment as Perfection, Perfection as Enlightenment? Kant on Thinking for Oneself and Perfecting Oneself

19:00 End of Day 2


October 17 – Chair: David Bakhurst

14:30 Jens Timmermann (St Andrews): Why, how and when is The Fact of Reason a Fact?

15:30 Michael Bishop (Florida State University): How to Teach People to Reason Better

16:30 End of Day 3


This event is the last in a series of three international conferences organized by the Kantian Rationality Lab – an international research project located at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad). The project, with currently 22 team members, focuses in study of Kantian rationality in philosophy of science, in ethics and in the project of Enlightenment.

Our conferences are supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation grant no. 075-15-2019-1929, project Kantian Rationality and Its Impact in Contemporary Science, Technology, and Social Institutions, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (IKBFU), Kaliningrad.