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“All interest of my reason (the speculative as well as the practical) is united in the following three questions:
1 . What can I know? 
2 . What should I do?
3 . What may I hope?”
— Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (1781/1787), A804f./B832f.




Kantian Rationality and Its Impact in Contemporary Science, Technology, and Social Institutions

 ‘Reason’ or ‘rationality’ is the overarching concept of Kant’s philosophy. It shapes and penetrates his theoretical as well as his practical philosophy in all of their aspects, informing his understanding of the sciences as well as our ethical life. It is a complex and controversial concept that continues to inform philosophical discussions up until today. At the same time, it is a concept that has numerous aspects and applications that have yet to be explained and explored, tested and tried, revised and refined.

This is what the Kantian Rationality Lab (KRL) aims to do. The KRL is located at the IKBFU Kaliningrad and collaborates here also with the Academia Kantiana. The KRL consists of a team of 22 members from different countries.

Our main focus lies in three related areas:

  1. Kantian rationality in philosophy of science: How can Kantian accounts of theoretical reason be applied to central problems of the dynamics and systematization of scientific knowledge, both in the history of science as well as today? How have such accounts been shaped, how can they shape developments in the whole complex of the cognitive and social sciences, such as the neurosciences, artificial intelligence, the psychology of reasoning and economic theories of rational choice? What can we learn from Kant for the progress of science?
  2. Kantian rationality in ethics: How can key concepts of Kant’s account of practical reason be applied to ethical challenges arising from the interaction between humankind and nature, new technologies, and the individual human being and society? How, for instance, should we think about global justice from a Kantian perspective? How should we deal with religious conflicts, climate change, with new robotic and digital technologies, or with national sovereignty if we start from Kantian ethics?
  3. Kantian rationality in the project of the Enlightenment: How can Kant’s account of reason as the ability to “think for oneself” be strengthened in today’s societies? What strategies of teaching critical reasoning, handling information overload, or defending the authority of science can significantly advance the rationality of society and make possible the implementation of a “New Enlightenment”?

To answer these questions, the Kantian Rationality Lab pursues a number of different activities, from supporting individual junior researchers in PhD projects over group research projects up to three major international conferences in 2020 and 2021, to be held at the IKBFU in Kaliningrad.

Running time of the project: 2019-2021.

We encourage the community of Kant scholars to get in touch with us for possible collaborations. We invite the broader public to get in touch with our team members for questions concerning their projects as well as the broader significance of Kant’s philosophy for current science and society.

For any questions, please contact:

Thomas Sturm (Head, Kantian Rationality Lab)
thomas.sturm [at]

Nina Dmitrieva (Scientific Director, Academia Kantiana)
ndmitrieva [at]

Andrey Zilber (Scientific Coordinator, Kantian Rationality Lab)
azilber [at]