Русская версия

“Reason, in order to be taught by nature, must approach nature with its principles in one hand, according to which alone the agreement among appearances can count as laws, and, in the other hand, the experiments thought out in accordance with these principles yet in order to be instructed by nature not like a pupil, who has recited to him whatever the teacher wants to say, but like an appointed judge who compels witnesses to answer the questions he puts to them.“
— Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (1787), B xiii



Online Conference

9-11 October, 2020

Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (IKBFU), Kaliningrad

Kant’s notion of reason or rationality as related to the sciences is multifaceted. For instance, reason provides certain “ideas” for scientific research and for the integration of its results; it has methodological functions in theoretical explanation, experimentation (including thought experiments), or mathematical proof. Moreover, reason is the source of the “form” and “matter” of the so-called Vernunftwissenschaften, such as logic, mathematics, metaphysics, and pure natural science, but also plays theoretical roles in empirical sciences such as history and anthropology. In addition, reason guides the structured classification or “architectonic” of all sciences into one complete and consistent system. This diversity of aspects and activities of reason for the sciences needs to be understood; and one equally well needs to ask what, if anything, unifies that rich diversity. Last but not least, the conference also aims to take a fresh look at Kant’s impact for accounts of scientific rationality up until today. How has the concept of such rationality developed after Kant? Where did he have an influence, and where did new assumptions and agendas emerge and why? Where can current debates still profit from Kant’s account?

Organized by:

Prof. Dr. Thomas Sturm

Prof. Dr. Nina Dmitrieva

Dr. Andrey Zilber

Abstracts of the conference

Video records of talks – playlist


(Kaliningrad time = Central European Time)

October 9

14:30 Welcome: Thomas Sturm & Nina Dmitrieva

Chair: Rudolf Meer

14:45 Thomas Sturm

A Pluralistic Account of Reason in Kant’s Philosophy of Science

15:45 Michiel Van Lambalgen

Kant’s Transcendental Logic Presupposes that Ideas of Reason are Totalities

16:45 Break

17:15 James Hebbeler (Philadelphia 11:15 a.m.)

The End of Explanation: Kant and the Domain of Science

18:15 Hein Van den Berg & Boris Demarest

Kant on Scientific Hypotheses: Historical and Systematic Perspectives

19:15 Break

19:45 Huaping Lu-Adler (San Jose, CA 10:45 a.m.)

Kant’s Theory of Testimony and Its Use in Natural Science
– With a Case Study of his Treatment of Travel Reports


October 10

Chair: Martin Sticker

14:30 Rudolf Meer

Between Old and New Teleology. Kant on Maupertuis’ Principle of Least Action

15:30 Angela Breitenbach (Cambridge 14:30)

Kant’s Normative Conception of Science

16:30 Break

17:00 Lydia Patton (Blacksburg 11:00 a.m.)

Worlds and Powers:Reason in Kant’s Theory of Matter
in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science

18:00 David Hyder (Ottawa 12:00 a.m.)

Space, Time and Cause: The Rational Determination of Nature in Kant and Einstein

19:00 Break

19:30 Michael Bennett McNulty (Twin Cities 12:30 a.m.)

The Unity of Reason and Its Varieties:
Systematicity in Chemistry, Psychology, and Natural History


October 11

Chair: Vadim Chaly

14:30 Sergio Alberto Fuentes Gonzalez

Thought Experiments in Kant’s Philosophy: Types, Roles and Applications

15:30 Alexey Zhavoronkov (Moscow 16:30)

Kant’s Pragmatic Reason in Contemporary Sociology:
Third Way or Methodological Impasse?

16:30 Break

17:00 Valentin Bazhanov (Ulyanovsk 19:00)

The Concept of Number Through the Lens of
the Kantian Research Program in Current Neuroscience

18:00 Leonid Kornilaev

The Problem of Unity and Disunity of Science: Kant vs. Kuhn

19:00 Break

19:30 Karin de Boer & Pavel Reichl

Kantian Elements in Metzger’s and Kuhn’s Historiographies of Science

End of Conference



Valentin Bazhanov – Ulyanovsk State University / Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad)

Angela Breitenbach – King’s College, University of Cambridge

Karin De Boer – Catholic University of Leuven & Pavel Reichl – Heidelberg University

James Hebbeler – Saint Joseph’s University (Philadelphia)

Michael Bennett McNulty – University of Minnesota (Twin Cities)

Sergio Alberto Fuentes Gonzalez – Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad)

David Hyder – University of Ottawa

Leonid Kornilaev – Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad)

Huaping Lu-Adler – Georgetown University

Rudolf Meer University of Graz / Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad)

Lydia Patton – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Thomas Sturm – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona & ICREA / Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad)

Michiel Van Lambalgen – University of Amsterdam

Hein Van den Berg – University of Amsterdam & Boris Demarest – Heidelberg University

Alexey Zhavoronkov – Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) / Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad)

This event is the first 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 20 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.