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David Sosa, Chair 2210 Speedway, WAG 316, Stop C3500, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4857

Eric Watkins (University of California, San Diego)

Fri, January 27, 2012 • 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM • WAG 316


"Kant on the Unconditioned"

Kant famously claims that reason is interested above all else in the unconditioned objects of traditional metaphysics, such as God, freedom, and the immortality of the soul. Specifically, he claims that we cannot have cognition of such objects, but that our ideas of them should nonetheless serve as regulative principles that direct our scientific inquiries into nature. In this paper, I explain Kant’s notions of “condition” and “unconditioned” and the connections between them to argue that although we cannot have cognition of the unconditioned, reason requires that we be committed to, or believe in, the existence of the unconditioned on purely theoretical grounds, which, in turn, allows ideas of reason to function as regulative principles in science.

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