21.04.2021 · 19.30 Uhr

Ross Shields: The Theory of Everything: Kant and Goethe on the Fictive Foundation of Empirical Science

Ort: Bard College Berlin

Vortrag im Rahmen einer Veranstaltungsreihe des BCB Science & Religion Project, Teil des von der Templeton Foundation  geförderten Projekts New Horizons for Science and Religion in Central and Eastern Europe, am Bard College Berlin

In his Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant criticizes the tendency of reason to transcend the limits of human knowledge. Dissatisfied with the finite state of empirical experience, reason leads us to invent three speculative ideas that extend this experience to infinity: the idea of the soul (qua unity of all representations), the idea of the world (qua totality of the sequence of causes and effects), and the idea of God (qua systematic interconnection of everything in general). According to Kant, we cannot say anything meaningful about these ideas—and this failing leads us to philosophical debates that can never be resolved: the so-called transcendental dialectic. However, while Kant criticizes the transcendent use of the three rational ideas (soul, world, and God) he simultaneously approves of their immanent use as regulative principles of scientific investigation—a notion that Goethe adopts in his own scientific pursuit.

For the next installment of the lecture series, please read the “appendix to the transcendental dialectic” where Kant unfolds this argument. Participants will discuss, among other things, the survival of Kant’s idea(s) in the scientific search for a theory of everything.

This seminar is open to BCB Students only, participants will be required to read an assigned text in advance. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Dr. Aaron Tugendhaft.

Der Germanist und Komparatist Ross Gillum Shields ist wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter mit dem Projekt »Formung ist Leben«. Organizismus und die ästhetische Moderne.