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Institutt for filosofi og førstesemesterstudier

Immanuel Kant

Karen Koch: "Kant on teleology in nature"

What is a purpose? What does it mean to ascribe purposiveness to nature? Is an organism a purposive entity? What is the relationship between mechanistic and teleological explanations of nature? This seminar examines Kant's discussion of these and related questions in the second part of the Critique of Judgment (1790).

Karen Koch er amanuensis ved Freie Universität, Berlin.

Abstract: 

In the history of philosophy, there are two major ways of describing and explaining nature. One can explain nature from a mechanistic perspective or one can explain it from a teleological perspective. In his Critique of Judgment, and especially in the second part of it, Kant is dealing with those two views of nature, and particularly with the role of teleology in natural science and in our explanations of nature more generally. Questions arise like: What is a purpose? What does it mean to ascribe purposiveness to nature? Is an organism a purposive entity? What is the relationship between mechanistic and teleological explanations of nature? In this seminar, we will read sections of the Critique of Teleological Judgment, and discuss those questions based on the §§ 61 - 75 of the third critique. All students are welcome to join that seminar. Previous knowledge is not necessary, but students should have read those paragraphs before taking part.