The Hegel Society of America


"Metametaphysics in German Idealism/Metametaphysik im deutschen Idealismus"

International Conference
Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg
Research Area: Classical German Philosophy and its Reception

June 23rd-24th, 2023

Organizers: Dr. Robb Dunphy and Prof. Dr. Philipp Schwab

Keynote speakers:
Karin de Boer (Leuven)
Andrea Kern (Leipzig)
James Kreines (Claremont McKenna)
Philipp Schwab (Freiburg)

Funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

The history of metaphysics in the twenty-first century has been one of paying increasing attention to metametaphysical questions: What is the primary subject-matter of metaphysics? Is it “being qua being”, or perhaps the first causes and principles of things? What is the relation metaphysics bears to the natural sciences (and to the human sciences, and to logic)? The methodology, the epistemology, and the semantics of metaphysical claims have also been the focus of renewed interest: What is the methodology appropriate to the discipline of metaphysics? What is involved in knowing a particular metaphysical claim, or in having a justified belief that it is true? What is required of a metaphysical claim if it is to refer successfully to real objects? Such questions were, of course, also the subjects of extended considerations from Kant and from the various significant German Idealist philosophers who followed him, including Reinhold, Maimon, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, among others. Yet, despite a broad readiness to engage with historical material among contemporary metaphysicians, in both “analytic” and “continental” traditions, extended engagement with the metametaphysical thought of the German Idealists is largely lacking in current metaphysics. The “history” section of the recently published Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics, for example, leaps straight from Kant to Carnap (!), thus passing over in silence a period of intense reflection on metametaphysical topics from some of the most innovative philosophers in European history. There is therefore work to be done, both in terms of coming to a better understanding the metametaphysical positions of Kant and the German Idealists, and in terms of seeing what they have to offer contemporary debates.

This two-day conference will discuss notable arguments and positions taken on metametaphysical topics, as they were treated by philosophers in the period roughly from Kant to Hegel. Attention will also be paid to what this material can offer contemporary metametaphysical debates (from any tradition).

We welcome abstracts, in English or German, of up to 500 words on topics including, but not limited to, the following:

Abstracts should be anonymised. Please email your abstracts, along with a separate document with your name, the title of your proposed paper, and affiliation, no later than March 31st 2023, to: robb.dunphy [@]

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