Kant’s Philosophy of Nature: 2015 Masterclass with Professor Eckart Förster and Dr Dalia Nassar

26 September, 2014

Masterclass with Professor Eckart Förster (Johns Hopkins/HU-Berlin) and Dr Dalia Nassar (Sydney)
The University of Sydney,
June 9-11, 2015

The Masterclass is organized for a small group of advanced graduate students working on dissertations in German idealism, with special emphasis on the philosophy of nature.
In remarks in the Encyclopedia Hegel credits Kant’s “construction” of matter and his notion of “inner purposiveness” with revitalizing the idea of a Naturphilosophie. “With this concept of inner purposiveness,” Hegel writes, “Kant has resuscitated the idea in general and especially the idea of life” (#55A). In turn, Kant’s “construction” of matter in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science has the “merit of having made a beginning toward a concept of matter and of having revived with this attempt the concept of a Naturphilosophie” (#262A).

  • The masterclass will take Hegel’s remarks as its starting point and motto, and pose the following questions:
  • In what sense were Kant’s dynamic account of matter and notion of inner purposiveness essential for the development of a philosophy of nature?
  • How did Kant “construct” matter and on what ground did he develop a notion of inner purposiveness?
  • What did Kant mean by inner purposiveness, and what is its relation to a possible/impossible “construction” of a living body?
  • Did his results in fact furnish the seeds of a philosophy of nature, or did they, rather, offer conflicting and ultimately untenable accounts of the natural world?

Participants will be expected to have read the second part of the Critique of Judgment as well as Chapter 2 (“The Metaphysical Foundations of Dynamics”) of the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science before the masterclass. The masterclass will be devoted to an intensive discussion of key themes in these two texts, and to student presentations on these themes.
The masterclass will take place over three days (June 9, 10, 11) and will be followed by a conference on the Philosophy of Nature in the Era of German Idealism (June 15-17, 2015). Professor Förster will be a keynote speaker at the conference.


To apply, please send a short CV and a brief statement of interest (max. 500 words) before 15 February 2015 to:
Dalia Nassar: Click here to email
Please note: places are limited. Notification by 15 March 2015.
The masterclass and conference have been made possible through the support of the Australian Academy of the Humanities/The Ernst and Rosemarie Keller Award, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney, and the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science at the University of Sydney.

Contact:Dr Dalia Nassar