PHIL 106 -- Kant
Spring 2008

Instructor:    Clinton Tolley
   office:   HSS 8061
   hours:   tbd
   phone:  2-2686
   email:   ctolley [at]

Teaching Assistant:   {to be determined}
   office:   ---
   hours:   ---
   phone:  ---
   email:   ---


Time:        Tuesday / Thursday, 5:00-6:20pm
Location:  Warren Lecture Hall [WLH] 2206 [map]

Required textbooks

Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena to any future metaphysics
   Hatfield, ed., tr. (Cambridge UP, 2004)

Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals
   Gregor, ed., tr. (Cambridge UP, 1998)

{available at Groundwork Books}

{additional required readings to be made available on WebCT}

Recommended textbooks

Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
   Kemp Smith, tr. (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2003)

Allen Wood, Kant (Blackwell, 2005)

{also available at Groundwork Books}

Course description

An attempt to survey the whole of Kant's 'Critical' philosophy, by looking at his answers to three of the most fundamental questions in philosophy:

  1. What can I know?
  2. What ought I to do?
  3. What can I hope for?

We'll address the first by examining the theoretical foundations of his system, as they are put forward in his 1783 Prolegomena (with additional reference to important selections from his 1781/87 Critique of Pure Reason).  We'll then take up the account of practical (ethical/political) philosophy that emerges in his 1785 Groundwork.  Finally, we'll try to determine how Kant views the relationship between these two components of his philosophy, by trying to sort out what Kant could mean by claiming that the primary aim of his Critical project as a whole is to 'put knowledge [Wissen] in its place, in order to make room for faith [Glauben]', and, in particular, why Kant thinks that our sense that there is beauty and purpose in the universe is something that gives us a reason for believing that there is more to our world than what we can 'know' about it.

The overarching goal of the course will be to discover and evaluate Kant's answer to what he views as the ultimate question of philosophy: What is a human being?

Prerequisite: Philosophy 33 or 105 or consent of instructor.

: May be repeated for credit with change in content and approval of the instructor.

Course requirements

mid-term exam (1500 words); due Thurs, 5th week, 5pm.
final paper (2000 words); due Thurs, exam week, 7pm

Schedule of readings

{tentative; a more detailed schedule will be found on WebCT.}

selections from Critique of Pure Reason
Prolegomena to any future metaphysics
Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals
selections from Kant's later writings (and lectures) on logic, history, politics, aesthetics and religion

Reference links

* Kant's Werke

Most of the official 'Akademie' edition of the original German (and, at times, Latin) versions of Kant's texts ('Kants gesammelte Schriften') has been made available in searchable html-format by the University of Bonn.

These volumes of the Akademie edition can also be downloaded in pdf-format from the Bibliothè
que nationale de France. (I've made a list here.)

An excellent resource for historical information about Kant's life and works is Kant in the Classroom, maintained by Steve Naragon (Manchester College).

* Secondary literature

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries (requires sign-in)

Kant (an overview of his life and thought)
Kantian ethics
Idea of autonomy in ethics
Idea of universalism in ethics
German idealism

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries

Kant's philosophical development
Kant's theory of mind and self-consciousness
Kant's philosophy of science
Kant's critique of metaphysics
Kant's moral philosophy
Kant's social and political philosophy
Kant's philosophy of religion

Course URL

last updated: April 1, 2008