General Workshop Information


The distinction between form and matter plays a crucial role in the philosophies of both Aristotle and Kant. Kant himself observes at one point in the First Critique: “Matter and Form. These are two concepts which lie at the basis of all other reflection, so very inseparably are they bound up with the use of the understanding. (A 266/B 322).” Yet the centrality of this distinction for Kant’s philosophy has often been overlooked in the secondary literature. This conference will be concerned to explore the following three questions (1) how does Aristotle deploy this distinction?, (2) how does Kant deploy this distinction?, (3) does a proper appreciation of the answer to the first question enable one to better answer the second? We will pay special attention to the deployment of this distinction in epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of logic.

The conference will have a workshop-format: all papers will be distributed in advance as PDF files and the conference itself will consist entirely of discussion of the work of our primary participants. One session will be devoted to each paper. Each session will begin with some opening remarks by the author of the paper immediately followed by an open discussion. Our primary participants will be:

Matt Boyle (Harvard University)
Wolfram Gobsch (Universität Basel)
Boris Hennig (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)
Anselm Müller (University of Trier)
John McDowell (University of Pittsburgh)
Sasha Newton (Universität Leipzig)
Robert Pippin (University of Chicago)
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Workshop Schedule

All sessions will take place in Classics 110.  For a map of campus, click here.

Friday, April 15

1:15 – 1:30      Introductory Remarks  Jim Conant

1:30 – 3:30     “Kant on the Logical Origin of Concepts”
Sasha Newton (Universität Leipzig)
Chair: Michael Kremer (University of Chicago)

3:30 – 4:00     Coffee Break

4:00 – 6:00     “Material and Formal Goodness in Action”
Anselm Müller (University of Trier)
Chair: Candace Vogler (University of Chicago)

Saturday, April 16

10:00 – 12:00     “The Original Infinitude of Thought”
Wolfram Gobsch  (Universität Basel)
Chair: Anton Ford (University of Chicago)

12:00 – 1:00   Lunch  Break

1:00 – 3:00  “Kant’s Hylomorphism”
Matt Boyle (Harvard University)
Chair:  Thomas Land (University of Chicago)

3:00 – 3:30      Coffee Break

3:30 – 5:30   “Kant and Sellars on Perceptual Consciousness”
John McDowell (University of Pittsburgh)
Chair: Jim Conant (University of Chicago)

5:30 Reception

Sunday, April 17

9:30 – 11:30     “Two Kinds of Matter”
Boris Hennig (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)
Chair: Christopher Frey  (University of Chicago)

11:30 – 12:30     Lunch Break

12:30 – 2:30     “Reason’s Form”
Robert Pippin  (University of Chicago)
Chair: Matthias Haase  (Universität Basel)

2:30 – 2:45    Brief Recess

2:45 – 3:30  Concluding Remarks and Discussion

3:30   Refreshments

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