International Conference: Kantian Foundations of Democracy

This conference explores the view of democracy of those who in the 1790s sought to develop a Kantian legal and political philosophy

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Malevich, Suprematism, 1915, Ivanovo Regional Art Museum


Recent years have seen a new interest in exploring philosophers in Kant’s context, both for their significance to Kant and in their own right. This conference explores the legal and political philosophy of those who in the 1790s sought to develop a Kantian legal and political philosophy. These “Kantians” include, but are not limited to, Johann Benjamin Erhard, Salomon Maimon, Karl Heinrich Heydenreich, Johann Adam Bergk, Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Johann Heinrich Tieftrunk, Johann Anselm Feuerbach, Ludwig Heinrich Jakob, Elise Reimarus, Theodor Schmalz, Friedrich Schlegel, and the early Johann Gottlieb Fichte. The conference explores their views of what we today call democracy, but which at the time was often called republicanism, i.e. the legal and political principles for a constitution establishing equality, freedom, political rights, popular sovereignty, and the rule of law. The conference will include papers on these philosophers as well as papers on their relation to Kant. 

The conference is the first international conference of the project KanDem -- Kantian Foundations of Democracy, please find more information here.


Friday, 5. August

10:00-10:30 Reidar Maliks (University of Oslo) Opening and introductions


First session: Schlegel

Chair: Feroz Mehmood Shah (University of Oslo)

10:30-11:05 Michael Gregory (The University of Groeningen): ”Kant and Schlegel on Majority Rule”

11:05-11:40 Fiorella Tomassini (The University of Groeningen): ”Dictatorship and insurrection in Schlegel’s republicanism”

11:40-12:15 Günther Zöller (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich): “Si vis pacem para pactum. Republicanism, Federalism and Democratism in the Peace Writings of Kant and Fr. Schlegel” (zoom)

12:15-13:30 Lunch


13:30-14:40 Keynote

Christian Rostbøll (University of Copenhagen): "Kant and the Non-Instrumental Value of Democracy"

Comments: Kjartan Koch Mikalsen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

14:40-15:10 Coffee


Second session: Tieftrunk and Erhard

Chair: Toshiro Osawa (University of Oslo)

15:10-15:45 Valentin Braekman (Université de Lausanne), On Tieftrunk (title TBD)

15:45-16:20 Elisabeth Widmer (University of Vienna): “Proto-Socialist Tendencies in Johann Benjamin Erhard’s Justification of Reform and Revolution”

16:20-16:55 James Clarke (University of York): "J. B. Erhard's Revolutionary Natural Law Theory"

19:00 Dinner


Saturday, 6. August

First Session: Kant, Bergk, and Reinhold

Chair: Christel Fricke (University of Oslo)

10:00-10:35 Luigi Caranti (Università di Catania): "Kant's Criticism of Democracy and its Contemporary Legacy"

10:35-11:10 Takuya Saito (Hokkaido University): "Kant and Johann Adam Bergk on Patriotism"

11:10-11:45 Nese Aksoy (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University): “Reinhold’s Objection to the Democratic Theory of Freedom”

11:45-13:00 Lunch


Second session: Citizenship and pluralism

Chair: TBD

13:00-13:35 Andrey Zilber (Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University): “Moral Nature of Democratic Citizens: Kantians, Jacobins and Conservatives” (zoom)

13:35-14:10 Wojciech Kozyra (University of Warsaw): ”Saul Ascher’s Misgivings About Kant’s Political Project” (zoom)

14:10-14:40 Coffee


Third session: Fichte

Chair: Michael Kryluk (University of Oslo)

14:40-15:15 Colin Bradley (Princeton University): ”Abstract Right and the Other”

15:15-15:50 Michael Nance (University of Maryland): "Fichte’s Early Anarchism"

15:50-16:25 Theo Christov (The George Washington University): ”The ‘Self’ in Fichte’s Self-Determination”

16:25-16:35 Closing

19:00 Dinner


Practical information

The conference will be a physical event, apart from three presentations, which will be on zoom. If you would like to come to Oslo to take part in the conference, write to before June 24.

Published Dec. 3, 2021 1:47 PM - Last modified June 14, 2022 9:31 AM