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1 November: Charlie Cooper-Simpson (University of Toronto)

“Life, Individuality and Logic”

ABSTRACT: In this talk, I examine why the concept of life occupies such a prominent place in both Kant’s and Hegel’s thoughts about logic. I argue, in particular, the conception of life as organized without being designed (a desideratum of Kant’s) must be captured in the terms of self-determining individuality, something that is determined in and through its relations to both itself and its environment. This idea of a self-determining individual, I argue, is incompatible with Kant’s understanding of the conditions under which our (human) thought can relate to its object, and thus presents a problem for Kantian logic. Finally, I argue, resolving this problem would require a revision to Kant’s conception of logic (as purely formal), a revision that would produce something much like what Hegel presents us in the Science of Logic. In this way, by attending to their respective treatments of the concept of life and its consequences for their logical systems, we can come to understand the mature Hegel’s critical reception of Kant’s transcendental philosophy.