(Revised version: 19 July 2010)
Registration for the conference is now open – see the REGISTRATION page of this website.
The occasion of the conference is the recent publication of the first English translation of Salomon Maimon’s most famous work, the Essay on Transcendental Philosophy.
Maimon’s Essay was one of the most thoughtful early responses to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Kant wrote of it that ‘none of my opponents has understood me and the principal question as well as Mr Maimon.’ In the Essay Maimon affirms the necessity of the break with traditional metaphysics made by the critical philosophy, but claims that as it stands it is inadequate and vulnerable to challenges from both Humean scepticism and Leibnizian rationalism. Maimon responds by introducing a genetic moment into the constitution of objects of knowledge, adopting ideas from the differential calculus to create a transcendental philosophy that is arguably at once more rationalist and more empiricist than Kant’s. This interpretation and re-writing of Kant was of great significance to Fichte and indeed to the whole subsequent trajectory of German Idealism.
Interest in Maimon has been growing in recent years in the English speaking world, but has no doubt been held back by the lack of any translations of his philosophical works. In France his influence has been greater, and in particular Gilles Deleuze has championed the importance of Maimon’s philosophy of difference. Manfred Frank, who has conducted a seminar on Maimon for many years at the University of Tübingen, has suggested that Maimon is the ‘last great philosopher’ waiting to be discovered. We hope that this conference will contribute to the discovery of Maimon and to an overdue recognition of the importance and interest of his thought.
The conference aims to bring together scholars studying Maimon’s philosophy in its own right with philosophers interested in Maimon’s relationship with the post-Kantian tradition, and modern French thought. It will provide a forum for researchers on these different aspects of Maimon’s thought and influence to share their different perspectives on his work.
Paul Franks (Toronto)
Gideon Freudenthal (Tel Aviv)
Beth Lord (Dundee)