Research Seminars: Semester Two, 2013-2014

February and March 2014:  Eighteenth Century Monadologies

Interdisciplinary Reading Group

Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

Mondays 12.30 from 3rd February 2014

During the eighteenth century Leibniz’s ‘monad’ was a concept of central importance in German intellectual life. Reflecting on the 1740s Euler wrote that ‘the dispute about monads was so lively and general that… [e]veryone’s conversation fell upon monads everywhere and no one spoke of anything else’. For this reading group we will celebrate the 300 year anniversary of Leibniz’s 1714 ‘Monadology’ by examining the development of the theory of monads throughout the century, and its applications to psychology, cosmology, and ontology. We will begin by reading the text itself, but then go on to study the evolution of the concept of the monad in Baumgarten’s crucial philosophy textbook Metaphysica, and finally in Kant’s pre-critical ‘Physical Monadology’.

3rd Feb

Leibniz’s ‘Monadology’ Sections 1-30

10th Feb

Leibniz’s ‘Monadology’ Sections 31-59

17th Feb

Leibniz’s ‘Monadology’ Sections 60-90

24th Feb

Baumgarten’s Metaphysics, Part I ‘Ontology’, Section X ‘The Monad’ and Part II ‘Cosmology’, pp. 143-145, & 166-198

3rd Mar

Baumgarten’s Metaphysics, Part III ‘Psychology’, Chapter I ‘Empirical Psychology’, (selections TBC)

10th Mar

Baumgarten’s Metaphysics, Part III ‘Psychology’, Chapter II ‘Rational Psychology’, pp. 261-280

17th Mar

Kant’s ‘Physical Monadology’, pp. 51-60

24th Mar

Kant’s ‘Physical Monadology’, pp. 60-67

31st Mar


All readings will be made available via email. We will begin with an original translation of and commentary on the ‘Monadology’. Therefore, no previous knowledge of Leibniz’s philosophy is necessary in order to be part of this reading group. To join the reading group and to receive the readings, please contact Jeremy Dunham

February and March 2013: Recent Work on Transcendental Idealism

Cambridge Kant Reading Group

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Tuesdays 3:30-5:00pm from 21st January 2014

In Lent Term the Cambridge Kant Reading Group will focus on Transcendental Idealism and read some recent work on this topic. A central issue we will be concerned with is whether Kant’s distinction between appearances and things in themselves should be understood as a distinction between two sets of objects or as a distinction between two different aspects of a single set of objects or perhaps, as one recent proposal has it, as a distinction between two kinds of properties.

Meetings are held in the HPS Lodge from 3:30 – 5:00 pm on Tuesdays. They begin with a short presentation and are followed by general discussion. All are most welcome. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Thomas Land at tcl37.

21st Jan

Rae Langton, Kantian Humility, pp.7-­47 and 124-­139

28th Jan

Lucy Allais, “Intrinsic Natures: A Critique of Langton on Kant”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2006)Rae Langton, “Kant’s Phenomena: Extrinsic or Relational Properties?  A Reply to Allais”, ibid.

4th Feb

Tobias Rosefeldt, “Kantian Appearances, Secondary Qualities, and Dispositions:, ms

11th Feb

Nick Stang, “The Non-Identity of Appearances and Things in Themselves”, Noûs, Forthcoming

18th Feb

Desmond Hogan, “Noumenal Affection”, Philosophical Review 118 (4): 501-532

25 Feb


4th Mar


11th Mar


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