I research Kant’s theory of the highest good and how idealizations connect to reality in the German Idealist tradition. My current projects fall along two general tracks, which I explore historically but also situate within contemporary debates.
Ideas and Ideals in Experience
Questions I am actively investigating surround its relation of ideas and ideals to lived experience and nature in the German Idealist tradition. This has practical as well as theoretical implications. Practically, I am curious about the highest good; it is truly a puzzling doctrine in Kant’s ethics. Many think it adds nothing above and beyond the moral law. And many think that it declines in importance (perhaps even vanishes) from Kant’s later works. I think the contrary. I argue that it evolves to become a life-orienting ideal. I have a book manuscript, titled, Reality of the Ideal, in which I make the case and which is currently under review with a major university press. I contend that they are important and real in a way that is anything but a mere heuristic fiction. Theoretically, I am also actively interested in the idea of logical life in Hegel’s natural philosophy. He claims that it possesses an ontological generality (that is, it applies to far more things than we usually think of as alive). What he means exactly, though, and how far life extends I am interested in investigating.
God & the Body in the Opus postumum
An ongoing project of mine is working through Kant’s last, unpublished work, the Opus postumum. It remains an understudied and undertheorized text in Kant’s corpus because of its disorganized state and neglect after Kant’s death. One new feature in this work is the notion of “self-positing,” in which one’s awareness of one’s own body takes center stage in Kant’s philosophy. What does this embodiment entail for Kant’s practical philosophy? And what does Kant mean when he asserts that “God is in us”?