"What shall I do? Transformations of practical reason in early modern philosophy prior to Kant"

This project aims to challenge the prevailing view about early modern Ethics. To put it briefly, modern ethics is often reduced to the opposition between empiricist accounts (dwelling on moral feelings) and naturalistic ones (connected to the rise of scientific rationality) and Kant is held responsible for having reintroduced the issue of practical reason, namely the possibility of a rational, universal deliberation on what one should do - an issue that is still debated today.

Arnaud Pelletier's main research hypothesis is that the successes of theoretical rationality in the sciences did not eliminate the consideration of a genuinely practical reason, but precisely urged its transformations. The project investigates the roots of this contemporary issue in modern philosophy, that is in the period that spans from Descartes's question "What course of life shall I follow?" to Kant's question "What should I do?".


Arnaud Pelletier

Philosophy Department
Faculty of Philosophy and Social Siences

Created on August 31, 2018