Spring 2023

Kant and the Nineteenth Century

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-359


Rafeeq Hasan (Section 01)


Immanuel Kant's philosophy set off a revolution that reverberated throughout 19th-century Europe. For Kant, it is our own reason, not God or nature, which is the original source of all moral principles, freedom, and even goodness itself. The rational autonomy of human beings, Kant somewhat surprisingly suggests, commits them to building a more just and humane world.

We will trace the effects of the Kantian revolution, including several influential responses to it. We begin with Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), which grounds ethical obligations in the idea of rational autonomy, before considering his theory of the state in the Doctrine of Right (1797). Other readings will vary from year to year. Authors may include: Frederick Douglass, J.G. Fichte, G.W.F. Hegel, Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, and Mary Wollstonecraft. Topics discussed may include: property, human rights, gender, capitalism, religion, and racism.

Our goal is to understand and evaluate some of the most exciting (and difficult) philosophical texts of the 18th and 19th centuries, and to write about them in clear and analytical prose.

Requisite: One prior course in Philosophy. Limited to 25 students. Spring Semester. Professor Hasan

How to handle overenrollment: Preference to majors, then by class and to those who attend first class and have one course in Philosophy.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work, readings, independent research, oral presentations, group work.

PHIL 359 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM WEBS 220
Th 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM WEBS 220


Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2016, Spring 2021, Spring 2023, Fall 2024