The Rules for Knowing the Human Being: Baumgarten’s Presence in Kant’s Anthropology

  • Gualtiero Lorini


The goal of the present essay is to underscore that Kant’s anthropological reflection does not acquire its most accomplished value when it is forcefully placed within the architectural project of the critique, but rather when we question the way in which it can accompany the critical reflection. This possibility becomes almost a necessity in the Critique of the Power of Judgment. Here, by virtue of reflecting judgment, Kant illustrates the agreement between reason, as the universal horizon of judgment, and the singularity of the subject, which conveys any judgment. In doing so, Kant deals with subjectivity according to a perspective that is significantly influenced by Baumgarten’s conception of the I, insofar as it differs from Wolff’s positions. Thus, in the first section of this paper, we will outline the extent to which Baumgarten’s treatment of the relationship between empirical and rational psychology marks a departure from the Wolffian one. In the second part, we will show how Baumgarten’s perspective influences Kant in the 1770s by analyzing Kant’s lectures on metaphysics and anthropology, the basis of which is represented precisely by Baumgarten’s Metaphysica. Then, we will focus on the most original elements of Kant’s anthropological reflection, and finally, we will propose some remarks, aiming at assessing the extent of Baumgarten’s presence in Kant’s anthropological framework.



The author is grateful to Professor Holly Wilson for her careful linguistic revision of the text.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gualtiero Lorini
    • 1
  1. 1.Technische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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