Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

8/1/2008 - 7/31/2009

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

Immanuel Kant's Theory of Human Nature

FAIN: FB-53822-08

Patrick Frierson
Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA 99362-2067)

During my fellowship year, I will complete a monograph entitled "What is the Human Being?: Kant's Theory of Human Nature," which I have a provisional agreement to publish with Routledge Press. The book has three parts: Kant's account of human nature, criticisms of and alternatives to that account (both philosophical and scientific), and a Kantian account of human nature for the 21st century. The book will balance attention to Kant as systematic philosopher and Kant as popular teacher and observer of human nature, and it will provide both an original contribution to Kant scholarship and a popularly accessible introduction to Kant's views on an issue (the nature of human beings) of pressing contemporary importance.

Associated Products

Kant's Empirical Psychology (Book)
Title: Kant's Empirical Psychology
Author: Patrick Frierson
Abstract: Throughout his life, Kant was concerned with questions about empirical psychology. He aimed to develop an empirical account of human beings, and his lectures and writings on the topic are recognizable today as properly 'psychological' treatments of human thought and behavior. In this book Patrick R. Frierson uses close analysis of relevant texts, including unpublished lectures and notes, to study Kant's account. He shows in detail how Kant explains human action, choice, and thought in empirical terms, and how a better understanding of Kant's psychology can shed light on major concepts in his philosophy, including the moral law, moral responsibility, weakness of will, and cognitive error. Frierson also applies Kant's accounts of mental illness to contemporary philosophical issues. His book will interest students and scholars of Kant, the history of psychology, philosophy of psychology, and philosophy of action.
Year: 2014
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107032651
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes

Kant's Questions: What is the Human Being? (Book)
Title: Kant's Questions: What is the Human Being?
Author: Patrick Frierson
Abstract: Philosophers, anthropologists and biologists have long puzzled over the question of human nature. It is also a question that Kant thought about deeply and returned to in many of his writings. In this lucid and wide-ranging introduction to Kant’s philosophy of human nature - which is essential for understanding his thought as a whole - Patrick R. Frierson assesses Kant’s theories and examines his critics. He begins by explaining how Kant articulates three ways of addressing the question ‘what is the human being?’: the transcendental, the empirical, and the pragmatic. He then considers some of the great theorists of human nature who wrestle with Kant’s views, such as Hegel, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, and Freud; contemporary thinkers such as E.O.Wilson and Daniel Dennett, who have sought biological explanations of human nature; Thomas Kuhn, Michel Foucault, and Clifford Geertz, who emphasize the diversity of human beings in different times and places; and existentialist philosophers such as Sartre and Heidegger. He argues that whilst these approaches challenge and enrich Kant’s views in significant ways, all suffer from serious weaknesses that Kant’s anthropology can address. Taking a core insight of Kant’s - that human beings are fundamentally free but finite - he argues that it is the existentialists, particularly Sartre, who are the most direct heirs of his transcendental anthropology. The final part of the book is an extremely helpful overview of the work of contemporary philosophers, particularly Christine Korsgaard and Jürgen Habermas. Patrick R. Frierson explains how these philosophers engage with questions of naturalism, historicism, and existentialism while developing Kantian conceptions of the human being. Including chapter summaries and annotated further reading, What is the Human Being? is an outstanding introduction to some fundamental aspects of Kant’s thought and a judicious assessment of leading theories of human nature. It is essential reading for al
Year: 2013
Primary URL:
Publisher: Routledge
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-0415558457
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes