Enlightenment and Idealism

January 23, 2017

Douglas Moggach

Monday, January 23, 10:00AM–12:00PM, Room 2200, SFU Harbour Centre

Sponsored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities

NOTE: This workshop is by invitation. Please contact insthum@sfu.ca if you are interested in participating.

Workshop on Social and Political Thought

Hegel affirms that the great discovery of the Enlightenment is that everything exists for the subject. As a self-conscious demand that all political and economic institutions, religious beliefs, cultural values and identities must prove their validity in light of critical reason, the European Enlightenment has close affinity with the ethical programmes of German Idealism. This paper examines the complex patterns of political thought that originate with Leibniz, and that are taken up by various proponents of idealism, notably Kant, Fichte, and members of the Hegelian School. In their conceptions of modern subjects and of their interactions, and in their defence of the autonomous use of reason, against authoritarian impositions and stultifying orthodoxies, the idealists preserve and enrich the Enlightenment heritage, with implications for recent debates on politics and culture.


Douglas Moggach is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Ottawa, and Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. His publications include Rethinking German Idealism (co-authored, 2016); Politics, Religion and Art: Hegelian Debates (2011); The New Hegelians (2006); and The Philosophy and Politics of Bruno Bauer (2003). He is co-editor, with Gareth Stedman Jones, of The Revolutions of 1848 and European Political Thought, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in 2017.