Assignment: Write a 5-7 page (typed, double-spaced) paper on
some aspect of Kant’s Prolegomena or
Schelling’s Freedom Essay. You may
write on any topic you wish, so long as you develop an argument and have a
clear thesis. References to the Prolegomena
or Freedom essay may be made
parenthetically, but all external sources must be cited in footnotes, endnotes,
or a bibliography. Title pages and similar adornments are unnecessary, but
please give the paper a title. Since Kant and Schelling’s philosophical systems
are so vast, try to choose a topic narrow enough that it can be answered solely
within the context of our class readings. I am happy to comment on thesis
statements, outlines, and drafts by email or in office hours. Due in my email
inbox Monday, May 9th at 2pm. Or, if you need extra time, you can get it to
me by 11:59 on Wednesday, May 11th, but I will not be able to
return comments on your paper.
1. What does the
project of the Prolegomena assume
about the nature of metaphysics? Are
these assumptions justified?
2. Explain and
evaluate Kant’s argument that synthetic a priori judgments are the key to any
possible metaphysics.
3. What does Kant
mean when he asks how nature itself is possible?
4. Explain how Kant’s
“critical idealism” differs from Berkeley’s metaphysical idealism. Does it make sense to call Kant’s system
idealism at all?
5. What are ideas,
and what role do they play in determining the possibility of metaphysics?
6. Assess Kant’s
account of the limits of what can be said about the soul.
7. Explain one of the
antinomies and what it proves about reason.
8. Explain and
evaluate Schelling’s critique of Spinoza and/or Leibniz.
9. Explain
Schelling’s goal of developing a system of freedom.
10. Explain
Schelling’s distinction between “being in so far as it exists and being in so
far as it is merely the ground of existence” and explain why it is important
for his approach to philosophy.
11. Is it reasonable
for Schelling to assert that the ground of nature “yearns” to give birth to itself?
12. Is Schelling
right that modern philosophy since Descartes had been based on an ignorance of