Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Foucault's Translation of and Critical Commentary on Kant's Anthropologie in Pragmatischer Hinsicht

Prof Derek Robbins.

Foucault's thesis gives a systematic account of the relationship between Kant's thinking at the date of writing his 'Anthropologie' in 1797, the pre-critical writing and the Critical Philosophy of then 1780s. Sub0titled 'from a pragmatic point of view', Kant's 'Anthropology' was, perhaps, an attempt on the part of the ageing Kant to render the insights of his Critical Philosophy more relevant to changing social and political conditions. Foucault examined this possibility and concluded that Kant's fundamental philosophical stance undermined his capacity genuinely to respond to the contingent. Importantly, the shortcoming that was exposed, therefore, by Kant's 'Anthropology' was, for Foucault, indicative of a general shortcoming in Western European rationalism and modernism.


Prof Derek Robbins  (United Kingdom)
School of Social Sciences
University of East London

Derek Robbins is Professor of International Social Theory at the University of East London, where he is also Director of the Group for the Study of International Social Science in the School of Social Sciences. He is the author of "The Work of Pierre Bourdieu" (1991) and of "Bourdieu and Culture" (2000); the editor of the four-volume collection of articles on Bourdieu in the Sage Masters of Contemporary Social Thought series (2000); as well as the author of many articles on Bourdieu's work.

  • Human nature
  • Citizenship of the world
Person as Subject
  • Kant, Immanuel Foucault, Michel

(Virtual Presentation, English)