Kant | Forgiveness | Hope


My current research project (Habilitation) centers on the concept of hope. I’m mainly interested in the following questions: What is the nature of hope? Hope is often understood as a compound attitude, namely as a desire for an outcome plus a belief that this outcome is possible, plus some other component. I argue that we should resist such a reductive understanding of hope. Further, in what sense can hope be rational? My answer takes Kant’s position as a starting point, since he famously designates “What may I hope?” as one of the fundamental questions of reason. As Kant notes, one intriguing aspect of this question is that it concerns both practical and theoretical rationality. Another inspiring aspect of Kant’s account is that hope is treated as important both for one’s individual life and for political action.

From 2015-2016, I pursued work on hope together with Titus Stahl (Groningen University) in the project “Fundamental Hope and Practical Identity” as part of the larger project “Hope and Optimism” at Notre Dame University and University of Pennsylvania.

In my work on forgiveness, I relate Kant’s perspective to the contemporary debate. The book symposium on Samuel Scheffler’s Death and the Afterlife resulted from my long-standing interest in the philosophy of death.

In my dissertation, I present a comprehensive study of Kant’s concept of imputation. I show that the concept of imputation links the concept of freedom, the notion of a person, and Kant’s deontological ethics. Besides offering interpretive work, I elucidate the relevance of Kant’s thought for contemporary debates. I also work on related topics such as autonomy and responsibility, from a systematical, non-historical perspective.