The Claims of Autonomy

This conference brings together experts as well as rising scholars in the field, to discuss different aspects of the topic Claims of Autonomy historically as well as systematically.

“In recent years, the investigation of specifically moral obligation has frequently been integrated into a broader discussion of practical normativity as such. In a parallel development, several philosophers have sought the source or ground of practical norms in human autonomy conceived, following Kant, as the capacity for self-legislation. The binding quality of practical norms is understood as deriving from rational agents having bound themselves.  Kant’s own conception of self-legislation goes hand in hand with a thesis concerning the relation between the ground of practical normativity on the one hand, and the scope of its validity on the other. For if the source of normativity lies in the legislative power of reason, our practical claims apply universally, addressing all rational creatures, known and unknown. Kant’s approach therefore seems to preclude assigning any facet of a creature’s particularity a foundational role in explicating practical laws. Nevertheless, some philosophers have contended that thinking through the nature of rational autonomy either implies, or requires supplementation via, an essential reference to more concrete features of agency, thereby narrowing the scope of our normative claims. These features may, in an Aristotelian vein, concern the particular life-form of the human being and its concomitant goods or, in a broadly Hegelian fashion, concern the socio-historical and institutional setting of human action.  The conference asks firstly, whether and how self-legislation theories of normativity must in fact be founded in such concrete contexts of agency and, secondly, what this implies for the scope of practical claims.  It will do so with reference both to approaches in contemporary philosophy and to those classical texts, particularly in the Kantian and post-Kantian traditions, which remain the foundation for current work.”

Conference languages are German and English.

Here you find the programme and the poster of the conference.

The conference is free of charge and open to the public. Everyone interested is cordially invited. For further questions please contact Dr. Alex Englander ( or Dr. David Zapero (

Date: 15/06/2017 – 16/06/2017


Conference Room of the International Center for Philosophy NRW (IZPH)
Poppelsdorfer Allee 28
53115 Bonn
3rd floor (elevator available)
Entrance area not barrier-free