John Skorupski

Professor Emeritus of Moral Philosophy

University of St Andrews

The Tradition of Critical Philosophy

30 hour-course
1 hour credit, 2 ECTS points

April 11-29, 2016


Room GG-212
11-15 April from 9:30 to 12:00
26-29 April from 9:30 to 12:00




These lectures will explain and examine the tradition of "Critical" philosophy. The use of the word ‘Critical’ follows Kant, and the central question in this tradition is his question, how is knowledge possible? The lectures will discuss:

  1. Kant and his idealist critics;
  2. The Vienna Circle and the early Wittgenstein;
  3. Late Wittgenstein;
  4. Recent discussion of reasons and rationality.

Discussion of Kant will focus on his ‘transcendental idealism’ in its application to knowledge, freedom and religion. Discussion of the Vienna Circle will focus on its accounts of meaning, analyticity and convention. Discussion of late Wittgenstein will seek to interpret the ‘rule-following considerations.’ The final section (4) will explain how recent discussions of meta-normativity can be seen as a revival of the Critical tradition, and discuss whether it can succeed.

A recurrent question will be whether this Critical tradition can escape from Kant’s transcendental idealism, that is, whether it can ‘vindicate’ knowledge and freedom without it.




  • Ameriks, Karl, Kant and the Fate of Autonomy
  • Carnap, Rudolf, ‘Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology’, e.g. in Carnap, Meaning and Necessity.
  • Friedman, Michael, ‘The Re-evaluation of Logical Positivism’, in Journal of Philosophy, 10, 1991.
  • Kant, Immanuel, The Critique of Pure Reason
  • Kripke, Saul, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language
  • Scanlon, T. M. Being Realistic about Reasons
  • Skorupski, J. The Domain of Reasons (Introduction, Part IV)
  • Wittgenstein, L. Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle, Conversations recorded by Friedrich Waismann.
  • Wittgenstein, L. Philosophical Investigations


Questions should be directed to

mgr Tomasz Łach ( or mgr Łukasz Sarowski (

Autor: Andrzej Zykubek
Ostatnia aktualizacja: 16.08.2016, godz. 23:15 - Andrzej Zykubek