In the past forty years, epistemology is one of the fastest growing branches of philosophy. Among the new topics studied by epistemologists are peer disagreement, wisdom, know-how, propaganda, understanding and explanation, testimony, epistemic value, collective and extended knowledge, epistemic injustice, and memory. Research on Kant has also grown immensely over the last decades. Given the unique legacy of Kant’s philosophy, and the fact that philosophy always benefits from a serious and sustained engagement with its history one would expect Kantian ideas to figure prominently in contemporary epistemology. But this is not the case. Even bracketing differences in terminology, Kant’s epistemological ideas seem foreign to the contemporary discussion in a way that, for instance, the epistemological ideas of Aristotle, Descartes, and the British Empiricists do not. As Karl Ameriks notes, “contemporary epistemology has yet to find a recognized spokesman within the classical German tradition.”1 The special issue attempts to work towards closing this research gap. The papers collected in this volume build bridges—or where such bridges exist, reinforce them—between contemporary epistemology and Kantian Philosophy.
Contemporary and Kantian epistemology both benefit from the cross-fertilization of ideas and methods. Contemporary epistemology supplies the conceptual resources that allow us to gain a deeper understanding of issues in Kantian epistemology. And Kantian epistemology, in turn, provides promising suggestions for resolving persistent issues in contemporary epistemology. The goal is to use contemporary concepts and questions to refine historical research in epistemology and to historically contextualize the contemporary discussion in epistemology.
In May 2019, the editors organized an international conference on Kant and Contemporary Epistemology with 18 speakers. The conference was hosted by the Cologne Center for Contemporary Epistemology and the Kantian Tradition. We thank the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation as well as the DAAD for generously funding the conference and Sibel Schmidt and her team for running the conference. Six papers in this volume are based on lectures given at the conference. The other papers have been added to broaden the diversity of perspectives.
We are deeply grateful to the authors for their excellent contributions and for their philosophical enthusiasm and patience during the review and production process. Furthermore, we would like to thank the following colleagues for advice, comments, and support: Gabriele Gava, Adrian Bardon, Giovanni Mion, Dora Achourioti, Hemmo Laiho, Joseph Shieber, Alex Gelfert, Ian Blecher, Peter Thielke, Frode Kjosavik, Mirella Capozzi, Luca Fonnesu, Wolfgang Lenzen, Carl Sachs, Chauncey Maher, Ralph Walker, Ansgar Seide, Paul Silva, Andrew Chignell, Andrew Werner, Brian Tracz, Derk Pereboom, Eric Watkins, Gregor Damschen, Janum Sethi, John Callanan, Joseph Tinguely, Robert Hanna, Robert Watt. Last but not least, we would like to thank the editors of History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis, and especially Philipp Steinkrüger, for supporting the idea of the volume and for making the editing process go smoothly.
Ameriks, K. Current German Epistemology: The Significance of Gerold Praus. Inquiry 25 (1982), 125–138, at p. 125.