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Philosopher Lydia Patton to Lecture at Washington and Lee

Lydia Patton, an assistant professor of philosophy at Virginia Tech, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. in Huntley Hall 327. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The title of Patton’s talk is “Kant’s Neglected Anti-metaphysical Arguments.”

About her talk Patton says, “Principles, for Kant, are a priori rules that govern all experience. Contemporary empiricists have objected that we can’t know anything about reality a priori, so Kant’s arguments about principles fail.” Contrary to this, Patton will present a novel reading of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, according to which Kant argues that all sensations must register on a purely subjective scale for sensation to be a possible source of knowledge.

Patton contends that “Kant uses this result to argue against metaphysical claims of the Scholastics and mechanistic philosophers. Kant’s argument is about the possible content of empirical concepts, not about determining the properties of reality a priori.”

Patton has published on the history and philosophy of science, especially in the Kantian and neo-Kantian traditions. In addition to Virginia Tech, she has taught at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago.

Patton earned her Ph.D. in philosophy from McGill University in Montreal.

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Julie Cline
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