Béatrice Longuenesse

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Béatrice Longuenesse
BornSeptember 6, 1950 (1950-09-06) (age 68)
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolContinental philosophy
InstitutionsNew York University, Princeton University, la Sorbonne, Université de Clermont-Ferrand, Université de Franche-Comté, École Normale Supérieure
Main interests
Immanuel Kant, Georg Hegel, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language

Béatrice Longuenesse (born September 6, 1950) is a Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University. Her work focuses on Immanuel Kant, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and the philosophy of mind and language.[1][2] She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[2] Longuenesse is one of the most prominent living Kant scholars, and her works have generated significant discussion around parts of Kant's corpus that were previously largely overlooked.[3]

Education and career[edit]

She studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris), the University of Paris Sorbonne, and (as a visiting student) at Princeton University. She received her PhD ("doctorat de troisième cycle") in 1981 and her Doctorat d'Etat in 1992 from the Sorbonne. She taught at la Sorbonne (1978–79), the École Normale Supérieure (1980-82), the Université de Franche-Comté (1983–85) and the Université de Clermont-Ferrand (1985–93) before joining Princeton University as an Associate Professor (1993–96) then full Professor (1996-2004). In 2004 she left Princeton for NYU. In 2011 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[2]

In 1979-80, Longuenesse was a Jane Eliza Procter fellow at Princeton, and from 1981-1983 she served as a research fellow in the department of music at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. In 2005 she was appointed as a fellow at NYU's Institute for the Humanities, a position she still holds. Starting in 2006 she held a fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin), and in 2010 she was appointed Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University. In 2011 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2012 and 2013 she received two different Berlin Prizes from the American Academy in Berlin, a Siemens fellowship and John Birkelund fellowship, respectively.[2]

Philosophical work[edit]

Overview of books[edit]

Longuenesse has written three books, edited two volumes, and published numerous refereed papers. Her books have been described as major contributions to Kantian and Hegelian scholarship.[4] Her first book, Kant and the Capacity to Judge. Sensibility and Discursivity in the Transcendental Analytic of the Critique of Pure Reason, focused on Kant's "Table of Judgements," arguing that it in fact formed the backbone of the rest of Kant's work.[5]

Her second book, Kant on the Human Standpoint, began by attempting to rebut some of the critiques of her first book, and went on to analyze other aspects of Kant's work, including his views on freedom, reason, and causality.[4] Her third book, Hegel's Critique of Metaphysics, starts by providing a close reading of some of Hegel's works that have traditionally been considered difficult to analyze, and goes on to make an argument that Hegel's work represents a novel reworking of Kant's ideas, and that the Hegelian corpus could be used as a base upon which to build a plausible alternative to Lockean empiricism.[6] The volume Longuenesse edited, Kant and the Early Moderns, was a collection of essays focusing on how Kant understood the work of philosophers that came before him, and how that shaped his own work.[7]

  • Hegel et la Critique de la métaphysique (Vrin, 1981). Appears in English as Hegel's Critique of Metaphysics (Cambridge University Press, 2007), with two new chapters and a new preface.
  • Kant at le Pouvoir de juger. Sensibilité et discursivité dans l'Analytique Transcendantale de la Critique de la Raison Pure (Presses Universitaires de France, 1993). A revised and expanded English version appears as Kant and the Capacity to Judge. Sensibility and Discursivity in the Transcendental Analytic of the Critique of Pure Reason (Princeton University Press, 2000).
  • Kant on the Human Standpoint (Cambridge University Press, 2005).

Kant's critical philosophy[edit]

Longuenesse is well known for her work on Kant's theory of judgment, which, she argues, provides the crucial backbone for central arguments in Kant's critical system. Her first Kant book was originally published in French (Kant et le Pouvoir de Juger),[8] then translated into English in a revised and expanded version (Kant and the Capacity to Judge).[9] The book was broadly discussed [10] and was especially influential in generating a new interest in Kant's logic[11] and Kant's views on the role of imagination in perception and cognition, and Kant's explanation of concept acquisition.[12] Longuenesse's work connects Kant's view to contemporary debates in philosophy of mind, for instance around the question of the conceptual or non-conceptual content of perception and the nature of rule following.[13] Longuenesse's responses to the discussions elicited by her book have appeared in numerous articles, some of which were included in her second Kant book, Kant on the Human Standpoint (2005).[14] This book expands her interpretation of Kant's theory of judgment to consideration of its role in Kant's philosophy of nature, moral philosophy and aesthetic theory.

Hegel's Science of Logic[edit]

Before beginning her systematic work on Kant, Longuenesse wrote and published on Hegel. In Hegel et la Critique de la Métaphysique,[15] she argued that Hegel's Science of Logic should be read as a radicalization of Kant's transcendental logic. For Hegel just as for Kant, the categories of traditional metaphysics are universal forms of thinking rather than representations of intrinsic properties of things supposed to be independent of the activity of thinking. Contra Kant, however, Hegel argues that this characterization of the categories of metaphysics does not entail that we have no knowledge of things as they are in themselves. In more recent articles, some of which are gathered in the English version of her Hegel book,[16] Longuenesse further explores the differences between Hegel's and Kant's respective views of the nature of concepts, judgments, and inferences. She lays out the consequences of those views for an assessment of the possibility and limits of metaphysics.

Philosophy of mind and self-consciousness[edit]

Longuenesse's recent work has expanded beyond the history of modern philosophy into contemporary philosophy of mind and language, in connection with psychology and neuroscience. Her work focuses on the nature of self-consciousness and its relation to the use of the first person pronoun in language and in thought. She argues that our uses of 'I' depend on two fundamental kinds of self-consciousness: consciousness of oneself as engaged in a mental activity apt to generate and assess reasons for our beliefs and actions; and consciousness of oneself as an embodied entity. An important aspect of Kant's legacy, she claims, is to have clearly distinguished these two kinds of self-consciousness and taken the first to be fundamental to any use of 'I'. She draws on resources from both the "analytic" and the "continental" traditions of philosophy to offer an original contribution to contemporary debates on self-consciousness. Her work in this area has appeared in interdisciplinary venues alongside that of linguists, philosophers of language,[17] and neuroscientists.[18]


  1. ^ "AN INTERVIEW WITH BÉATRICE LONGUENESSE" (PDF). The Dualist. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Béatrice Longuenesse, Faculty of Philosophy | NYU
  3. ^ Janiak, Andrew (27 October 2010). "The Kantian spirit: how to resist realism in the philosophy of science". Metascience. 20 (1): 153–157. doi:10.1007/s11016-010-9469-1.
  4. ^ a b Wilson, R. (1 October 2006). "Kant on the Human Standpoint". The British Journal of Aesthetics. 46 (4): 433–435. doi:10.1093/aesthj/ayl027.
  5. ^ Westphal, K. R. (1 October 2000). "KANT AND THE CAPACITY TO JUDGE". Philosophical Review. 109 (4): 645–648. doi:10.1215/00318108-109-4-645.
  6. ^ Schlitt, Dale M. (December 2009). "LONGUENESS, BWatrice. Hegel's Critique of Metaphysics. Translated by Nicole J. Simek. Modern European Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. xxi + 246 pp. Hardback, $92.99". Review of Metaphysics. 63 (2 (250)): 486–488.
  7. ^ Domski, M. (29 April 2010). "Kant and the Early Moderns, edited by Daniel Garber and Beatrice Longuenesse". Mind. 119 (474): 478–481. doi:10.1093/mind/fzq022.
  8. ^ ISBN 2 13 045607 3
  9. ^ ISBN 978-0-691-04348-7, 2nd edition ISBN 0-691-07451-8.
  10. ^ Reviews and discussion essays include (selection): Journal of Philosophy 94 (6):318-324 (1997); Philosophical Review 109 (4): 645-648 (2000); Inquiry 43 (1): 67-110; Kantian Review, Volume 5 / March 2001; Journal of the History of Philosophy, Volume 37, Number 2, April 1999; International Studies in Philosophy 35 (4):341-342; The Review of Metaphysics 52 (3):699-701; Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 83 (2):199-212; Journal of the History of Philosophy 37 (2):372-374. Discussed also in Henry Allison's Kant's Transcendental Idealism, 2nd edition (2004), ISBN 0-300-10266-6; Patricia Kitcher's Kant's Thinker (2013), ISBN 978-0-19-975482-3; Hannah Ginsborg's The Normativity of Nature (2014), ISBN 978-0-19-954798-2; Van Lambalgen and T. Achourioti, "Kant's Transcendental Logic," in the Journal of Symbolic Logic, 2011, http://philpapers.org/s/T.20Achourioti.
  11. ^ Van Lambalgen and T. Achourioti, "Kant's Transcendental Logic," in the Journal of Symbolic Logic, 2011, http://philpapers.org/s/T.20Achourioti. Clinton Tolley, "the generality of Kant's transcendental logic", http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/journal_of_the_history_of_philosophy/v050/50.3.tolley.html
  12. ^ Discussion of Longuenesse's views in Patricia Kitcher, Kant's Thinker (2013), ISBN 978-0-19-975482-3, passim; Hannah Ginsborg's The Normativity of Nature (2014), ISBN 978-0-19-954798-2, passim. Stefanie Grüne, Blinde Anschauung (2009), ISBN 3465036344, passim.
  13. ^ Stefanie Grüne, Blinde Anschauung, ISBN 3465036344, passim. Hannah Ginsborg's The Normativity of Nature (2014), ISBN 978-0-19-954798-2, passim.
  14. ^ ISBN 978-0-521-83478-0 hardback; 2nd edition ISBN 978-0-521-11218-5.
  15. ^ Hegel et la Critique de la Métaphysique, Paris : Librairie Philosophique Vrin, 1981 Revised English version, Hegel's Critique of Metaphysics, Cambridge University Press 2007, ISBN 0521844665.
  16. ^ ISBN 0521844665
  17. ^ Simon Prosser and François Recanati (eds.), Immunity to Error through Misidentification: New Essays, Cambridge University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780521198301. Review of the volume, including BL's contribution at http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/39085-immunity-to-error-through-misidentification-new-essays/
  18. ^ "Neurone vergeistigen. Philosophie und Neurowissenschaft in Gespräch," with Frank Rösler, in Jahrbuch des Wissenschaftskollegs zu Berlin (2008), p.241-258. " 'I' and the Brain," in Psychological Research, vol. 76, Issue 2 (2012), p.220-228.