Mr Terrence Thomson

Research project: Variations on Transition: A Study in Kant's Opus postumum

Abstract

The project seeks to put forward a novel reading of Immanuel Kant's last, unfinished work, his self-proclaimed 'chef d'oeuvre', the so-called Opus postumum. Focusing on drafts which would have become a new work entitled, Transition from Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science to Physics, the thesis proposes a reading which complicates the drafts with respect to their own shifting positions and their relationship to Kant's wider corpus.

Whilst in recent years Kant scholars have been more forthcoming in tackling Opus postumum, the literature often limits itself to proposing either a singular continuity or discontinuity with the critical edifice. Often this takes the form of a grand consistency (e.g., the continuity of the aether concept with Kant's various discussions of substance) or inconsistency (e.g., the change in Kant's theory of matter). Mostly within the bounds of the natural sciences this thesis attempts to account for both the continuities and discontinuities within Opus postumum and in constellation with some significant elements of Kant's earlier work (such as Physical Monadology and Universal Natural History as well as Critique of Pure Reason, Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science and Critique of the Power of Judgement). I argue that if we fail to adopt a pluralistic approach, we run the risk of missing the surprising philosophical turns (Wende) at stake in the text and in Kant's corpus. The overarching aim of this reading is to set out a deepening of the concept of transition (Übergangskonzeption) so as it encompasses a wide philosophical domain implicit to all of Kant's thinking.

The order of this work is also supposed to be a reflection of the grand transition Kant makes in his metaphysics of nature and philosophy of natural science throughout his corpus: from method to architectonic (Chapter 1), from architectonic to epistemology (Chapter 2), from epistemology to ontology of matter (Chapter 3), from ontology of matter to cosmology (Chapter 4), from cosmology to theology (Chapter 5). In short, the thesis offers a set of variations on the theme of transition in the key of Opus postumum.

Biography

I graduated from Central Saint Martins with a BA in Fine Art in 2010. I then worked for around seven years in a bookshop, and gained my MA in Modern European Philosophy from CRMEP in 2017.

Areas of research interest

  • Immanuel Kant
  • Opus postumum
  • 18th century continental philosophy
  • Philosophy of science
  • Natural Science
  • Theology

Qualifications

  • MA in Modern European Philosophy, CRMEP, London
  • BA in Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, London

Funding or awards received

  • TECHNE DTP

Publications

Thomson, Terrence. (2020), 'Kant's Opus postumum', Philosophy Now, 136, pp. 34-5. (https://philosophynow.org/issues/136/Kants_Opus_postumum)

Thomson, Terrence. (2019), 'A Suspicion of Architectonic in Kant's Transition Project', Angelaki, 24, vol 5, pp. 11-28. (https://doi.org/10.1080/0969725X.2019.1655267)

Thomson, Terrence (2019), 'The Understanding in Transition: Fascicles X, XI and VII of Opus postumum', Con-Textos Kantianos, 9, pp.23-48. (http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3250380)

Thomson, Terrence. (2017), 'Nonidentity, Materialism and Truth in Adorno's Negative Dialectics,' Cosmos and History, 13, vol 1, pp. 343-360.

Thomson, Terrence. (2017), 'What Can Kant's Concept of History Teach us Today?,' The Wednesday Magazine, Issue 9, pp. 2-4.