“Here (...) Practical Anthropology becomes pure art”: Kant on the distinction between Empirical Psychology and Pragmatic Anthropology





Among the many stages of Kant’s problem of a reciprocal collocation of the human knowledges, Encyclopedism, quite unsurprisingly, is one of the most relevant; and yet, quite surprisingly, it is Anthropology which plays here one of the lead parts, insofar as the complex ascertainment of its definition, its position, its task proves to be of irrefutable importance towards solving the greater problem at hand. The question arises as the association – or dissociation – between Empirical Psychology and Pragmatic Anthropology, and their inclusion in, or exclusion from, their greater or lesser relation with Metaphysics; a problem which, to the careless eye, seems to have been promoted by Kant himself. Here, opinions diverge as to the nature of the relation between the two sciences, from their total inter-dependence to their complete separation. We, in turn, propose a different approach. Our objective is to reenact Kant’s fundamental scheme of human knowledges, as presented not only in the only extant Lecture on Encyclopedism, but in various others dimensions of Kant’s academic activity; and here, to propose a contrasting analysis between Empirical Psychology and Pragmatic Anthropology; one, however, based not on the assumption of their consonance or dissonance through their characteristics, rather on their respective position and scope amid the field of human knowledges. As such, it is our intention to consider Kant’s Lectures in their interconnection, namely, in their apparently dubious simultaneous collocation of an Empirical Psychology as Anthropology; and, based on their specific position in the scheme of human knowledges, and what this position entails in terms of their scope and task, to ascertain to what extent Empirical Psychology is indeed Anthropology, and from what extent Empirical Psychology is no longer Anthropology – not, at least, Pragmatic Anthropology. In other words, we shall labor towards defining a dividing line in Kant’s scheme of human knowledges; one which for Kant represents a third dimension of knowledge and stands between rational and empirical, Metaphysics and the historical sciences; that line, in our view, being that of a cosmopolitical prism.

Keywords: Kant, encyclopedism, anthropology, empirical psychology, cosmopolitanism.

Author Biography

Fernando M. F. Silva, University of Lisbon, School of Arts and Humanities

 Post-Doctoral fellow and member of the Centre for Philosophy at University of Lisbon.