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Morphology in German thought, from Leibniz to Kant

Grant number: 16/09000-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2016
Effective date (End): November 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Acordo de Cooperação: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Pedro Paulo Garrido Pimenta
Grantee:Isabel Coelho Fragelli
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The transition from the 17th century to the 18th century is a very particular moment in the history of biological sciences. If we cannot say that biology has found, here, the conditions of its true scientific revolution (which has occurred only in the transition to the 19th century, with Lamarck), it's nevertheless undeniable that the study of living beings received a special attention from the naturalists of this period. The theoretical and scientific context that here took place (mainly characterized by the conflicts between mechanistic and organismic theses) reflected itself in modern philosophy, in which morphological investigations were associated with various considerations of natural teleology. The importance of morphology to german philosophy can be observed already in the work of Leibniz, whose theory of the organism, built from the criticism of the mechanistic model proposed by Descartes, had a wide impact in philosophical and scientific debates of modernity. During the 18th century, the study of organic forms developed through the dialogue between natural history and philosophy, having achieved its most decisive moment in Kant's work. In the Critique of Judgment, by bringing together under the same principle of the power of judgment both the judgment of beautiful forms, as that of organic forms, Kant shows that morphology suggests a connection between aesthetics and biology - a connection that is also present in the morphological conceptions of his contemporaries, as we see, for example, in the works of Herder, Goethe and Schelling. By understanding therefore the meaning of morphology for each author to be discussed in the present research, we believe to be taking a very interesting and enriching perspective to the study of this period of modern german thought. (AU)

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