Paul Tulipana

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Hi, I'm Paul. I'm a PhD candidate in Philosophy at Stanford University.

I mainly work on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, but I'm also interested in other parts of early modern philosophy, in metaethics, and in questions having to do with the self.

My current research is focused on trying to understand Kant's moral metaphysics and epistemology in the Critique of Practical Reason. I am also actively working on a new interpretation of the Transcendental Deduction in the Critique of Pure Reason.

I am the de facto organizer of the excellent Stanford Kant Studies Workshop, and have been since its inception four years ago.

You can find me at Stanford Philosophy, Academia, Facebook, Twitter, or email me .

Research

Kant on personal identity and moral obligation

In this essay, I offer a new reading of Kant's theory of personal identity according to which he argues that in their awareness of being morally obligated, human agents are also aware of themselves as worldly free and responsible creatures with careers involving moral vocations pursued more or less successfully over time, and hence as cross-temporally numerically identical.

Download a draft of this essay here.

Kant on the objectivity of the moral law

Many of Kant's interpreters think that in his final accounting, the claim that the moral law provides an objective standard of conduct does not stand in need of justification: his presentation of it as a "fact of reason" is most often supposed to amount to its bare assertion. In this essay, I provide part of a reading of the first book of the Critique of Practical Reason, according to which, in fact, one of its main aims is to justify the moral law's objectivity. It does so, I argue, by establishing a concept of action which must be deployed by rational agents in contexts of deliberation and choice and which guarantees the moral law's universal and necessary applicability to action in those contexts.

This one isn't ready yet, but email me if you're interested in seeing an early draft.

The formal intuitions and the proof-structure of the transcendental deduction

This essay is co-authored with Dustin King. In it, we present new accounts of the Deduction's proof strategy, of its anti-skeptical aim, and of the role that considerations from the Transcendental Aesthetic play in its central argument. We argue that our way of reading the text addresses a long-standing worry about the Deduction's proof structure, and that it undercuts certain faulty presuppositions of the current debate between "conceptualist" and "non-conceptualist" interpretations of the Deduction.

This one isn't ready yet, but email me if you're interested in seeing an early draft.

Kant on cognizing freedom

In this essay, I explain what Kant means by his claim that in practical life we enjoy a sort of cognitive access to our own transcendental freedom. On Kant's conception of practical cognition, an agent practically cognizes something when her representation of that thing contributes in an appropriate way to bringing it about. Further, Kant's explanation of the possibility of moral choice in the first part of the Critique of Practical Reason depends on the thought that we can, by means of representing ourselves as morally obligated and therefore as free, decide to act on the basis of our moral obligations. Since for Kant, this capacity simply is our freedom, our representation of our freedom plays a central role in bringing that freedom about. This is all that Kant thinks that practical cognition of transcendental freedom amounts to.

This one isn't ready yet, but email me if you're interested in seeing an early draft.

Précis of Kant's idea of a supersensible world

My dissertation offers novel and sympathetic treatments of three central elements in Kant's moral metaphysics and epistemology: his account of moral personhood and personal identity, his demonstration of the objectivity of the moral law, and his claim that we can in practical life cognize our own transcendental freedom. Kant's accounts of these matters emerge in the course of his rich and surprising moral psychological explanation of the fact that in contexts of deliberation and choice, we are often aware of having moral obligations, hence also aware that we can act on the basis of these obligations, should we so choose. Kant calls this the Fact of Reason. Some of his most sympathetic readers have found Kant's account of the Fact obscure and metaphysically extravagant. I venture an opposing reading on which his account of the practical side of human experience is fully in line with the metaphysically anodyne approach to its theoretical side he takes in the Critique of Pure Reason.

Download a copy here.

Teaching

Self, World, Freedom

Self, World, Freedom is a topical introduction to philosophy, intended to function as a first philosophy class. In the course of presenting students with a first look at a variety of persistent philosophical problems—personal identity, knowledge of the external world, the nature of value, free will—it

I last taught this course in the Summer of 2016. Here's the most recent syllabus, slightly updated.

Selves

Selves is either an upper-level undergraduate class or a split-level grad/undergrad class, taught in seminar style, which focuses on the historical development of the concept of the self. It presents and contextualizes various historical strategies for responding to the tensions generated by the complex array of theoretical roles that the notion of the self has been supposed at various times to play: subject of consciousness, particular temporally extended object, free and responsible agent, source of value, and so on.

I last taught this course in the Winter of 2016. Here's the most recent syllabus, slightly updated.

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is is either an upper-level undergraduate class or a split-level grad/undergrad class. It puts a special emphasis on the following themes:

I haven't taught this one yet, but here's a prospective syllabus.

Kant's Practical Philosophy

Kant's Practical Philosophy is either an upper-level undergraduate class or a split-level grad/undergrad class. It provides an introduction to the major works of practical philosophy written during Kant's critical period. It introduces students to Kant's basic concerns in the practical philosophy, and to their relation to his basic concerns in his theoretical philosophy. A special effort is made to demystify Kant's account of freedom through the clarification of the connections between his moral metaphysics and his moral psychology.

I haven't taught this one yet, but here's a prospective syllabus.

Early Modern Philosophy

Early Modern Philosophy is an undergraduate introduction to philosophy's early modern period. Among its central themes are:

I haven't taught this one yet, but here's a prospective syllabus.

Metaethics

Metaethics is either an upper-level undergraduate class or a split-level grad/undergrad class. The course begins by explaining the interest and challenge of accounting for various aspects of morality's objectivity, on the one hand, and for its practicality, on the other. It then turns to the field of current approaches for doing so.

I haven't taught this one yet, but here's a prospective syllabus.

Ethical Theory

Ethical Theory is an undergraduate introduction to the philosophical study of morality. It provides students with a first look at

It concludes by challenging students to think about central ethical issues having to do with birth, death, and the idea that life is meaningless.

I haven't taught this one yet, but here's a prospective syllabus.

Contact

You can find me at Stanford Philosophy, Academia, Facebook, Twitter, or email me .

If for some reason you need to send me paper mail, write this on the envelope:

Paul Tulipana
Stanford University Philosophy Department
450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305
USA