Assent, Belief, and Testimony in Kant and his Predecessors

Workshop 28.-30.4.2022

Venue: Zoom
Date: Thursday, 28 - Saturday, 30 April 2022
Time: 15:00-19:00 (CET)

Immanuel Kant is considered one of the chief figures in the history of non-evidentialism. As it is commonly understood, this view maintains that it is sometimes rationally permissible to hold a belief even though one lacks decisive evidence for its truth. Although Kant has always been regarded as a non-evidentialist of some sort, it is only recently that Kant scholars have analysed his epistemology of assent in detail, demonstrating its richness and contemporary relevance. Yet scholars have failed to consider the extent to which a part of this epistemology - Kant’s non-evidentialism - was influenced by views on non-epistemic justification which were defended by some of his predecessors and contemporaries. Therefore, the workshop will confront Kant's views with the debates concerning practical, non-epistemic grounds for belief in 18th-century Germany prior to Kant. These debates are interesting not only because they can open up new perspectives on Kant, but also because 18th-century German philosophers devised complex and original accounts of practical grounds for belief that are far richer in detail than other more famous proposals. Moreover, the workshop will shed light on an application of practical, non-epistemic grounds for belief that was not discussed by Kant, that is, the appeal to practical grounds for belief for cognitions that are based on testimonial evidence. The talks at the workshop will thus cover the following topics.

Workshop Topics:

  • Discussions concerning practical, non-epistemic grounds for belief in the context of accounts of probable cognition in 18th century Germany prior to Kant.
  • Debates regarding the legitimacy of these grounds for the special case of cognition obtained through testimony, taking into account the different ways in which this problem was applied in the disciplines of history, jurisprudence, and hermeneutics.
  • Kantian Epistemology in general.


  • Gabriele Gava (University of Torino)
  • Jakub Techert (Freie Universität Berlin/Goethe Universität Frankfurt/M.)
  • Marcus Willaschek (Goethe Universität Frankfurt/M.)

Invited Speakers:

  • Mirella Capozzi (Sapienza University of Rome): "Aspects of Testimony in Kant's Treatment of Certainty"
  • Alix Cohen (University of Edinburgh): "Kant on Belief and Agency"
  • Corey W. Dyck (Western University of Ontario): "Mendelssohn on Basedow's Duty to Believe"
  • Luca Fonnesu (University of Pavia): "Testimony and Forms of Certainty"
  • Axel Gelfert (Technische Universität Berlin): "Between Populism and Pedantry. Kant on Scientific Testimony"
  • Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (University of Bucharest): "Testimony and Historical Probability in Crusius"
  • Paola Rumore (University of Torino): "Georg F. Meier on Belief and Testimony. The Case of the Immortality of the Soul"
  • Jakub Techert (Freie Universität Berlin/Goethe Universität Frankfurt/M.): "Kant's Division of Assent. Persuasion and Conviction"
  • Achim Vesper (Goethe Universität Frankfurt/M.): "Lambert on Moral Certainty"

Invited Discussant:

  • Andrew Chignell (Princeton University)

How to attend:

Workshop attendance is free for all. In order to attend please register with:

For questions, please contact