Presence of the Past Lecture Series: The Past that has Never Been Present: The Changing Role of the a priori in Philosophical Anthropology.
The content and function of what has been considered to play a preconscious-determining role in human cognition and experience has changed from Kant to the present. Whether the determining factors are described as concepts and categories, stereotypes and intuitions, or historico-cultural expectations, the view that human experience is shaped by prior determining factors of which individuals are usually entirely unaware has remained an important finding of critical philosophy. After discussing some historical versions of the notion, Keith Peterson, associate professor of philosophy, will consider one current account that attributes our widespread inability to act on knowledge of global climate disruption, at least in part, to certain properties of human cognition that function in an automatic and a priori way.
Peterson’s primary areas of interest include philosophies of nature and environment, value theory, philosophical anthropology, and Continental philosophy. He teaches courses in all of these areas, and his monograph on environmental philosophy, A World not Made for Us: Topics in Critical Environmental Philosophy, should appear sometime in 2019.