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Jennifer Mensch [35]Jennifer Anne Mensch [1]
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Jennifer Mensch
Western Sydney University
  1. Kant's Organicism: Epigenesis and the Development of Critical Philosophy.Jennifer Mensch - 2013 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    Kant’s Organicism: Epigenesis and the Development of Critical Philosophy, traces the decisive role played by eighteenth century embryological research for Immanuel Kant’s theories of mind and cognition. I begin this book by following the course of life science debates regarding organic generation in England and France between 1650 and 1750 before turning to a description of their influence in Germany in the second half of the eighteenth century. Once this background has been established, the remainder of Kant’s Organicism moves to (...)
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  2. Kant’s Four Examples: On South Sea Islanders, Tahitians, and Other Cautionary Tales for the Case of ‘Rusting Talents’.Jennifer Mensch - forthcoming - Goethe Yearbook:Volume 31, 2024.
    It is a remarkable thing to find oneself suddenly surprised by an author after having spent years analysing, interpreting, and teaching their works. And yet, that is precisely the experience of many Kant specialists in recent times, as greater attention than ever has been placed on Kant’s discussions of gender and race. Part of the disorientation for Kantians surely comes from the way in which these investigations—oriented as they are by questions of empire as opposed to say, metaphysics—are able to (...)
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  3. Kant and the Feeling of Life: Beauty and Nature in the Critique of Judgment.Jennifer Mensch (ed.) - forthcoming - Albany: SUNY Press, 2024.
    Immanuel Kant’s critical project is thought to have achieved its systematic completion in his third Critique, the Critique of Judgment. In this book Kant investigates two domains of experience: the aesthetic and the teleological. These experiences are analysed and discussed in two distinct parts of the work: one part is devoted to the beautiful and the sublime, the other is devoted to the natural world. Both parts have had powerful impacts on a variety of fields beyond philosophy proper: art theory, (...)
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  4. How Philosophers Have Influenced the Way You Think About Race.Jennifer Mensch & Michael J. Olson - 2023 - Futurumcareers.Com.
    Problematic perceptions about race damage our society. These attitudes can seem impossible to overcome, but philosophers Dr Jennifer Mensch, at Western Sydney University in Australia, and Dr Michael Olson, at Marquette University in the US, beg to differ. They are compiling a collection of 18th-century philosophical and scientific texts that helped shape the way people saw race across the Western world, and were used to justify colonisation. They believe that by exposing these historical roots of racism, opportunities to improve societal (...)
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  5. Kant's Organicism: A Précis and Response to Two Critics.Jennifer Mensch - 2014 - Critique: A Philosophical Review Bulletin 3:12-18.
    When I began to think about a book on Kant and the life sciences, the idea that Kant would ever have been influenced by the ideas coming out of this field seemed impossible to believe. In fact, I spent an entire Summer determined to prove that my thesis was wrong. The problem was, I kept finding evidence in support of it (fully one third of Kant’s Organicism is devoted to a glut of historical research filling up the endnotes, research stemming, (...)
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  6. Kant and the Skull Collectors: German Anthropology from Blumenbach to Kant.Jennifer Mensch - 2018 - In Corey Dyck & Falk Wunderlich (eds.), Kant and His German Contemporaries : Volume 1, Logic, Mind, Epistemology, Science and Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 192-210.
    This essay lays out the historical case for a broader assessment of Kant’s relationship to Blumenbach by focusing first on Kant’s review of Herder in 1785 as the best lens through which to understand not only their respective theories of generation but indeed the specific motivation leading to Kant’s support for Blumenbach at all. The results of this inquiry will suggest that while Kant might have been interested in gaining the support of the rising star of the Göttingen medical faculty, (...)
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  7. Caught Between Character and Race: 'Temperament' in Kant's Lectures on Anthropology.Jennifer Mensch - 2017 - Australian Feminist Law Journal 43 (1):125-144.
    Focusing on Immanuel Kant's lectures on anthropology, the essay endeavors to address long-standing concerns regarding both the relationship between these empirical investigations and Kant's better known universalism, and more pressingly, between Kant's own racism on display in the lectures, and his simultaneous promotion of a universal moral theory that would unhesitatingly condemn such attitudes. -/- Reprinted in: 'Philosophies of Difference: Nature, Racism, and Sexuate Difference' edited by R. Gustafsson, R. Hill, and H. Ngo (Routledge, 2019), pp. 125-144.
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  8. Intuition and Nature in Kant and Goethe.Jennifer Mensch - 2009 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (3):431-453.
    Abstract: This essay addresses three specific moments in the history of the role played by intuition in Kant's system. Part one develops Kant's attitude toward intuition in order to understand how ‘sensible intuition’ becomes the first step in his development of transcendental idealism and how this in turn requires him to reject the possibility of an ‘intellectual intuition’ for human cognition. Part two considers the role of Jacobi when it came to interpreting both Kant's epistemic achievement and what were taken (...)
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  9. The Poem as Plant: Archetype and Metamorphosis in Goethe and Schlegel.Jennifer Mensch - 2014 - International Yearbook for Hermeneutics 13:85-106.
    This essay focuses on the attention paid to Prometheus by Goethe and Schlegel. Prometheus serves as an archetypal figure for Goethe, in particular, and as such the Titan can be viewed as a figure whose various appearances represent genuine metamorphoses or transformations of the archetype in much the same manner that Goethe takes the archetypes of leaf or vertebrae to function in the plant and animal kingdoms. Schlegel’s treatment of Prometheus takes the organic analogy even further. In his fragmentary work (...)
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  10. From Crooked Wood to Moral Agent: Connecting Anthropology and Ethics in Kant.Jennifer Mensch - 2014 - Estudos Kantianos 2 (1):185-204.
    In this essay I lay out the textual materials surrounding the birth of physical anthropology as a racial science in the eighteenth century with a special focus on the development of Kant's own contributions to the new field. Kant’s contributions to natural history demonstrated his commitment to a physical, mental, and moral hierarchy among the races and I spend some time describing both the advantages he drew from this hierarchy for making sense of the social and political history of inequality (...)
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  11. Embodied Cognition in Berkeley and Kant: The Body's Own Space.Jennifer Mensch - 2019 - In Miranda Richardson, George Rousseau & Mike Wheeler (eds.), Distributed Cognition in Enlightenment and Romantic Culture. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press. pp. 74-94.
    Berkeley and Kant are known for having developed philosophical critiques of materialism, critiques leading them to propose instead an epistemology based on the coherence of our mental representations. For all that the two had in common, however, Kant was adamant in distinguishing his own " empirical realism " from the immaterialist consequences entailed by Berkeley's attack on abstract ideas. Kant focused his most explicit criticisms on Berkeley's account of space, and commentators have for the most part decided that Kant either (...)
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  12. Songs of Nature: From Philosophy of Language to Philosophical Anthropology in Herder and Humboldt.Jennifer Mensch - 2018 - International Yearbook for Hermeneutics 17:95-109.
    In this paper I trace the manner in which Herder’s philosophy of language grounds his approach to hermeneutical issues regarding history, interpretation, and translation. Herder’s approach to the question of language has been repeatedly lauded for its important influence on the later work done by Schleiermacher, Dilthey, and Gadamer, but in this discussion I am going to put him more directly in conversation with Wilhelm von Humboldt. Although recent critics have derided Humboldt’s theory as both derivative and wrong, I will (...)
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  13. From Anthropology to Rational Psychology in Kant's Lectures on Metaphysics.Jennifer Mensch - 2019 - In Courtney D. Fugate (ed.), Kant's Lectures on Metaphysics: A Critical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 194-213.
    In this essay I position Kant's "psychology" portion of the lectures on metaphysics against the backdrop of Kant's work to develop a new lecture course on anthropology during the 1770s. I argue that the development of this course caused significant trouble for Kant in three distinct ways, though in each case the difficulty would turn on Kant's approach to "empirical psychology." The first problem for Kant had to do with refashioning psychology such that empirical psychology could be reassigned to anthropology (...)
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  14. The Course of Human Development: 19th-century Comparative Linguistics from Schlegel to Schleicher.Jennifer Mensch - 2019 - International Yearbook for Hermeneutics 18 (1):140-154.
    The investigation that I am going to pursue here is part of a larger effort on my part to understand the relationship between Kant’s so-called “philosophical anthropology” and the development of early German anthropology since it is my sense that Kant had a determinate, if indirect, effect on the history of that separate field. For now this larger project has three main foci: an account of Kant’s philosophical anthropology in all its parts, an inquiry into Kant’s relationship to the theories (...)
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  15. Kant and the Problem of Form: Theories of Generation, Theories of Mind.Jennifer Mensch - 2014 - Estudos Kantianos 2 (2):241-264.
  16. Understanding affinity: Locke on generation and the task of classification.Jennifer Mensch - 2011 - Locke Studies 11:49-71.
    John Locke’s theory of classification is a subject that has long received scholarly attention. Little notice has been taken, however, of the problems that were posed for taxonomy by its inability to account for organic processes. Classification, designed originally as an exercise in logic, becomes complicated once it turns to organic life and the aims of taxonomy become entangled with processes of generation, variation, and inheritance. Locke’s experience with organisms—experience garnered through his work in botany and medicine—suggested to him both (...)
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  17.  98
    Organism in Kant.Jennifer Mensch - 2021 - In The Cambridge Kant Lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 320-322.
    Kant was well versed in many of the debates taking place in the life sciences during his day. One of the more central areas of contention concerned the proper means for discriminating between material bodies composed of organised parts (like clocks or automatons) and living material bodies composed of organised parts (like plants and animals). For many theorists, it seemed clear that the physically organised structure of a body was distinct from any vital forces responsible for the life processes or (...)
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  18.  94
    Generation in Kant.Jennifer Mensch - 2021 - In The Cambridge Kant Lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 197-199.
    There is a collection of words being used by Kant when it comes to his discussion of the various processes associated with the English word “generation.” The closest German word, Erzeugung, can be used either generically—to form an idea, to create an effect or event—or as part of a scientific theory. Kant used Erzeugung in both senses repeatedly across his corpus and referred from his earliest works to scientific theories regarding cosmological formation, the generation of earthquakes and volcanoes, and the (...)
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  19.  79
    Epigenesis in Kant.Jennifer Mensch - 2021 - In The Cambridge Kant Lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 173-174.
    Kant’s use of epigenesis differed according to the context within his remarks were made and can be seen to be falling within three main types of consideration. The first of these considered epigenesis as a theory of biological generation. A second group of related uses of the term epigenesis consider whether the biological account impacts discussions of the transference of soul from parent to child. The third type of consideration stems from Kant’s efforts, primarily in the 1770s, to use epigenesis (...)
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  20.  74
    Morality and Politics in Kant's Philosophy of History.Jennifer Mensch - 2005 - In Anindita Balslev (ed.), Toward Greater Human Solidarity: Options for a Plural World. Kolkata: Dasgupta & Co.. pp. 69-85.
    This paper takes up the possibilities for thinking about human solidarity that can be found in Immanuel Kant’s writings on history. One way of approaching Kant’s philosophy of history is to focus on what would seem to be an antinomy in Kant’s account between the role of nature and the demands of freedom. Whereas nature, according to Kant, ruthlessly drives us into a state of perpetual war until finally, exhausted and bankrupt, we are forced into an international treaty for peace, (...)
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  21.  69
    What's Wrong with Inevitable Progress? Notes on Kant's Anthropology Today.Jennifer Mensch - 2017 - Cogent Arts and Humanities 4 (1).
    My discussion in this essay begins with a short rehearsal of Kant’s approach to anthropology and history in order to provide the framework for my subsequent focus on the political commentary that has surrounded the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement presents the most recent political challenge to white America’s belief in the inevitability of progress and I am interested in the light that might be shed on this challenge when viewed through the lens of Enlightenment conceptions of not just (...)
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  22. The key to all metaphysics: Kant's letter to Herz, 1772.Jennifer Mensch - 2007 - Kantian Review 12 (2):109-127.
    Kant's 1772 letter to Markus Herz is celebrated for its marking the ‘Critical turn’ in Kant's thought, a turn that would move Kant away from the speculative metaphysics of the 1750s towards the Critical philosophy of 1781. It is here, seemingly for the first time, that Kant asks the question concerning the relationship between concepts and objects, telling his former pupil that the answer to this question ‘constitutes the key to the whole secret of hitherto still obscure metaphysics.’ For anyone (...)
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  23. Kant and the Problem of Idealism: On the Significance of the Göttingen Review.Jennifer Mensch - 2006 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):297-317.
    This essay examines the impact of the Göttingen review on Kant. Taking up each of the charges laid down in this first, critical review ofthe Critique of Pure Reason, I will argue that these criticisms stem largely from Kant’s account in his discussion of the Paralogisms, before going on to defend Kant from the claim that he altered his stance on realism—in reaction to the review—as the only hope for distinguishing transcendental idealism from the immaterialism of George Berkeley.
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  24. Kant on Truth.Jennifer Mensch - 2004 - Idealistic Studies 34 (2):163-172.
    This essay discusses Kant’s account of truth, arguing that he offers us a weak coherence theory: weak for his insistence on an independent, sensuous content for intuition, coherentist for the transcendental apparatus supporting experience. While Kant is free to use the language of correspondence within experience, “empirical truth” will always be limited by the formative requirements set by “transcendental truth.” The difficulty, for Kant, is the role played by sensuous content since the sameness of this content in intersubjective experience seems (...)
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  25. Seeds of divinity: from metaphysics to enlightenment in Ficino and Kant.Jennifer Mensch - 2019 - Intellectual History Review 29 (1):183-198.
    This essay traces the central role played by the notion of seeds and germs for understanding the complex metaphysics at work in both Ficino's reinterpretation of Greek philosophy for a Humanist audience, and in Kant's own efforts to describe the moral shaping of humankind that he took to be the heart of the Enlightenment project.
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  26. Between Sense and Thought.Jennifer Mensch - 2005 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 10 (1):81-93.
    Focusing on the account of synthesis in Kant’s Transcendental Deduction allows us to see a greater degree of compatibility between the two editions of theCritique of Pure Reason than is sometimes thought. The first Deduction shows that while it emphasizes an account of empirical synthesis it also includes a more properly transcendental account of the synthetic unity required for cognition. The second edition simply focuses on this feature of synthesis to the exclusion of the empirical. The result: a complete account (...)
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  27. Neither Ghost Nor Machine.Jennifer Mensch - 2017 - Philosophy Today 61 (3):811-814.
    Kant’s longstanding interests in science have been well-documented. There are numerous studies devoted to Kant’s early work on cosmology in his Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (1755), and of course also to his interests in physics and his work on forces (1747), axial rotation (1754), the ages of the earth (1754), fire (1755), earthquakes (1756), winds (1757), and even to his discussion of volcanoes on the moon (1785). It is well-known, moreover, that part of Kant’s work in (...)
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  28. Genealogy and Critique in Kant’s Organic History of Reason.Jennifer Mensch - 2015 - Con-Textos Kantianos 1:178-196.
    Although scholarly attention has been mostly paid to the many connections existing between Kant and the exact sciences, the landscape of Kant studies has begun to noticeably change during the last decade, with many new pieces devoted to a consideration of Kant’s relation to the life sciences of his day. It is in this vein, for example, that investigators have begun to discuss the importance of Kant’s essays on race for the development of Anthropology as an emerging field. The bulk (...)
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  29. Material Unity and Natural Organism in Locke.Jennifer Mensch - 2010 - Idealistic Studies 40 (1-2):147-162.
    This paper examines one of the central complaints regarding Locke’s Essay, namely, its supposed incoherence. The question is whether Locke can successfully maintain a materialistic conception of matter, while advancing a theory of knowledge that will constrain the possibilities for a cognitive accessto matter from the start. In approaching this question I concentrate on Locke’s account of unity. While material unity can be described in relation to Locke’s account of substance, real essence, and nominal essence, a separate discussion will be (...)
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  30.  11
    College of Fellows Roundtable Transcript.Dennis Schmidt, Chris Fleming, Diego Bubbio, Anthony Uhlmann & Jennifer Mensch - 2020 - Journal of Continental Philosophy 1 (1):117-185.
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  31. Dilek Huseyinzadegan, Kant's Nonideal Theory of Politics (Northwestern University Press, 2019). [REVIEW]Jennifer Mensch - 2021 - SGIR Review 4 (1-2):127-132.
    In Dilek Huseyinzadegan’s analysis of Kant’s ‘impure’ politics what we have is a startling, innovative, and ultimately convincing portrait of Kant’s systematic attention to the material conditions underlying the everyday world of political subjects. Much as theorists have sought to enrich scholarly discussions of Kant’s moral philosophy by way of attention to Kant’s ‘practical anthropology’—the empirical counterpart to an a priori formal account of morals—in this book Huseyinzadegan provides us with a parallel look at Kant’s ‘political anthropology.’ By paying close (...)
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  32. Ben Hewitt, Byron, Shelley, and Goethe’s Faust. An Epic Connection (London: Legenda, 2015), and Wayne Deakin, Hegel and the English Romantic Tradition (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). [REVIEW]Jennifer Mensch - 2016 - Keats-Shelly Journal 65:168-171.
    In Byron, Shelley, and Goethe’s Faust, author Ben Hewitt has provided us with a carefully done and convincing study. Given this, it would have been interesting to see Hewitt’s effort to integrate Mary Shelley’s work into his narrative. Apart from any similarities between Faust and Frankenstein, it bears remembering that Goethe himself remained unconvinced by efforts to clearly demarcate works as “tragic” or “epic”; a fact that becomes especially clear in the number of works he’d devoted to rewriting the story (...)
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  33.  66
    Charlton Payne and Lucas Thorpe, eds., Kant and the Concept of Community, North American Kant Society Studies in Philosophy, vol. 9 (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2011). [REVIEW]Jennifer Mensch - 2013 - Goethe Yearbook 20:273-275.
    Kant and the Concept of Community, edited by Charlton Payne and Lucas Thorpe, gathers together some of the best known figures in contemporary Kant scholarship. This fine collection traces Kant’s concept of community from its Precritical roots to its role in The Critique of Pure Reason, before going on to investigate the subsequent transformations it would undergo in Kant’s later works on ethics, religion, history, politics, and aesthetics. With very few exceptions, all of the essays in this collection are interesting (...)
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  34.  81
    Ina Goy and Eric Watkins, eds. Kant’s Theory of Biology (De Gruyter, 2014). [REVIEW]Jennifer Mensch - 2015 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 5 (2):367-370.
    This edited collection began as an international symposium on Kant and biology held at the University of Tübingen in 2010 and the now-published volume offers us new ways of thinking about Kant’s theory of biology with respect to not only his own work but to contemporary discussions regarding biological function and form. With a consistently high level of scholarship and a set of internationally renowned contributors, Kant’s Theory of Biology thus offers us an important contribution to the field’s rapidly growing (...)
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  35.  81
    Review of Paul Guyer, Kant's System of Nature and Freedom, Selected Essays[REVIEW]Jennifer Mensch - 2006 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2006 (7).
    The thirteen essays collected by Paul Guyer for Kant’s System of Nature and Freedom represent, with three exceptions dating from the early 1990’s, pieces either written or presented by Guyer since the year 2000. The one wholly new piece added to the collection nicely confirms an increasing sense throughout the volume of Guyer’s ultimate interest in Kant’s questions concerning right, morality, and our relationships and obligations towards nature and mankind. More than simply offering a reconstruction of Kant’s understanding of the (...)
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