Paul Tulipana

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I'm currently a Postdoc in the History of Philosophy in the Philosophy Department at UCLA. I did my PhD 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 ethics, and in questions having to do with the self.

My dissertation is a monograph-length treatment of Kant's anti-skeptical aspirations, method, and metaphysics in the Critique of Practical Reason. I am also working on a new interpretation of the Transcendental Deduction in the Critique of Pure Reason with Dustin King. The first paper-length expressions of these larger projects are, respectively, a treatment of Kant's account of personal identity (complete) and an essay on skepticism and the Deduction's argument (in progress, with King). A paper about the Fact of Reason is just cresting the horizon.

You can contact me through Academia or by email .


Kant on personal identity and moral obligation

In this essay, I offer a new interpretation of Kant's theory of personal identity. According to Kant, I claim, human agents are, in their awareness of moral obligation, also aware of themselves as free and responsible creatures with careers involving moral vocations to be pursued over time, and therefore as cross-temporally identical persons.

Download a draft of this essay here.


Kant's Practical Philosophy

In 1781 Kant published the Critique of Pure Reason, probably the most important and influential book of philosophy of the modern period. The central idea of the first critique was that human knowledge is best understood in light of the fact that humans are legislators, issuers of laws. Kant argues there that the most basic features of the world of our experience derive from laws we issue to nature. The companion idea on the side of the practical philosophy is that human agency is best understood in light of the fact that humans issue laws to themselves. Kant's practical theory centers on the idea of autonomy—free, principled, rational self-governance. In this course, we'll consider his prolonged attempt in the 1780s and 90s to work this novel and powerful idea out. The resulting view of human practical life continues to exert a profound influence today.

I last taught this course in the in the Fall of 2017. Here's the most recent syllabus.

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason

In the Preface to the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant writes that his new "critical" approach to philosophy promises to end the disputes, once and for all, that have characterized metaphysical discourse since its beginnings. He will accomplish this feat by carving out a "middle path", avoiding both traditional forms of rationalist overreaching and the familiar form of skepticism born of empiricist underachievement. As advertised, the Critique offers powerful arguments against the (Leibnizian-Wolffian) rationalist tradition while simultaneously defending the need for an a priori science of metaphysics against the empiricism advocated by various British and French philosophers.

Kant's middle way depends on the thought that humans are legislators, issuers of laws: in the Critique, Kant argues that the most basic features of the world of our experience derive from laws we issue to nature. In this course, we grapple with his attempt to think this idea through. The result is a novel and powerful philosophical picture that continues to exert profound influence on the philosophical landscape of today.

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

Early Modern Ethics

During the early modern period—roughly the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—established conceptions of morality as obedience to external authority came increasingly to be contested by and ultimately gave way to newly-emerging conceptions of morality as self-governance. The latter conceptions of morality and their coordinate conception of ourselves as moral agents is still influential in much of current moral thought. In this course, we investigate the circumstances under which we came to this distinctly modern way of thinking about morality and about ourselves.

I last taught this course in the Winter of 2018. Here's the most recent syllabus.


Again, you can find me at Academia or email me .