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Nabeel Hamid

My research focuses on the history of modern German philosophy (from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries). My dissertation, Being and the Good: Natural Teleology in Early Modern German Philosophy, studies three attempts in Enlightenment Germany to account for purpose and order in a mechanistic worldview: those of Leibniz, Wolff, and Kant. I frame these attempts by showing how the reception of the Scientific Revolution in Germany was conditioned by the metaphysics of Protestant scholasticism. I argue that Leibniz, Wolff, and Kant inherit from neo-scholasticism the assumptions that 1) whatever exists by nature manifests goodness in some measure; and 2) that goal-directed processes require a capacity for intelligence. With that background, I show how, between Leibniz and Kant, the concept of natural ends shifts from being a metaphysical to an epistemological principle rooted in human subjectivity, and yet indispensable for the study of nature.

I also have an active research project in post-Kantian German philosophy, centered around topics in the philosophy of mind and epistemology in figures such as Fichte, Helmholtz, and Dilthey. I am especially interested in Wilhelm Dilthey's philosophical psychology and philosophy of history as developments of Kantian themes. 

I have further research interests in the Islamic intellectual tradition. I am interested particularly in theories of causation (Aristotelian and anti-Aristotelian) in the classical period, in figures such as ibn Sina, ibn Rushd, al-Ashari, and al-Ghazali. I am also interested in understanding the shifts in perceptions of Islam in early modern Europe, and the subsequent reconstructions of Islamic identities in response to European modernity. 

Research Interests

Early Modern Philosophy


19th-century Philosophy

History and Philosophy of Science

Islamic Philosophy

Selected Publications

2015. "Hume's (Berkeleyan) Language of Representation." Hume Studies, 41 (2):171-200. 

2016. "Dilthey on the Unity of Science." British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 24 (4):635-656.

(forthcoming). "Kant's Antinomy of Teleology: In Defense of a Traditional Interpretation." In Proceedings of the 12th International Kant Congress, edited by Violetta Waibel and Margit Ruffing.