Thomas Mertens, born in Teteringen, the Netherlands, in 1955. Ph.D. from the Radboud University, Nijmegen. Associate Professor of Philosophy of Law at the Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Fellow (1 September 1995 – 30 June 1996)
During my ten-month stay at NIAS I devoted most of my time to the translation of Immanuel Kant’s first and most important ethical writing: Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten. In this work Kant develops for the first time his concepts of the good will, moral duty, the hypothetical and categorical imperative, autonomy and freedom, as well as his so-called deduction, that is: his proof of the correctness of his analysis of morality.
The translation completed with footnotes and an introduction will appear in the fall of 1996 or early spring 1997 at Boom, Meppel/Amsterdam. Since it is the intention of the editor to have this translation as the beginning of a Dutch edition of some of Kant’s works, much attention will be paid to the way in which this translation of the Grundlegung will be received. In a way this edition will break with a rather influential tradition in the Netherlands, in which the scholarly specialists only write the introduction to the classic text, leaving the translation to be done by professional translators.
During my stay I also completed one major and one minor article. The major article “Cosmopolitanism and citizenship: Kant against Habermas” will appear in the European Journal of Philosophy (1996) and concerns a detailed account of the contrasts between Kant’s state-based conception of cosmopolitan institutions and Habermas’s conception of constitutional patriotism and its implications for the dissolution of state boundaries, hence of states. In addition I devoted reflection and reading to lectures and articles in the near future.
My stay at NIAS has been very fruitful in terms of thinking and dialogue. It is my impression that this stay will prove to be important in the development of my intellectual, scholarly identity.