EVENT: The Harmony of the Sphere. Kant and Herschel on the Universe and the Astronomical Phenomena

The Harmony of the Sphere: Kant and Herschel on the Universe and the Astronomical Phenomena

International Workshop
20 May 2011
University College London
Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre

Attendance is free, but registration is required. Registration is now open.
To register please contact Silvia De Bianchi: s.bianchi@ucl.ac.uk

For further details, see event website:

Sponsored by Department of Science and Technology Studies – UCL,
Department of Philosophical Studies – ‘Sapienza’ University of Rome, The
William Herschel Society, Kant Studies Online, The British Society for the
History of Philosophy


The workshop encourages the integration of history and philosophy of science, by highlighting Kant’s and Herschel’s cosmology from different perspectives. Kant’s view of the universe is grounded on philosophical principles, whereas Herschel’s view is informed not only by observations, but also by his activity as a composer. Despite of their different
approaches, Kant and Herschel shared a common background of experimental sciences and some of their astronomical results converged. In fact, in 1791 the German translation of Herschel’s “On the Constitution of the Universe” (1785) was published with an appendix: it was Kant’s “Universal Natural History and Theory of Heavens”. The workshop also investigates the impact of Herschel’s discoveries on Kant’s works, and on the public in
Germany and Britain in 1790s.

– – Programme – –

9:00 – 9:45 Registration and Reception

9:45 – 11:00 Michael Hoskin (St Edmund’s College, Cambridge)
Nebulae, Star Clusters and the Milky Way: From Galileo to William Herschel

11: 00- 11:30 Coffee Break

11:30-13:15 Michael Rowan-Robinson (Imperial College London)
Kant and Herschel: the Interaction of Theory and Observation


14:15 – 15:30 Brigitte Falkenburg (TU Dortmund)
Kant’s Departure from his early Cosmology

15:30 -16:00 Coffee Break

Parallel sessions A/B

Session A

16:00-17:15 Gary Mathlin (University of Bath)
Herschel’s Astronomy

Session B — PhD Panel Session
South Wing Garwood LT

Jonathan Everett (UCL)
The Influence of Newton on Kant

Hsiang-Fu Huang (UCL)
Cradle of Grand Amateur: Public Astronomical Lectures in Eighteenth
Century Britain

17:15- 17:30 Coffee Break

17:30-18:45 Gary Banham (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Kantian Cosmology

18:45 Conclusion

Concert and drinks

Dr. Chiara Ambrosio
Teaching Fellow in Philosophy of Science
Department of Science and Technology Studies
University College London

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