Maya Krishnan

Maya Krishnan
Assistant Professor
Stuart Hall, Room
Office Hours: Autumn Quarter:
Oxford University, DPhil (2023) and BPhil (2019); Stanford University, BA (2015)
Teaching at UChicago since 2024
Research Interests: German Idealism, Kant, Theology, Contemporary Ethics and Epistemology

Maya Krishnan works on Kant and German Idealism. Her scholarly work focuses on Kant’s and Hegel’s theology and examines how their theological views can inform our understanding of their overall philosophical systems. One of her projects in this area concerns how Kant’s theories of the divine intellect and the divine will relate to Kant’s broader accounts of cognition and volition. Her contemporary work defends views inspired by German Idealist thinkers within current debates in ethics and epistemology. Her projects in this area deal with intelligibility and autonomy. She also combines her scholarly and contemporary interests by investigating the afterlife of theological ideas within secular philosophical debates on knowledge and freedom.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications:

“Kant’s Critical Theory of the Best Possible World”, Kantian Review (2020)


Recent Courses

PHIL 22602 The Fate of Autonomy

The autonomous life: proponents of this ideal portray it as central to living well, while detractors consider it one of modernity’s more dangerous delusions. But what is autonomy, and why is it capable of inspiring such controversy? This class considers the twists and turns of autonomy’s fate within and beyond the German Idealist tradition. We will start by considering autonomy and freedom in the work of Kant and Hegel, as well as more contemporary philosophers such as Korsgaard who are in dialogue with them. We will then consider how their theories of autonomy are complicated and expanded by Douglass and Fanon, before moving on to autonomy’s contemporary critics from ‘postmodern’ and communitarian and religious perspectives. Themes examined will include putative links between autonomy and authenticity, between autonomy and secularity, and between autonomy and individualism. This course takes its title from Karl Ameriks’ Kant and the Fate of Autonomy. (A)

2024-2025 Winter

PHIL 53422 Kant’s Theology

Although Kant wrote on theology throughout his philosophical career, contemporary scholarship often sidelines this dimension of Kant’s thinking. This seminar will focus on Kant’s theological work, with the dual aim of understanding Kant’s theological views and assessing how or whether a theological perspective affects one’s interpretation of core features of the Critical philosophy. Potential topics include Kant’s account of the divine mind and the divine will, the account of the most real being (ens realissimum) in the first Critique’s Dialectic, the criticisms of the traditional proofs of the existence of God, the role of God within Kant’s “moral metaphysics”, Kant’s relationship to Baumgarten and Wolff, Pietist themes within Kant’s theology, and connections with post-Kantian Idealist views on both intellectual intuition and theology as such. (IV)

2024-2025 Winter

PHIL 24804 Foucault

At the time of Michel Foucault’s death in 1984, both his fame and his capacity to inspire controversy were at their height. Foucault’s views on power, knowledge, and genealogy were widely influential during his lifetime. Thirty years after Foucault’s death, interest in Foucault is once more on the rise. The purpose of this class is to provide a philosophical introduction to Foucault’s ideas. Topics to be discussed include madness and social construction, the historical preconditions of knowledge, genealogical critique, reform’s perilous potential, and the “technologies of the self”. Particular attention will be given throughout to how Foucault engages with Kant, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. We will end by examining Foucault’s reception in the work of Judith Butler, as well as contemporary criticisms of Foucault. (A)

2024-2025 Autumn