Matter and Motion in the Metaphysical Foundations and the First Critique

Michael Friedman

in Kant and the Sciences

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780195133059
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786169 | DOI:
 Matter and Motion in the Metaphysical Foundations and the First Critique

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This paper focuses on the relationship between the general metaphysics of the Critique of Pure Reason and the special metaphysics of the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science. Kant claims that what distinguishes the latter from the former is that the latter presupposes an empirical concept, namely the concept of matter, whereas the former does not. It is argued that the concept of matter is empirical not in any ordinary sense, but in the sense that it requires actual perceptible objects to be given. Only the system of contingently given, empirical objects of the solar system as described by Newtonian physics, satisfies this requirement. This interpretation suggests that “experience”, whose possibility Kant is exploring in the first Critique, is exclusively “scientific experience”, and that the task of theoretical philosophy thus lies primarily in understanding the conceptual presuppositions of scientific experience.

Keywords: Kant; empiricism; Critique of Pure Reason; Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science; metaphysics; physics; Newton; scientific experience

Chapter.  8243 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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