Kant's Theory of Matter and His Views on Chemistry

Martin Carrier

in Kant and the Sciences

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780195133059
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786169 | DOI:
 Kant's Theory of Matter and His Views on Chemistry

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This paper analyzes Kant’s notorious claim that psychology cannot become a science “properly so-called”. Contrary to widespread opinion, he does not hold any of the following three implausible views: (i) psychological phenomena cannot be mathematized, (ii) they cannot be explained in by reference to mathematical causal laws, and (iii) they cannot be dealt with in causal terms at all. Instead of claiming something about psychological phenomena, Kant argues against a specific conception of psychology: the then popular introspective psychologies. Only this reading explains why he is also concerned with the possibility of psychological experiments, and it does justice to how he himself treats phenomena of thinking, willing, and so on.

Keywords: Kant; psychology; mathematics; non-causal; introspection; psychological experiment; thinking; willing; causal laws

Chapter.  12300 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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