Chapter

Organisms and the Unity of Science

Paul Guyer

in Kant and the Sciences

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780195133059
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786169 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195133056.003.0013
 Organisms and the Unity of Science

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This paper considers Kant’s understanding of organisms by undertaking a developmental approach to the issue. It presents three different arguments Kant posits in the third Critique regarding the kind of explanation organisms require, and then considers how Kant ultimately seems to find these arguments wanting in the Opus postumum. Due to Kant’s sustained reflections on how to incorporate teleological explanations of organisms into his natural philosophy toward the end of his career, it is argued that it is ultimately our awareness of the freedom of our own purposiveness that leads us to understand organisms in terms of purposes, which causes a fundamental split between the teleological and mechanical views of nature. In this way, Kant can establish an important link between his theoretical and practical philosophy.

Keywords: Kant; Opus postumum; organisms; unity of science; purposiveness; teleology; freedom

Chapter.  11908 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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