Chapter

Kant's Extension of Humean Skepticism to Mathematics

Wayne Waxman

in Kant and the Empiricists

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780195177398
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786176 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195177398.003.0003
 Kant's Extension of Humean Skepticism to Mathematics

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This chapter examines Kant’s belief that Hume’s premises, if strictly adhered to and pursued to their farthest implications, would have led him to abandon empirical psychologism in favor of Kant’s own transcendental philosophy. It is argued that that the same reasoning Hume used to show causal necessity is grounded not on the constitution of perceived objects — sensations, reflexions, and their images in thought — but on the psychological constitutions of the mind in considering them, and applies with equal force to the necessity of mathematical relations, and thus has the same skeptical implication. Two objections likely to arise from the claim that Kant’s transcendental philosophy must be understood as a psychologism modeled upon Hume are addressed.

Keywords: Immanuel Kant; David Hume; mathematics; empiricism; skepticism; metaphysics; transcendental philosophy; psychologism

Chapter.  17646 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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