Kant on Science and Experience

Michael Friedman

in Early Modern Philosophy

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780195177602
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835553 | DOI:
 Kant on Science and Experience

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This chapter argues that since Kant's model of properly scientific knowledge is the Newtonian theory of universal gravitation, Kant's view of science is not predicated on a sharp distinction between the “scientific image” and the “manifest image” of the world such as that familiar today. For Kant, the scientific image is simply a more precise and determinate version of the manifest image, and our contemporary opposition between scientific and ordinary experience — based, as it is, on a fundamental divergence between these two images — appears as entirely anachronistic and misplaced. For this reason, Kant's own examples of objects of experience — heavy bodies, houses, ships, freezing water, the earth, the moon, and the heavenly bodies, water rising due to capillarity, a stone being warmed by illumination of the sun, and so on — constitute what looks to us like a quite indiscriminate mix of “ordinary” and “scientific” cases.

Keywords: Kant; Newtonian theory of universal gravitation; science; Metaphysical Foundations; scientific knowledge; objects of experience

Chapter.  8076 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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