Chapter

Kant's Metaphysic of Nature

J. N. Findlay

in Kant and the Transcendental Object

Published in print August 1981 | ISBN: 9780198246381
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680960 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198246381.003.0008
Kant's Metaphysic of Nature

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This chapter deals with a very perplexing stratum of Kant's teaching: his philosophy of the natural world and our knowledge of it. There are works, for example, in Anthropology, in which Kant treats of natural phenomena in a wholly unproblematic manner: he applies his a priori categories and principles to empirical data, and takes no step whatever in the direction of the Transcendental Object, the Noumenon, or the Thing-in-itself. But there are other works, such as the The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, and his fragmentary last work in the Transition from Critical Philosophy to Physics, in which a distinction is drawn between secondary phenomena, or phenomena of phenomena – which are merely the coloured, sounding, tangible, odorous phenomena of the outer world, together with the sensible, cogitative, desiderative, and affective phenomena of our inner life – and primary phenomena, which represent a deeper phenomenal layer, full of mysterious moving forces which operate in space and time stripped of sense qualities and feeling qualities, and which in some manner come closer to the underling structures of Things-in-themselves, and of the transcendental thinking subject, than do the piebald phenomena of ordinary experience.

Keywords: natural world; natural phenomena; a priori; Things-in-themselves

Chapter.  16314 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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