Unlocking the second antinomy: Kant and Wolff

Journal of the History of Philosophy 36 (3):413-441 (1998)
Abstract
Unlocking the Second Antinomy: Kant and Wolff MICHAEL RADNER But how in this business can metaphysics be reconciled with geometry, when it seems easier to mate griffins with horses than to unite transcendental philosophy with geometry?' Kant, x756 THE SECOND ANTINOMY, treating the proof and refutation of bodies as composed of simple substances, is one of the more puzzling sections of the Critique of Pure Reason. The thesis argument especially baffles commentators. Edward Caird in t 889 said: "Kant's statement of this argument is very obscure."Among commen- tators of our era, T. E. Wilkerson complains: "This argument is very muddy." Jonathan Bennett remarks: "The text, however, is not clear enough for us to be sure exactly what Kant is relying on in his argument for the Thesis. "~ Nor have commentators spared the antithesis argument. No one, to my knowledge, has interpreted the text so that the thesis and antithesis arguments come out valid and constitute a genuine antinomy. Yet Kant stated on more than one occasion that all the antinomy arguments are valid. The proofs "are not deceptions, but are well-founded, under the supposition that appearances or a sensible world which comprehends them all are things in themselves" .3 In the Prolego- "Physical Monadology," in Kant's Latin Writings: Translations, Commentaries, and Notes, trans. and ed. Lewis White Beck, Mary J. Gregor, Roll Meerbote and John A. Reuscher , ll6; Ak..
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