Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (1):5-27 (2003)
|Abstract||This paper considers Kant's conception of force and causality in his early pre-Critical writings, arguing that this conception is best understood by way of contrast with his immediate predecessors, such as Christian Wolff, Alexander Baumgarten, Georg Friedrich Meier, Martin Knutzen, and Christian August Crusius, and in terms of the scientific context of natural philosophy at the time. Accordingly, in the True estimation Kant conceives of force in terms of activity rather than in terms of specific effects, such as motion (as unnamed Wolffians had done). Kant's explicit arguments in the Nova dilucidatio for physical influx (in the guise of the principle of succession) are directed primarily against the conception of grounds and existence held by Wolff, Baumgarten, and Meier, and only secondarily against Leibniz (by asserting the priority of bodies over mind rather than vice versa). Finally, Kant's reconciliation of the infinite divisibility of space and the unity of monads in the Physical monadology is designed to respond to objections that could be raised naturally by Wolff and Baumgarten.|
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