The metaphysical expositions of space and time

Synthese 113 (1):71-115 (1997)
Abstract
The direct proof of transcendental idealism, in the Transcendental Aesthetic of Kant's First Critique, has borne the brunt of enormous criticism. Much of this criticism has arisen from a confusion regarding the epistemological nature of the arguments Kant proposes with the alleged ontological conclusions he draws. In this paper I attempt to deflect this species of criticism. I concentrate my analysis on the Metaphysical Expositions of Space and Time. I argue that the argument form of the Metaphysical Expositions is that of disjunctive syllogism and that Kant's primary target of attack is that of Leibnizian relativism. I provide a detailed analysis and reconstruction of the arguments of the Metaphysical Expositions, defending Kant against various claims of argumentative invalidity and incoherence. I conclude by identifying what can properly be inferred regarding the ontological nature of space and time, given my reconstructions of the arguments, and by suggesting the manner in which Kant can deflect objections from the other major proponent of transcendental realism, namely, Newtonian absolutism.
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