17th/18th Century Philosophy > 17th/18th Century German Philosophy > Immanuel Kant > Kant: Metaphysics and Epistemology > Kant: Metaphysics > Kant: ModalitySee also KantPapers
Edited by Jessica Leech (University of Sheffield)
|Summary||There are at least four primary areas of concern when we consider Kant’s views on modality, i.e. his views concerning possibility, actuality, and necessity. First, modality is one of the four main sections of the table of judgments in the Critique of Pure Reason (A70/B95), under which problematic, assertoric and apodictic forms fall. Hence, we may ask what these modal forms of judgment are, and what Kant intended their role to be in his wider system. Second, modality is accordingly also one of the four main sections of the table of categories (A80/B106), under which the concepts of possibility-impossibility, existence-non-existence, and necessity-contingency fall. These categories and the principles arising are then discussed in the section of the Analytic of Principles entitled The Postulates of Empirical Thinking in General, where we find a principle each for possibility, actuality and necessity. Hence, we may ask ourselves what the contents of these modal categories and principles are, and again how they contribute to Kant’s system. Third, Kant makes an important distinction between real and logical modality. It is of interest, not only what the content of this distinction is, and how Kant applies it in his work, but also how this brings out a contrast between Kant and his predecessors. In broad terms, the rationalists took logical modality to determine what must, can, and can’t exist, whereas for Kant only real modality concerns being. Finally, modal concepts suffuse Kant’s work, for example, in his notion of a transcendental condition as a necessary condition of possible experience, and in his discussions of arguments for the existence of a necessary being. Given the centrality of modality to the wider context of Kant’s philosophy, it is all the more important to gain a clear view of his specific understanding of the modal concepts. Does work on Kant on existence belong in the category of “Kant and modality”? On the one hand, existence is one of the modal categories. On the other, this topic far outruns work on Kant’s on possibility and necessity. As such, including all work on Kant on existence would risk swamping this category. In general, where papers have been proposed as additions, they are accepted, but papers on Kant on existence have not been sought out to be included.|
|Key works||The modal forms of judgment are primarily discussed in the Critique of Pure Reason (Kant 1998) and the Jaesche Logik (in Kant 1992). The modal categories and principles arising from them are primarily discussed in the Critique of Pure Reason, particularly in the section “The postulates of empirical thinking in general” (A218-235/B265-287). There is also an interesting discussion of the role of modal concepts in sections 76-77 of the Critique of the Power of Judgment, 5:401-410 (Kant 2000). The distinction between real and logical modality appears in the Critique of Pure Reason. Kant’s pre-critical essay “The one possible basis for a demonstration of the existence of God” (the “Beweisgrund”) is also a valuable source (in Kant 1992). The Critique of Pure Reason is a central example of how modal concepts permeate Kant’s work. One can also find helpful and interesting remarks on modality throughout Kant’s Lectures on Metaphysics (Kant 1997).|
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