Kant's Theory of Scientific Hypotheses in its Historical Context

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 92:12-19 (2022)
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This paper analyzes the historical context and systematic importance of Kant's hypothetical use of reason. It does so by investigating the role of hypotheses in Kant's philosophy of science. We first situate Kant’s account of hypotheses in the context of eighteenth-century German philosophy of science, focusing on the works of Wolff, Meier, and Crusius. We contrast different conceptions of hypotheses of these authors and elucidate the different theories of probability informing them. We then adopt a more systematic perspective to discuss Kant's idea that scientific hypotheses must articulate real possibilities. We argue that Kant's views on the intelligibility of scientific hypotheses constitute a valuable perspective on scientific understanding and the constraints it imposes on scientific rationality.

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Author Profiles

Hein Van Den Berg
University of Amsterdam
Boris Demarest
University of Amsterdam

Citations of this work

The Roles of Kant’s Doctrines of Method.Gabriele Gava & Andrew Chignell - 2023 - Journal of Transcendental Philosophy 4 (2):73-79.

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References found in this work

Explanation and scientific understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
Theoretical virtues in eighteenth-century debates on animal cognition.Hein van den Berg - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (3):1-35.
Christian Wolff and Experimental Philosophy.Alberto Vanzo - 2015 - In Daniel Garber & Donald Rutherford (eds.), Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. vol. 7, 225-255.

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