Kantian themes in contemporary philosophy

[Michael Friedman] This paper considers the extent to which Kant's vision of a distinctively 'transcendental' task for philosophy is essentially tied to his views on the foundations of the mathematical and physical sciences. Contemporary philosophers with broadly Kantian sympathies have attempted to reinterpret his project so as to isolate a more general philosophical core not so closely tied to the details of now outmoded mathematical-physical theories (Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics). I consider two such attempts, those of Strawson and McDowell, and argue that they fundamentally distort the original Kantian impulse. I then consider Buchdahl's attempt to preserve the link between Kantian philosophy and the sciences while simultaneously generalizing Kant's doctrines in light of later scientific developments. I argue that Buchdahl's view, while not adequate as in interpretation of Kant in his own eighteenth century context, is nonetheless suggestive of an historicized and relativized revision of Kantianism that can do justice to both Kant's original philosophical impulse and the radical changes in the sciences that have occurred since Kant's day. ***********[Graham Bird] Michael Friedman criticises some recent accounts of Kant which 'detach' his transcendental principles from the sciences, and do so in order to evade naturalism. I argue that Friedman's rejection of that 'detachment' is ambiguous. In its strong form, which I claim Kant rejects, the principles of Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics are represented as transcendental principles. In its weak form, which I believe Kant accepts, it treats those latter principles as higher order conditions of the possibility of both science and ordinary experience. I argue also that the appeal to naturalism is unhelpful because that doctrine is seriously unclear, and because the accounts Friedman criticises are open to objections independent of any appeal to naturalism.
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DOI 10.1111/1467-8349.00038
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Replies to My Critics.Graham Bird - 2011 - Kantian Review 16 (2):257-282.

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