Review essay: The importance of the history of science for philosophy in general [Book Review]

Synthese 106 (1):113 - 138 (1996)
Essay review of Daniel Garber, 1992, Descartes' Metaphysical Physics, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, xiv + 389 pp., and Michael Friedman,: 1992, Kant and the Exact Sciences, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, xvii + 357 pp. These two books display the historical connection between science and philosophy in the writings of Descartes and Kant. They show the place of science in, or the scientific context of, these authors' central metaphysical doctrines, pertaining to substance and its properties, the metaphysics of force and causal agency, the relation of geometry to matter and to space, and the structure of cognition. In so doing, they provide an image of philosophy as an intellectually and culturally engaged enterprise, an image according to which it makes little sense to make pronouncements about the foundations of knowledge or the possibilities for science without direct engagement with the living practice of scientific and other cognitive enterprises. However, in some areas they did not engage the context as fully as needed; their interpretations of particular arguments and indeed of whole philosophical programs suffered thereby.
Keywords Rene Descartes  Concept of physics  Christian Wolff  Mathematical practice  Immanuel Kant
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DOI 10.1007/BF00413617
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Lisa Shabel (1998). Kant on the `Symbolic Construction' of Mathematical Concepts. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (4):589-621.

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