Unerweisliche sätze, erdichtete Begriffe: Kant über den gebrauch mathematischer Argumente in Philosophie

Studia Leibnitiana 30 (1):24-48 (1998)

In this study we consider Kant's numerous attempts at finding a secure path to metaphysical truth via mathematical arguments. In 1756, he thinks that in natural philosophy we cannot do without metaphysical speculation, although he admits that there is no way to explain natural phenomena without the aid of experience and geometry. Kant's ideas in this matter have been mainly shaped by the influence of Euler, who proposed that the evident principles of mechanics ought to be taken as starting point for metaphysical considerations. In a similar vein, after 1762 Kant looks for a metaphysical theory of space and time by taking mathematical arguments and observations as starting point for a genuinely presuppositive argument. Along these lines, Kant's so-called "Argument from Geometry" becomes more intelligible, although this paper ends with some sceptical remarks, questioning the existence of evident truths independent of any previous accepted set of metaphysical presuppositions
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