Kant-Studien 103 (4):448-471 (2012)

Jens Lemanski
Fernuniversität Hagen
The paper distinguishes three interpretations of Kant’s so called ‘Copernican Revolution’: an epistemological, a hermeneutical and a scientific-theoretical or methodological one. It is argued that the ‘scientific-theoretical reading’ can be based on new historical evidence. Kant borrowed the metaphors ‘army of stars’ (‘Sternenheer’) and ‘spectator’ (‘Zuschauer’) from Johann Heinrich Lambert and used them in a context similar to Lambert’s. This suggests that Kant’s formula “first thoughts of Copernicus” (“den ersten Gedanken des Copernicus”) refers, again following Lambert, to the first 9 chapters of Copernicus’ De revolutionibus, which contain a change from inductive geocentrism to deductive heliocentrism. This interpretation is itself no revolution: Johann Baptist Schad claimed in 1800 that metaphysics must be regarded as a deductive rather than an inductive science. Kant explicitly agreed.
Keywords Cosmology  history/philosophy of science  bottom-up  top-down  pragmatism  metaphorology  system philosophy  retrograde motion
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DOI 10.1515/kant-2012-0033
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