Authors
Michela Massimi
University of Edinburgh
Abstract
This paper explores the scientific sources behind Kant’s early dynamic theory of matter in 1755, with a focus on two main Kant’s writings: Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens and On Fire. The year 1755 has often been portrayed by Kantian scholars as a turning point in the intellectual career of the young Kant, with his much debated conversion to Newton. Via a careful analysis of some salient themes in the two aforementioned works, and a reconstruction of the scientific sources behind them, this paper shows Kant’s debt to an often overlooked scientific tradition, i.e. speculative Newtonian experimentalism. The paper argues that more than the Principia, it was the speculative experimentalism that goes from Newton’s Opticks to Herman Boerhaave’s Elementa chemiae via Stephen Hales’ Vegetable Staticks that played a central role in the elaboration of Kant’s early dynamic theory of matter in 1755.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2011.09.008
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References found in this work BETA

Kant and the Exact Sciences.Michael FRIEDMAN - 1992 - Harvard University Press.
Kant and the Metaphysics of Causality.Eric Watkins - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
Newton as Philosopher.Andrew Janiak - 2008 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 35 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

On Reading Newton as an Epicurean: Kant, Spinozism and the Changes to the Principia.Eric Schliesser - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):416-428.
Rehabilitating the Regulative Use of Reason: Kant on Empirical and Chemical Laws.Michael Bennett McNulty - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:1-10.
Three Concepts of Causation in Newton.Andrew Janiak - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):396-407.
The Early Kant’s Newtonianism.Eric Watkins - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):429-437.
Cartesian Echoes in Kant’s Philosophy of Nature.Michela Massimi & Silvia De Bianchi - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):481-492.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

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