Kant on Mathematical Construction and Quantity of Matter

Jennifer McRobert
Western University (PhD)
Kant's special metaphysics is intended to provide the a priori foundation for Newtonian science, which is to be achieved by exhibiting the a priori content of Newtonian concepts and laws. Kant envisions a two-step mathematical construction of the dynamical concept of matter involving a geometrical construction of matter’s bulk and a symbolic construction of matter’s density. Since Newton himself defines quantity of matter in terms of bulk and density, there is no reason why we shouldn’t interpret Kant’s Dynamics as a defence of a Newtonian concept of matter. When Kant’s reasoning is understood in relation to his criteria for mathematical construction, it is possible to maintain that matter theory is central to the Metaphysical Foundations, but that this does not undermine Kant’s stated aim of giving an a priori foundation for Newtonian science.
Keywords Kant  Mathematical Construction  Quantity of Matter
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