What is possible and why? What is the difference between the merely possible and the actual? In Kants Modal Metaphysics NicholasStang examines Kants lifelong engagement with these questions and their role in his philosophical development. This is the first book to trace Kants theory of possibility all theway from the so-called pre-Critical writings of the 1750s and 1760s to the Critical system of philosophy inaugurated by the Critique of Pure Reason in 1781. Stang argues that the (...) key to understanding both the change and the continuity between Kants pre-Critical and Critical theory of possibility is his transformation of the ontological question about possibility-what is it for a being to be possible?-into a question in transcendental philosophy-what is it to represent an object as possible? (shrink)
Nick Stang offers an extremely meticulous and original study of Immanuel Kant’s theory of modality. It is the first book dedicated solely to Kantian modality in the Anglophone Kant literature, crowning the recent surge of articles on the subject, while also setting up a fertile ground for further discussion. The book’s appeal is not limited to Kant readers. Considering its historical focus and scope, Stang’s book is unusually rigorous, analytically argued, and well informed by twentieth-century modal metaphysics and (...) logic, making it perfectly accessible to those who are interested in modality from a contemporary metaphysical point of view. Stang presents a developmental account of Kant’s... (shrink)
http://www.cla.umn.edu/jhopkins/ Taken together, twenty-four of these works constitute Nicholas of Cusa’s complete philosophical and theological treatises. They must be supplemented by studying his richly conceptual sermons, along with his ecclesiological and exegetical writings such as De Concordantia Catholica and Coniectura de Ultimis Diebus. His mathematical writings are also of interest, even though they are not of lasting importance, as Gottfried Leibniz rightly recognized.
There is substantial textual evidence that Kant held the doctrine of double affection: subjects are causally affected both by things in themselves and by appearances. However, Kant commentators have been loath to attribute this view to him, for the doctrine of double affection is widely thought to face insuperable problems. I begin by explaining what I take to be the most serious problem faced by the doctrine of double affection: appearances cannot cause the very experience in virtue of which they (...) have their empirical properties. My solution consists in distinguishing the sense of ‘experience’ in which empirical objects cause experience from the sense of ‘experience’ in which experience determines empirical objects. I call the latter “universal experience”. I develop my conception of universal experience, and then I explain how it solves the problem of double affection. I conclude by addressing several objections. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine Kant's famous objection to the ontological argument: existence is not a determination. Previous commentators have not adequately explained what this claim means, how it undermines the ontological argument, or how Kant argues for it. I argue that the claim that existence is not a determination means that it is not possible for there to be non-existent objects; necessarily, there are only existent objects. I argue further that Kant's target is not merely ontological arguments as such (...) but the larger ‘ontotheist’ metaphysics they presuppose: the view that God necessarily exists in virtue of his essence being contained in, or logically entailed by, his essence. I show that the ontotheist explanation of divine necessity requires the assumption that existence is a determination, and I show that Descartes and Leibniz are implicitly committed to this in their published versions of the ontological argument. I consider the philosophical motivations for the claim that existence is a determination and then I examine Kant's arguments in the Critique of Pure Reason against it. (shrink)
According to the ‘One Object’ reading of Kant's transcendental idealism, the distinction between the appearance and the thing in itself is not a distinction between two objects, but between two ways of considering one and the same object. On the ‘Metaphysical’ version of the One Object reading, it is a distinction between two kinds of properties possessed by one and the same object. Consequently, the Metaphysical One Object view holds that a given appearance, an empirical object, is numerically identical to (...) the thing in itself that appears as that object. I raise various indiscernibility arguments against that view; because an appearance has different spatiotemporal and modal properties than a thing in itself, no appearance can be identical to a thing in itself. I point out that these arguments are similar to arguments against Monism, the view that material objects are numerically identical to the matter of which they are made. I outline some strategies Monists have developed to respond to these indiscernibility arguments and then develop parallel responses on behalf of the Metaphysical One Object view. However, I then raise another indiscernibility argument, to which, I argue, the Metaphysical One Object view cannot respond, even using the resources I have developed thus far. I develop a modified version of the Metaphysical One Object view that can respond to this new indiscernibility argument, but, I argue, this modified version of the One Object view is only a terminological variant of the Two Object view. When the Metaphysical One Object view is fully thought through it becomes the Two Object view. I conclude that Kantian appearances are not numerically identical to the things in themselves that appear to us. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Desmond Hogan aims to explain how Kant could have consistently held that noumenal affection is not only compatible with noumenal ignorance but also with the claim that experience requires causal affection of human cognitive agents by things in themselves. Hogan's argument includes the premise that human cognitive agents have empirical knowledge of one another's actions. Hogan's argument fails because the premise that we have empirical knowledge of one another's actions is ambiguous. On one reading, the argument (...) is valid but its conclusion trivial. On the other, it is unsound on Kant's own view. (shrink)
In the Transcendental Ideal Kant discusses the principle of complete determination: for every object and every predicate A, the object is either determinately A or not-A. He claims this principle is synthetic, but it appears to follow from the principle of excluded middle, which is analytic. He also makes a puzzling claim in support of its syntheticity: that it represents individual objects as deriving their possibility from the whole of possibility. This raises a puzzle about why Kant regarded it as (...) synthetic, and what his explanatory claim means. I argue that the principle of complete determination does not follow from the principle of excluded middle because the externally negated or ?negative? judgement ?Not (S is P)? does not entail the internally negated or ?infinite? judgement ?S is not-P.? Kant's puzzling explanatory claim means that empirical objects are determined by the content of the totality of experience. This entails that empirical objects are completely determinate if and only if the totality of experience has a completely determinate content. I argue that it is not a priori whether experience has such a completely determinate content and thus not analytic that objects obey the principle of complete determination. (shrink)
In this paper I address a structurally similar tension between phenomenalism and realism about matter in Leibniz and Kant. In both philosophers, some texts suggest a starkly phenomenalist view of the ontological status of matter, while other texts suggest a more robust realism. In the first part of the paper I address a recent paper by Don Rutherford that argues that Leibniz is more of a realist than previous commentators have allowed. I argue that Rutherford fails to show that Leibniz (...) is any less an idealist than his main target, Robert Merrihew Adams, does. I distinguish various kinds of idealism about bodies that Leibniz might have held, and attempt to determine which package of views represents his considered view. In the second part of the paper I situate Kant’s idealism within the same coordinates. I argue that, abstracting from deep differences in their metaphysics and epistemology, Kant and Leibniz have structurally very similar views on the ontological status of matter and bodies. I conclude that the key to understanding the realist strand in their ontology of matter is understanding the way in which, for both thinkers, the forces in bodies are appearances of forces of more fundamental entities, either monads or things in themselves. (shrink)
It is commonly accepted by Kant scholars that Kant held that all necessary truths are a priori, and all a priori knowledge is knowledge of necessary truths. Against the prevailing interpretation, I argue that Kant was agnostic as to whether necessity and a priority are co-extensive. I focus on three kinds of modality Kant implicitly distinguishes: formal possibility and necessity, empirical possibility and necessity, and noumenal possibility and necessity. Formal possibility is compatibility with the forms of experience; empirical possibility is (...) compatibility with the causal powers of empirical objects; noumenal possibility is compatibility with the causal powers of things in themselves. Because we cannot know the causal powers of things in themselves, we cannot know what is noumenally necessary and what is noumenally contingent. Consequently, we cannot know whether noumenal necessity is co-extensive with a priority. Therefore, for all we know, some a priori propositions are noumenally contingent, and some a posteriori propositions are noumenally necessary. Thus, contrary to the received interpretation, Kant distinguishes epistemological from metaphysical modality. (shrink)
One of Bolzano’s objections to Kant’s way of drawing the analytic-synthetic distinction is that it only applies to judgments within a narrow range of syntactic forms, namely, universal affirmative judgments. According to Bolzano, Kant cannot account for judgments of other syntactic forms that, intuitively, are analytic. A recent paper by Ian Proops also attributes to Kant the view that analytic judgments beyond a limited range of syntactic forms are impossible. I argue that, correctly understood, Kant’s conception of analyticity allows for (...) analytic judgments of a wider range of syntactic forms. (shrink)
BioPortal is a Web portal that provides access to a library of biomedical ontologies and terminologies developed in OWL, RDF(S), OBO format, Protégé frames, and Rich Release Format. BioPortal functionality, driven by a service-oriented architecture, includes the ability to browse, search and visualize ontologies (Figure 1). The Web interface also facilitates community-based participation in the evaluation and evolution of ontology content.
Lucy Allais’s anti-phenomenalist interpretation of transcendental idealism is incomplete in two ways. First of all, like some phenomenalists, she is committed to denying the coherence of claims of numerical identity of appearances and things in themselves. Secondly, she fails to explain adequately what grounds the actuality of appearances. This opens the door to a phenomenalist understanding of appearances.