This book explores the multiple meaning of the notion of otherness in Søren Kierkegaard’s thought. Leo Stan discusses in detail the threefold structure of human existence in Kierkegaard’s authorship as a whole, both pseudonymous and self-signed.
I examine here if Kant can explain our knowledge of duration by showing that time has metric structure. To do so, I spell out two possible solutions: time’s metric could be intrinsic or extrinsic. I argue that Kant’s resources are too weak to secure an intrinsic, transcendentally-based temporal metrics; but he can supply an extrinsic metric, based in a metaphysical fact about matter. I conclude that Transcendental Idealism is incomplete: it cannot account for the durative aspects of experience—or it can (...) do so only with help from a non-trivial metaphysics of material substance. (shrink)
I explain and assess here Huygens’ concept of relative motion. I show that it allows him to ground most of the Law of Inertia, and also to explain rotation. Thereby his concept obviates the need for Newton’s absolute space. Thus his account is a powerful foundation for mechanics, though not without some tension.
This chapter looks at Euler’s relation to Newton, and at his role in the rise of ‘Newtonian’ mechanics. It aims to give a sense of Newton’s complicated legacy for Enlightenment science, and to raise awareness that some key ‘Newtonian’ results really come from Euler.
much early modern metaphysics grew with an eye to the new science of its time, but few figures took it as seriously as Emilie du Châtelet. Happily, her oeuvre is now attracting close, renewed attention, and so the time is ripe for looking into her metaphysical foundation for empirical theory. Accordingly, I move here to do just that. I establish two conclusions. First, du Châtelet's basic metaphysics is a robust realism. Idealist strands, while they exist, are confined to non-basic regimes. (...) Second, her substance realism seems internally coherent, so her foundational project appears successful.I have two aims in this paper. Historically, I show that du Châtelet's main source of inspiration was Christian... (shrink)
This paper examines the origin, range and meaning of the Principle of Action and Reaction in Kant’s mechanics. On the received view, it is a version of Newton’s Third Law. I argue that Kant meant his principle as foundation for a Leibnizian mechanics. To find a ‘Newtonian’ law of action and reaction, we must look to Kant’s ‘dynamics,’ or theory of matter. I begin, in part I, by noting marked differences between Newton’s and Kant’s laws of action and reaction. I (...) argue that these are explainable by Kant’s allegiance to a Leibnizian mechanics. I show (in part II) that Leibniz too had a model of action and reaction, at odds with Newton’s. Then I reconstruct how Jakob Hermann and Christian Wolff received Leibniz’s model. I present (in Part III) Kant’s early law of action and reaction for mechanics. I show that he devised it so as to solve extant problems in the Hermann-Wolff account. I reconstruct Kant’s views on ‘mechanical’ action and reaction in the 1780s, and highlight strong continuities with his earlier, pre-Critical stance. I use these continuities, and Kant’s earlier engagement with post-Leibnizians, to explain the un-Newtonian features of his law of action and reaction. (shrink)
Newton had a fivefold argument that true motion must be motion in absolute space, not relative to matter. Like Newton, Kant holds that bodies have true motions. Unlike him, though, Kant takes all motion to be relative to matter, not to space itself. Thus, he must respond to Newton’s argument above. I reconstruct here Kant’s answer in detail. I prove that Kant addresses just one part of Newton’s case, namely, his “argument from the effects” of rotation. And, to show that (...) rotation is relative to matter, Kant changes the meaning of ‘relative motion.’ However, that change puts Kant’s doctrine in deep tension with Newton’s science. Based on my construal, I correct earlier readings of Kant by John Earman and Martin Carrier. And, I argue that we need to revise Michael Friedman’s influential view of Kant. Kant’s struggle, I conclude, illustrate the difficulties that early modern relationists faced as they turned down Newtonian absolute space ; and it typifies their selective engagement with Newton’s case for it. (shrink)
This paper examines the young Kant’s claim that all motion is relative, and argues that it is the core of a metaphysical dynamics of impact inspired by Leibniz and Wolff. I start with some background to Kant’s early dynamics, and show that he rejects Newton’s absolute space as a foundation for it. Then I reconstruct the exact meaning of Kant’s relativity, and the model of impact he wants it to support. I detail (in Section II and III) his polemic engagement (...) with Wolffian predecessors, and how he grounds collisions in a priori dynamics. I conclude that, for the young Kant, the philosophical problematic of Newton’s science takes a back seat to an agenda set by the Leibniz-Wolff tradition of rationalist dynamics. This results matters, because Kant’s views on motion survive well into the 1780s. In addition, his doctrine attests to the richness of early modern views of the relativity of motion. (shrink)
I argue that the key dynamical concepts and laws of Newton's Principia never gained a solid foothold in Germany before Kant in the 1750s. I explain this absence as due to Leibniz. Thus I make a case for a robust Leibnizian legacy for Enlightenment science, and I solve what Jonathan Israel called “a meaningful historical problem on its own,” viz. the slow and hesitant reception of Newton in pre-Kantian Germany.
I uncover here a conflict in Kant’s natural philosophy. His matter theory and laws of mechanics are in tension. Kant’s laws are fit for particles but are too narrow to handle continuous bodies, which his doctrine of matter demands. To fix this defect, Kant ultimately must ground the Torque Law; that is, the impressed torque equals the change in angular momentum. But that grounding requires a premise—the symmetry of the stress tensor—that Kant denies himself. I argue that his problem would (...) not arise if he had kept his early theory of matter as made of mass points, or “physical monads.”. (shrink)
I examine here if Kant’s metaphysics of matter can support any late-modern versions of classical mechanics. I argue that in principle it can, by two different routes. I assess the interpretive costs of each approach, and recommend the most promising strategy: a mass-point approach.
On an influential view, Newton's mechanics is built into Kant's very theory of exact knowledge. However, Newtonian dynamics had serious explanatory limits already known by 1750. Thus, we might worry that Kant's Analytic is too narrow to ground enough exact knowledge. In this paper, I draw on Enlightenment dynamics to show that Kant's notion of determinate objecthood is sufficiently broad, non-trivial, and still relevant to the present.
Newton rested his theory of mechanics on distinct metaphysical and epistemological foundations. After Leibniz's death in 1716, the Principia ran into sharp philosophical opposition from Christian Wolff and his disciples, who sought to subvert Newton's foundations or replace them with Leibnizian ideas. In what follows, I chronicle some of the Wolffians' reactions to Newton's notion of absolute space, his dynamical laws of motion, and his general theory of gravitation. I also touch on arguments advanced by Newton's Continental followers, such as (...) Leonhard Euler, who made novel attempts to defend his mechanical foundations against the pro-Leibnizian attack. This examination grants us deeper insight into the fate of Newton's mechanics on the Continent during the early eighteenth century and, more specifically, sheds needed light on the conflicts and tensions that characterized the reception of Newton's philosophy of mechanics among the Leibnizians. (shrink)
Leibniz is committed to a form of cosmic eternity, on account of his natural theology and foundations for dynamics. However, his views on perpetuum mobiles entail that a particularly attractive type of cosmic eternity is out of reach for Leibniz.
Classical theories of truth are monistic, since they fundamentally search for the essence of truth. The correspondence theory of truth is the most representative in this regard. There are several difficulties with the essentialist theories of truth, which led to the emergence of several alternatives. The purpose of this article is to critically evaluate three of them: the pragmatic theory of truth, the deflationary theory and the pluralistic approach. I argue for overcoming monism and for accepting pluralism in our understanding (...) of truth. At the same time, I argue – from a wittgensteinian point of view – for abandoning the attempt to build a general philosophical theory of truth. I plead for limiting the philosopher’s role to the clarification of the specific ways in which the concept of truth is used in various forms of life and areas of scientific investigation. Multiple uses of the concept of truth in different thematic areas cannot be synthesized, properly speaking, through a particular philosophical theory. (shrink)
In his Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Kant presents the “pure part” of natural science – that is, the a priori principles holding of matter. This special metaphysics of matter is, Kant claims, grounded on the general metaphysics of nature described in the System of Principles of his first Critique. This chapter develops a comprehensive account of Kant’s framework for natural science that touches on interpretive issues that arise in the transition from general to special metaphysics and that outlines his (...) dynamics and its limitations. (shrink)
In this paper I pursue two goals. Firstly, I try to evaluate how Susan Haack receives and categorically rejects Rorty's anti-epistemological message from Philosophy and the Mirror of the Nature and some subsequent writings. I reconstruct Haack's counterarguments and Rorty's responses to these counterarguments. Secondly, I propose to deconstruct the theoretical position from which Haack orchestrates her attack on Rorty. On the one hand I show that she assumes a series of classical metaphysical presuppositions that are difficult to accept today, (...) which predisposes her to a lack of hermeneutical flexibility and clarity. On the other hand, at least some of Haack's arguments against Rorty are erroneous. Following Michael Williams, I point out that Rorty's position in Mirror is not against knowledge, since it raises questions about the legitimacy of epistemology. The challenge of my approach is not to defend Rorty, but rather to examine the mechanism of a charge against him in the name of a pretended philosophical correctness. I call this type of charge “hermeneutics of annihilation”. Haack's hermeneutics of annihilation is a pseudo-hermeneutics, since her goal is not to understand the stake of Rorty's philosophy exposed in Mirror. She only understood, from the point of view of an epistemologist ideology, that this work would be a threat to Truth, Knowledge, Epistemology, Science, and Reason. (shrink)
In this article, I embark on an analysis of Søren Kierkegaard's view of human otherness in strict correlation to his Christian philosophy. More specifically, my aim is to show that Kierkegaard's thought is essentially informed by a decisive appropriation of the soteriological category of sin which has momentous implications for Kierkegaard's views of selfhood and intersubjectivity. The main argument is that both Kierkegaard's negative evaluation of human otherness and his acerbic indictments of any collectivist interference in salvific matters cohere with (...) his appropriation of the doctrine of the Fall. At the same time, I show in what sense Kierkegaard deems human alterity to be indispensable to one's spiritual self-becoming expressed through the Christian imperative of loving the other as neighbor. Seen thus, agape, while supplementing Kierkegaard's creationistic psychology, actually becomes the necessary restorative opposite of sinfulness in the self's encounters with the distinct uniqueness of the human other. (shrink)