Philosophy 290-8

Fall 2020

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-8 Graduate Seminar: Kant’s Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science Warren Th 2-4 Moses 234

The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (MF), which Kant wrote in 1786, applies the metaphysical and epistemological doctrines of the Critique of Pure Reason to support a broadly Newtonian physics. We will focus on such topics as the purpose of the Metaphysical Foundations and its account of the need for a grounding for natural science, the relation between the Metaphysical Foundations and the Critique, the role of mathematics in natural science, the contrast between relative and absolute motion, the status of absolute space, the notions of substance and causation, the account of force and the contrast between the mechanical and dynamical theory of matter, and the notions of inertia and of the communication of motion. Special attention will be paid to the Preface and the Dynamics chapter of the MF. Alongside the primary texts by Kant (including selections from the Critique and the Prolegomena, and some pre-critical work), we will be reading a number of pieces of the relevant secondary literature. Some previous acquaintance with the Critique of Pure Reason is presupposed.