|Graduate Seminar: Kant’s Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science
|234 Moses Hall
The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, which Kant wrote in 1786, applies the metaphysical and epistemological doctrines of the Critique of Pure Reason in support of 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. Alongside the primary texts by Kant, we will be spending much of the semester reading Michael Friedman’s forthcoming book, Kant’s Construction of Nature.