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Absolute Space as a Necessary Idea: Reading Kant’s Phenomenology through Perspectival Lenses

Massimi, Michela (2021) Absolute Space as a Necessary Idea: Reading Kant’s Phenomenology through Perspectival Lenses. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In the last chapter of the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, in the General Remark to Phenomenology, Kant famously argued that absolute space “is therefore necessary, not as a concept of an actual object, but rather as an idea, which is to serve as a rule for considering all motion therein merely as relative; and all motion and rest must be reduced to absolute space, if the appearance thereof is to be transformed into a determinate concept of experience (which unites all appearances)” [560]. This defence of absolute space might seem prima facie puzzling, considering Kant’s criticism of absolute space in the Transcendental Aesthetics of the first Critique. I have reconstructed elsewhere (Massimi 2017a, 2017b) Kant’s mature view on absolute space and its troubled Newtonian legacy. In this chapter, I take a fresh look at this central chapter of the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science with a main goal in mind: to offer a novel reading of this defence of absolute space. I will argue that Kant’s defence of absolute space as a necessary idea is congenial to Kant’s wider commitment to the faculty of reason (and its ideas) as "foci imaginarii" playing an “indispensably necessary” role for a correct empirical use of the faculty understanding (Kant KrV, A645/B673). Elsewhere (Massimi 2017c) I have offered a perspectivalist reading of Kant’s doctrine of the transcendental illusion. In this chapter, I work out the details of such perspectivalist reading in explaining the central role that Kant attributes to absolute space in the Phenomenology chapter of the MFNS.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Massimi, Michelamichela.massimi@ed.ac.uk0000-0001-6626-9174
Keywords: Kant, Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Phenomenology Chapter, Newton's absolute space, perspectivalism, ideas of reason
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Michela Massimi
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2021 18:01
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2021 18:01
Item ID: 19162
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: 7 June 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19162

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