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Kant and the Laws of Nature


Eric Watkins, Karl Ameriks, Paul Guyer, Hannah Ginsborg, Rachel Zuckert, Thomas Teufel, James Messina, Michela Massimi, Daniel Warren, Michael Friedman, Marius Stan, Angela Breitenbach, Catherine Wilson
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  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107546776

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About the Authors
  • Laws of nature play a central role in Kant's theoretical philosophy and are crucial to understanding his philosophy of science in particular. In this volume of new essays, the first systematic investigation of its kind, a distinguished team of scholars explores Kant's views on the laws of nature in the physical and life sciences. Their essays focus particularly on the laws of physics and biology, and consider topics including the separation in Kant's treatment of the physical and life sciences, the relation between universal and empirical laws of nature, and the role of reason and the understanding in imposing order and lawful unity upon nature. The volume will be of great interest to advanced students and scholars of Kant's philosophy of science, and to historians and philosophers of science more generally.

    • The first systematic investigation of Kant's view on the laws of nature
    • The essays in the book are written by a distinguished team of contributors
    • Will appeal to advanced students and scholars of Kant's philosophy of science
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'There can be no doubt that this volume will prove a rich source for future discussions [of] issues regarding Kant and the laws of nature.' Journal of the History of Philosophy

    'This is an excellent book that I expect to be extremely useful for anyone interested in Kant's views on necessity, nature, laws, and the natural sciences. I also believe it should be of interest to those working on current debates in these topics who wish to broaden their understanding of the history of these ideas. The book presents a range of philosophical work at the cutting edge, with many contributors engaging with recent work by others in the volume. … By the end of the book, one has a sense that one is up-to-date with several key questions, positions, debates, and developments of these topics of recent years.' Jessica Leech, Notre Dame Review Philosophical Reviews

    'The volume succeeds admirably in furthering our understanding of Kant's Critical writings on laws of nature and showing how they bear on present-day discussion.' Katherine Dunlop, Metascience

    'Kant's philosophy of natural science is a flourishing domain of scholarship, within which the notion of a law is absolutely critical. Kant and the Laws of Nature, which contains thirteen chapters from top-notch, international scholars on the title topic, is hence a text of transparent value to researchers working in this burgeoning area. The volume is not, however, parochially limited to technical readings of Kant's views on physics. It rather offers substantial treatment of some of the most pressing and knotted issues in Kant scholarship, more broadly. … Massimi and Breitenbach's volume is a superb resource for Kant scholars of all stripes. Its splendid chapters offer acute and profound insights on the vital topic of laws of nature in Kant's thought.'  Michael Bennett McNulty, Kantian Review

    'Kant and the Laws of Nature, edited and with an introduction by Michela Massimi and Angela Breitenbach, is a collection of thirteen uniformly excellent essays on Kant's philosophical views on the nature and (metaphysical or epistemic) status of laws of nature, produced under the aegis of a three-year international research network running from 2012–15. But as contemporary Kantian philosophers and not merely as Kant-scholars, why should we care about laws of nature? In my opinion, there are at least four good reasons … Kant's Neo-Aristotelian Natural Power Grid is not only a new, exciting, and philosophically important Kantian conception of natural laws, but … is well-supported as a post-classical, post-orthodox interpretation of Kant's theory of natural laws by the thirteen excellent essays in Kant and the Laws of Nature.' Robert Hanna, Critique

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107546776
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Lawfulness of Nature:
    1. Kant on the unity and diversity of laws Eric Watkins
    2. On universality, necessity, and law in general Karl Ameriks
    3. Imperfect knowledge of nature: Kant, Hume and laws of nature Paul Guyer
    Part II. The Systematicity of Nature:
    4. Why must we presuppose the systematicity of nature? Hannah Ginsborg
    5. Empirical scientific investigation and the ideas of reason Rachel Zuckert
    6. Kant's transcendental principle of purposiveness and the 'maxim of the lawfulness of empirical laws' Thomas Teufel
    Part III. Nomic Necessity and the Metaphysics of Nature:
    7. Kant's necessitation account of laws and the nature of natures James Messina
    8. Grounds, modality, and nomic necessity in the critical Kant Michela Massimi
    9. Kant on mathematical force laws Daniel Warren
    Part IV. Laws in Physics:
    10. Kant's conception of causal necessity and its legacy Michael Friedman
    11. Metaphysical foundations of neoclassical mechanics Marius Stan
    Part V. Laws in Biology:
    12. Laws in biology and unity of nature Angela Breitenbach
    13. The building forces of nature and Kant's teleology of the living Catherine Wilson.

  • Editors

    Michela Massimi, University of Edinburgh
    Michela Massimi is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. She has published widely on Kant and on the history and philosophy of science.

    Angela Breitenbach, University of Cambridge
    Angela Breitenbach is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of King's College. Her research focuses on Kant, the philosophy of science, and aesthetics.


    Eric Watkins, Karl Ameriks, Paul Guyer, Hannah Ginsborg, Rachel Zuckert, Thomas Teufel, James Messina, Michela Massimi, Daniel Warren, Michael Friedman, Marius Stan, Angela Breitenbach, Catherine Wilson

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