Kant and the Exact Sciences

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Harvard University Press, 1992 - Philosophy - 357 pages
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Kant sought throughout his life to provide a philosophy adequate to the sciences of his time--especially Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics. In this new book, Michael Friedman argues that Kant's continuing efforts to find a metaphysics that could provide a foundation for the sciences is of the utmost importance in understanding the development of his philosophical thought from its earliest beginnings in the thesis of 1747, through the Critique of Pure Reason, to his last unpublished writings in the Opus postumum.

Previous commentators on Kant have typically minimized these efforts because the sciences in question have since been outmoded. Friedman argues that, on the contrary, Kant's philosophy is shaped by extraordinarily deep insight into the foundations of the exact sciences as he found them, and that this represents one of the greatest strengths of his philosophy. Friedman examines Kant's engagement with geometry, arithmetic and algebra, the foundations of mechanics, and the law of gravitation in Part One. He then devotes Part Two to the Opus postumum, showing how Kant's need to come to terms with developments in the physics of heat and in chemistry formed a primary motive for his projected Transition from the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science to Physics.

Kant and the Exact Sciences is a book of high scholarly achievement, argued with impressive power. It represents a great advance in our understanding of Kant's philosophy of science.

 

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Review: Kant and the Exact Sciences

User Review  - Brian - Goodreads

A beautiful book, whether or not you agree with Friedman's conclusions. So densely researched -- it would take me 5 lifetimes to write such a book. Read full review

Contents

Metaphysics and Exact Science in the Evolution
1
Geometry
55
Concepts and Intuitions in the Mathematical Sciences
96
Metaphysical Foundations of Newtonian Science
136
Transition from the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural
213
References and Translations for Kants Writings
343
Index
351
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About the author (1992)

Michael Friedman is a former music business executive & artist manager who has landed record deals for many prominent artists. Under his own record label, Vibra Cobra Records, he has launched the careers of several rock bands. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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