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Immanuel Kant - Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science -281783-29

Immanuel Kant - Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science -281783-29

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THE ONLINE LIBRARY OF LIBERTY
\u00a9 Liberty Fund, Inc. 2005
http://oll.libertyfund.org/Home3/index.php
IMMANUEL KANT,
(1783)
METAPHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF NATURAL SCIENCE
URL of this E-Book:
URL of original HTML file:
http://oll.libertyfund.org/EBooks/Kant_0994.pdf
http://oll.libertyfund.org/Home3/HTML.php?recordID=0994
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kant was a German philosopher who taught for many years at the
University of Koenigsberg. He made pivotal contributions to the
study of ethics and epistemology and was a leading figure in the

German Enlightenment.
ABOUT THE BOOK
It is here and in the
that Kant attempted

to rebuild modern philosophy from its foundations up in order to
demonstrate that philosophers (like the rationalists Leibnitz and
Descartes) and scietnists would not be able to provide final
answers to their questions about the physical world, human
nature, the mind, or the supreme being.

Critique of Pure Reason
THE EDITION USED

in Kant\u2019s Prolegomena and Metaphysical Foundations of Natural
Science, trans. with a Biography and Introduction by Ernest
Belfort Bax (2nd revised edition) (London: George Bell and Sons,

1891).
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION
The text of this edition is in the public domain.
FAIR USE STATEMENT

This material is put online to further the educational goals of
Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright
Information section above, this material may be used freely for
educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any

way for profit.
_______________________________________________________
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE METAPHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF NATURAL SCIENCE.
PREFACE.
FIRST DIVISION.

METAPHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF PHORONOMY. SECOND DIVISION. METAPHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF DYNAMICS. THIRD DIVISION.

METAPHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF MECHANICS.
FOURTH DIVISION.
METAPHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF PHENOMENOLOGY.
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ENDNOTES
_______________________________________________________
IMMANUEL KANT,
(1783)
METAPHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF NATURAL SCIENCE
THE METAPHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF NATURAL SCIENCE.
PREFACE.
the word Nature be merely taken in its
signification, there may be as many natural sciences as there are specifically
different things (for each must contain the inner principle special to the determinations pertaining to its existence), inasmuch as
it [Nature] signifies the primal inner principle of all that belongs to the existence of a thing. But Nature, regarded in its
significance, means not a quality, but the sumtotal of all things, in so far as they can be

and therefore of
experience; in short, the totality of all phenomena\u2014the sense-world, exclusive of all nonsensuous objects. Now Nature, in this
sense of the word, has two main divisions, in accordance with the main distinction of our sensibility, one of which comprises the
objects of the

the other the object of the
sense; thus rendering possible a two-fold doctrine of Nature, the
and the
the first dealing with
and the second with
Nature.
IF
formal
1
material
objects of our senses,
outer,
inner
DOCTRINE
OF BODY
DOCTRINE OF SOUL,
extended,
thinking,
Every doctrine constituting a system, namely, a whole of cognition, is termed a science; and as its principles may be either
axioms of the
or
connection of cognitions in a whole, so natural science, whether it be doctrine of body or
doctrine of soul, would have to be divided into
and
natural science, were it not that the word
(as
implying the deduction of the manifold pertaining to the existence of things, from its inner

) necessitates a knowledge
through reason of its system, if it is to deserve the name natural science. Hence, doctrine of nature may be better
divided into

comprising nothing but systematically-ordered facts respecting natural things (which
again would consist of
as a system of classes according to resemblances, and
as a
systematic presentation of the same at different times and in different places), and
Natural science, once more,
would be either natural science
or
so-called, of which the first would treat its subject wholly according to
principles
and the second according to laws derived from experience.
empirical
rational
historical
rational
nature
principle
historical doctrine of nature,
description of nature
history of nature
natural science.
properly
improperly
\u00e0 priori,
That only can be called science (
)
whose certainty is apodictic: cognition that can merely contain empirical
certainty is only improperly called science. A whole of cognition which is systematic is for this reason called
and, when
the connection of cognition in this system is a system of causes and effects,
science. But when the grounds or principles
it contains are in the last resort merely empirical, as, for instance, in chemistry, and the laws from which the reason explains the
given facts are merely empirical laws, they then carry no consciousness of their
with them (they are not apodictically
certain), and thus the whole does not in strictness deserve the name of science; chemistry indeed should be rather termed
systematic art than science.
wissenschaft proper
science,
rational
necessity
A rational doctrine of nature deserves the name of natural science only when the natural laws at its foundation are cognised
and are not mere laws of experience. A natural cognition of the first kind is called
that of the second
rational cognition. As the word nature itself carries with it the conception of law, and this again the conception of the
of
all the determinations of a thing appertaining to its existence, it is easily seen why natural science must deduce the legitimacy of
its designation only from a
part of it, [a part] namely, which contains the principles

of all remaining natural
explanations, and why only by virtue of this portion it is properly science, in such wise, that, according to the demands of the
reason, all natural knowledge must at last turn on natural science and there find its conclusion. This is because the above
necessity of law inseparably attaches to the conception of nature, and hence must be thoroughly comprehended. For this reason
the most complete explanation of particular phenomena upon chemical principles, invariably leaves an unsatisfactoriness behind
it, because from these accidental laws, learnt by mere experience, no grounds

can be adduced.
\u00e0
priori,
pure,
applied,
necessity
pure
\u00e0 priori
\u00e0 priori
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Thus all natural science
requires a

portion, upon which the apodictic certainty required of it by the reason can be
based; and inasmuch as this is in its principles wholly heterogeneous from those which are merely empirical, it is at once a
matter of the utmost importance, indeed in the nature of the case, as regards method of indispensable duty, to expound this part
separately and unmixed with the other, and as far as possible in its completeness; in order that we may be able to determine
precisely what the reason can accomplish for itself, and where its capacity begins to require the assistance of empirical principles.
Pure cognition of the reason from mere

is called pure philosophy or metaphysics, while that which only bases its
cognition on the
of conceptions, by means of the presentation of the object in an
intuition, is termed
mathematics.
proper
pure
conceptions
construction
\u00e0 priori
What may be called natural science proper presupposes metaphysics of nature; for laws, i.e. principles of the necessity of that
which belongs to the
of a thing, are occupied with a conception which does not admit of construction, because its
existence cannot be presented in any
intuition; natural science proper, therefore, presupposes metaphysics. Now this
must indeed always contain exclusively principles of a non-empirical origin (for, for this reason it bears the name of
metaphysics); but it may be

without reference to any definite object of experience, and therefore undetermined as regards the nature of this or that thing of the sense-world, and treat of the laws rendering possible the conception of nature in general, in which case it is the

portion of the metaphysics of nature;

it may occupy itself with the particular nature of this
or that kind of thing, of which an empirical conception is given, in such wise, that except what lies in this conception, no other
empirical principle will be required for its cognition. For instance: it lays the empirical conception of a matter, or of a thinking
entity, at its foundation, and searches the range of the cognition of which the reason is

capable respecting these objects;
and thus, though such a science must always be termed a metaphysic of nature (namely, of corporeal or thinking nature), it is
then not a universal but a

metaphysical natural science (physics and psychology), in which the above transcendental
principles are applied to the two species of sense-objects. But I maintain that in every special natural doctrine only so much
science

is to be met with as mathematics; for, in accordance with the foregoing, science proper, especially [science] of
nature, requires a pure portion, lying at the foundation of the empirical, and based upon an
knowledge of natural things.
Now to cognise anything

is to cognise it from its mere possibility; but the possibility of determinate natural things cannot be known from mere conceptions; for from these the possibility of the thought (that it does not contradict itself) can indeed be known, but not of the object, as natural thing which can be given (as existent) outside the thought. Hence, to the possibility of a determinate natural thing, and therefore to cognise it

is further requisite that the
corresponding
to the

conception should be given; in other words, that the conception should be constructed. But cognition of the reason through
construction of conceptions is mathematical. A pure philosophy of nature in general, namely, one that only investigates what
constitutes a nature in general, may thus be possible without mathematics; but a pure doctrine of nature respecting
natural things (corporeal doctrine and mental doctrine), is only possible by means of mathematics; and as in every natural
doctrine only so much science proper is to be met with therein as there is cognition

a doctrine of nature can only contain
so much science proper as there is in it of applied mathematics.
existence
\u00e0 priori
either
transcendental
or
\u00e0 priori
particular
proper
\u00e0 priori
\u00e0 priori
\u00e0 priori,
intuition
\u00e0 priori
determinate
\u00e0 priori,

So long, therefore as no conception is discovered for the chemical effects of substances on one another, which admits of being constructed, that is, no law of the approach or retreat of the parts can be stated in accordance with which (as, for instance, in proportion to their densities) their motions, together with the consequences of these, can be intuited and presented

(a
demand that will scarcely ever be fulfilled), chemistry will be nothing more than a systematic art or experimental doctrine, but
never science proper, its principles being merely empirical and not admitting of any presentation
as a consequence, the
principles of chemical phenomena cannot make their possibility in the least degree conceivable, being incapable of the application
of mathematics.
\u00e0 priori
\u00e0 priori;

But still farther even than chemistry must empirical psychology be removed from the rank of what may be termed a natural
science proper; firstly, because mathematics is inapplicable to the phenomena of the internal sense and its laws, unless indeed
we consider merely the

in the flow of its internal changes; but this would be an extension of cognition,
bearing much the same relation to that procured by the mathematics of corporeal knowledge, as the doctrine of the properties of
the straight line does to the whole of geometry; for the pure internal intuition in which psychical phenomena are constructed is
time, which has only one dimension. But not even as a systematic art of analysis, or experimental doctrine, can it ever approach
chemistry, because in it the manifold of internal observation is only separated in thought, but cannot be kept separate and be
connected again at pleasure; still less is another thinking subject amenable to investigations of this kind, and even the
observation itself, alters and distorts the state of the object observed. It can never therefore be anything more than an historical,
and as such, as far as possible systematic natural doctrine of the internal sense, i.e. a natural description of the soul, but not a
science of the soul, nor even a psychological experimental doctrine. This is the reason why, in the title of this work, which,

law of permanence
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