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Kant’s Dynamic Constructions

Kenneth R. Westphal

The definitive version of this article appears in:

Journal of Philosophical Research 20 (1995):381–429.*

ABSTRACT . According to Kant, justifying the application of mathematics to objects in natural science requires metaphysically constructing the concept of matter. Kant develops these constructions in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (MAdN). Kant’s specific aim is to develop a dynamic theory of matter to replace corpuscular theory. In his Preface Kant claims completely to exhaust the metaphysical doctrine of body, but in the General Remark to MAdN ch. 2, “Dynamics,” Kant admits that once matter is reconceived as basic forces, it is no longer possible to construct the concept of matter. I argue that Kant’s admission is only the tip of the problem, and that none of Kant’s commentators has fully grasped the problems infecting the MAdN that underlie Kant’s admission. I show that Kant’s proof that matter consists of forces is fallacious. I then re-analyze the circularity in Kant’s definition of density, criticizing both Adickes’ formulations and later dissolution of it. I also show that a third circularity infects the relations between Kant’s treatment of “Dynamics” and “Mechanics” (MAdN ch. 3). These three fundamental problems demonstrate the untenability of Kant’s metaphysical method, and they require the radical revision of the relation between mathematics and metaphysics Kant undertakes in his opus postumum. I show that some of Kant’s most surprising and critical later claims about the Critical philosophy are correct, and that they require the sorts of remedies Kant contemplates in the opus postumum. (I defend the essentially correct analyses offered by Burkhard Tuschling and Eckart Förster against criticisms by Michael Friedman.)

I. INTRODUCTION . According to Kant, natural science can be properly scientific only to the extent to which it applies mathematics to its objects.1 However, the possibility


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of applying mathematics to objects in natural science presupposes principles for the construction of the concepts which belong to the possibility of matter in general.2 Hence a complete analysis of the concept of matter in general is the basis of natural science, and this analysis is provided by pure philosophy.3 The official aim of Kant’s Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft (‘Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science’; hereafter MAdN) is to provide metaphysical constructions, together with the principles of these constructions, as a distinct discipline which explains and justifies the possibility of mathematical physics.4 Kant’s more specific aim in the MAdN is to develop a dynamic theory of matter to replace the corpuscular theory of matter. To do this, Kant must develop the main concepts needed to formulate a dynamic theory of matter, and he must show that the resultant theory provides an adequate, if not a superior, basis for Newtonian physics and for scientific research generally. Moreover, to propound such a theory as a philosopher, in particular, as a Critical philosopher, Kant must link his theory of matter with the main tenets of the first Critique, and he must develop his theory of matter within the constraints of the metaphysical method set out in the MAdN.5 Unlike other sciences, Kant says one can expect completeness in metaphysics because it is based on the fundamental laws of thought, where the Table of Categories of the first Critique provides the schema for determining that completeness.6 In his Preface Kant optimistically claims to have completely exhausted the metaphysical doctrine of body, though he modestly admits that this is not a large accomplishment.7 In view of these claims it is startling to find Kant admitting, in the General Remark to “Dynamics” (the second chapter of the MAdN), that once matter is reconceived, not as corpuscles, but as basic forces, it is no longer possible to construct the concept of matter,8 and to find Kant making suggestions to guide the development of the requisite constructions.9 This tension, if not contradiction, has generated significant, on-going discussion. After briefly reviewing this discussion (§II), I argue that Kant’s admission in the General Remark is only the tip of the problem, and that none of Kant’s commentators has fully grasped the fundamental problems infecting the MAdN that underlie Kant’s admission in the General Remark. Understanding these deeper problems, which Kant came to recognize after the MAdN was published, ultimately leads to understanding some of the radical revisions of Kant’s epistemology in the opus postumum, revisions so radical that they constitute a distinctly post-critical phase of Kant’s theoretical philosophy.10 Kant’s later claims about the Critical philosophy have long been suspect among Kant scholars. My aim is to show that some of the most surprising and critical of those claims are correct, and that they require the sorts of remedies Kant contemplates, in particular in the virtually completed manuscript “Übergang 1–14.” I shall not offer a new account of Kant’s doctrines in the opus postumum here; but I will defend the (essentially correct) analyses of this material offered by Burkhard Tuschling and Eckart Förster against criticisms made recently by Michael Friedman.


Understanding the problems facing the MAdN requires reviewing some main points of its metaphysical method (§III). I then show that Kant’s proof that matter consists of forces is not only fallacious, but begs the question (§IV). I then reanalyze the circularity in Kant’s definition of density, criticizing both Adickes’ formulations and his later dissolution of it (§V). These two fundamental problems demonstrate the untenability of Kant’s metaphysical method in the MAdN, and they require (among much else) the radical reassessment of the relation between mathematics and metaphysics Kant undertakes in the opus postumum (§§VI–VIII). II. KANT’S ADMISSION OF THE UNCONSTRUCTABILITY OF MATTER. According to Gerd Buchdahl, the fundamental forces of matter (repulsion and attraction) cannot be constructed because they fall under the categories of Quality (reality, negation, limitation), all of which are intensive (rather than extensive) quantities.11 Kant’s justification for introducing forces into the MAdN rests ultimately on his claim that in space no activity or alteration, even as a mere motion, can be thought apart from the ascription of causes.12 Actual causes can only be inferred on the basis of empirical data.13 This follows the doctrine of the first Critique that only the form, but not the matter, that is, not the reality, of perceptions can be anticipated.14 Kant’s success in these constructions lies in the important negative point that the existence of an attractive force acting immediately at a distance is an empirical issue that is not precluded by our concepts of matter and force, once those concepts are properly understood.15 Buchdahl takes this to have been Kant’s main aim, and he finds Kant’s greatest contribution to philosophy of science to lie, not in his constructions, but in his tripartite methodological schema of constitutive, regulative, and evidential components of our theoretical knowledge of nature.16 Buchdahl’s work on this tri-partite schema is very insightful, and he is right that this schema survives the ultimate failure of Kant’s constructive method. However, Buchdahl does not admit how radically he must revise Kant’s own understanding of the division of labor among these three areas in view of the failure of Kant’s constructive method. Kant insists that pure philosophy is to provide a complete analysis of the concept of matter as a basis for physics and in particular for the application of mathematics to physical phenomena. Buchdahl’s concentration on Kant’s systematic architectonic allows him too easily to by-pass Kant’s very strong claims about how the necessity of natural laws betokens a strong a priori component in those laws. Indeed, Buchdahl reduces Kant’s quite specific account of the constitutive component of natural scientific knowledge, which derives from his transcendental idealism in the first Critique and metaphysical constructions in the MAdN, to the mere claim that there is a constitutive component in our natural scientific knowledge.17 Gordon Brittan contends that Kant is forced to admit that forces are unconstructable by a basic, unresolvable paradox in his philosophy.18 He gives the example that on Newtonian grounds, forces of acceleration cannot be constructed because their value shifts with shifts in reference frames.19 Kant’s


paradoxical result is that the corpuscular hypothesis is mathematically, but not metaphysically adequate, while his own dynamic hypothesis is metaphysically, but not mathematically, adequate–-despite Kant’s effort to show that mathematical and metaphysical adequacy coincide, at least in the case of the dynamic theory of matter.20 Ultimately, Brittan contends, the underlying problem comes from distinguishing form and content in a certain way. Forms are determinate, they fit into a propositional account of knowledge, and they are objective, yet they can never be determinate enough to preclude distinguishing from them a content that is real, yet indeterminate and so not objective; determination and reality never quite coincide.21 We shall see below, however, that Kant’s admission of the unconstructability of matter is quite specific and restricted. If his view faces the kind of global paradox Brittan alleges, it would take much careful argument to justify his charge. Also, his counter-example, that on Newtonian principles forces are unconstructable, is mis-aimed. His counter-example presupposes that Kant’s metaphysical constructions are to provide the quantitative laws governing forces. (Only on the basis of those laws can any specific values of forces be calculated.) Kant specifically denies this; he seeks to construct forces at a metaphysically general level that admits of quantification, but where that quantification must rely on empirical research.22 Robert E. Butts rightly stresses that Kant cannot defer solving the problem of the construction of the basic forces of physics until someone more able figures out how to do it, because if those basic forces are not at present constructed, then they have no definite scientific meaning or application, and consequently no concepts of derivative forces or any other concepts derived from those of the basic forces can have definite meaning or application.23 He tries to show that Kant was not bothered by the apparent tension between his insistence on the constructability of admissible concepts and the non-constructability of fundamental forces because “fundamental forces” are ultimately regulative postulates of reason that guide research and our systematic integration of the various physical forces we discover empirically.24 Although Kant suggests once that fundamental forces have such a regulative status,25 this cannot be his real view, or at least not all of it. Kant ascribes a fundamental, constitutive status to forces in his theory of matter. The problems with Butts’ interpretation have been pointed out by Howard Duncan and Kathleen Okruhlik. Duncan stressed that if “fundamental forces” are just regulative ideas, then they must be instrumental and they cannot be explanatory, that is, constitutive of matter or its possibility.26 Kathleen Okruhlik further points out that Kant’s views contain three importantly distinct kinds of theoretical postulates: purely regulative “necessary fictions,” hypothetical idealizations (including maxima species), and fundamental forces.27 Butts mistakenly assimilates these three kinds of postulates. She argues convincingly that Kant intends a realist interpretation only of the fundamental forces, which is a crucial part of Kant’s effort to provide a realist interpretation of Newtonian mechanics.28 Howard Duncan points out, against both Buchdahl and Brittan, that the facts that Kant’s basic forces are a posteriori and fundamental do not suffice to


To understand Kant’s problems properly. Second. of density.32 Duncan’s approach is obviously the most favorable to Kant. empirical concern. not the beginning. he saw that their remedy required radically re-casting his philosophy of nature. just before providing his advice about possible lines of construction of the concept of matter.36 Kant insists that for his metaphysical purposes it suffices to present the filling of space as a dynamic property of matter. This second problem shows that Kant cannot relegate the problem of density to the periphery of his concerns. Kant’s admission. and not to need to explain the further properties of matter such as cohesion.explain their unconstructability.37 His optimistic claims to completeness in the Preface must concern his essential aim of analyzing matter’s occupation of space in dynamic terms.31 and definitions are the result. Finally. and in particular. density. It incidentally also shows that he cannot dismiss the problem of cohesion as a secondary. both geometrical and experimental. and with that. and for its role in guiding research. both problems show that Kant’s quasimathematical constructive metaphysical procedure is specious. it is no longer possible to construct the concept of matter and to present it in intuition as possible. his Critical philosophy as a whole. that when matter (Stoff) is reconceived as fundamental forces.29 He contends that the problem of unconstructability is a purely practical.38 However. technical problem whose solution awaits the development of better analytical techniques. his argument for introducing forces in the first Proposition of Dynamics is fallacious and begs the question. First. there are two crucial problems facing Kant’s essential aim to present the filling of space as a dynamic property of matter. dissolution. but I do not think that he has adequately resolved the strongest doubt about his view.35 What he disclaims. is a sufficient explication of the concept of matter. 385 . Kant’s admission of the unconstructability of the concept of matter has been discussed with surprisingly little attention to Kant’s own account of his metaphysical program. since corpuscles are constructable and also are a posteriori and fundamental. that the constructability of a concept is sine qua non for its scientific acceptability. Duncan overemphasizes the role of geometrical figures at the expense of the more central general problem of providing intuitions a priori that correspond to fundamental scientific concepts that underwrite the application of mathematics to phenomena.30 Only fully defined concepts can be constructed. to apply extensive.34 is made specifically in connection with the issue of density and the corpuscular explanation of density in terms of vacant interstices. of scientific inquiry. his treatment of density is circular. or specific differences among different materials. elasticity. in particular.33 More specifically. quantitative considerations to intensive phenomena. he claims not to need to specify the laws governing that property. decomposition. and to understand their theoretical repercussions. fluidity. requires at least a brief review of some central features of Kant’s aim and method in the MAdN. Once Kant recognized these problems. None of these commentators have grasped the qualifications Kant puts on his admission of the unconstructability of matter.

viz. strictly speaking.53 These laws.51 The MAdN forms a scientific discipline unto itself. its fundamental laws are apodeictically certain. namely. by its application of mathematics to the behavior of material bodies.49 Hence a complete analysis (Zergliederung) of the concept of matter in general is the basis of natural science. and its analysis is the task of pure philosophy.45 Kant’s concern is two-fold. it needs them in order to analyze natural phenomena mathematically.41 Something can affect our outer senses only through motion.48 However. “nature” designates the totality (Inbegriff) of all things as objects of our senses. As scientific postulates.43 The applied doctrine of motion is empirical. “the metaphysical foundations of natural science. the objects of inner and outer sense. There are two natural realms. enable us to derive the multitude of phenomena that belong to the existence of something from its inner principle by reasoning from ground to consequence.” In the formal sense of the term. Kant’s MAdN analyses metaphysically the concept of matter presupposed by Newtonian physics. “nature” designates the first inner principle of everything that belongs to the existence of something. and must meet Kant’s general standards of scientific knowledge. covers both possible kinds of science.46 Moreover. and indeed only with one of its parts. in particular. as rational principles. natural science is pure or applied doctrine of motion. these metaphysical theses do not receive proper analysis or justification. The scope of Kant’s project is set by the intersection of two senses of “nature. A science.52 Science is pure rational knowledge. if they are not properly distinguished from the fundamental mathematical principles of physics.40 Hence the term that. on Kant’s view. accordingly.42 All other properties belonging to the nature of matter ultimately derive from motion. the possibility of applying mathematics to objects in natural science presupposes principles for the construction of the concepts which belong to the possibility of matter in general. this introduces confusion and uncertainty about the justification of scientific principles and theory. Kant’s concern in the MAdN is with the pure doctrine of motion.III.44 Physics inevitably postulates metaphysical theses about the nature of matter. In the material sense..47 Natural science can be properly scientific only to the extent to which it applies mathematics to its objects. and hence must be known a priori. KANT’S AIM AND METHOD IN THE MAD N. as a distinct discipline which explains and justifies the possibility of mathematical physics. is a systematic whole of knowledge organized according to rational principles. Kant claims.50 Kant’s MAdN provides metaphysical constructions. hence motion is the most fundamental characteristic of an object of outer sense. The pure part of physics as a natural science contains both mathematics and metaphysics.39 Kant contends that the objects of inner sense don’t admit of scientific treatment.54 386 .” can be used to designate its one proper part. together with the principles of these constructions. the metaphysics of corporeal nature.

66 The MAdN provides a complete analysis of the concept of matter in general as the basis of natural science.58 However. the first Critique).60 To provide intuitions a priori for concepts is to construct those concepts. in view of his aim to provide metaphysical constructions of the concept of matter as the movable in space.71 Whether it be a priori. Kant’s metaphysical constructions in the MAdN bring the a priori concepts analyzed in the first Critique. According to Kant.67 To this end.. although the pure philosophy of nature in general. science. relation.61 In this regard. the categories. but it is not. for that only determines the possibility of those concepts. to bear on the intuition of matter in space. since mathematics (on Kant’s view) is rational knowledge through the construction of concepts.69 The completeness of this analysis is guaranteed by the Table of Categories of the first Critique.” The first Critique forms the transcendental part of the metaphysics of nature. which takes the empirical concept of matter and determines the range of rational a priori knowledge of this object. this is the task of pure philosophy.65 The MAdN forms the special part of the metaphysics of nature. and may count as natural history or description of nature.68 This analysis is an actual metaphysic of corporeal nature. in connection with the pure intuitions in space and time. and indeed it is required. the MAdN must be non-empirical.56 and must be independent of the rational principles concerning the use of mathematics in physics. properly speaking. it is merely historical.62 Consequently. and necessity. a pure doctrine of nature about determinate natural things. but only what is found in the isolated empirical concept of matter.. philosophical analysis needs no particular experiences. by treating that concept in connection with the forms of intuition and the categories. or learned by experience. systematicity. the principles of the first Critique).Doctrine based on empirical principles lacks this certainty.59 A priori knowledge of the possibility of things requires that their corresponding intuition is given a priori. formulated independently of the nature of either of the kinds of objects of the senses. where the empirical concept of “matter” is taken in its most austere. viz.72 To each of the four 387 . quality. based on mathematical construction. and modality. does not require mathematics. whatever may be thought about matter must fall under the four functions of thought.63 Kant’s presentation imitates the mathematical method for constructing concepts as closely as time allowed him.57 The MAdN must be a priori. the procedure Kant employs in the MAdN is closely allied to that of mathematics. quantity. is only possible by mathematical means. but not of their objects. to know something a priori is to know it on the basis of its mere possibility. which examines the constitution of the concept of nature in general (viz. such as the doctrine of body given in the MAdN. in accordance with those laws that depend on the concept of nature in general (that is.55 To justify the application of mathematics to the behavior of bodies within physics.70 The Table of Categories sets out the general laws of thought.64 He thinks that the mathematical model is appropriate. a priori knowledge of things cannot be based on mere concepts. minimal sense as “the movable in space.

81 At first glance it may seem that Kant’s first explication of matter in “Dynamics.” treats motion as a pure quantity capable of composition (pure kinematics).79 Kant regards his a priori proofs as an advance over the empirical proofs offered by Newton and other physicists. KANT’S PHORONOMIC BASIS FOR DYNAMICS.” matter is explicated as the movable insofar as it can be an object of experience. Kant initiates his argument against corpuscularism with the first Proposition 388 . The crucial point concerns how each theory explains this resistance. “Dynamics. Through these methods. 3) are that the total quantity of matter remains constant through all changes in corporeal nature. namely.” adds a qualitative characteristic to the concept of matter. Kant proposes to prove a priori three fundamental laws of (broadly Newtonian) mechanics. that every change has a cause.” as something that fills a space by resisting the entry by other bodies into the space it occupies. and Kant’s justification and explanation of each presupposes the preceding explications and the soundness of their justifications. The idea that matter resists penetration of the space it occupies is held in common by corpuscular theories and Kant’s dynamic theory of matter. The three Principles are that substance is permanent through all change. Finally in “Phenomenology. and not the effect of some more basic kind of force.” explicates matter as the movable insofar as it has moving force. or headings in the Table of Categories.”73 The first chapter. “Mechanics. and that causal interaction is reciprocal. The only active forces there are. and determines their modality. The third chapter. and the basic particles of matter are essentially impenetrable.78 Kant’s three laws of “Mechanics” (MAdN ch. where matter fills a space (as distinct from merely occupying it) insofar as it resists any other body that tends to enter that space.74 it treats the relations among moving material bodies.75 This involves treating relative motions in connection with our power of representation as an appearance of outer sense. He does this by applying the three Principles defended in Analogies of Experience in the first Critique to the empirical concept of matter as the movable in space. as that concept is sequentially explicated in each of the chapters of the MAdN.77 Each of these explications is more substantive than its predecessors. In “Dynamics. that every change in matter has an external cause. The second chapter. matter is particulate.” Kant explicates matter as the movable insofar as it fills a space.80 IV. and that action and reaction are equal in all communication of motion. that it has an original moving force. there corresponds a chapter of the MAdN.functions of thought. Each chapter adds a new characteristic to the basic concept of matter as “the movable in space. according to corpuscular doctrine. titled “Phoronomy. Impenetrability is a fundamental property of matter. are forces imparted from without by impact.76 ultimately this provides the metaphysical principles requisite for distinguishing true from apparent motions. This appearance is misleading. According to corpuscularism. simply asserts a dynamic theory of matter. since resistance would seem to be the effect of some sort of causal force.

direction and velocity. and in divergent directions (where the directions of the motions form an angle). whether those motions be of bodies or of other relative spaces. and conversely.” that matter fills a space not simply by existing. Absolute motion is a fiction. Kant is concerned to provide a clear account of the purely quantitative aspects of motions. Because Phoronomy cannot treat motions that have causes. requires examining some of the main aims and doctrines of Kant’s first chapter. in opposite directions. ultimately. that purely quantitative (non-causal) combinations of motions require distinct spaces.88 Kant thus needs to treat combinations of rectilinear motions in the same direction.(Lehrsatz) of “Dynamics.82 Kant’s proof of this proposition rests explicitly on the Proposition proven in “Phoronomy.93 “Motion” is thus relative to what is regarded as stable. beginning with the rates of changes of place (velocity).”83 Unfortunately.86 Consequently. This cannot be achieved by chronometric means. reference frame). the combined motions must be understood as occurring simultaneously.95 Motions occurring at different times are distinct motions. Kant plainly intends to treat motions that can have a physical basis. such as curvilinear motions. “Phoronomy” is a pure kinematics that abstracts from all causal considerations and treats solely the quantitative aspects of motion.90 Kant repeatedly insists that combinations of motions in the same space can only be understood in causal terms.92 A relative space may be treated as “absolute” for purposes of analyzing motions within it. Since Phoronomy treats the combination of motions. which may be either a body or a relative space (or.84 More specifically.85 Kant rightly remarks that it is not self-evident that velocities (quite apart from accelerations) are inherently additive in the way that the extensive quantities of distance or volume are. where we would determine the equal duration of motions occurring at different times and compute their combination. his proof is fallacious and it misrepresents the Phoronomic Proposition. the extensive magnitudes of space traversed (including direction) within an elapsed time. they must be motions of the same point at the same time. “Phoronomy.91 These distinct spaces are relative spaces which. in order to clarify the intensive aspects of motions. Seeing why this is so.87 Although “Phoronomy” abstracts from causes. to provide a conspicuous physical account of the combination of motions effected by actual causes. it is restricted to rectilinear motions (which can be inertial). like modern reference frames. the time that elapses during a motion.” Kant’s aim in “Phoronomy” is to set out the purely quantitative characteristics of motions and their combinations in order. simply because chronometric techniques 389 .89 Since these are supposed to be cases of combined (rather than successive) motions. and the quantitative combination of motions.94 One point that distinguishes Phoronomy from geometry is that Phoronomy includes considerations of time. and absolute space is merely an idea of reason in accordance with which we can construct ever larger. can be understood to move with respect to each other within a larger relative space (or frame of reference). but by a particular moving force. more inclusive relative spaces. and what the implications of this are.

whereas representing those component motions was the very point of the construction. a motion of the relative space in the opposite direction and with the same velocity is represented as being identical with the first motion. the important point for present purposes is why Kant thinks it can only be represented in this manner. (The period of time in which any sub-segment is traversed must be less than the total elapsed time. Kant simply asserts that the thought of combining two such opposed motions of the same point at the same time in the same space is simply impossible. that mathematical measures can be applied to experienced motions. (The problems involved in combining more than two motions reduce to those of combining two motions. no parts of that line segment can represent either of the component motions. otherwise that line segment would not represent the combined velocities of those two motions. because the distances represented by any sub-segments of that line segment cannot themselves be understood as being traversed in the very same period of time as either of the component motions. they are not to produce a third motion. and in diverging directions. Kant’s phoronomic constructions must use simultaneous motions of or within distinct relative spaces. one line segment in a single space cannot represent the combined velocities of the two motions. a line segment in a single space that represents the total distance traversed by the combined motions must be understood as occurring in the same period of time as each of the component motions.97) The two combined motions are motions of the same point. yet each of the component motions lasts the whole elapsed time. and would fail to represent the two component motions themselves. (MAdN 4:490.101) Consequently. namely. would be their result. Consequently. in opposite directions.of any kind presuppose what Kant’s phoronomic constructions are supposed to prove. Kant’s proof of the Phoronomic Proposition is divided into three cases.103 The impossibility apparently lies in the fact that such an intuitive construction would at best present the difference between the two motions. and the two component motions are to be contained in the resultant motion. for these reasons underscore the necessity of distinguishing relative spaces in phoronomic constructions. under physical conditions. Kant’s phoronomic constructions of combinations of motions must allow the two combined motions to occur simultaneously.7–13) It is sufficiently evident that the composition of two motions can be represented by recourse to distinct relative spaces or frames of reference. but instead of the second motion being so represented. In the first case of combining two motions in the same direction. two motions in the same direction. As in 390 . Consequently.99 which.100 Kant summarizes these doctrines in the sole Proposition defended in “Phoronomy:” The composition of two motions of one and the same point can only be thought of by one of them being represented in absolute space.96 Consequently.98 In this way Kant seeks to make intuitively evident a priori the geometrical congruence between the two combined motions and a third motion.102 The second case combines two motions of the same point in opposite directions.

as the product of the two component motions’ mutual alteration. Now. the resistance offered by a matter in the space that fills it to all intrusion by another matter is a cause of the motion of this other matter in the opposite direction. such a construction would present the vector sum of the two component motions. Kant’s proof both begs the question and mis-uses his own Phoronomic Proposition. that force is effective in resisting a motion only through the mediation of a motion in the opposite direction. Kant insists that the point of his phoronomic constructions is that the two component motions should be contained in a third motion.” that matter fills space in virtue of its moving force. attempting to construct such a combination in a single space fails to represent either of the component motions. Kant’s Proposition 1 of Dynamics and its proof are as follows: Proposition 1. I find here no derivation of force from motion – only the recognition that motion can be opposed only by motion. “nothing . . but by a special moving force. nothing can be combined with any motion as lessening or destroying it but another motion of the same movable thing in the opposite direction (phoronomic proposition). James McCall cites most of this passage (beginning with the third sentence. is a motion.17–28. But the cause of a motion is called moving force. 391 . Consequently. not that either of them should be altered nor that they should produce a third. . Once again. . Penetration into a space . the only way to represent the two component motions as being contained in a third motion is to construct the two motions in distinct relative spaces.106 However. recourse to distinct relative spaces is the only way to represent the two component motions and make intuitively evident their congruence with some third motion.14–16. not by its mere existence. At best. Consequently.) Proof. Examining Kant’s use of the Phoronomic Proposition in his proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics reconfirms Tuschling’s charges that Kant here attempts to derive forces from motions. distinct motion. My point in reviewing these doctrines from “Phoronomy” is to show as clearly as possible the problems Kant creates when he cites the Phoronomic Proposition in his proof of the first Proposition of “Dynamics.)105 In response to Tuschling’s critique of Kant’s MAdN. and that this derivation fails.the first case. rather.104 Once again. . (MAdN 4:497. McCall does not examine Kant’s Phoronomic Proposition or what Kant could possible mean by citing it in this proof. The resistance to motion is the reason why motion diminishes or even changes into rest. matter fills its space by moving force and not by its mere existence. The third case combines two motions of the same point in diverging directions. Matter fills a space.”) and states: [Kant] is not arguing here that force is nothing but an opposition of perceptible motions but. (MAdN 4:497.

. they do not serve to introduce forces into Kant’s argument. Hence forces must be introduced by others of Kant’s premises. that “nothing can be combined with any motion as lessening or destroying it but another motion of the same movable thing in the opposite direction. as Tuschling claims.109 Consequently. and specifically excludes any analysis of their causes. not by the Phoronomic Proposition itself. as we have seen. The motions at issue in Kant’s proof that matter has a moving force are entries of material bodies into spaces occupied by other material bodies.” by appeal to the Phoronomic Proposition. they must occur in the same space.110 It may seem that Kant’s proof could be supported. In order for one motion to decrease or destroy another motion. and they certainly do not appear in Kant’s statement of the Phoronomic Proposition. There are two main problems with Kant’s appeal to the Phoronomic Proposition in his proof that matter fills space by its moving force. If they are causal terms. specifically the negative part that aimed to show that combining motions in the way required by phoronomic constructions could not be achieved in a single space. insofar as Kant argues that only by postulating fundamental moving forces can matter be conceived to fill space. equally serious problem with Kant’s citation of the Phoronomic Proposition in this proof. the very point of Kant’s Phoronomic Proposition and its proof was to show that the phoronomic construction of combinations of motions required distinct spaces for each motion. an attempt to derive forces from motions. I shall show below that the other premises cannot do this validly. Consequently. and the doctrine of motion that provides the principles of Kant’s proof is Phoronomy. those two motions must not only be motions of the same body. his inference from changes of motions. nothing can be combined with any motion as lessening or destroying it but another motion of the same movable thing in the opposite direction (phoronomic proposition). In this context. If they are not causal terms. Whether those terms are causal or not.Kant’s “Phoronomy” is a purely quantitative analysis of the direction and velocity of motions. to causes of changes of motion. Kant cites the Phoronomic Proposition in the following way: “. Kant cannot justify their introduction into his proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics by citing the Phoronomic Proposition. Consequently. . they cannot be justified by appeal to the Phoronomic Proposition. In his proof Kant prominently appeals to the Phoronomic Proposition.”107 The most obvious problem is that Kant here speaks of one motion “lessening or destroying” another motion. Kant cannot justify the central premise of his proof. However. “destroying” (aufheben) and “lessening” (vermindern) either are causal terms or they are not. If they are not causal terms. to moving forces as causes of changes of motions.108 Causal terms were explicitly and repeatedly excluded from Phoronomy in general. is. there is another. Kant’s sub-proofs show that combining motions in a single space results in a motion that is their 392 . remove that appeal and his argument is incomplete. but by part of its proof. they cannot serve as the inferential link Kant’s argument needs to show that matter’s resistance to penetration is a cause of its repelling other bodies.

Although these causes must be some sort of “moving causes. Could these sub-proofs be turned into a proof that the motion that results from combining motions in a single space is a causal product of causally active material bodies? No. Kant’s proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics is fallacious. Kant does insist. On the contrary. namely that motions alone do not suffice to justify the introduction of forces. Kant merely asserts that principle without argument. matter fills its space by moving force and not by its mere existence. according to corpuscular doctrine. what would violate the law of contradiction is a piece of matter that lacks impenetrability. the alteration and production at issue in that sub-proof are strictly quantitative. Consequently. Consequently.118 However. Kant is quite right that the law of contradiction doesn’t repel any material bodies. which accounts for that resistance by ascribing impenetrability to matter. and in fact it is not the requisite principle after all.117 The issue is what accounts for that resistance to penetration. the resistance offered by a matter in the space that fills it to all intrusion by another matter is a cause of the motion of this other matter in the opposite direction. Each of Kant’s sub-proofs treats motion in strictly quantitative terms. Kant’s inference. close examination of this claim reveals another fallacy in Kant’s argument. and this prop- 393 . it is not the cause of something’s filling space.”114 in two of the three passages in which Kant makes this claim he rightly indicates that the causes required to combine motions in a single space are “external” causes. those sub-proofs cannot themselves be used to justify the introduction of causal terms into Kant’s proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics. those sub-proofs underscore the original point that appealing to Phoronomic considerations in a proof that matter is invested with moving forces amounts to an attempt to introduce forces on the basis of motions. and it underscores Tuschling’s original criticism of Kant’s proof. and yet is required in order to construct the combination of diverging motions in the same space. “the cause of motion” to which Kant appeals is the cause of something’s moving. that the “alteration” or the “production” of a third motion is excluded from Phoronomy. Kant’s proof ends with the inference that “the cause of a motion is called moving force. in the third sub-proof.”112 does not and cannot follow from the Phoronomic Proposition. mathematical notions. not even if the resistance whereby a body fills a space is part of what enables that body to impart motion to another body (as Kant states both in the immediately preceding premise and in the second sentence). and Kant’s proof does nothing to advance his case against corpuscularism. Instead.product.115 “External causes” are not identical to the “moving force” Kant seeks to show is an essential internal property of matter in the first Proposition of Dynamics and its proof.113 Though this may seem to be the needed principle. that “Consequently. and none of them analyzes the causal etiology of motion.”116 This is a non sequitur. but which does not contain them as components. impenetrability itself is a physical property of matter. It may be suggested that Kant’s proof could be supported instead by his repeated claim that motions can only be combined within a single space by recourse to causes.111 However.

an anonymous review of Kant’s MAdN appeared in the Göttingische Anzeigen von gelehrten Sachen No. previously cited. the problems with his proof are so great that it’s surprising Kant didn’t notice them immediately. never with 394 . Convolut of the opus postumum (Loses Blatt 25). no later than 1787. Here matter is the movable that fills space.erty of a material body is what resists the intrusion by other bodies into the space it occupies. His argument does not show that material bodies in motion. and. Tuschling notes that Kant quoted this passage almost verbatim on one of the loose leafs found with the IV. whatever its source. and nothing can reduce or destroy motion except motion in the opposite direction.122 His transcription is likely have been made shortly after the review would have appeared. To support this the Phoronomic Proposition is cited. As Tuschling notes. Kant read literary reviews avidly and anxiously awaited a response to the MAdN. not by its mere existence. concerning combined motion. Indeed. Matter fills space.121 Adickes dates the leaf only as prior to 1796. but he must have meditated on it long and seriously. He doesn’t comment on the problem on that leaf. but by a moving force – since its resistance to that which tends to enter changes its motion. the problems with Kant’s proof did not escape the notice of one of the first reviewers of the MAdN. simply begs the question against corpuscularism.)120 As we have seen. even if he may have also overlooked something. it does not prove that matter fills space in virtue of an original moving force. The reviewer confesses that he presently doesn’t find the same expressly. The reviewer said the following about Kant’s chapter on “Dynamics:” 2nd Chapter. Kant’s proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics is unsound. 191. On December 2. Kant’s argument does nothing to show that what repels the penetration of a body into the space occupied by another body is a moving (repulsive) force rather than impenetrability. to fill space is to resist everything movable that by its motion tends to enter a specific space.119 Kant’s conclusion. that a moving force is what enables a matter to fill space. Lichtenberg. affect each other’s motion on contact in virtue of internal forces that are essential to matter. whatever may be the external causes of their motion. doesn’t understand how this could follow from the Proposition cited. Kant tried throughout his career to demonstrate some version of the first Proposition of Dynamics. home of the physicist he esteemed so highly. (Phoronomy contains the sole Proposition. A body that moves admittedly remains at one and the same place in absolute space if the plane on which it lies is moved in precisely the opposite direction with the same velocity. Metaphysical Foundations of Dynamics. especially from Göttingen. 1786. but must every persisting at a place be thought in this way? Must a moving force be ascribed to a wall because one cannot proceed past the wall? It is not at all evident how one can base moving force on motion. Kant’s proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics does not contain an adequate answer to this reviewer’s questions. As Adickes noted.

and haven’t considered Adickes’s later retraction of the difficulty. and 395 .129 The action of attraction alone would compress matter into a mathematical point which may be located in space. V.127 Matter fills a space by repelling other things from the space it occupies. that is the kind of causal idiom which he specifically and of necessity excluded from Phoronomy. and it requires motions in the same space. I develop an improved statement of the problem of circularity. space would be left empty.123 One of the questions Kant had to answer when considering the reviewer’s objection is where the ultimate source of his difficulty in demonstrating that matter consists of moving force lies. Repulsive force. Kant did not immediately see why. which was also necessarily excluded from Phornomy. is supposed to be the same in all materials. and that his later dissolution fails. Matter fills space through its moving forces. In the midst of his transcription from the review. both are essential to matter. which acts only at the surface of a matter.128 The action of repulsion alone would dissipate matter throughout space. Even when the reviewer pointed out that Kant’s proof was problematic. critics who have emphasized this problem have relied on Adickes’s initial formulation of it. The space a matter fills is determined by the balance between the attractive and repulsive forces.133 The attractive force. through the mutual limitation of its attractive and repulsive forces.125 Although it is on the right track.)”124 Kant still insisted here on speaking of motion being “abolished. In §VI I show how it reflects adversely onto his constructive metaphysical method. That source becomes more evident after examining a further problem with his theory of matter Kant noticed a few years later.131 Problems arise when Kant tries to specify the volume and density of matter. The aim of Kant’s dynamic theory of matter is to explain the fundamental properties of matter in terms of fundamental moving forces.126 more specifically. THE CIRCULARITY IN KANT’S DEFINITION OF MATTER’S QUANTITY . To do so. I contend that Adickes’s initial formulation is not adequate. and show how fundamental this problem is within Kant’s theory of matter. which Kant ultimately identifies with Newtonian gravitation. Kant inserted a parenthetical note defending his appeal to the Phoronomic Proposition: “(N. Kant’s dynamic theory of matter in the MAdN faces a fundamental problem of circularity.132 Density is a function of the intensity with which the two opposed basic forces fill a region of space. he must describe those forces in such a way that he can preserve the main physical definitions and laws of matter.success.: The phoronomic proposition was cited by me to support the claim that nothing can abolish motion save motion in the opposite direction.130 Hence a material substance exists and fills a space through the interplay of its attractive and repulsive forces. but would not occupy space and so would not exist. While expositors sympathetic to Kant’s MAdN have ignored this problem.” but for reasons just given. and this circularity reflects directly back onto the tenability of his metaphysical approach to constructing the basic concepts necessary for the possibility of matter.B.

without recourse to the corpuscular hypothesis of vacant interstices between otherwise equally dense fundamental particles. but density depends again on the power of attraction. in the ratio of the cube of the distance (and hence of its volume). 376.2.)135 The second passage comes from Kant’s reply to Beck of 16. which can only affect those parts which are in immediate contact (not those at a distance). and thus constitutes the specific differences of density. October 1792. examining them will enable us better to grasp the real dimensions of the problem Kant faces. 2nd ed. Kant seeks to account for different densities of different materials as an original property of those materials. (XI 1st ed.hence only on contact. 1792): [PASSAGE I] The greatest difficulty is to explain how a specific volume of material is possible by the inherent attraction of its parts in the ratio of the inverse square of the distance. The first passage comes from Kant’s remarks on a letter he received from J. Adickes cited the two relevant passages. However. 362. of the volume. my tr. Beck (8. Adickes explains the problem as follows: [ADICKES 1911] This “circle” is also found in the “Metaphysical Elements of Natural Science” and consists in this: gravitational attraction is proportional to mass. Thus the power of attraction depends on density. In his editorial apparatus to Kant’s Reflexionen zur Physik und Chemie. that attraction (universal. But this leads in a certain way to a circle I can’t get out of and which I myself must try to understand still better.35–377. but attractive force on the contrary is not supposed to differ in different materials. my tr. and thus (with equal volumes) is also proportional to density. Kant praises Beck for recognizing the importance of the physical question of explaining differences of density without recourse to vacant interstices. S. only through the “effect and counter-effect of both” of these 396 . density varies in accord with the inverse ratio of repulsion. Newtonian) originally is equal in all materials while only the repulsion of different materials differs. Repulsive force differs in different materials. [in conjunction] with a repulsion. He then states: [PASSAGE II] I would of course set up the solution of this problem as follows. taken in connection with the original repulsive force. In this way. The differences between his accounts are instructive.4. 2nd ed. Sept.134 Kant himself came to think that his analysis was circular. that is. It is always the same degree. Also. along with two different assessments of its severity. But this density is supposed in turn to be dependent upon that same attractive force. and is proportional only to the quantity of the material.)136 Adickes offers two different accounts of Kant’s problem. is supposed to differ in different materials. 348. (XI 1st ed.30–362. 361.

and which on the other hand depends of course again in its degree.. quotation marks indicate Adickes’s quotations from Kant.“basic forces is a determinate degree of the filling of space” and so also the quantity of material “possible” (MAdN 4:521. which on the one hand. by beginning with the repulsive force and saying: the repulsive force that is present in a region of space determines through its degree the amount of attractive force that is possible in that region.. my tr.) In 1911 Adickes thought this problem was genuine and required radical alterations of Kant’s theory.137 I shall argue below that Adickes was right about this. (Kant als Naturforscher §85 [vol. my tr. 397 . constitutes matter and thus also its quantity (mass). (Ibid. the recognition of two distinct kinds of attractive force. together with the repulsive force. on the one hand helps to constitute matter.. I shall argue that this problem is genuine. Once again mass is directly dependent upon the degree of attractive force. my tr. in particular. and also depend on that quantity for determining its strength (in the Newtonian manner according to which gravitational force is directly proportional to mass). and further that the implications for Kant’s method of recognizing two distinct kinds of attractive force are very serious. and on the other hand produces gravitational effects). as gravitational attraction.) Adickes’s 1924 formulation of Kant’s problem (ADICKES 1924A) captures the main point of his 1911 formulation (ADICKES 1911).35–338. (XIV 337. and indeed which presupposes that force? It is in fact a “circle” in which Kant moves . then the circle is altogether undeniable: the presupposition of mass should equally be its consequence. and that it is only one among a knot of closely related problems infecting Kant’s dynamic theory of matter. Adickes subsequently described the circle problem in the following terms: [ADICKES 1924A] If one says: it is one and the same attractive force.4. Thus how could the basic force of attraction be proportional to this quantity. are therefore proportional to each other. . .) In 1924 he thought the solution to the problem required nothing more than redescription: [ADICKES 1924B] But one can also describe the circumstance differently. . and indeed in such a way that this amount always stands in inverse proportion to the repulsive force. . I. 215].7–8). But first we should examine the weakness of Adickes’s later presentation and resolution of the circle problem. according to which gravity cannot both be presupposed by a quantity of matter (as one of the two fundamental forces that constitute that quantity). mass and attractive force (which as one and the same [force]. With this way of regarding and presenting [the issue] one can no longer speak of a circle. which is still undetermined. that it is not relieved by Adickes’s redescription (ADICKES 1924B). from precisely this mass .

Adickes’s 1924 solution to the problem implicitly introduces.The first thing to notice about both of Adickes’s formulations of Kant’s problem (ADICKES 1911. a second kind of attractive force. The strength of the repulsive force within any region of space determines inversely the strength of the attractive force possible within that same region. This introduces another problem of circularity. However. this simple solution omits consideration of density. the original attraction of matter would act in inverse proportion to the square of the distance at all distances and the original repulsion in inverse proportion to the cube of the infinitely small distances. a puzzle of its own. even though the attractive force has two roles. Adickes’s solution introduces. this possibility is just what his 1924 solution (ADICKES 1924B) exploits. Adickes substitutes these latter terms for the former. By such an action and reaction of both fundamental forces. I shall argue that Adickes’s later solution fails. which is what his 1911 solution did explicitly. ADICKES 1924A) is that they diverge from Kant’s statements in an important regard.e. and it introduces a spurious problem about the quantity of matter. Indeed. one as constituting the quantity of matter.4–7) 398 . without explanation. and there is no circularity. without explanation. Perhaps the net effect of these two forces would vary with differences in the repulsive force. In effect. The reasons for this failure afford an improved formulation of Kant’s problem. attractive force and mass are directly proportional. Adickes departs from this (in ADICKES 1924B). but Kant cannot allow that the strength of the attractive force itself varies inversely with the strength of the repulsive force in any region of space. gravity). the other as the source of gravitational attraction.138 In 1924 Adickes suggested that the problem is merely verbal. Most importantly. (MAdN 4:521. because one can specify the relation between the two fundamental forces and mass by beginning with the repulsive force.. but it is merely a corollary to the problem Kant formulates. even though Kant formulates his problem of circularity expressly in terms of density. it inverts the relation between attraction and mass by making mass dependent upon attractive force (i. The passage Adickes cites concerning “the quantity of matter” is the following: Therefore. Kant formulated his problem of circularity in terms of volume and density. In this way. Another shortcoming of Adickes’s 1911 formulation (ADICKES 1911) is that he does not consider the possibility that what might seem to be a circularity is in fact an interdependence. Most importantly. matter would be possible by a determinate degree of the filling of its space. he did not formulate it in terms of mass or the quantity of matter. Although Adickes’s 1911 formulation begins by mentioning volume and density. ultimately nothing about density enters into either of his statements of the problem. he must explain and justify his claim that the strength of the attractive force within a region of space could vary inversely with the strength of the repulsive force. these terms are dropped by the end of his statement. it departs from Kant’s account of attractive force in a significant regard. Kant insists that the attractive force is a constant in all materials. namely the claim that attraction (not density) is inversely proportional to repulsion.

correct.139 He contends that no matter would have moving mechanical forces if it did not have the “original” moving forces explicated in “Dynamics. but it must be explained. it is not decisive. Kant identifies the two of them already within his “Dynamics. While Kant’s view does face a problem like the one Adickes formulates. Kant does not define either the quantity of matter or mass within his chapter on “Dynamics. and density. like the illuminating power of light. This is not accidental.” but does not equate this force with gravity. his original formulation (PASSAGE I) does not do so. Although it seems intuitively obvious that Kant ultimately would have to define (or at least explain) mass and the quantity of matter in terms of the intensity with which a matter fills space. but he does not speak either of the quantity of matter or of mass. in “Dynamics” Kant speaks quite generally of “attractive force. In his original formulation Kant does ascribe to attractive force the familiar inverse square rate of diminution. other forces can have that same rate of diminution. Kant’s problem of circularity does not involve his concepts of the quantity of matter and of mass. that is merely a corollary to the fundamental problem infecting Kant’s dynamic theory. he in fact does not make this connection in the MAdN.146 I speak of “basic matters” to avoid exacerbating the atomistic ten- 399 . Indeed. one attractive and one repulsive. which constitutes mass. and in the first Proposition of Mechanics he insists that the quantity of matter can only be estimated by comparing the motions of different bodies. which are treated only in “Mechanics.” In the second Explication of Mechanics he defines the quantity of matter in terms of the amount of the moveable in a determinate space. and by inserting terms foreign to Kant’s formulation (quantity of matter and mass).143 Consequently.145 (Notice that Kant speaks of the “parts” of a matter in the MAdN and in his notes on Beck’s letter.141 Moreover.”140 but he does not explicitly or directly relate either mass or quantity of matter to the intensity of the “original” forces of attraction and repulsion with which a matter fills its space.” By ignoring the terms in which Kant originally formulated his problem (volume and density). “Mechanics. and does not involve the relation between his “Dynamics” and his “Mechanics.” he defines them only in the next chapter.142 However. Kant holds that the volume of a basic matter is a function of the balance between its fundamental attractive and repulsive forces. he must identify gravitational attraction with his original attractive force. Adickes generated a different problem than what Kant himself formulates. I believe. Kant contends that there can be only two fundamental forces. While Kant himself equates attraction and gravity in his letter to Beck (PASSAGE II). While this may suggest Newtonian gravitation. Adickes insists on treating the “attractive force” involved in Kant’s circularity as a gravitational force. Kant’s problem concerns the relations among the two fundamental forces. volume.” In particular.”144 Kant’s problem of circularity arises strictly within Kant’s dynamic theory of matter. This is. definatory relation into Kant’s account that Kant himself did not formulate.Kant speaks in this passage of the determinate degree to which a matter fills its space. Adickes’s initial formulation (ADICKES 1911) thus inserts a conceptual.

Once Kant’s basic matters are found to fill different spherical volumes of space to the same degree. but the total (scaler) quantity of these forces must be the same in all basic matters. Instead. and such differences are supposed to account for differences in density. One problem is that a different degree of repulsive force will change the spatial determination (the radius of a spherical surface) at which this balance occurs.dency of Kant’s view. too. the repulsive force that balances it cannot change in scaler degree. This strategy cannot work. Because the attractive force is constant. Once Kant is forced to account for differences of density by recourse to different numbers of different sizes of basic matters. while the repulsive force is supposed to differ. in “Mechanics” Kant does define the quantity of material in terms of the “amount” of the moveable found in a specific space. Thus basic matters must all fill their respective spaces to the same (scaler) degree of intensity.151 Because matter is constituted by the balance of two opposed fundamental forces taken as radiating out from a common point.) The only thing that can limit a fundamental force is an opposing fundamental force. Kant’s view would entail that denser materials have more inter- 400 . the volume occupied by those balanced forces will vary inversely with the strength of the repulsive force. that Kant is quite right (in PASSAGE I) that the problem of density arises in connection with the question of how a determinate volume of matter is constituted by the opposition of the two basic powers of attraction and repulsion. his theory generates the same license to speculate for which he so sharply criticized corpuscularism. Kant’s theory of the volume and density of matter as a function of the balance of the two fundamental forces entails that basic matters with different degrees of repulsive force must differ in volume! They will thus also differ in density because a stronger repulsive force will balance the same degree of attractive force within a smaller volume. Now the attractive force is supposed to be constant in all materials. Spheres do not conjoin into larger volumes without either large distortions or vacant interstices.148 Kant’s dynamic theory of matter thus leads quickly in the direction of either corpuscular atomism or physical monadology. Kant will be forced to account for differences in density between the equal volumes of materials of different densities in terms of the different number of basic matters contained in each respective volume of material.149 Notice. both of which he sought to avoid. In fact. but not the scaler intensities of the forces involved.147 The volume or the space a basic matter fills must be a sphere whose radius is determined by the distance from their center point at which the two fundamental forces balance each other. On the latter option. This is absolutely not the result Kant sought or claimed. The balance between the two forces is struck at whatever point their respective strengths are equal (though opposed). however much it may change in intensity. he claimed to have a theory according to which the same sized basic matters could differ in density. these basic matters must be spherical.150 but he does not seem to recognize that he must treat this “amount” in terms of a number of discrete spherical basic matters.

Moreover.152 On the former option. and both would vary directly with density (for any given volume).156 He claims that the power of repulsion is a superficial force. effected by all the parts of a material body and effective immediately (without contact) through all of space.153 Kant can only avoid the other result. and effected by only those parts of the bodies that are in contact. and another that is responsible for gravitational attraction.stices of smaller volume than do less dense materials of equal total volume. Gravitational attraction would then have to be a second kind of basic power of attraction. the attractive force responsible for the basic constitution of matter would have to vary directly with the absolute value of the repulsive force. effective only at the surface of contact between bodies. Consider again the elements in Kant’s first formulation. that different materials with different densities will consist of different sizes of basic matters. I do not see any way for Kant to avoid the result that his basic matters are spheres which either form interstices when compounded into larger volumes of matter. which in turn depends on attraction. but there they are. speculation must abound about the processes through which or the functions according to which these distortions and combinations occur.157 He also ascribes to it an inverse cube rate of diminution. I shall argue shortly that admitting two fundamental kinds of attractive force is tantamount to admitting the untenability of Kant’s constructive metaphysical methods (§VI).158 Hence the power of repulsion varies directly with volume. Kant’s dynamic theory of matter looks little or no better than corpuscularism. First we need to be quite clear about why Kant is forced to admit two different kinds of attractive powers. For bridling speculation.159 Kant says (in PASSAGE I) that his “greatest difficulty” lies in explaining how a specific volume of matter is possible on the basis of the balance between 401 . Kant’s theory of matter requires that the two basic forces differ in certain regards if they are to make matter possible. according to which originally spherical basic matters form larger solid materials through distortion of their spherical forms. one that depends directly upon density and volume. and they are just as vacant as the corpuscular interstices Kant sought to banish for not being objects of possible experience. they must diminish with distance at different rates.155 He also ascribes to it a rate of decrease that is the inverse of the square of the distance it extends.” and formulates a circularity: attraction depends on density. Interstices may not be explanatory on this account. If they are not simply to neutralize one another altogether. one that is responsible for the basic constitution of matter. Clarifying this point requires answering the original question. or which must undergo radical changes of shape when compounded. they must act differently and. What exactly was Kant’s problem with circularity? How does density figure into that problem? Notice that PASSAGE I speaks of “the greatest difficulty. Kant’s reference to the “greatest” difficulty suggests that Kant is troubled by more than one problem. by distinguishing two different kinds of attractive force. Kant thinks.154 Kant claims that the power of attraction is a penetrating force.

density and volume are functions of the original repulsive and attractive forces. introducing this concept helps to show clearly the nature of the metaphysical problem Kant faces. while density and volume are functions of the absolute values of both of the original attractive force and the repulsive force. of course. On Kant’s theory. gravitational attraction cannot be identified with the original attractive force that constitutes any quantity of matter. Hence. It is important here to distinguish which quantities are proportional to which others. and within a given volume mass is proportional to density. to preserve the Newtonian principle that gravitational attraction is proportional to mass. on his theory. density should be directly proportional to the combined absolute value of the intensities of these two forces. The definition and symbolism for absolute value (the value of a magnitude irrespective of its sign) had not been developed in Kant’s day. while functions are asymmetrical (non-convertible) dependencies.161 Kant’s problem must lie in his fundamental metaphysical concepts and constructions. on the contrary. However. those laws belong to mathematical physics. Kant must distinguish between gravitational attraction and the original power of attraction that. gravitational attraction cannot be identified with the original attractive force that helps constitute any quantity of matter. deriving from and dependent on the two supposed fundamental forces of original attraction and original repulsion. density should indeed be directly proportional to the combined absolute value of the intensities of the two fundamental forces that counterbalance each other in any basic matter. On the general principles of Kant’s dynamic theory of matter. by the Newtonian physical principles whose metaphysical basis he sought to provide. within a specific volume. the power of attraction must be a function of density. gravitational attraction is a function of density and volume. it is a “derivitive” force. This is because. since proportions are symmetrical (strictly. Kant’s problematic is set. Therefore. the power of attraction is proportional to mass. One historical point needs to be set aside in order to appreciate the metaphysical difficulty facing Kant’s dynamic theory.162 It may seem that Kant’s problem rests on a simple oversight. to retain the Newtonian equation. The problem with this result for Kant is that 402 . This is contrary to Kant’s official view. according to which density is supposed to be a function of the balance of the two fundamental powers. According to Newtonian principles. combines with the original repulsive power to determine the basic quantity of matter. not to metaphysics. In this way.160 This difficulty cannot lie in specifying the laws according to which these two powers function. However. Consequently. On Kant’s view. This is because the original attractive force is only one of the two forces of which gravitational attraction is a function. introducing the concept of absolute value won’t solve Kant’s problem at this point.163 However. density should be a function of the degree to which a given region of space is filled by mutually counterbalancing attractive and repulsive forces. gravity is not an “original” force of matter.these two powers. they are convertible) relations. and which are functions of which others.

However. As shown above. Adickes’s original 1911 conclusion that Kant can only avoid the problem of circularity by distinguishing two kinds of fundamental attractive force. and its effectiveness is neutralized outside the spherical limit of the basic matter. and demoting gravity to a derivitive power. and not on mass (as Adickes does in his formulations). and it is exactly counter-balanced by the power of attraction at the spherical limit of the volume of any basic matter. The power of repulsion is effective only in contact. Kant thought he could show that Newtonian principles required ascribing gravity directly and essentially to matter. Kant’s problem with density directly raises the problem of circularity. Kant must introduce yet another attractive force to account for the cohesion of pieces of matter that comprise a plurality of basic material parts.Kant sought to improve on Newton’s official agnosticism about whether gravity is essential to matter. Hence the problem of density broaches the problem of circularity. Within Kant’s theory of matter in the MAdN. the basic constitutive power of repulsion is a superficial force. all material bodies consist of microscopic material corpuscles. Recognizing these points requires rejecting the theory of matter propounded in the MAdN. Kant’s argument in “Dynamics” fails of one of its main aims. and in the MAdN Kant tried to show this. for the reason just given.164 However. this reconfirmation relies solely on the concepts at issue within Kant’s “Dynamics. According to corpuscularism. and along with it the metaphysical method undergirding that theory (see §VI). Consequently. he can only do this by rejecting his view in the MAdN that the basic power of attraction is the same in all materials. This largely confirms. his proof requires that gravity is the one and only fundamental (or “original”) attractive force essential to matter. thought also modifies. since solving the problem of density requires admitting that the original power of attraction differs in different materials just as does the power of repulsion. 403 . (I disagree with Adickes. which requires distinguishing two different kinds of attractive power.” it does not require the spurious appeal to Kant’s definitions of mass and of the quantity of matter that is central to Adickes’s formulations.) However. Once this is admitted.166 The failure of Kant’s theory of matter in the MAdN to account for density is a very serious set-back for his dynamism. Kant recognized that a major support of corpuscularism lay in its apparently simple account of density. that gravity can still be counted as a fundamental force.165 Hence Kant’s remarks about the importance – especially given his overall theory of matter – of the questions of cohesion and rigidity. Density is central to Kant’s problem because Kant sought to explain how equal volumes of different basic matters could differ in density. Consequently. Thus is it understandable that Kant should focus on density in his note and in his letter to Beck (PASSAGES I and II). it is virtually impossible not to recognize that gravitational attraction is a function of both of these powers. A closely related implication is worth noting here. The problem of circularity in his anlysis of density shows that he cannot maintain this identity.

167 Kant recognized that to undermine corpuscularism it sufficed to provide a theory of matter that could account for density without appealing to hypothetical vacant interstices. Each of the two problems with Kant’s “Dynamics. The connecting link between them is the empirical concept of matter as the movable in space.170 To sever that connection would require replacing the MAdN with an entirely different link between the general metaphysics of the first Critique and empirical physics. Kant must give up his reliance on points in space imbued with causal powers if he is to maintain his view that matter is essentially continuous rather than discrete.168 Unfortunately. in Reflexion 44 of the Reflexionen zur Physik und Chemie. Kant’s constructive metaphysical method cannot admit more than two fundamental forces. which he ascribes to the aether.169 Kant mentions the aether only occasionally in the MAdN. since it is based on individual points in space. and that his theory provided a better basis for physical research. and it plays no constitutive role in his published theory of matter. This is no accident.171 Ultimately Kant was forced by these problems to forge an entirely different link between transcendental philosophy and physical science. VI. Their combined effect is to show that Kant’s metaphysical method is untenable. As Adickes showed. Kant’s dynamic theory can only account for density by admitting that there are two distinct powers of attraction. admitting two kinds of attractive power and demoting gravity to a derivitive status doesn’t solve the other problem I have stressed. For reasons I examine below (§VI).” his fallacious introduction of forces and the circularity in his definition of the quantity of matter. and that gravity is a derivitive. He claimed that his dynamic theory of matter did just that. However. not a fundamental. power. namely that Kant’s dynamically characterized points generate material spheres which cannot compound without either interstices or severe and speculatively unlimited distortion. Kant explicitly distinguished two kinds of attractive power in 1775–77 (about 10 years before the MAdN). which Kant treats as a point ultimately imbued with dynamic powers. reflect adversely on Kant’s metaphysical method in the MAdN. I now turn to the systematic ramifications of Kant’s problems with the MAdN. Whatever may have been Kant’s influence on the development of field theory. in PASSAGES I and II. interspersed with varying proportions of vacant interstices. To show why. and gravitational attraction.which are absolutely dense and rigid. as Kant came to see in 1792. one attractive and one repulsive. However. Though his analysis of pure kinematics in “Phoronomy” remains intact. the dynamic theory of the MAdN cannot account for density at all. THE SYSTEMATIC RAMIFICATIONS OF KANT’S PROBLEMS WITH THE MAD N. at the very least he 404 . Kant’s dynamic conception is not a field concept. where he distinguishes between basic constitutive power of attraction. Kant must rely on points in space if he is to retain any hope of basing his dynamics in his transcendental epistemology.

My first main objection to Kant’s dynamic analysis of matter (§IV) is this: The invalidity of Kant’s proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics. Let’s see why.” that matter is the movable in so far as it possesses moving force. A FURTHER CIRCULARITY IN KANT’S ARGUMENT. even if those bodies are Kant’s basic “matters. that matter fills space by virtue of its moving force of repulsion. For all of his qualifications on the metaphysical constructability of the concept of matter. This point can be reinforced by noticing a further circularity in Kant’s argument. they can either approach or recede from one another. brings the categories to bear on the forms of intuition. in connection with the elementary empirical concept of matter as the movable in space.174 presupposes his 405 . and that two points can only move in two directions with regard to one another. The fact that Kant must distinguish gravity from his basic attractive force. they can either approach or recede from one another.” is gravity. of pure motions. only these two fundamental forces are conceivable.” his metaphysical construction. “Mechanics. Each kind of basic motion is accounted for by each kind of basic force. it is evident that Kant’s quasi–geometrical reasons for maintaining that there can be only two fundamental forces are specious. VII.needs an entirely new link between it and dynamic forces. shows that considerations of Phoronomy. and on his own constructions of it. Kant argues. the power of attraction between bodies.173 Once Kant is forced to acknowledge that gravity is distinct from his basic attractive force. This is because his basic argument for there being only two basic kinds of force turns on the two possible alterations of spatial relation between two basic matters. yet gravity must ultimately be distinct from the (alleged) basic power of attraction said to be constitutive of the very possibility of matter. because gravity is a function of that basic force plus the basic repulsive force. Resolving the circularity in Kant’s analysis of density thus severs the relation between his argument to show that there can be only two fundamental forces constitutive of matter and his arguments to show that those fundamental forces are basic forces of attraction and repulsion. Kant’s explication of matter in the third chapter. Kant infers. follows from the fact that matter can be treated as a moving point. and a new way of basing a theory of matter on those forces. and the serious prospect that he must posit yet another attractive power to account for cohesion. attraction and repulsion. Kant claimed it sufficed for his purposes to present the filling of space as a dynamic property of matter. reflects adversely on Kant’s constructive metaphysical method.) Kant contends that these constructive grounds suffice to demonstrate that only two basic moving forces of matter are possible. do not suffice to justify ascribing forces to motions. However. Each basic force is supposed to account for one of these basic relative motions. Consequently. certainly not within the constraints of Kant’s a priori metaphysical constructions. (See §III above.172 Kant’s “presentation. This conclusion.

neither matter would impart motion to the other if they did not both possess an original repulsive or attractive force. but it treated another matter as being in motion.182 The two problems of circularity show that Kant’s metaphysical methods in the MAdN do not even suffice to establish the basic terms of Kant’s dynamic theory of matter. and Principles of the first Critique – that matter fills space by virtue of original moving forces. VIII. he could only suggest possible lines for constructing such important characteristics of matter as density. by considerations of motion – by constructing the minimal empirical concept of matter as the movable in space in accordance with the Categories.explication in “Dynamics. rigidity. In either case. through which alone it can convey motion to other movable things. the two powers of attraction and repulsion. If Kant can distinguish between Dynamics and Mechanics by specifying which matters are at rest and which are in motion. a matter in motion impacting on and rebounding from a matter at rest in his proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics.179 Kant’s proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics may have treated one body as being at rest. cohesion. impacting on the matter at rest and then rebounding from it. what is at rest and what moves is merely a function of one’s frame of reference. INTERIM CONCLUSIONS. forms of intuition.180 As Kant’s Remark on the Mechanical explication of matter shows. but his analysis of density shows that gravity cannot be identified with the fundamental constitutive force of 406 .” that matter fills space by virtue of its moving force.178 The problem with this way of distinguishing between the dynamic properties of stationary matter and the mechanical properties of matter in motion is that.176 Kant insists that nothing movable would have moving force if it were not effective in the space it occupies in virtue of an inherent force. while the force of a moving matter enables it to communicate (mitteilen) motion. according to Kant’s own phoronomic doctrine.181 Only Kant’s analysis of forces of moving matters in Mechanics could justify his use and interpretation of the second matter (the one that moves) in his proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics. the mere Dynamic concept of matter could regard matter as being at rest. then he cannot appeal to the effect of. An analysis of density is essential to Kant’s purposes of opposing corpuscularism. whether repulsive or attractive. If he relinquishes the distinction between Dynamics and Mechanics based on matters being at rest or being in motion. then he has no independent Dynamic principles to which to appeal in Mechanical explication of matter.177 Kant claims that repulsion is an original moving force by which a matter imparts (erteilen) motion. or the effects on. Kant admitted that. or friction. on the basis of his constructive metaphysical methods.175 However. Kant’s constructive metaphysical method fails to demonstrate. in contrast to the Mechanical explication. examining his justification for the Mechanical explication of matter shows that he implicitly appealed to Mechanical considerations in his proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics! Kant states that.

Apart from Kant’s architectonic views of the relation between the first Critique. explicating the minimal empirical concept of matter as the movable in space in accordance with the four moments of the Table of Categories and the two forms of intuition.188 Kant now 407 . pace Kant’s hope and aim. Kant finally recognized that dynamical principles and the concepts of force they employ simply cannot be “constructed. These problems are a deep blow to the Critical philosophy.” escapes unscathed. “Phoronomy. so far as possible. Two main implications for Kant’s project in the MAdN are evident. the failure of Kant’s arguments for introducing forces into his analysis entails that only the first chapter. and might well require revising transcendental idealism itself.185 Second. for his analysis of spatial regions and motions there show how to replace Newton’s absolute space with a constructive procedure for defining frames of reference. Bringing the categories to bear on the forms of intuition and the minimum empirical concept of matter as the movable in space in the way Kant proposes is not sufficient for defining the dynamic “possibility” of matter. First. is just what one should expect in an effort to apply the first Critique to natural science while maintaining a philosophical claim to a priori analysis. for (as Tuschling has emphasized) Kant claimed that the first Critique was essential for the systematic grounding of natural science. The failure of this constructive method would require serious re-consideration of the relevance of transcendental idealism to natural science. Thus it is no surprise that Kant only made one crucial step after several years of reflection. Kant’s metaphysical method in the MAdN affords no insight into the “inner possibility” of things.183 and because its arguments are supposed to be cumulative. Constructive analysis of bodies in motion cannot justify the introduction of basic forces that constitute the “possibility” of matter. with his constructive metaphysical method must be rejected. We know he discovered the circularity in his definition of the quantity of matter around January 1792.”187 Concomitant with this. This is not insignificant. Not until the third quarter of 1798 did Kant take the decisive step that resolves both the question-begging proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics and the circularity in his definition of the quantity of matter. and (because of the cumulative structure of Kant’s analysis) they cannot justify principles of mechanics. and empirical physics he hoped to defend.attraction. the failure of his proof of the first Proposition of Dynamics entails that the MAdN provides no a priori justification of the kind Kant envisaged of any principles of mechanics. RESOLVING THE PROBLEMS WITH THE MAD N.186 Now Kant’s constructive metaphysical method. Kant’s effort to imitate the mathematical method. Forces must be taken as basic. this metaphysical approach does not appear to be necessary either. the MAdN.184 IX. Kant recognizes that the MAdN only amounted only to Phoronomy. and of the a priori structure of a rational science in general. Presumably Kant saw the critical review of the MAdN in 1787.

demotes mathematics from a model to be imitated in metaphysics to a mere auxiliary aid. Three basic problems confronting transcendental idealism that stem from the problems with the MAdN discussed above may be briefly indicated. Second. Thus it is not surprising that “idealism” and Kant’s arguments for it (primarily in the Transcendental Aesthetic and the first Antinomy) play an ever diminishing role in the opus postumum.” and not the “doctrine of body” it had claimed and intended.”190 Förster points out that Kant recognized that he must addresss a further problem. complete the schematism by bringing the categories to bear on outer intuitions. because those forces are necessary for the means 408 . but the specifically metaphysical principle that every physical event has an external cause. there is no place for Kant’s proposed “Transition from the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science to Physics” within the framework of the classical Critical corpus of the three Critiques plus the Prolegomena and MAdN. However. but omits space.191 As Tuschling has shown.192 Hence the very fact that Kant contemplates a “Transition” at all indicates that he thinks something is seriously wrong with the Critical Philosophy. he realized in the late 1780's or early 1790's that cohesion is necessary for the existence of bodies. First. To fill this gap is the main (though reivsed) aim of Kant’s “Transition” project. certainly for the existence of the macro-scale bodies studied by physical mechanics. As noted above.189 This demotion. I have argued elsewhere that the principle Kant actually needs in the Analogies of Experience is not the general causal principle that every event has a cause.194 Kant only formulates this distinction. especially the version set out in the nearly complete manuscript known as “Übergang 1–14. Kant’s shift toward realism is further supported by the point emphasized by Buchdahl and Philip Kitcher. and the consequent reduction of the MAdN to Phoronomy. that the tenable portions of Kant’s views on the systematic principles of science are quite independent of his idealism. This marks a very serious shortcoming of Kant’s transcendental idealism. Hence Kant needed to develop a more thorough analysis of matter in order to provide a metaphysical foundation for physics. The utter failure of the MAdN to justify forces. now opens up a “gap” in Kant’s critical philosophy. in the MAdN.195 Kant came to see that the mathematical expression of forces presupposes those forces as fundamental. in effect. and its concomitant rejection of the metaphysical method of the MAdN. Eckart Förster and Karen Gloy have pointed out that the Schematism of the first Critique only considers time. recall Tuschling’s point that the MAdN formed a test case for applying the systematic organizing principles of the first Critique to natural science. The MAdN. in the MAdN Kant regarded cohesion as a secondary concern. it provided only an analysis of “matter in general. Kant must find an entirely new way to relate the system of categories of the first Critique to physics. Because the MAdN provided no account of cohesion. and he only defends this specific metaphysical principle. entails that Kant’s Critical system has no adequate justification of any of these three crucial doctrines.193 Finally.

such as balance scales. According to Friedman. doctrines. Yet the very existence and functioning of instruments of measure. for constructing frames of reference from regions of space and motions of bodies within them. and the MAdN in terms of Newtonian science.199 These are very surprising. adapted from Newton’s Principia Book III. X.of measurement through which alone their mathematical relations can be determined. that the understanding prescribes laws to nature.” realize the principles of the three Analogies of Experience by specifying their application to the empirical concept of matter as “the movable in space. August 1799–April 1800) a new doctrine of “self-positing. CRITIQUE OF FRIEDMAN .198 If this is so. His reason for this is that only by its moving force can matter affect our sensory organs.196 Forces are basic. but its reality is no longer merely “empirical reality. presuppose dynamic forces. then our sensory organs must themselves be (at least in part) material causes. We perceive ourselves and objects through our dynamic interaction. The existence of a continuous dynamic field of physical forces is conditionally necessary for the possibility of self-conscious experience. Quantities of force and matter can only be determined by measurement. the law of gravity has a mixed status because it is derived from a priori laws of the understanding (specifically the principles of the Analogies) and of sensibility (Euclidean geometry) together with the empirical data of experience (Tycho and Kepler). and surprisingly naturalistic. in order that those instruments (and their parts) have a form and function at all. Michael Friedman has recently criticized Tuschling’s and Förster’s analyses. such as cohesion. especially for those accustomed only to the “classical Criticism” of the three Critiques.200 My only aim has been to show that these quite surprising doctrines are legitimate responses to genuine problems infecting the Critical epistemology.” according to which we can only identify perceptible objects in space if we first identify ourselves as physiological beings who are centers of active force.” This is Kant’s new “transcendental dynamics. the three laws of motion defended in Kant’s third chapter. I close my defense of their interpretation of Kant’s late work with a brief reply to Friedman’s objections.204 The immediacy and universality of 409 . This leads Kant to develop a transcendental argument for realism–-for the reality of forces and their fields.201 To do so he interprets the Transcendental Analytic of Kant’s first Critique in terms of MAdN. in both the first Critique and in the Prolegomena.203 Within Kant’s procedure. Eckart Förster has shown that along with Kant’s transcendental dynamics comes (ca. Friedman aims to understand Kant’s claim.” thereby schematizing them sufficiently to apply to objects of experience. It is not my aim to explore them further here. “Mechanics.”197 Its implications for the analysis of ourselves as knowing subjects stem from thinking through the implications of Kant’s basis for regarding moving force as the fundamental property of matter.202 Kant’s MAdN replaces Newton’s postulates of absolute space and time with a procedure.

sometimes it concerns a systematically organized whole of empirical knowledge.213 He also contends that the laws of fundamental forces. Friedman’s interpretation of the MAdN ignores Kant’s metaphysical method.208 One must be very careful interpreting Kant’s use of the term “experience. and mounting an a posteriori “boot-strap” argument (in Glymour’s sense) for the immediacy and universality of gravitational attraction. The former sense is prominent in the Analogies of Experience.211 Friedman’s version of Kant’s reconstruction of Newton has Kant appealing to Tycho’s data about planetary orbits.205 Friedman’s reconstruction cannot represent Kant’s position or argument. he was not entitled to it. applying these principles is necessary in order first to identify planets and their apparent motions.210 Kant’s further specification of this concept is to be entirely a priori. on the basis of which alone Newton was able to develop his gravitational theory.206 indeed. only the latter can be at issue in the final chapter of the MAdN. and objects that undergo non-spatial changes of state. objects that move. its validity can bee seen by noting Friedman’s shifting treatment of this issue.209 Second. and in particular.” sometimes it concerns self-conscious experience of spatio-temporal objects. is supposed to follow from the analyses of the first 410 . The principles of the Analogies are jointly necessary to identify co-existing objects. they are necessary presuppositions for determining the true motions of material bodies. they are necessary to determine even the apparent time series in our sensory apprehension. “Phenomenology. In his first “briefest sketch” of the relation between Kant’s philosophy of science and Newton’s physics.gravitational attraction are not merely empirical properties of matter known inductively. These principles are necessary for collecting Tycho’s data and for formulating Kepler’s laws. The only empirical element in the MAdN is supposed to be the empirical concept of matter as the moveable in space. the law of universal gravitation. or even our instruments and records of astronomical observation.207 Consequently. and hence are conditions for the possibility of objective experience of them. and he would be guilty of inverting the very priority of metaphysics over physics whose legitimacy and fruitfulness he sought to establish. which Friedman calls a transcendental argument. My charge may seem incredible. Kant’s Analogies of Experience cannot be so closely tied to or dependent upon Newtonian physics as Friedman repeatedly insists. First. even if the MAdN serves as a schematism of the Categories with respect to outer intuition. Friedman noted that Kant’s three Laws of Mechanics are supposed to follow from the Principles of the Analogies of the first Critique together with the metaphysical explication of “the empirical concept of matter” developed in MAdN.” Friedman conflates them. but they are not and cannot be required for applying the principles of the Analogies in order to make self-conscious experience of objects possible. The laws of motion may be necessary for distinguishing true from apparent motions.212 If Kant made such an argument in the MAdN.

Only in the MAdN does Kant propound his Critical metaphysical method. Thus it is little surprise to find his effort to do so in this first “briefest sketch” superceded by an extended (and very interesting) analysis of Prolegomena §38. a chapter whose subject is the transformation of appearances [Erscheinungen] into experience [Erfahrung]. but he does not undertake that transformation itself. I believe. is that the Prolegomena was published in 1783. In Kant and the Exact Sciences Friedman admits the following: There is a serious problem facing [my] reconstruction of Kant’s procedure [in the MAdN]. as in [Newton’s] Principia.] Phenomenology. which was then incorporated into his book.Critique and the MAdN.” To be sure. Kant purports to treat the metaphysical principles required for transforming appearances into experience. however. Book III – does not explicitly occur in Kant’s text.215 Friedman mistakes the subject of Kant’s chapter on “Phenomenology. three years before the MAdN. are so far merely appearances . Kant begins with the purely relative motions which. . The problem is that even in this preliminary essay. 411 . is correct. because he cannot. or for distinguishing true from apparent motions. as such. in conjunction with the empirical regularities formulated in Galileo’s and Kepler’s laws. one should expect that Kant does not take the step Friedman thinks is missing from Kant’s chapter on Phenomenology.” as is stated in the full title to the chapter. although Kant refers to Newton’s Scholium to the Definitions.214 This much. Kant does have Newton’s procedure in mind. Friedman says: Now. in Prolegomena §38 Kant need not restrict himself to explicating metaphysically the mere empirical concept of matter. (149) Given Kant’s methodological restriction in the MAdN to the a priori analysis of the empirical concept of matter. Friedman’s effort to insert that “transformation” into Kant’s chapter on “Phenomenology” is a forced fit. For the most interesting and important step in this reconstruction – the step that proceeds from the observable (Keplerian) relative motions in the solar system to the law of universal gravitation and the center of mass frame of the solar system.216 One important thing to note. but Kant’s chapter treats the “metaphysical foundations of phenomenology. however. In fact. . if I am not mistaken. given his restriction of the MAdN to the metaphysical analysis of the empirical concept of matter. This is to say. it is just this Newtonian procedure for constructing the center of mass frame of the solar system that Kant has in mind in the final chapter (Phenomenology) of [the MAdN]. in which he recognizes the Kant’s methodological restriction of the scope of his metaphysical foundations of natural science to the explication of the empirical concept of matter. he does not explicitly refer to Book III at all in the [fourth chapter.

his problem with introducing forces on the basis of motions. Friedman provides no reasons against Tuschling’s and Förster’s original contention that making this distinction is necessary to solve a crippling circularity infecting Kant’s theory of matter in the MAdN. that the MAdN can only explicate a priori the empirical concept of matter. Against Tuschling and Förster. He also provides no reasons against Tuschling’s and Förster’s original contention that this distinction enables Kant to formulate the problem facing his fallacious argument for the first Proposition of Dynamics.”217 Of course Kant has Newton’s derivations and their problems in mind – and much of what Friedman says about the particulars of Kant’s concerns is of great interest – but Kant does not provide a metaphysical alternative to Newton’s derivations within the MAdN. prior to the publication of the MAdN) to empirical physics proper. But if he did sketch such derivation in the Prolegomena. no empirical data are thus admissible.218 Friedman claims that Kant’s distinction between mathematical and dynamical moving forces is instead to be understood in the context of the debate “between the corpuscular or mechanical natural philosophy and the Newtonian natural philosophy. forces are only the effect of motion imparted from without.Because that step requires appeal to empirical data. Friedman charges that Kant’s supposed problem with the circularity in his definition of the quantity and density of matter cannot be of great importance to Kant’s “Transition” project because the circularity is not mentioned in the opus postumum.220 Friedman is surely right that this historical context is important to understanding Kant’s coming to distinguish mathematical from dynamical moving forces. The bootstrap argument Friedman attributes to Kant to show that gravity is an essential 412 . Merely citing this general scientific context does not explain why Kant modeled metaphysics on mathematics in the MAdN (1786). Perhaps that step can be admitted in Prolegomena §38. Friedman’s reconstruction of Kant’s procedure in the MAdN is fundamentally flawed. then he overstepped the bounds of the Critical philosophy in order to illustrate the application of his Critical principles (which were not fully developed then.” namely. Friedman ignores Kant’s strenuous warning in the Preface to the MAdN not to mix the boundaries of distinct “sciences. that is. Kant indicates that this is the context of his view of the relation between mathematics and metaphysics in the General Remark to “Dynamics. and it is no surprise that Friedman turned his attention there. is that nowhere in Kant and the Exact Sciences does Friedman mention or refer to the methodological restriction of the MAdN to which he himself referred in his first “briefest sketch. Because he ignores this restriction.”219 According to corpuscular theory. the likes of which he may have sketched in Prolegomena §38.” in which he compares and contrasts the corpuscular and dynamic hypotheses. forces internal to bodies are the cause of their relative motions. However. on “Newtonian” theory. and why in 1798 he rejected the mathematical model. What is surprising. he simply analyzes the metaphysical principles he thinks are provided by the Critical philosophy and are required by some such derivation. that step has no place in the MAdN.

Friedman does not address the point highlighted by Förster. Friedman is in no position to justify his (mistaken) claim that the opus postumum merely extends Kant’s theory of matter by addressing points left open in the MAdN concerning cohesion. to be sure. and this seems to be what Friedman has done.228 Third. but Friedman gives inadequate evidence that these are the issues driving Kant’s explorations in the opus postumum. and that he keeps stressing the “tendency” of the MAdN towards “physics. because he pays so little attention to Kant’s metaphysical method and theory of matter in the MAdN.229 Friedman’s interpretation makes it puzzling why Kant focuses on physics and repeatedly formulates his project in terms of a transition to physics.226 Yet Friedman doesn’t consider the fact that in the Critique of Pure Reason the distinction between constitutive and regulative principles is already problematic. too.227 Second. and because he is cavalier about Kant’s doctrines in the first Critique.225 These are genuine issues. chemical forces. of matter would.” and that he extensively discusses this tendency and transition to physics without mentioning chemistry or biology.” First. Friedman’s stress on these principles that are both regulative and constitutive is at odds with the “top down” constitutive procedure Kant repeatedly ascribes to his proposed Übergang. for Kant ascribes a regulative role to the supposedly constitutive principles of the understanding that are defended in the Analogies. Friedman disregards Kant’s theory of matter in the MAdN. there is a serious “gap” in Kant’s Critical philosophy.230 Finally. etc. it is virtually assured that Friedman is in no position to grasp the 413 . Friedman doesn’t come to grips with those problems because he disregards Kant’s metaphysical method in the MAdN. How can the “top down” constitutive procedures of the Transcendental Analytic and MAdN be coördinated with the “bottom up” reflective procedures of scientific investigation analyzed in the Transcendental Dialectic and Third Critique? Without a guarantee that these two approaches converge. solidification. Kant cannot propound such an argument within the methodological constraints of the MAdN. by-pass these problems.222 Consequently.223 Kant must reconsider at least the problem of density. and in particular in “Übergang 1–14. of course. for the reasons given above.221 Apart from Kant’s general aim to show that gravity is an essential property of matter. that Kant first speaks of the purported “gap” in the Critical system in direct connection with divorcing metaphysics from mathematics. Friedman treats Kant’s proposed “Transition” project instead in view of two main problems: How can the experimental sciences of chemistry or heat be systematic and be integrated with mathematical physics?224 and. Physics should not be stressed so often or so centrally if the MAdN was tenable and if Kant’s problem was only to relate physics with the other new physical sciences. his sole evidence that Kant is concerned about coördinating regulative with constitutive procedures is Kant’s mention of principles that are both regulative and constitutive. once he saw that his theory of matter in the MAdN could not account for density at all. However.

15–22. 9. MAdN 4:472. On occasion.1–4. the dramatic turn he takes in 1798 stems directly from problems he first saw in 1787 and 1792. 2.4. “Kant’s Metaphysics of Nature” (in: D. see Lothar Schäfer. 473. MAdN 4:525. Kants Metaphysik der Natur (Berlin: de Gruyter. I adopt the phrase “post-critical” from Eckart Förster. Martin’s. Though incomplete.g.” I give the usual A/B designations of the first and second editions of the first Critique. MAdN 4:472.4–7. 8. 285–304).).13–15. and line numbers (e. 4:321. Philosophy of Material Nature (Indianapolis: Hackett. 5. CONCLUSION . Kant came to recognize that his Critical epistemology faced some very serious problems.. Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft (MAdN) 4:470. 1985). attention than they have so far received. In what follows I will not be concerned much with the official links between Kant’s doctrines in the MAdN and the first Critique. and more careful. 1922f.” problems to which Tuschling and Förster have drawn attention. ed.5–10. “Kant’s Notion of Philosophy” (The Monist 72 No.real problems guiding Kant’s thought in “Übergang 1–14. MAdN 4:473. 414 . Translated by James Ellington in: Immanuel Kant. For discussion of those links. MAdN 4:473. Kant understood the problems facing his Critical epistemology better than most of his expositors and would-be defenders. 6. 1–4 and Daniel Dahlstrom. page. In particular. 1929). though I have tried to provide some needed refinement.8–12) of the second edition of the Akademie Ausgabe of Kant’s gesammelte Schriften (Berlin: de Gruyter. MAdN 4:525. Dahlstrom. 1991].. 271–290). 4. On the contrary. 1966). I cite Kant’s works by volume. 10. 285.7–12. 7. Tuschling’s and Förster’s analyses of Kant’s problems and strategies for solving them are basically sound. Quotations from Kant’s first Critique (abbreviated “KdrV”) are from Kemp Smith’s translation (New York: St. Nature and Scientific Method [Washington: Catholic University of America Press.20–24.31–34. Friedman’s objections to their analyses are unsound. I indicate the Akademie Ausgabe as “Ak. the problems which I hope to have made sufficiently clear in previous sections of this essay. MAdN 4:473. his efforts to confront and resolve those problems in the opus postumum deserve far more. 3. to avoid ambiguity. 2 [1989].231 NOTES 1. chs. XI. Kant did not forget what he has previously written and argued.35–476.

Gerd Buchdahl. 415 . Jr. “Zum Verhältnis von allgemeiner Metaphysik der Natur und besonderer metaphysischer Naturwissenschaft bei Kant” (in: B. Tuschling. 1987]. 3:153. Proceedings of the 8th International Kant Congress.6–9). 301.) After all. ed. of the moving forces. . Westphal. 18. especially when it is so selective. This is to say. ed. Proper hermeneutic principles require calling a reconstruction a reconstruction. 32–34. MAdN 4:534. for instance. R. cit. Buchdahl. hereafter cited as “Butts.4. 3:178.28–29.. 134. Buchdahl takes refuge in “good hermeneutic principles” according to which one can best understand an author in terms of later developments (“Kant’s ‘Special Metaphysics’ and The Metaphysical Foundations of Science” [in: R. with reference to the “negative” procedure Kant mentions at MAdN 4:524. Kant’s Philosophy of Physical Science {Dordrecht: Reidel.. Unless otherwise noted. 17.. Butts. Unless otherwise noted. 37–43. 674–78. 1986. cf.. A167/B209.: Harvard University Press. Compare our treatments of Kant’s proof of the law of inertia. ed.11.” (In this regard. one of those later developments is the recognition of the untenability of transcendental idealism! While Buchdahl is right that Kant means to appeal to linguistic usage (e. 61–94). K.. E.) I have criticized Buchdahl’s broader efforts to reconstruct Kant’s transcendental idealism in “Noumenal Causality Reconsidered” (forthcoming). he ignores the fact that Kant thinks that linguistic usage ultimately reflects the a priori categorical structure of thought by which we constitute the objects of our experience.g. 101. Problem der Kritik der reinen Vernunft [Berlin: de Gruyter. which indicate [the presence of] such forces” (A207/B252. 1995). of certain successive appearances. 120. for more details see Robert E. 137. Robinson. 135. who offer reconstructions as if they were strict interpretations. all references to Buchdahl are to this article. 282–83. and who often disown Kant’s idealism. 138. “Kant’s Two Grand Hypotheses” (in: Butts. 1984]. op.. Buchdahl. in the idealist terms of which alone Kant thought he could explain the necessity of causal principles in application to substances. 127–161].”}. 12.. Gordon Brittan.18. Butts. Buchdahl ascribes to Kant the very view of the dependence of our conceptual categories on language that Hamann developed to oppose Kant’s transcendental idealist critique of “pure” reason! (For a brief discussion of Hamann’s “meta-critique. as motions. C. 137. “The Grammar of Reason: Hamann’s Challenge to Kant” [Synthese 75 {1988}. “Kant’s Proof of the Law of Inertia” (in: H. or what amounts to the same thing. Beiser. 251–83]. Ma. cit. quoted by Buchdahl. op. all references to Brittan are to this article.20. In effect. can only be given empirically. ed. 146) to disown Kant’s transcendental idealism and yet to attribute his stripped down tripartite schema to Kant as “Kant’s view. Buchdahl. 135). 1969).” see F. 97–174). ed. Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science (Oxford: Blackwell. Buchdahl is only more explicit than many of the other commentators. 136.. 36. On the previous page he quotes a similar remark from the first Critique: “knowledge of actual forces. Buchdahl. 1992). 15. The Fate of Reason [Cambridge. 13. 14. 89. Kant and the Dynamics of Reason (London: Blackwell. 16. as. Buchdahl. 137. MAdN 4:524. . 89–90. .

31. Ibid. cit. Ibid.” 299. 90–91. cf. 36. 32. 194–195. Ibid. 28. 72. All further references to Butts are to this article.. These points about Kant’s qualifications of his admission that he cannot fully construct the dynamic concept of matter.26ff. Seebohm.25–31..7–12. Robert E. 92. cit. Ibid.19.39–523. then he simply has no alternative theory to offer in opposition to corpuscularism... 26. 122) regarding Kant’s aim to provide a realist interpretation of Newton (op. 23. and “Constructions and their Discovery” (in: G. and his insistence that it suffices to construct the two basic forces of his dynamic theory. 315).. 85–86. ed. 33.20–21. 188. She follows Brittan (Kant’s Theory of Science [Princeton: Princeton University Press.). This cannot be right.. ed. esp. Butts. 287. 25. 522. 29. 1989].” 298. 35. MAdN 4:525. passim. Proceedings of the Sixth International Kant Congress [Lanham. “Methodology. MAdN 4:534. ed. 273–306. citing KdrV A727/B755f. for Kant vigorously sought to establish the basic terms of his dynamic theory in order to opposed corpuscular atomism. 188. In a very interesting treatment of the relation between Kant’s chapters 416 . 163–199). Funke & Th. eds. 27...40–525.. MA: University Press of America. 285. 38. 21.18–35. If he cannot construct even the two basic forces of his dynamic theory. 83–95). Ibid. “The Methodological Structure of Kant’s Metaphysics of Science” (in: Butts. 37. 288f.20–26. MAdN 4:517. “Methodology. cited hereafter as “Methodology”). Brittan’s criticisms of Duncan in “Kant’s Two Grand Hypotheses” (op. 22. and he contends that Kant can defer constructions until whenever someone more adept might devise them.. MAdN 4:518.4.. See “Methodology”. 30... “Methodology.” 288. bear in a particular way on Duncan’s interpretation. 1978]. MAdN 4:525. 34. Duncan takes Kant’s admission to be unrestricted. 305–329). MAdN 4:524.7. 525. 20. Howard Duncan. Ibid. “Kant on Realism and Methodology” (in: Butts. 89–90. 24. “Kant’s Methodology: Progress Beyond Newton?” (in: Butts.

MAdN 4:472. The Communication of Motion. 45.–4.31–32.13–15. 469. on the one hand. Duncan fails to note the bitter irony this position would involve for Kant. 49. These latter passages should be considered in connection with the first Paralogism in each edition. MAdN 4:477. 40.11–32. 53.23–26. 42.27–32.13–17.19–23. but would have adopted the main tenets of his opponents. 60. 3:200. 542. 52. 59. MAdN 4:470.14–17. 417 . MAdN 4:467. 4:238.12–14.12–543.14. 57.26–33.15. and Kant’s Third Law of Mechanics” [Philosophy of Science 51 {1984}. MAdN 4:472.19–23. MAdN 4:472.2–16. then he would not only have abandoned his dynamism. MAdN 4:476. MAdN 4:471. the “mathematical students of nature. I discuss this in “Kant’s Critique of Determinism in Empirical Psychology” (forthcoming). MAdN 4:472.12–477. 55.18–19. MAdN 4:473. B293–94. 93–119). 41. MAdN 4:470. MAdN 4:469. 54. MAdN 4:467. If he were forced to treat mechanical laws in purely kinematic terms because he couldn’t construct his dynamic concept of matter.6–8.18–19. MAdN 4:468. his main aim was to justify mathematicized physics (“Inertia. MAdN 4:471.on “Dynamics” and “Mechanics. and on the other hand. 50. A381.” 39.5–10. MAdN 4:472. 46.32–37. cf.4–7. MAdN 4:468. B291–93.” Duncan contends that Kant ultimately treats the laws of mechanics in purely kinematic terms because. MAdN 4:470. MAdN 4:470. MAdN 4:476.36–473. 43. 475.2. 48. 58.9–12. 3:201.6–201. MAdN 4:473. MAdN 4:468.30–35.32–35.23–29. 44.35–239. he cannot construct his dynamic concept of matter. 56. 47.

Unless otherwise noted. MAdN 4:472.12–13. VI 128.15–474.7–11. MAdN 4:554. 65.24–26. MAdN 4:470. 80. 68. MAdN 4:497.2. MAdN 4:477. cf.6–10. see Schäfer (op. 66. 70. MAdN 4:472.6.61. 76. 79. 74. Note that Kant did not try to imitate the mathematical method of deductive proof.1. B256. 72.3–13. VI 141. MAdN 4:470. 69.5–7. cit. MAdN 4:476. all further references to Friedman are to this book.27–32.11–12. MAdN 4:478.23.28–30.26–27.10–14. 1992). MAdN 4:487. Kant and the Exact Sciences (Cambridge. 3:166. 3:180.14–16. 64. A189. MAdN 4:549. MAdN 4:493.21–27. 63. 75. MAdN 4:470. constructive nature of mathematical knowledge. VI 124. and their differences from mathematical constructions.32–33. chapters 2 and 3. B232.5–9..4–9ff. MAdN 4:472. MAdN 4:473. MAdN 4:469. MAdN 4:536.21–25. MAdN 4:541. 473. 495.4–6. A211. 81. 3:162. 85.33–70. MAdN 4:473.5–7. A182. MAdN 4:497. MA: Harvard University Press. For further discussion of Kant’s metaphysical constructions. B224. Cf.20–22. 469.7–12.5–6. 480. 83.). MAdN 4:470. MAdN 4:474.3–11f.4. 62.34–494.10–11. 77. see Michael Friedman. MAdN 4:496. 78.16–17. 30–38. 84.32–33. 497. 71. 73. 418 .25–26.25–27.2.2–476.1–12. 544.1. 82. 67. MAdN 4:561.26–27. For an outstanding discussion of Kant’s views on the synthetic. 543.

105. Dynamik”). 484.26–494. & tr.14–20.2–4. 57–79). 487. 100.11–12.11–14.21–23.1–3.14–20. 93.14–24. Cf. 1971. If Kant were not anticipating the application of his phoronomic analysis to actual motions of physical bodies.1–7.15–18. 489.26–31. 482. 492. 95. Each of the component motions must last the whole elapsed time.1–14.10. not a kind of matter. 107. Metaphysische und transzendentale Dynamik in Kants opus postumum (Berlin: de Gruyter. as contrasted with.6–12. MAdN 4:486. 108. 102.1–18. 88. 89. Cf. I think it is virtually certain that they are to be understood as causal terms here.15–34. 493.15–17. 492. Phoronomy treats the quantitative combination of motions: 489. MAdN 4:487.86. 494. 489. triangular motions or just plain random ones.28–30. 489.15–20. MAdN 4:489. MAdN 4:490. MAdN 4:493. 494.17–21. 70.28–495.8–13.3–6. MAdN 4:490. “A Response to Burkhard Tuschling’s Critique of Kant’s Physics” (Kant-Studien 79 [1988]. 495.5–14. 491. 489. 87. He cites Tuschling.15–16. MAdN 4:487. so does the combination of that motion with any other motion.. cited hereafter as “Met.15–18.14–24. MAdN 4:489. 97.5–12. 493. cf. 494. Phoronomy treats solely the quantitative aspects of motion. These are the three cases Kant treats in his proof of the Phoronomic Proposition. By “a matter” Kant here means a material body.12–25. 486. MAdN 4:493. 91. 486. 488.36–487. 98. 493.28–38. Phoronomy abstracts from causal considerations: MAdN 4:480. 106.14–20. 492.21–25.17–18.15–18.26–28. 101.36–37. 489.1–4. MAdN 4:490. 494. MAdN 4:481.11–14. he would have no grounds for focusing on rectilinear or even curvilinear motions. 103. 488. 419 .36–487. MAdN 4:497. MAdN 4:488. 99.30–34. 96. 94.11–13.g. MAdN 4:490. 104.7–13.10–11.1.22–29. e. direction and velocity: 483. Cf.4.28–37. MAdN 4:489. 92. MAdN 4:490. MAdN 4:492. MAdN 4:491. 90.14–20. for as soon as one of the component motions ceases. 489. 481.3. 108.

122. XXI 415.. This general conclusion was already reached by Erich Adickes (Kant als Naturforscher [Berlin: de Gruyter. MAdN 4:498.2–17. 117. als was ich sagte. New York: Burt Franklin.21. 112. §75. reprinted in: Albert Landau. Dynamik. 497. Kant’s formulation is quoted above. daß es nicht durch den Satz des Widerspruchs geschehe” (II 203. Tr.26–28.14–24.24–26. 1786. ed. p. 480. “Man versuche nun. quoted above. 494. 39–47. “Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseyns Gottes” (II 86.34–35). 188) and conceded by August Stadler (Kants Theorie der Materie [Leipzig: Hirzel. Lehmann. op. note that Kant stresses “external” in this second passage. vol. 47–49).. 116. 123.28–38. 1914–1918). 124.6–7. ob man die Realentgegensetzung überhaupt erklären und deutlich könne zu erkennen geben wie darum. 1991). & tr. & Tr.5–14. 110.5–15). the editor.24–26. 120. Landau claims that A. 494. 118.31. 114. cit. by E.3–5.6–8. MAdN 4:493. 121. MAdN 4:497. weil etwas ist. A similar argument to the same conclusion is made by Adickes (Kant als Naturforscher. I. 1924–1925]. XXI 415. 15. G. Rosen. 494. 109.14–18.Compare Kant’s parallel usage in his essay on negative quantities: “Die Realrepugnanz findet nur statt. vol. Adickes does not cite this review either in his German Kantian Bibliography (rpt. Förster & M. Mayer (Met. Kästner is the author (ibid. I. 1970). Kant’s Opus Postumum (Cambridge: Cambridge 420 . 190. Rezensionen zur Kantischen Philosophie 1781–87 (Bebra: Albert Landau Verlag. T. 776). I. Met. cit. 191 (December 2. MAdN 4:492. 113. 119. op. 17. Tuschling quotes this passage from the review and offers persuasive evidence that the author was J. or in Kant als Naturforscher (op. 188–190). 1915–16.32–36). I. Cf. 1883]... 67–69). MAdN 4:494. cit. MAdN 4:497. p. und ob man etwas mehr sagen könne. G. 111. Anonymous review in Göttingische Anzeigen von gelehrten Sachen No. nämlich lediglich. 497–481. Dynamik. insofern zwei Dinge als positive Gründe.. MAdN 4:493. Kant als Naturforscher. MAdN 4:497.19–21. quotes the relevant paragraph of the review (XXII 809).). 115. etwas Anderes aufgehoben werde. my tr. eins die Folge des andern aufhebt” (II 175.

MAdN 4:525. 129.15–28.27–32.3–11. and Kant als Naturforscher §85 (vol. I. Adickes’s editorial apparatus. MAdN 4:521. Tuschling notes Adickes’s shifting assessment of the circle. This mitigates much of the force of McCall’s reply. 131. MAdN 4:497..University Press. is not an adequate formulation of Kant’s problem. 127. 526. and argues against Adickes’s solution on broad systematic grounds without re-examining the details of Adickes’s analysis or Kant’s statements of it (Met. Auch 421 . Dynamik. those points of doctrine must be established on a quite different basis in the opus postumum.28–511. and he accepts Adickes’s formulation of the problem (“Is There ‘A Gap’ in Kant’s Critical System?” Journal of the History of Philosophy 25 [1987]. even if there are the many points of continuity of doctrine between the MAdN and the opus postumum that McCall claims.21–524.2–4. I.18–25. MAdN 4:508. 214–215). 131). MAdN 4:523. Cited by Adickes. 548 note 35). he discusses no texts in this connection. cit. I shall show below that this. McCall simply ignores the problem of circularity (op.15–16. Kant occasionally assumes the proportionality between inertial and gravitational mass. 14:337. Förster restates essentially the same formulation of the problem as he gave in “Gap?” (op. MAdN 4:497. hereafter cited as “Gap?”. Tuschling refers to Kant’s letter to Beck and to both of Adickes’s discussions in his editorial apparatus and in Kant als Naturforscher (vol. 46f. 214). MAdN 4:510. cit. Ak. 134.14–18. 128. 132. MAdN 4:511.). Kant’s German is as follows: “Die größte Schwierigkeit ist zu erklären wie ein bestimmtes Volumen von Materie durch die eigene Anziehung seiner Theil[e] in dem Verhältnis des Quadrats der Entfernung inverse bey einer Abstoßung die aber nur auf die unmittelbar berührenden Theile (nicht auf die Entfernten) gehen kan[n] im Verhältnis des Cubus derselben (mithin des Volumens selber) möglich sey. 130. While Buchdahl is right that the MAdN has a problem with the distinction between gravitational and inertial mass. while also assuming that gravitational mass results from attractive force (op. 126. xxxvi). and to Tuschling. 133. MAdN 4:511. in view of the fundamental problems with Kant’s theory of matter in the MAdN. 125. & tr. cf. Buchdahl refers to Kant’s letter to Beck. 3.7–8.12. cit. too. Eckart Förster refers to Kant’s letter to Beck. and to Tuschling.17.. 536–55. 1993). In his response to Tuschling’s criticism of Kant’s theory of matter in the MAdN. 135. Denn das Anziehungsvermögen kommt auf die Dichtigkeit diese aber wieder aufs Anziehungsvermögen an. but gives a slightly different formulation of the circle. In his splendid introduction to his edition of Kant’s Opus Postumum.29–30. According to Buchdahl.).

150. I owe most of the points made in this paragraph to Jeff Edwards.7–12.7–8.32–540. 348. MAdN 518. 142. I. 539.12–13. 145. 139. Ak 14:337. 25).10).15–17. 422 . . The idea that density would decrease with an increase of repulsive force simply makes no sense within Kant’s theory.16. 361. des volumens.” 137. 541. 214). MAdN 4:499.8–12.18. cf.10–12.29–35. 148. 18 and notes 126–131 above. after concerted effort. MAdN 536. 499. 144. 518.35–519. I do not have an explanation of that sentence either. Kant’s grounds for this are given in the first Proposition of Dynamics and its Proof. 524.7.” 136.14–15.28. the last sentence in which Kant worries that density is inversely proportional to repulsion.9–537. and Kant als Naturforscher §85 (vol. 3:155. MAdN 4:508. MAdN 4:533.36–534.33 (quoted above. E.i. A214/B261.26–499. 14:337.g. 138. Adickes does not treat the most puzzling stentence of Kant’s initial formulation (PASSAGE I). Aber das führt doch gewissermaaßen auf einen Cirkel aus dem ich nicht herauskommen kan[n] und darüber ich mich noch selbst besser zu verstehen suchen muß. but it is important not to introduce further puzzles in the course of explaining Kant’s puzzle! Perhaps Kant’s last sentece is just mistaken. 147. cf. I confess that. KdrV A172–75/B214–16. 3:183. Cited by Adickes. 151. and for that reason omitted from his letter to Beck. 525. 141.. MAdN 4:498.12–19.14–15. respectively. MAdN 4:535. XIV 338. Kant’s original runs: “Ich würde die Art der Auflösung dieser Aufgabe wohl darin setzten: daß die Anziehung (die allgemeine. p.40–525. 146.4. Ak. These are discussed and criticized above (§IV).4.20–337. Newtonische. 152.21.18–32. 511. cf.7. MAdN 4:521. p. MAdN 537.5. MAdN 4:524.12–19. 2nd ed.18. 140.10–505.) ursprünglich in aller Materie gleich sey und nur die Abstoßung verschiedener verschieden sey und so den spezifischen Unterschied der Dichtigkeit derselben ausmache. 149.32–157. For Kant’s criticisms of physical monadology see MAdN 4:504. 517. Ak XI 1st ed. see §VI for discussion.19–26.23–25. MAdN 537. see Adickes’s editorial comments (Ak.5–10.richtet sich die Dichtigkeit nach dem umgekehrten Verhältnis der Abstoßung d. 524. On the tendencies of Kant’s theory of matter in MAdN to revert to atomism or monadism. cf.11–15. 143. MAdN 518.4.

Kant argues for the continuity (as opposed to the discreetness) of matter by arguing that matter is potentially infinitely divisible. 158. see Rudolf Kötter.” i. MAdN 4:517. mass depends upon gravity! 163.8). cited hereafter as “Übergang”]. though it is not actually divided (MAdN 4:503. 514. 524. MAdN 4:516. 156. 1894]. 159. A History of Mathematical Notations (Chicago: Open Court. Hence they would be different kinds of matter! Kant’s view that matter is continuous does not fit with his basic dynamism at all.32–35.e.14–26.2. 518. the density of matter must diminish with distance from the center of any matter.153.7–10. 164. These are plausible reasons for Kant’s contention. MAdN 4:517. 26. “Kraft und Wirklichkeit.37). it is effective only between basic matters of the same kind of material (and so is only disjunctively. Ansätze zu einer problemorientierten Interpretation seiner späten Schriften zur Philosophie der Naturwissenschaft” (in: Forum für Philosophie Bad Homburg.2–4.18–518. 516. vol. 170–210). See Florian Cajori.12–35).7–12). 1991. 160.4–5. a universal property of matter). 361.. but their 423 . ed. 517. regions of a matter nearer the center of the matter must be more intensively occupied by those forces than regions nearer the periphery of the matter. 155. 154. 67). See Kant’s Proposition 7 of Dynamics. Ak 14:338.25–31). For further discussion of Kant’s theory of matter.21–504. What he overlooks in this argument is that because the strength of both the fundamental forces diminish with distance. 25.18–35. not collectively. “Kants Schwerigkeiten mit der Physik. MAdN 4:516.9–14. Übergang.17–32. 161. quoted above p.2–3. and Martin Carrier.. p. quoted above p.18–21. 157–184). II. and his second Remark to that Proposition (MAdN 4:512. Ak XI 2nd ed. 208–230). and “Kants Theorie der Materie und ihre Wirkung auf die zeitgenössische Chemie” (Kant-Studien 81 [1990].11–515. 162. Consequently. vol. 1929). Untersuchungen zum Spätwerk Immanuel Kants [Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann. 157. Kants späte Theorie der Materie” (in: ibid. I. MAdN 4:521.17–19. and its effect depends upon a material undergoing a process of liquification and solidification (MAdN 4:526. Kant contends that cohesion isn’t a fundamental power of matter because it doesn’t belong to the possibility of matter in general (MAdN 4:518. Hence any regions divided out of a matter that differ in their distance from the center would also differ in density. Adickes’s solution (ADICKES 1924B) also inverts the Newtonian relation: “Once again mass is directly dependent upon the degree of attractive force. it is not always proportional to density. 123. 165. This is his proposal in MAdN (4:521.5–7. It was developed by Karl Weierstrass in 1841 (Mathematische Werke [Berlin. MAdN 4:521..

1.9–12. not kinds of force: “Es lassen sich nur diese zwei bewegende Kräfte der Materie denken” (MAdN 4:498.1–336. 511. MAdN 4:536. In some notes from the 1770's Kant tries to treat these points as merely heuristic. 168. Moreover. 166. 167. as argued above against Butts (§II).21–524. of the single genus.31–36. 169. MAdN 4:536. However. but even then he was not able to escape his monadological model. This may contravene Kant’s metaphysical grounds for specifying what is essential. 173. gedacht werden” [MAdN 4:499.27). Kant defines original properties of matter as essential properties that cannot be derived from other properties of matter (cf.17. and not merely regulative heuristic classifications.36–518. where this “inner possibility” must be a function of rational elements of knowledge or construction. attractive and repulsive. but this may be just one more unsupportable implication of Kant’s metaphysical attempt to ground science. 175. worauf alle Bewegungskräfte in der materiellen Natur zurückgeführt werden müssen.39–523. reflects this fact by speaking of forces. Kant cannot derive cohesion from the other essential properties of matter he enumerates. MAdN 4:522. See Adickes’s editorial comments (14:337.6–7. force. cf. His initial formulation of his thesis.26–499.14–15). and Maria G.18–25. which point to the insufficiency of attraction and repulsion for explicating the possibility of matter in general. The two “kinds of force” must be the two specific kinds. i. Kant concludes his argument by speaking of two “kinds” of force (“Also können nur diese zwei Arten von Kräften. 174. See note 153 above. the first Critique and the MAdN (MAdN 4:517.1–6).2–15). MAdN 4:500. which are instantiated by various species of each kind.4.20).4. Ak 14:334. 176.19–26. Kant cannot be taken to mean by this that there are two genera of basic forces. MAdN 4:525. which precedes his proof. and its importance for explaining so many common and scientific phenomena may suffice for holding that it is essential. This circularity (and even more so the one discussed above in §V) is distinct from those referred to and address by Alfred E. Miller in 424 .1).15–537. als solche. namely that it be a condition for the inner possibility of something (MAdN 4:511. 171. MAdN 4:536. 172.1–6. Kant’s constructive metaphysical method gives him and can give him no basis for distinguishing among distinct kinds of forces.strength is mitigated by the problems facing Kant’s theory of density.e. he repeats this language in his Remark to Lehrsatz 6 (MAdN 4:511. and to be explanatory they must be constitutive. MAdN 4:529. MAdN 4:523. Kant intends his two basic forces of attraction and repulsion to be explanatory.2–4]). 170. each of which must be described in identical metaphysical terms as attractive or repulsive force. MAdN 4:498. attractive and repulsive.

The Millers’ way of contrasting unthematic and thematic aspects of Kant’s analysis (ibid.]). Dynamik. Förster. MAdN 4:536. Ak XXI 286–287. MAdN 4:497. Two further successes. 549ff. XXI 482. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 497. transcendental method of proof in the first Critique directly into the MAdN. Kant cannot offer transcendental arguments for the principles defended in the MAdN. 140–143.12–23. 182. XXI 206–247.4. 159. bootstrap. 166. However. Regrettably. 191. MAdN 4:511. xxxviii. Förster. XXII 609–615 (May–August 1799). MAdN 4:536. XXI 164. In view of Kant’s failures. 189. 177.10 (Adickes dates these from September/October 1798. 180. For discussion. and not dynamic (“Inertia. at least. This. 1994). and viciously circular argument. see Michael Friedman (op.29–167. cit. nor do I believe their means are sound. Dynamik. 3. MAdN 4:526–527.14–15. cf.. MAdN 4:549. I do not believe that their means for resolving some other apparent circularities can be extended to the two I develop here. “Gap?”. B109–110. See Förster’s Introduction to the Opus Postumum (op.22–25.18–19. 186. “Gap?”.25–26. highlighted by Friedman.13–15. Met. In the first Critique. August–September 1798. 425 . 181. Met. metaphysical. ch. it is worth mentioning one of Kant’s successes. 179. They import Kant’s regressive. Kant succeeds at showing that the concept of action at a distance is not absurd.). 61) are not precise enough to distinguish transcendental. 535–612. 188. and Kant’s Third Law of Mechanics” [op. MAdN 4:536. 190. 549. Tuschling from the second third of 1798). 60). 59). Miller & Miller.4–9ff.their “Translator’s Introduction and Commentary” to their translation of Peter Plaass. 3: 95. Cf. are noted below. 512–520. 38–39. esp. is the official implication.8–11. & tr.15–537. 185. this matter deserves more attention than I can give it here. cit. precisely because the transcendental principles of the first Critique are (purportedly) established prior to the MAdN (ibid. 5. 178. 184. Kant’s Theory of Natural Science (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science. the Communication of Motion. 59) and their way of emphasizing the internal consistency and mutual interdependence of the components of Kant’s analysis of the metaphysical foundations of physics (ibid. cit. 187. a Principle does serve as its own “ground of proof” because it makes experience possible (A 737=B 765. As Buchdahl remarks. Kant’s justification of his laws of mechanics is mainly kinematic. & Tr. MAdN 4:538. ch..18–23. 183. As Duncan points out. vol. had Kant argued in accordance with his method.)..

A199–200/B244–45. 197. 163–4. MAdN 4:543.1. XXI 294. 199. 183. rpt. Prauss. There is an excellent bibliography on Kant’s opus postumum in Übergang (op. see his “Neo-transcendental approaches towards scientific theory appraisal” (in: D. 1995). op. “Die Idee des Übergangs” (in: Übergang. 1973]. H. Analogie der Erfahrung” (in: Übergang. see Kurt Hübner.15–31. Belief and Behaviour: Essays in Honour of R. 35–36. MAdN 4:476. 255. Ibid. 28–48). p. “Kant’s Selbstseztungslehre” (in: E. II. cit. Akten des 7. 246. 105–145). “Projecting the Order of Nature” (in: Butts. Kant’s Transcendental Deductions [Standford: Stanford University Press. Ibid. Loses Blatt Leipzig 1 (in: Übergang. ed.. B. 1989]. “Der Ätherbeweis des Opus Postumum und Kants 3. 158. 32–63). KdU V 181. 167. 196. Kant and the Claims of Knowledge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press... 239. 159. 77–104). Kant. 195. note 209. Millor. Förster. 202–3. Karen Gloy.34–174. esp. ed. 136–7. See Eckart Förster. 171. 204. 224–25. “Kant’s Ether Deduction and the Possibility of Experience” (in: G. ed. 1980]. See Paul Guyer. see B. Ibid.16–34. 318). 1987). 171. 193. 1991]. Internationalen Kant-Kongress [Bonn: Bouvier.6–8. 46.. 177–8. “Das Verhältnis der Kritik der reinen Vernunft zu den Metaphysischen Anfangsgründen der Naturwissenschaft. In addition to the piece by Buchdahl cited above. along with Paul Guyer. 234. 204–219. 185. 203. demonstriert am Substanzsatz” (Philosophia Naturalis 21 [1984]. “Gap?”. 194.). Ibid. vol. 1–21). Jeffrey Edwards. 140–3. cit. discussed above. Friedman. 38. In addition to Tuschling (op. 119–132) and Martin Carrier. I discuss this issue in “Does Kant’s Metaphysical Foundations Fill a ‘Gap’ in the Critique of Pure Reason?” (Synthese. Also see Philip Kitcher’s excellent article. “Die Idee des transzendentalen Idealismus im späten Opus postumum” (in: Übergang. ed.). Braithwaite [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 165. “Kants Theorie der Materie und ihre Wirkung auf die zeitgenössische Chemie” (op. 228. 201–235). “Leib und Erfahrung in Kants Opus Postumum” (Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 7 [1953]. 217–38). 235. 198. cit.5.. in: G.11–26... quoted below..9–12.. 540–43. 233–244. Zur Deutung seiner Theorie von Erkennen und Handeln [Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch.192. cit. Science. ed. 205. A similar point about systematicity as a criterion of truth is made by Okruhlik (op. For further discussion see the articles cited earlier.). 212–14. 231 note 29. 168. 274–75. Funke. 192–204). 3: 173. For a general discussion. 105–109. 426 .. 207. 152). 174. 259. 202. 200. 201. 206. XXII 259. cit. Förster.. 9.

through relation to the preceding appearances..e. are only to be found in the judgment. This strongly suggests that illusion concerns “transcendental illusion. cit. which bodies are moving and which are at rest (MAdN 4:554. should be interpreted in its context.. MD: University Press of America. and representations require both sensation and understanding. “Kant on Laws of Nature and the Foundations of Newtonian Science” (in: G. but in making the representation of an object possible at all. a position determined a priori in time. 1989]. only in the relation of the object to our understanding” (A293/B350. 212.5). 480. As he makes quite plain in the immediately subsequent sentences and paragraphs. (Though Kant’s statement from “Phenomenology” quoted above may seem misleading. and consequently also illusion as leading to error. MAdN 4:472.6–9). 209. Friedman’s emphasis. In connection with the statement just quoted. 3:173. where Kant says (in the first Remark in “Phenomenology”) that “in appearance no judgment at all of the understanding is to be found” (MAdN 4:555. See §III above. For to each of them. 99. Kant is quite direct about this: “Understanding is required for all experience and for its possibility.) 210. on Kant’s view. Funke & T. The strongest case Friedman could make for his interpretation would rest on a passage he doesn’t discuss. namely: “It is therefore correct to say that the senses do not err – not because they always judge rightly but because they do not judge at all. however. we must be able to identify and re-identify apparently moving bodies.208.” as analyzed in the Dialectic of the first Critique.. Otherwise. eds. where illusion concerns systematically mistaken judgments whereby something subjective is taken for something objective (MAdN 4:555. For this to be at issue. 174 note 14) – as if no one had correctly applied the minimal concept of “moving object” prior to learning Newton’s theory! Cf..6. However. He describes his essay as “the briefest sketch” on ibid. in accordance with the Principles of the Understanding. Ellington cites a remark in the first Critique that may seem to support Friedman’s view. i. though it needs to be understood carefully in its context. therefore. To do this requires. Op. This it does by carrying the time-order over into the appearances and their existence. they would not accord with time itself. I do not think it is inconsistent with the first Critique.1–12. Newtonian] motion” (op. Kant makes quite plain that “appearances” here concern motions.. of matter as the movable in space] we thus need an objective notion of true [sc. which [in] a priori [fashion] determines the position of all its parts” (A199–200/B244–45. sensation alone does not suffice to produce appearances! Appearances are representations. Contra Friedman’s claim that “in order to apply this concept [sc. cit. Kant here contrasts appearance with illusion.34–174.5). [viewed] as [a] consequent. the passages cited in note 202 above. 3: 234. the judgmental application of schematized categories to sensory intuitions.15–31. Seebohm. it assigns. 171.14–17. 211. 213. Proceedings of the Sixth International Kant Congress [Lanham. the time-order at issue here is not an exact or quantitative one pertinent to a debate between Newton and Kepler or even Ptolemy. 97–107).16–555. This statement.9–10). MAdN 4:470.17–21). Truth and error. 477. Its primary contribution does not consist in making the representation of objects distinct. 427 . it is the minimal sequence of before and after requisite for ordinary experience of objects. 98. KdU V 181.1–12. as argued in the Analogies of Experience.

but explanation in terms of a postulated geometrical physical microstructure. 273–277. 236–84). 216. However. MAdN 4:472. 237–240. Newton himself frequently proclaimed his adherence to corpuscular doctrine and treated gravity merely as a calculative hypothesis rather than as an inherent property of matter.. 220. Martin Carrier (“Kraft und Wirklichkeit. and Hans-Joachim Waschkies (“Wissenschaftliche Praxis und Erkenntnistheorie in Kants Opus postumum” [ibid. 75–76 note 19).14. simply because many of the views he ascribes to Kant directly violate Kant’s explicit views. cit. cit... Ibid. but such an approach can only serve as a basis for excluding other issues or denying that they are important for understanding a text if that approach provides a complete and adequate reading of the text at issue. 221. 254..). Also see Brittan. 138).. XXII 240. both methodological and substantive. and not even adequate within his chosen range of subtexts. Ibid. 224. 228–229). 240..). 219. 165–210. 222. cit.214.. 103. Kants späte Theorie der Materie” [in: Übergang. 99. It appears under the same title as chapter 4 of Kant and the Exact Sciences.” op. 304–5. 226. Ibid.25–28. 428 .. expressed in the MAdN and the first Critique.. 223 note 13. cit. Ibid. At one point Friedman claims that Kant’s main disagreements with Newton do not concern the theory of matter (ibid. and Howard Duncan. This is fine. 208–230]). xxxix). 218. but he does claim that it’s easy to see how Kant’s further attempts to analyze matter propose to avoid the circularity (op. who directly pointed out Friedman’s error in this regard (“Kant’s Two Grand Hypotheses. Ibid. 256–7. quoted by Friedman (op. 242. Friedman’s reading is very selective. cit. 226.. 215. The original article is “Kant on Space. Friedman’s interpretive method is to read Kant’s texts in the context of the history of science (cf. In his Introduction to the Opus Postumum Förster grants that Kant doesn’t mention the circle in his analysis of density. not Newtonian laws of motion.36–473. 217.. 226). Ibid. 223. “Methodology” (op. but later he recognizes that Kant criticizes Newton for not counting gravity as an essential property of matter (ibid. 241.. op. the Understanding. 231 note 29.. Friedman persistently errs about the extent to which Newton himself was “Newtonian” in this sense. Ibid.19. 262. Ibid. 225. and the Law of Gravitation: Prolegomena §38" (Monist 72 [1989]. 185–207]) rightly stress that “Newtonian principles of explanation” at that time meant. 262.

). cit.g. 75f. op.34–161. 231.27. Kant’s note at 3:185.]. A180/B222–23. this distinction is obliterated in the relevant passages of the opus postumum because Kant speaks of principles that are both regulative and constitutive without distinguishing reason and understanding at all. This “suggestion” is of itself unconvincing. cit. 230. 4:142.10–11.).g. emphasized by both Tuschling and Förster. 260–261.. XXI 217.20. E. 230. 261 note 64). I thank Jeff Edwards and Eckart Förster for discussing some of the points of this paper with me. which is quite at odds with Kant’s doctrine in the first Critique (“Die Idee des transzendentalen Idealismus im späten Opus postumum” [op.37. cit. cf.. to prove a priori a material condition for the possibility of experience. It will not do to reply that the “Analogies” represent regulative principles of the understanding. and that only a unity provided by reflective judgment would suffice (op. but doesn’t consider it in connection with his claims about Kant’s problematic in the opus postumum.). I gratefully acknowledge that work on this article was supported by an annual research fellowship in 1992 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. p. Friedman discusses this passage elsewhere.. 110 and note 9).1–7.25 [A213/B260].30. Friedman (op. XXI 221. Kant recognizes that this seems strange. cit.17–26. 86. this argument has clear roots in Kant’s refutation of void space in the Third Analogy (3:182..7–231. 429 . 228. cit. XXII 59. Friedman relies on “the interpretive suggestion” that Kant simply came to see that the mathematical approach of the MAdN would not serve to unify all possible moving forces in space. and a material whole at that (cf. Moreover.)..26–219. 226. 163). constructive domains of physics and the theory of matter it presupposes. in “Übergang 1–14" Kant ascribes a constitutive function to a whole of matter actively filling space (an aether).7)! As Edwards points out (op. 229. Friedman (op. 225. 4:145 [A218/B265]). 222. even for its originally intended purposes within the constitutive.227. While true.1–229.g. cit.. but ignored by Friedman. 3:160. 223. e.1–224. Friedman does cite a related passage (A664/B692. but without considering its bearing on his interpretation of the passages cited from the opus postumum in the previous note (“Regulative and Constitutive” [Southern Journal of Philosophy XXX Supplement {1991}. that Kant recognized in 1798 that the mathematical approach of the MAdN was entirely inadequate. while the “Dialectic” treats regulative principles of reason. This strongly suggests that Kant deliberately did not distinguish between principles of the understanding and of reason when discussing principles that are both regulative and constitutive. 73–102]. and it is mitigated by the fact. as Tuschling points out.12–26). and to a whole of experience (cf.14. e. such a proof amounts to ascribing a constitutive role to an idea.1–18. 338. Cf.