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Kant & Post-Kantian German Philosophy Group Talk (Dai Heide, Simon Fraser)
Friday October 15, 2021, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Kant & Post-Kantian German Philosophy Research Interest Group is pleased to welcome as a speaker Dai Heide, a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Heide specializes in Kant, early modern philosophy, metaphysics, and ethics.
“The Unity of Space in Kant’s Pre-Critical Philosophy”
A longstanding debate in the literature on Kant’s critical philosophy concerns the justification for Kant’s claim that space is a unity in the sense that all spaces are represented as mere parts of a single, all-encompassing space. Some contend that Kant takes the unity of space to be a brute fact about the nature of sensible representation. Others hold that the unity of space is ultimately rooted in the understanding: it is a property of space that is effected by the subject’s intellectual and imaginative capacities. The discussion has reached an impasse. I approach the question by investigating the origin of this doctrine in Kant’s pre-critical philosophy. There, I argue, Kant sees the unity of space as grounded in the cosmological unity of the world of substances, which is itself rooted in the unity, or singularity, of its divine cause. The presence of a reasonably well-developed account of the unity of space in Kant’s pre-critical philosophy raises the question whether Kant in fact abandoned this view in favour of one of the interpretations defended in the secondary literature. I argue that there is significant evidence that he did not. While Kant’s pre-critical account of the unity of space is epistemologically immodest and thus must fall short of the stringent epistemic standards of the Critique of Pure Reason, I argue that Kant nevertheless continued to see it as the most promising account of the unity of space. In this way, Kant’s pre-critical account of the unity of space has the same legacy as his 1763 proof of the existence of God: though it falls short of Erkenntnis or Wissen, it remains compelling in Kant’s eyes.
The Kant & Post-Kantian German Idealism Group is a a subgroup of the History of Philosophy Research Group, which focuses on European philosophy in Kant and post-Kantian traditions.SHARE