, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 133–138 | Cite as

Laws of nature in Kant’s critical philosophy

Michela Massimi and Angela Breitenbach, Eds.: Kant and the laws of nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017, $99.99 HB
  • Katherine DunlopEmail author
Book Review

The difficulty of reaching a satisfactory interpretation of Kant on laws of nature is already clear from his view’s broad outlines. Kant asserts plainly that laws of nature “considered as principles of the empirical use of the understanding … carry with them an expression of necessity.” In virtue of their necessity, the laws also carry, on Kant’s view, “at least the presumption of” a priori grounds determining them (A159/B198). Despite the apriority of their grounds, Kant claims that “particular” laws of nature (in contrast to the principles he puts forth as conditions on the possibility of experience) can be discovered only empirically. Also, while most interpreters suppose that such a priori grounds must ultimately lie in our own cognitive faculties, Kant seems to equivocate as to which faculty is responsible. In the Critique of Pure Reason and Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, he says laws of nature are “prescribed” by the understanding (or the categories that structure its...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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