Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Kant on scientific laws

Ypi, Lea (2022) Kant on scientific laws. In: Caranti, Luigi and Pinzani, Alessandro, (eds.) Kant and the Problem of Knowledge: Rethinking the Contemporary World. Routledge, Abingdon, UK, 25 - 43. ISBN 9780367903169

[img] Text (Kant on Scientific Laws) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (366kB)

Identification Number: 10.4324/9781003050742-3


This chapter explores Kant’s analysis of systematic unity in relation to the question of whether there are any laws of nature and, if so, whether they can be known by us. The chapter begins by noting how Kant’s theory of systematic unity has inspired different accounts of the laws of nature and explores the relation between a necessitarian account of laws and a reflection-based one. Focusing in particular on the Critique of Pure Reason, I suggest that Kant’s analysis of systematic unity relies on a principle of purposiveness which is not based on the analogy with reason’s practical causality but on an assumption of natural purposiveness indebted to Kant’s earlier theory of germs and dispositions. The difficulty of reconciling his pre-critical views on natural purposiveness with the analysis of scientific laws put forward in the first Critique is, I suggest, what leads Kant to abandon the proto-necessitarian theory in favor of an alternative, reflection-based, account.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 selection and editorial matter, the editors; individual chapters, the contributors
Divisions: Government
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2024 10:03
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2024 04:18

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics