Kant’s Newtonianism: a reappraisal
ResumoThe article examines different aspects of Kant’s Newtonianism, focusing on Kant’s attempt in the Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft to realize a new “pure part” of physics, complementary to Newton’s “mathematical principles”. The first section regards the philosophical objectives of Kant’s engagement with Newtonian physics, highlighting the role of physics for the “exhibition” of metaphysical concepts and criticizing the view that Kant’s intention would have been to provide a “foundation” of Newton’s physics. The second section provides an example of Kant’s original reappraisal of Newton’s physics, focusing on the concepts of material substance and force. The third section shows how Newton’s thesis about the limited (but sufficient) knowledge of gravity represented for Kant the main example of a general limitation of philosophical knowledge.
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