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Title: Questioni epistemologiche nella scienza della natura dell'ultimo Kant
Tutor: Capozzi, Mirella
Stabile, Giorgio
Keywords: Kant, filosofia trascendentale, epistemologia, scienza della natura
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: The research advances an interpretation of the ‘flexible’ nature of Kantian space and time, conceived as forms of intuition and formal intuitions. This nature is determined by their dependence on the synthetic activity that plays a crucial role not only in the principles of pure understanding and the metaphysical foundations of natural science, but also in mathematics as well as in its procedure, namely construction. Secondly, the research analysed how Kant employed and determined space and time as formal intuitions in the "Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science" by means of a conception of algebra as a heuristic self-expanding science enabling the determination of space depending on a chosen arbitrary variable. I applied this view to Kant’s cosmology concerning the expanding universe, conceived as a whole, and I gave a brief account of the influence that this model produced in the twentieth century. In Chapter 3, I approached the epistemological questions of any possible account of a totality arising from this model. I highlighted the importance of the "Critique of Judgement" in order to answer this question, by emphasising the epistemological and the ontological implications of conceiving physical entities in terms of part-whole relations. I found of great relevance for this purpose Kant’s employment of the concept of the technique of nature. Chapter 4 deals with the historical context and the framework of natural science that influenced Kant’s view of mathematics as the instrument of reason to ground physics. I analysed some of Kant’s scientific sources (Lavoisier, Herschel and Lichtenberg) for both his cosmology and his conception of natural science and I showed Kant’s acquaintance with experimental sciences and technology of the 18th century. Chapter 5 examines Kant’s argument of the aether’s proof as presented in the "Opus postumum". This part of the research shows that, according to Kant: 1) this is an indirect proof; 2) given certain philosphical and mathematical foundations, the all of matter can be determined and anticipated; 3) what Kant called the collective unity of experience and the collective universality of experience are profoundly related to the principle 'forma dat esse rei'; 4) what is real is identified with mutual active interactions among forces and particles that must be presupposed in order to determine the all-pervading cosmic matter. The Appendix of the thesis aims to give an account of Kant’s influence on contemporary philosphy of science and epistemology, especially on a possible transcendental approach to objectivity. The most significant contribution for further research is contained in the first section. This last part of the research was inspired by the reading of "Symmetries in Physics" (2003) and "Constituting Objectivity" (2009).
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