The Post-Critical Kant: Understanding the Critical Philosophy through the Opus Postumum

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The Post-Critical Kant - Bryan Hall - Bok () | Bokus

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Purchase Instant Access. View Preview. Learn more Check out. Hall, p. Hall's study is divided into five chapters that have the character of self-contained essays, and an introduction that goes beyond the usual overview of the argument. Hall sets four textual and philosophical standards for his own work and for further research on the OP. Every study concerning Kant's last unfinished work should follow the interpretive principles of i maximal consistency with Kant's text, which requires addressing "texts that seem to conflict with the interpretation" p.

In his introduction -- far from trying to be everybody's darling -- Hall argues that "all of the existing interpretations violate more than one of these principles" and so his own "should be preferred" to the competitors because he's following them p. Leaving the defense to those being attacked, one must admit that it would be of great value if future works on the OP would bring themselves in line with Hall's standards.

The reason for following them lies in the state of the drafts from which the edited OP was compiled. In a manuscript that has neither been published nor finally reviewed and composed for publication, any interpreter will find what he or she is seeking. Hall's picture of the situation is revealing: "In many ways, OP can be viewed like a philosophical Rorschach test. It is easy for commentators to see what they want to see" p.

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The principle of the First Analogy in CPR A suggests that substance is contained in all appearances and persists as the relatively enduring empirical object itself through every change of the object's properties. When the category of substance is applied in this way, it functions as a principium individuationis for substances and makes their changes in time perceivable. The formulation of the principle in CPR B supports a different concept of substance.

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The persisting quantum of substance in nature, which is neither diminished nor increased, must be understood as a single substance in space, one that is omnipresent and sempiternal Hall uses the term "Substance" in contrast to "substances" for the plurality of individual relatively enduring objects, p. The concept of Substance is able to ensure the subject's experience of simultaneity and succession of empirical objects in a common spatiotemporal framework, but it lacks the ability to individuate these objects.

In three steps. Hall provides support for both interpretations Substance and then substances and explains the problem resulting from Kant's equivocal use of substance in the Analogies of Experience. According to Hall's interpretation Kant faces a dilemma in the First Analogy which he is unable to resolve and "this constitutes a gap in Kant's Critical philosophy that he is unable to deal with given the tools available to him in CPR " p. Unequivocal interpretations like e.


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Kenneth Westphal's, p. Kant therefore "requires a new concept of Substance different from the category of substance" p.

Hall attempts to present a valid and sound version of Kant's effort to prove a priori the existence of a primordial matter, named ether or caloric, which is the basis of the collective unity of all moving forces of matter that affect the sensibility of the subject and therefore functions as a principle of the absolute unity of possible experience. Hall's focus in chapter two is the development of the Kantian conception of the Ether beginning with the Critical period. It is worth mentioning that this chosen starting point is not the absolute beginning of Kant's thinking about the concept and function of the so-called ether.

In writings of the period labeled as pre-Critical Kant, for instance, Kant makes use of the concept as a methodical principle to reduce the number of causes in a metaphysics of nature. Hall himself is interested in a genuine Kantian theory of the Ether which helps "to solve certain important problems from the Critical era" p. The first section of this chapter is dedicated to Kant's Critical conception of the ether.


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In the sole reference to something like the ether in the Postulates of Empirical Thought in CPR, Kant states that if some intermediate being with an ontological state between matter and mind persists in space, its concept cannot be a priori but requires experience. Without the latter it is nothing more than just an 'empirically groundless' 'figment of the brain'. Readers of the OP know that Kant's view of the ether changes between and , and Hall's examination offers explanations for this change.

Hall's view on MFNS and CJ exemplifies two different problems whose solution is given by the evolution of the ether theory. The post-Critical ether allows for distinguishing between matter as such and physical bodies and thus for a theoretical approach to the constitution of bodies inorganic as well as organized.

Immanuel Kant

If both kinds of bodies emerge from the ether, Kant completes his task of unifying nature as a whole in one system of natural science f. The effort to use the concept of emergence for the interpretation of Kant's theory of substance and matter in the OP opens much room for further discussion and gives interesting input for future research.

The same emergence-relationship exists according to Hall between the one Substance and substances see e. The author -- following his own interpretive principles meticulously -- does not ignore the difficulties of an emergence account; in Hall's words: "When it comes to body formation, we can accept Kant's claim that physical bodies or substances emerge from the ether or Substance , without having to accept his account of how they do so" p. Here there is — in my opinion -- a parallel to the relation between specific laws of nature and transcendental laws of nature like the principles in CPR.

The former must be subsumed under the latter, but there is no answer in Kant's text to the question of how this goal can be achieved more precisely there is no answer in CPR ; CJ offers an answer, but OP shows that this answer is not Kant's last word on the topic. Every molecule or atom of a specific material body is itself a body in the sense of the OP because it has a limited quantity, some kind of form and structure, and it is possible to both limit its extension to a well defined space and to measure its weight.

The Metaphysics of Immanuel Kant Explained Simply - Kant Vs. Hyperianism

All these properties cannot be those of the ether, and therefore it is impossible to compose bodies out of it. Nevertheless the ether is the principle and basis of body constitution: "physical bodies emerge from, but are not reducible in terms of the part-whole relation to the ether" p. Maybe a future conference on the OP will focus on the emergence concept as an interpretive tool for a new approach to the OP.

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