Grete Hermann as Neo-Kantian Philosopher of Space and Time Representation

Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 6 (3) (2018)
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Grete Hermann’s essay “Die naturphilosophischen Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik” has received much deserved scholarly attention in recent years. In this paper, I follow the lead of Elise Crull who sees in Hermann’s work the general outlines of a neo-Kantian interpretation of quantum theory. In full support of this view, I focus on Hermann’s central claim that limited spatio-temporal, and even analogically causal, representations of events exist within an overall relational structure of entangled quantum mechanical states that defy any unified spatio-temporal description. In my view, Hermann also advances an important transcendental argument that perspectival spatio-temporal representations of nature have their foundations in general relational networks that are not spatio-temporal. The key point is that the adoption of a perspectival system within the general network induces the representation but only for that context. These ideas are consistent with a perspectival subject–object principle in Kant and also with Weyl’s work on Lie groups and their representations.

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Erik C. Banks
Wright State University


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