The Construction of Empirical Concepts and the Establishment of the Real Possibility of Empirical Lawlikeness in Kant's Philosophy of Science

Dissertation, Dalhousie University (1987)
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In Chapter I, I discuss Buchdahl’s view that the possibility of empirical lawlikeness could not have been established in the Principles of the Critique given the differences between transcendental, metaphysical and empirical lawlikeness, and the connection between the faculty of Reason and empirical lawlikeness. I then discuss the general conditions for empirical hypotheses according to Kant, which include the justification of the method by which an empirical hypothesis is obtained and the establishment of the general and specific constructability of the empirical concept. *In Chapter II, I discuss the nature of the general construction of concepts which is treated in the Schematism of the Critique, surveying the views of Pippin, Allison, Bennett and Butts in an effort both to make sense of a difficult part of the Critique and to demonstrate that the Schematism is indeed where Kant demonstrates how the construction of empirical concepts in general is possible. *In Chapter III, I discuss Brittan’s and Butts’ views on the nature of the specific construction of empirical concepts, defending Butts’ interpretation as compatible with Buchdahl’s view that gaps exist between kinds of lawlikeness for Kant and, because of its connection with an interpretation of how metaphysical lawlikeness figures in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, insofar as it helps us to establish the possibility of empirical lawlikeness and natural science.  

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Jennifer McRobert
Western University (PhD)


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