Generation in Kant

In The Cambridge Kant Lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 197-199 (2021)
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There is a collection of words being used by Kant when it comes to his discussion of the various processes associated with the English word “generation.” The closest German word, Erzeugung, can be used either generically—to form an idea, to create an effect or event—or as part of a scientific theory. Kant used Erzeugung in both senses repeatedly across his corpus and referred from his earliest works to scientific theories regarding cosmological formation, the generation of earthquakes and volcanoes, and the production of biological life, all by way of Erzeugung. The constellation of theories revolving around questions of organic generation were of special interest to Kant, and he spent time throughout his career considering the various processes by which the generation and subsequent development of an individual might occur.

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Jennifer Mensch
Western Sydney University


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