Kant on Essence and Nature

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This paper investigates Kant’s account of “real essence” and of a thing’s “nature”. Notwithstanding their wide negligence in the literature, these concepts belong to the central ones of Kant’s metaphysics. I argue that, on the one hand, Kant is in continuity with the Aristotelian-Scholastic tradition of essence. But, on the other hand, he also follows Locke in distinguishing between “logical” and “real” essence. Contrary to recent attempts of aligning real essence with contemporary approaches to essence, I will defend the thesis that Kant equates real essence and (formal) nature, and that real essence has a causal, but no constitutive role. I shall also respond to potential objections and discuss some developments of Kant’s views.
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Archival date: 2020-04-04
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