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Kant-Studien

Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft

Ed. by Baum, Manfred / Dörflinger, Bernd / Klemme, Heiner F.

4 Issues per year

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The Paradox of Infinite Given Magnitude: Why Kantian Epistemology Needs Metaphysical Space

Lydia Patton1

1Blacksburg

Citation Information: Kant-Studien. Volume 102, Issue 3, Pages 273–289, ISSN (Online) 1613-1134, ISSN (Print) 0022-8877, DOI: 10.1515/kant.2011.021, September 2011

Publication History

Published Online:
2011-09-05

Abstract

Kant's account of space as an infinite given magnitude in the Critique of Pure Reason is paradoxical, since infinite magnitudes go beyond the limits of possible experience. Michael Friedman's and Charles Parsons's accounts make sense of geometrical construction, but I argue that they do not resolve the paradox. I argue that metaphysical space is based on the ability of the subject to generate distinctly oriented spatial magnitudes of invariant scalar quantity through translation or rotation. The set of determinately oriented, constructed geometrical spaces is a proper subset of metaphysical space, thus, metaphysical space is infinite. Kant's paradoxical doctrine of metaphysical space is necessary to reconcile his empiricism with his transcendental idealism.

Keywords:: Space; geometry; construction; infinite

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