A Revolution in Method, Kant's “Copernican Hypothesis”, and the Necessity of Natural Laws : Kant-Studien

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Kant-Studien

Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft

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


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A Revolution in Method, Kant's “Copernican Hypothesis”, and the Necessity of Natural Laws

Martha I. Gibson1

1University of Wisconsin, Madison

Citation Information: Kant-Studien. Volume 102, Issue 1, Pages 1–21, ISSN (Online) 1613-1134, ISSN (Print) 0022-8877, DOI: 10.1515/kant.2011.001, May 2011

Publication History

Published Online:
2011-05-31

Abstract

In an effort to account for our a priori knowledge of synthetic necessary truths, Kant proposes to extend the successful method used in mathematics and the natural sciences to metaphysics. In this paper, a uniform account of that method is proposed and the particular contribution of the ‘Copernican hypothesis’ to our knowledge of necessary truths is explained. It is argued that, though the necessity of the truths is in a way owing to the object's relation to our cognition, the truths we come to know are fully objective, expressing necessary relations between properties. Kant's distinction between ‘phenomena’ and ‘noumena’ is shown to serve to properly restrict the scope of the necessity claims so that they do express necessary connections between properties.

Keywords.: phenomena; noumena; law of nature; necessity; Copernican revolution

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