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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 5, 2019

Wolff and Kant on the Mathematical Method

Elise Frketich
From the journal Kant-Studien


Wolff advocates the mathematical method, which consists in chains of syllogisms that proceed from axioms and definitions to theorems, for achieving scientific certainty in branches of philosophy like ontology and physics. By contrast, in ‘The Discipline of Pure Reason in its Dogmatic Use’ Kant significantly limits the efficacy of this method in philosophy. In this paper I investigate an under-examined result of the Discipline: Kant’s claim that his system of philosophy does not contain “dogmata”. By identifying “dogmata” in Wolff’s system of physics, I argue that, for Kant, they are propositions that uncritically deploy ideas of reason. I conclude that the Discipline extends criticisms raised in the Transcendental Dialectic to any erroneous use of the mathematical method in philosophy.

Published Online: 2019-09-05
Published in Print: 2019-09-01

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