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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 21, 2014

Kantian Space, Supersubstantivalism, and the Spirit of Spinoza

James Messina
From the journal Kant Yearbook


In the first edition of Concerning the Doctrine of Spinoza in Letters to Mendelssohn, Jacobi claims that Kant’s account of space is “wholly in the spirit of Spinoza”. In the first part of the paper, I argue that Jacobi is correct: Spinoza and Kant have surprisingly similar views regarding the unity of space and the metaphysics of spatial properties and laws. Perhaps even more surprisingly, they both are committed to a form of parallelism. In the second part of the paper, I draw on the results of the first part to explain Kant’s oft-repeated claim that if space were transcendentally real, Spinozism would follow, along with Kant’s reasons for thinking transcendental idealism avoids this nefarious result. In the final part of the paper, I sketch a Spinozistic interpretation of Kant’s account of the relation between the empirical world of bodies and (what one might call) the transcendental world consisting of the transcendental subject’s representations of the empirical world and its parts.

Published Online: 2014-8-21
Published in Print: 2014-7-29

© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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