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Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft

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

4 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.14

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.163
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.224

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Volume 105, Issue 2


Kant vs. Leibniz in the Second Antinomy: Organisms Are Not Infinitely Subtle Machines

Philippe Huneman
Published Online: 2014-06-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kant-2014-0009


This paper interprets the two pages devoted in the Critique of Pure Reason to a critique of Leibniz’s view of organisms as infinitely organized machines. It argues that this issue of organisms represents a crucial test-case for Kant in regard to the conflicting notions of space, continuity and divisibility held by classical metaphysics and by criticism. I first present Leibniz’s doctrine and its justification. In a second step, I explain the general reasoning by which Kant defines the problem of the Antinomies, and then I specify the case of the Second Antinomy. Then, I ask why the organism raises specific issues for Kant’s solution of the Second Antinomy, and why it sheds light on the nature of Leibniz’s metaphysical assumptions about organisms. The last section considers this critique of Leibniz from the perspective of Kant’s future theory of organisms in the third Critique, specifying its role in the development of a Kantian view of organisms with regard to the changes occurring at the same time in the life sciences.

: Leibniz; machine; organism; divisibility; ‘Second’ Antinomy

About the article

Published Online: 2014-06-01

Published in Print: 2014-06-01

Citation Information: Kant-Studien, Volume 105, Issue 2, Pages 155–195, ISSN (Online) 1613-1134, ISSN (Print) 0022-8877, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kant-2014-0009.

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