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Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft

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

CiteScore 2018: 0.37

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.193
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.972

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Volume 109, Issue 4


Chemical Dissolution and Kant’s Critical Theory of Nature

Michael Bennett McNulty
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  • Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Twin Cities 805 Heller Hall 271 19th Ave S Minneapolis MN 55455 USA,
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Published Online: 2018-12-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kant-2018-4002


Kant conceives of chemical dissolutions as involving the infinite division and subsequent blending of solvent and solute. In the resulting continuous solution, every subvolume contains a uniform proportion of each reactant. Erich Adickes argues that this account stands in tension with other aspects of Kant’s Critical philosophy and his views on infinity. I argue that although careful analysis of Kant’s conception of dissolution addresses Adickes’ objections, the infinite division inherent to the process is beyond our human cognition, for Kant. Nevertheless, such infinite division may be considered as an idea of reason to make comprehensible chemical reactions, revealing reason to play a pivotal role in the foundations of chemistry.

Keywords: chemistry; infinity; nature; reason

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Published Online: 2018-12-11

Published in Print: 2018-12-19

Citation Information: Kant-Studien, Volume 109, Issue 4, Pages 537–556, ISSN (Online) 1613-1134, ISSN (Print) 0022-8877, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kant-2018-4002.

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