Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar (Monday - Week 8, MT21)

philosophy of physics grad lunch seminar

The culminating point of 'Von dem ersten Grunde des Unterschiedes der Gegenden im Raume' (1768) by Immanuel Kant is an argument for an absolute nature of space, based on the observation that the only hand existing in otherwise empty space has to be either left or right. Although this paper generated a heated discussion among the contemporary philosophers, they usually focus only on the short passage containing the argument itself, and ignore the dozen or so pages of introduction, where Kant provided a broader context of this reasoning. What is particularly interesting, is that at the beginning of his paper he made an explicit reference to Analysis Situs, which was one of the great projects of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – and declared the intention of investigating it. Therefore, instead of focusing on the famous argument, I analyse the wider scope of issues described in the paper from 1768 in the context of Leibnizian philosophy. On the basis of these historical considerations, I argue that Kant’s argument already indirectly assumed the space being absolute and therefore, from the Leibnizian perspective, is circular.

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Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar Convenor: Marta Bielińska