Kant, the Body, and Knowledge

The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 45:47-53 (1998)
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Abstract

I discuss the philosophical significance of Kant's great cosmological work of 1755, the Universal Natural History. I discuss how Kant's interest in Newtonian universal forces led him to affirm a peculiar version of the physical influx theory. I argue that Kant's speculations about life on other planets are highly significant because they point to a key feature of Kant's theory of physical influx, namely that "the nimble motions of the body" stand as necessary conditions of the possibility of knowledge. This work directs us to an important topic that has received little scholarly interest: the relation between the body and knowledge in Kant's philosophical writings.

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Andrew Carpenter
University of California, Berkeley (PhD)

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