Kant’s Third Analogy of Experience

Kant Studien 88 (4):406-441 (1997)
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The main topic of the following dissertation is Kant's Third Analogy of Experience, which asserts that one must posit a bond of mutual interaction in order to judge that two substances exist simultaneously. Part One considers the Third Analogy proper and reconstructs two plausible arguments for its main claim. Contrary to the view of most commentators , Kant is entitled to a strong causal notion of mutual interaction. Part Two considers the historical debate between proponents of Pre-established Harmony, Occasionalism, and Physical Influx and how the Third Analogy can be seen as Kant's most developed version of Physical Influx. Thus, we see that Kant's concern with causality is not exhausted by his reply to Hume in the Second Analogy of Experience. For Kant is clearly concerned to attack the rationalist tradition by criticizing Leibniz's and Wolff's Pre-established Harmony, on the one hand, and the Cartesians' and Malebranche's Occasionalism, on the other hand. Part Three considers the argumentative structure of Kant's Metaphysische Anfangsgrunde der Naturwissenschaft and how the Third Analogy relates to this work. Contrary to what one might expect, the MAdN does not proceed by first presupposing a Principle from the first Critique and then substituting in the concept of matter. Rather, its substantial results are obtained through an extended transcendental argument showing how we can have experience of objects of outer sense . Further, we see how the abstract notion of mutual interaction involved in the Third Analogy becomes more specific in the MAdN since two of the most important features of its central notion of matter, namely the capacities of filling a space and of communicating motion, require attractive and repulsive forces and action and reaction, both instances of mutual interaction. These three lines of argument establish that the Third Analogy of Experience both constitutes a crucial part of Kant's position and presents a philosophically plausible view



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Eric Watkins
University of California, San Diego

Citations of this work

How to Tell Causes From Effects: Kant’s Causal Theory of Time and Modern Approaches.Martin Carrier - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (1):59-71.
Kant and the Conventionality of Simultaneity.Adrian Bardon - 2010 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 18 (5):845-856.

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