Historians of philosophy, science, and mathematics explore the influence of Kant's philosophy on the evolution of modern scientific thought.
The contributions of Kantian thought to modern mathematics, mathematical logic, and the foundations of mathematics are now widely acknowledged by scholars. As the essays in this volume show, the general development of modern scientific thought—including the physical sciences, the life sciences, and mathematics—can be viewed as an evolution from Kant through Poincaré to Einstein and the logical positivists and beyond. Focusing on nineteenth-century science, the essays—by historians of philosophy, science, and mathematics—trace the multiple intellectual transformations that have led from Kant's original scientific situation to the scientific problems of the twentieth century.The book examines Kant's influence on five strands of nineteenth-century scientific thought: Naturphilosophie and the effect of German Romanticism (especially Goethe) on biology; Fries's philosophy of science; Helmholtz's rejection of Naturphilosophie and Romanticism; neo-Kantianism and its return to "methodological" concerns in natural science and academic philosophy; and Poincaré and his reflections on scientific epistemology. The essays give a nuanced picture of Kant's legacy to nineteenth-century thinkers and of the rich interaction between philosophical ideas and discoveries in the natural and mathematical sciences during this period. They point to the ways that the scientific developments of the nineteenth century link Kant's thought to the science of the twentieth century.
ContributorsFrederick Beiser, Robert DiSalle, Janet Folina, Michael Friedman, Jeremy Gray, Frederick Gregory, Michael Heidelberger, Timothy Lenoir, Jesper Lützen, Alfred Nordmann, Helmut Pulte, Robert Richards, Alan Richardson