The preconditions for time and space Dec 26, 2013 9:04:16 GMT -5
Post by Deleted on Dec 26, 2013 9:04:16 GMT -5
"What can science teach us about the natural world?" shrieks Fräulein Breitenbach, one of the Lecturers in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Her first book, Die Analogie von Vernunft und Natur, is said to "examine Kant's theory of organic nature and its implications for contemporary philosophy of science." Kant is never off the menu in Cambridge! Englishmen from all walks of life are ever greedy for a little Kant, and Miss Breitenbach will always be there to feed that essentially unnatural hunger. She appears every lunch-time at the Cambridge Kant-canteen and dishes out scarcely digestible dollops of "pure reason" to slavering students who gobble it all thoughtlessly up. "Philosophers have long argued over this simple question," she continues.
BUT - already at this point I have a really deep-seated question for Fräulein Breitenbach: is some one who argues over a simple question worthy of the name "philosopher"? Is it not the mark of a true philosopher that he will NOT argue about simple questions?
Apparently Mr. Friedman - "Michael" to his inti-mates - has put out a book: "Kant's Construction of Nature" it is called, and its sub-title is "A reading of the metaphysical foundations of natural science." That - "The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science" - is the title of a little book Kant wrote about the "principles" that are specifically required for "experience" of "material nature." These principles include his "laws of mechanics" which bear a striking similarity to Newton's laws of motion (which, according to Einstein, are woefully inadequate). Anyway this Mr. Friedman devoted thirty years of intellectual labour to the study of Kant's book. What "conditions" (cried Kant) need to be "in place" in order for Newton's theory to give a mathematical description of the "material world"? [A few definitions of the expressions I have quoted would not be out of place would they?] Friedman explains that for Kant time and space are not simply given to us as objects in experience, but must first [!] be constructed in a reference frame. Well! Members may read more about it all in the T.L.S. of November the twenty-ninth. "Friedman's reading of Kant is a profound contribution to the debate about what science can teach us about the world," concludes the Fräulein. But I wonder. Does it really take us at all further forward?