Kantian Journal

2016 Issue №2(56)

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The metaphysics of science

DOI
10.5922/0207-6918-2016-2-2
Pages
30-48

Abstract

A reflection on the meaning of Kant’s manuscript where he uses the expression ‘metaphysics of science’. 20th century philosophy of science acknowledged empiricism and it was anti-metaphysic and positivistic. However, all forms of empiricism and positivism lead to a negation of philosophy, replacing it with logical, methodological, historical, sociological, psychological, cultural, and other studies. In effect, philosophy is the cognition of the absolute universal in both theoretical (the true being) and practical (the supreme good) terms. ‘Transcendental’ philosophy was conceived as a project to redeem philosophy in the era of burgeoning precise empirical natural science and exact sciences. Kant turned science into a foundation of new metaphysics. The anti-philosophical nature of 20th century philosophy of science necessitates addressing Kant’s theory of science when searching for a truly philosophical understanding of science, which can be only of metaphysical nature. The experience of building a system of transcendental metaphysics combined with mathematics and physics shows that philosophy of science is necessary for solving the most important problems of the humanity rather than analysing or synthesising scientific knowledge or development it. Philosophy of science proper should be based on Aristotle’s idea of metaphysics revisited in view of metaphysics of self-consciousness and the doctrine of practical reason, freedom, identity, and dignity of a human being as a personality. It should also embrace the idea of world history and universal civil meaning of philosophy. Recognition of relative a priori determination of human knowledge and behaviour in a broad context of empiricism and relativism (development theory) has no bearing on Kant’s theory. Absolute apriorism as understood in mathematics and physics is an instance of Kant’s universal ‘anthropological’ apriorism and his understanding of the human being, morals, law, and history rather than the seeming ‘absolutisation’ of the Euclidean geometry and Newtonian mechanics. The possibility of metaphysics and the philosophical understanding of science is in knowing the human being. Understanding the essence of science requires grasping the scale of human dignity and the dignity and purpose of philosophy. The project of transcendental metaphysics remains relevant to this day.

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