In the 1787 Transcendental Deduction of the categories Kant indicates the only possible ways in which one can account for a necessary agreement of experience with the concepts of its objects (B166), making analogies between modes of explanation and biological theories about the origin of life and endorsing epigenesis as a model for his system of pure reason (B167). This paper examines various interpretive claims about the meaning of this theory of generation and its significance for Kant's philosophy (§1), showing that, after his critical shift in perspective, in 1775/77 Kant already combined preformed elements and their purposively oriented formation by natural forces (§2). Contrary to the standard view, Kant's theory of race appears to constitute the background to assess Blumenbach's later (1799/1781) shift to epigenesis after supporting Haller's preformism. In §3 I claim that the ground of affinity between epigenesis and formal idealism rests in tracing the first origin of the conformity of: external a posteriori climate conditions and predisposed germs and dispositions in the physiology of the humans in the former case, and external a posteriori experience and a priori concepts of its objects in the latter case; in both cases the external empirical conditions would function as occasioning propelling factors affecting internal pre-established forms of generation.

The Epigenesis of Germs and Dispositions in Logic and Life: Kant’s System of Pure Reason and His Concept of Race

Ferrini, Cinzia
2023-01-01

Abstract

In the 1787 Transcendental Deduction of the categories Kant indicates the only possible ways in which one can account for a necessary agreement of experience with the concepts of its objects (B166), making analogies between modes of explanation and biological theories about the origin of life and endorsing epigenesis as a model for his system of pure reason (B167). This paper examines various interpretive claims about the meaning of this theory of generation and its significance for Kant's philosophy (§1), showing that, after his critical shift in perspective, in 1775/77 Kant already combined preformed elements and their purposively oriented formation by natural forces (§2). Contrary to the standard view, Kant's theory of race appears to constitute the background to assess Blumenbach's later (1799/1781) shift to epigenesis after supporting Haller's preformism. In §3 I claim that the ground of affinity between epigenesis and formal idealism rests in tracing the first origin of the conformity of: external a posteriori climate conditions and predisposed germs and dispositions in the physiology of the humans in the former case, and external a posteriori experience and a priori concepts of its objects in the latter case; in both cases the external empirical conditions would function as occasioning propelling factors affecting internal pre-established forms of generation.
2023
30-ott-2023
Pubblicato
https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/sats-2023-0013/html
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3062258
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