Understanding Purpose is an exploration of the central concept of natural purpose (Naturzweck) in Kant's philosophy of biology. Kant's work in this area is marked by a strong teleological concern: living organisms, in his view, are qualitatively different from mechanistic devices, and as a result they cannot be understood by means of the same principles. At the same time, Kant's own use of the concept of purpose does not presuppose any theological commitments, and is merely "regulative"; that is, it is employed as a heuristic device. The contributors to this volume also investigate the following key historical questions relating to Kant's philosophy of biology: How does it relate to European work in the life sciences that was done before Kant arrived on the scene? How did Kant's unique approach to the philosophy of biology in turn influence later work in this area?
The issues explored in this volume are as pertinent to the history of philosophy as they are to the history of science -- it is precisely the blurred boundaries between these two disciplines that allows for new perspectives on Kantianism and early nineteenth-century German biology to emerge.
Contributors: Jean-Claude Dupont, Mark Fisher, Philippe Huneman, Robert J. Richards, Phillip R. Sloan, Stéphane Schmitt, and John Zammito.
Philippe Huneman is researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Unit of the Université Paris.
First Published: 15 Jul 2007
13 Digit ISBN: 9781580462655
Size: 9 x 6
Imprint: University of Rochester Press
Series: North American Kant Society Studies in Philosophy
BIC Class: HP
Details updated on 23 May 2013
- 1 Pre-Kantian Revival of Epigenesis: Caspar Friedrich Wolff's De formatione intestinorum (1768-69)
- 2 Kant's Persistent Ambivalence toward Epigenesis, 1764-90
- 3 Reflexive Judgment and Wolffian Embryology: Kant's Shift between the First and the Third Critiques
- 4 Kant's Explanatory Natural History: Generation and Classification of Organisms in Kant's Natural Philosophy
- 5 Succession of Functions and Classifications in Post-Kantian Naturphilosophie around 1800
- 6 Goethe's Use of Kant in the Erotics of Nature
- 7 Kant and British Bioscience