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Kant On Force And Activity

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Chapter Summary

Concepts such as power or force or activity manifest themselves in diverse ways in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. This chapter deals with some philosophical questions arising from Kant?s thoughts involving the concept of power and its close relatives. It looks at how Kant in his critical and pre-critical writings understands activity and passivity, both in nature and in rational beings. The chapter focuses on two themes: first, nature and its forces; second, human beings and their freedom. The first theme discusses Kant?s pre-critical views on how finite substances act and interact. It shows how Kant starts by criticizing the Leibnizian view of substances as essentially, but only immanently, active, and ends up with what could be described as the general problem of causality. After that the ideas in the Critique of Pure Reason are discussed. The two themes coincide with Kant?s distinction between theoretical and practical reasoning.

Keywords: activity; causality; concept of force; concept of power; finite substances; Immanuel Kant; Leibnizian; passivity; philosophical questions



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