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History of Modern Philosophy

by: Erick Leffler

History of Modern Philosophy PHIL 4020

Erick Leffler
GPA 3.93

Ronald Bombardi

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Ronald Bombardi
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Erick Leffler on Wednesday September 23, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 4020 at Middle Tennessee State University taught by Ronald Bombardi in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 29 views. For similar materials see /class/213180/phil-4020-middle-tennessee-state-university in PHIL-Philosophy at Middle Tennessee State University.


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Date Created: 09/23/15
PHIL 4020 History of Modern Philosophy Spring 2008 Space Time amp Kant Three Pieces of the Puzzle Euclid39s Axioms and Postulates F irstAxiom Things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another Second Axiom If equals are added to equals the wholes are equal Third Axiom If equals be subtracted from equals the remainders are equal Fourth Axiom Things which coincide with one another are equal to one another Fifth Axiom The whole is greater than the part F irstPostulate To draw a line from any point to any point Second Postulate To produce a nite straight line continuously in a straight line Third Postulate To describe a circle with any center and distance Fourth Postulate That all right angles are equal to one another Fifth Postulate That if a straight line falling on two straight lines make the interior angles on the same side less than two right angles the two straight lines if produced inde nitely meet on that side of which are the angles less than the two right angles The ClarkeLeibniz Debate 17151716 An exchange of letters between Samuel Clarke defending Isaac Newton39s conception of space and time and Leibniz who disputed Newton s ideas Leibniz s First Argument God does not need a quotsense organquot Newton s quotGod39s boundless uniform sensoriumquot to perceive objects and space cannot be an absolute reality or it would possess a greater reality than substances themselves quotthe postulation of an infinite subsistent nonsubstance an quotunthingquot as Kant later called it is simply a monstrosityquot Leibniz s Second Argument Motion and position are real and detectable only in relation to other objects Motion or position cannot be detected in relation to space itself since space itself represents no object Therefore empty space a void and so space itself is an unnecessary hypothesis Clarke s Reply Motion is detectable in relation to space itself for an object accelerating or rotating alone in a void betrays the effect of forces inertial and centripetal that exist in relation to no other object Leibniz s Third Argument There would be no reason and so no sufficient reason for God to create the universe one way rather than as any one of its spatial counterparts ie up rather than down right rather than left or east rather than west Therefore spatial relations are symmetrical relations among objects that are equivalent and do not exist apart from objects Kant s Reply Asymmetrical objects and their mirrorimaged counterparts ie righthanded and lefthanded quotincongruous counterpartsquot are genuinely and physically different No rotations in three dimensional space e g of right and left hands can turn one into the other Since the objects differ only in their spatial relationshipie they could be rotated into each other through a fourth spatial dimensionthey reveal that space itself is real and independent of the objects Space Time amp Kant Bombardi PHIL 4020 History of Modern Philosophy Spring 2008 Kant39s Theory of Space and Time Ontology Kant postulates that space and time do not really exist beyond human experience but are quotforms of intuitionquot ie conditions of perception imposed by our own minds This enables him to reconcile Newton and Leibniz agreeing with Newton that space is absolute and real for objects in experience ie for phenomenal objects open to science but agreeing with Leibniz that space is really nothing in terms of objects as they exist apart from us ie with things in themselves Epistemology Unlike Hume Kant denies that the axioms of geometry are selfevident or true in any logically necessary way They are logically quotsyntheticquot which means that they may be denied without contradiction That is a signi cant claim because it implies that consistent nonEuclidean geometries are possible involving the otherwise consistent denial of one or more of the axioms of Euclid as Bolyai Lobachevskii and Riemann actually accomplished Nevertheless Kant holds that the axioms of geometry are known a priori ie that they are known to be true independently of any experience because Euclidean axioms depend on our quotpure intuitionquot of space namely space as we are able imaginatively to visualize it Only if nonEuclidean space can be visualized would Kant be wrong Cosmology Kant does not think we can know or even imagine the universe as either nite or in nite in space or in time because space and time are only forms of perception and cannot be imagined or visualized as absolute wholes The universe as the place of thingsinthemselves is not in space or in time and so is neither nite nor in nite in space or in time Thus there cannot be an a priori rational or metaphysical cosmology General Relativity Space and Time after Einstein Space Time amp Kant Ontology Kant was wrong space and time really exist beyond human experience but only relative to masses in motion there is no absolute Euclidean metric to which all physical events conform space curves locally and times are desynnchronized for objects moving in nonuniform inertial frames Epistemology Kant was wrong nonEuclidean space can not only be visualized but measured the sun for example warps local spacetime by approximately four seconds of arc per centurysuggesting that Kant had the relation between what can be conceived and what can be visualized backwards Cosmology Kant was wrong although the First Antinomy purports to show the impossibility of conceiving the universe as either nite or in nite initself because both contradictory metaphysical absolutes can be argued and justi ed with equal force it follows that neither can actually be proven Einstein answered Kant by proposing a consistent nonEuclidean Riemannian universe that is nite but unbounded ie without an edge Bombardi


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