Kant on the Ends of the Sciences

Kant on the Ends of the Sciences AbstractKant speaks repeatedly about the relations between ends or aims and scientific research, but the topic has mostly been ignored. What is the role of ends, especially (though not exclusively) practical ones, in his views on science? I will show that while Kant leaves ample space for recognizing a function of ends both in the definition and the pursuit of inquiry, and in the further practical application of scientific cognition, he does not claim that science is simply an instrument for achieving practical ends. I explain his complex conception, pointing out that Kant argues (1) that the sciences require ends for their very definition, (2) that ends come in fundamentally different kinds, (3) that the relation between science and ends requires the rational determination and hierarchization of all our ends, with “wisdom” as the highest, and (4) that this determination and hierarchization – which ought to be done by metaphysics – has itself to be carried out in a “scientific way”. I show further that (5) Kant gives sui generis weight to the epistemic aims and standards of science and to the autonomy of science from our practical lives. This places his position between separatism and anti-separatism with regard to the relation between science and our ends or values. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Kant-Studien de Gruyter

Kant on the Ends of the Sciences

Kant-Studien, Volume 111 (1): 28 – Mar 5, 2020

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
1613-1134
eISSN
1613-1134
DOI
10.1515/kant-2020-0001
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractKant speaks repeatedly about the relations between ends or aims and scientific research, but the topic has mostly been ignored. What is the role of ends, especially (though not exclusively) practical ones, in his views on science? I will show that while Kant leaves ample space for recognizing a function of ends both in the definition and the pursuit of inquiry, and in the further practical application of scientific cognition, he does not claim that science is simply an instrument for achieving practical ends. I explain his complex conception, pointing out that Kant argues (1) that the sciences require ends for their very definition, (2) that ends come in fundamentally different kinds, (3) that the relation between science and ends requires the rational determination and hierarchization of all our ends, with “wisdom” as the highest, and (4) that this determination and hierarchization – which ought to be done by metaphysics – has itself to be carried out in a “scientific way”. I show further that (5) Kant gives sui generis weight to the epistemic aims and standards of science and to the autonomy of science from our practical lives. This places his position between separatism and anti-separatism with regard to the relation between science and our ends or values.

Journal

Kant-Studiende Gruyter

Published: Mar 5, 2020

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