Kant’s Second Antinomy and Hume’s Theory of Extensionless Indivisibles

Kant’s Second Antinomy and Hume’s Theory of Extensionless Indivisibles by Dale Jacquette, University Park/Pennsylvania I. The Divisibility of Extension The idea that extended things may be divisible ultimately into simple or indivisible atomic units is a perennial thesis of metaphysics. Immanuel Kant, in the Critique of Pure Reason, A 434 --435/B 462 -- 463, presents three antinomies or paradoxes of reason, the second of which, the 'Second Conflict of the Transcendental Ideas', is supposed to demonstrate a priori that there must and that there cannot possibly exist indivisibles or simple atomic constituents of extension. The antinomy consists of two propositions, thesis and antithesis. Thesis: "Every composite substance in the world is made up of simple parts, and nothing anywhere exists save the simple or what is composed of the simple." Antithesis: "No composite thing in the world is made up of simple parts, and there nowhere exists in the world anything simple."1 Whatever the status of the thesis, the antithesis in Kant's second antinomy, that there cannot exist simples or indivisible atomic parts of composites, is unsound. This is shown after reconstructing the argument in detail by introducing David Hume's theory of sensible extensionless indivisibles. Hume's concept of indivisibles avoids the negative conclusions of Kant's antithesis in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Kant-Studien de Gruyter

Kant’s Second Antinomy and Hume’s Theory of Extensionless Indivisibles

Kant-Studien, Volume 84 (1) – Jan 1, 1993

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Walter de Gruyter
ISSN
0022-8877
eISSN
1613-1134
DOI
10.1515/kant.1993.84.1.38
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

by Dale Jacquette, University Park/Pennsylvania I. The Divisibility of Extension The idea that extended things may be divisible ultimately into simple or indivisible atomic units is a perennial thesis of metaphysics. Immanuel Kant, in the Critique of Pure Reason, A 434 --435/B 462 -- 463, presents three antinomies or paradoxes of reason, the second of which, the 'Second Conflict of the Transcendental Ideas', is supposed to demonstrate a priori that there must and that there cannot possibly exist indivisibles or simple atomic constituents of extension. The antinomy consists of two propositions, thesis and antithesis. Thesis: "Every composite substance in the world is made up of simple parts, and nothing anywhere exists save the simple or what is composed of the simple." Antithesis: "No composite thing in the world is made up of simple parts, and there nowhere exists in the world anything simple."1 Whatever the status of the thesis, the antithesis in Kant's second antinomy, that there cannot exist simples or indivisible atomic parts of composites, is unsound. This is shown after reconstructing the argument in detail by introducing David Hume's theory of sensible extensionless indivisibles. Hume's concept of indivisibles avoids the negative conclusions of Kant's antithesis in

Journal

Kant-Studiende Gruyter

Published: Jan 1, 1993

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