Nov 30, 2012
Philosophy of Science_Narated by Marsigit
KANT’S ACCOUNT OF SCIENCE
By Marsigit, Yogyakarta State University
It was elaborated in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2003, Kant's Philosophy of Science, that in developing the philosophy of science, Kant held that scientific laws do involve necessity, but that this necessity is based not on relations between universals, but rather on certain subjective, a priori conditions under which we can experience objects in space and time. Wallis (2004) noted Kant’s claim that a number of synthetic a priori claims, like those from geometry and the natural sciences, are true because of the structure of the mind that knows them; therefore, "Every event must have a cause" cannot be proven by experience, but experience is impossible without it because it describes the way the mind must necessarily order its representations. He cited Kant’s argument in the Refutation of Material Idealism that "There are objects that exist in space and time outside of me," which cannot be proven by a priori or a posteriori methods, is a necessary condition of the possibility of being aware of one's own existence.
Preconditions for Natural Science
Kemerling (2001) noted from Kant that in natural science, synthetic a priori judgments provide the necessary foundations for human knowledge. The most general laws of nature, like the truths of mathematics, cannot be justified by experience, yet must apply to it universally. He noted that according to Kant, applying the concepts of space and time as forms of sensible intuition is necessary condition for any perception; however, the possibility of scientific knowledge requires that our experience of the world be not only perceivable but thinkable as well, and Kant held that the general intelligibility of experience entails the satisfaction of two further conditions: first, it must be possible in principle to arrange and organize the chaos of our many individual sensory images by tracing the connections that hold among them that Kant called the synthetic unity of the sensory manifold; second, it must be possible in principle for a single subject to performthis organization by discovering the connections among perceived images and this is satisfied by what Kant called the transcendental unity of apperception. He noted Kant’s claim that experiential knowledge is thinkable only if there is some regularity in what is known and there is some knower in whom that regularity can be represented; since we do actually have knowledge of the world as we experience it, Kant held, both of these conditions must in fact obtain.
In can be inferred that the feature of Kant's conception of natural science requires that cognition should be systematically ordered, accord to rational principles and be a priori with apodictic certainty that is consciousness of their necessity; and according to Kant, science proper requires a metaphysics of nature that consist in either a "transcendental part," which discusses the laws that make possible the concept of a nature in general or a "special metaphysical" part, which concerns a "particular nature of this kind of things" for which an empirical concept is given. Kant suggested that in special metaphysics the principles of the transcendental part, are applied to the two species of objects of our senses; therefore, the particular kinds of things that could be investigated in a special metaphysics are the objects of outer sense, i.e., matter, and the objects of inner sense, i.e., thinking beings, which would thus result in a doctrine of body and a doctrine of soul.
Phoronomy and Dynamics
It was stated in the first chapter of the Metaphysical Foundations, the Phoronomy, that Kant considers the quantity of motion of matter and how it is to be constructed in intuition a priori. Kant claim that due to the relativity of space, every motion can be viewed arbitrarily as either the motion of a body in a space at rest, or as a body in a state of rest in a space which is in motion in the opposite direction with the same velocity. Kant delivered the theorem that "the composition of two motions of one and the same point can only be thought in such a way that one of them is represented in absolute space,
and, instead of the other, a motion of the relative space with the same speed occurring in the opposite direction is represented as the same as the latter".
In the second chapter of the Metaphysical Foundations, the Dynamics, Kant considered how it is possible to experience matter as filling a determinate region in space; he exhibited the nature and necessity of repulsive forces and argued that repulsive force is required for matter to fill space, Kant then specifies several central features of repulsive forces and admit of degrees to infinity, since one must always be able to think of a slightly greater or lesser force, and although matter can be compressed to infinity, it can never be penetrated, since that would require an infinite compressing force, which is impossible. Further, Kant drew an important consequence from his characterization of repulsive forces, namely that matter is infinitely divisible; he accepted attractive and repulsive forces, but denied the infinite divisibility of what ultimately constitutes matter, namely physical points or monads.
Kant recognized that both space and spatial properties such as divisibility are not properties of things in themselves but rather only appearances, one can reject the proposition that seems to necessitate the acceptance of simple substances, namely the idea that simple substances must precede the wholes they compose. He argued that matter must have an attractive force in order to fill space; accordingly, if there were only repulsive forces, then matter would disperse itself to infinity since neither space nor other matter could limit it. He argued that both attractive and repulsive forces must be considered essential to matter that is attractive forces alone are not sufficient to account for matter filling a space, since if matter consisted solely of attractive forces, there would be no force to counteract the attractive force being exercised and the universe would collapse into a single point. 
Kant specified how attractive forces are to be understood, namely as the immediate action of matter on other matter through empty space; he then confronted the metaphysical question of how to understand attraction that Newton attempted to avoid by positing it merely mathematically. He argued that action at a distance is no more problematic than action by means of physical contact, since in both cases a body is simply acting outside itself; therefore, attractive forces act immediately to infinity and by adding a preliminary suggestion as to how one might be able to construct the concept of cohesion. Kant considered that the specific varieties of matter might be reduced, at least in principle, to the fundamental forces of attraction and repulsion. He then defined that mathematical-mechanical is associated with the postulation of atoms and the void, employs nothing more than the shapes and motions of fundamental particles and empty interstices interspersed among them; and metaphysical-dynamical mode of explanation employs fundamental moving forces in its explanations.
About the Mechanics, Kant concerned how it is possible to experience matter as having a moving force, that is, how one matter communicates its motion to another by means of its moving force; he then strive to clarified how the quantity of matter is to be estimated before stating. He asserted that the quantity of matter can be estimated only by the quantity of motion at a given speed; the quantity of matter, which is the aggregate of the movable in a determinate space, cannot be estimated by counting the number of parts it has, since, every matter is infinitely divisible. He claimed that we cannot estimate the quantity of matter merely by considering its volume, since different matters can have different specific densities; therefore, the only universally applicable way of estimating the quantity of matter is to hold the velocity of matter constant. He then claimed that the total quantity of matter remains the same throughout all changes in matter; further, he assumed that the ultimate subject of all accidents inhering in matter must be the movable
in space, and that its quantity is the aggregate of the movable in space. He then added that that there is a crucial difference between spatial and non-spatial substances, therefore since the quantity of matter consists in a plurality of real things external to each other that cannot fade away, the only way to decrease its quantity is by division.
Kant argued that every change in matter has an external cause; all changes occur in accordance with the law of cause and effect and thus entails that every change in matter has a cause as well as on the further assumption that matter has no internal grounds of determinations but rather only external relations in space. He asserted that the very possibility of natural science proper depends on the law of inertia, since the rejection of it would be the death of all natural philosophy; if inertia were to entail an active force of resistance, then it would be possible that when one moving body hits another, the moving body has to apply part of its motion solely to overcome the inertia of the one at rest and might not have any motion left over to set the body at rest into motion, which is contrary to experience. Further, he claimed that the main point at issue in mechanics is establishing that mutual action is necessarily reaction; and he rejected the view that explaining the communication of motion in terms of the transfer of motion is no explanation at all and also amounts to admitting that accidents could be literally transferred from one substance to another.