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Laws of Nature$
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Walter Ott and Lydia Patton

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746775

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198746775.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2022

Laws and Ideal Unity

Laws and Ideal Unity

(p.108) 6 Laws and Ideal Unity
Laws of Nature

Angela Breitenbach

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores Kant’s account of the empirical laws of nature and the systematic unity they generate. How, if at all, can the particular laws of nature be both necessary and known empirically? And what, if any, is the cognitive function of the regulative idea of systematic unity for our knowledge of the laws? It is argued that, on Kant’s account, empirical reflection on particular phenomena can give us access to the laws insofar as this reflection is guided by the a priori laws of nature and the regulative idea of systematic unity. Reflection of this kind cannot ground scientific knowledge in the strict sense of the term, but it can lead to a common form of our knowledge of the laws.

Keywords:   Kant, empirical law, causality, unity, systematicity, reflection, regulative idea

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