Kant's Critique of Teleology in Biological Explanation Antimony and Teleology

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Presents an example of the interconnections between philosophy and the history of science. Kant's "Critique of Teleological Judgment" is read as a reflection on philosophical methodological problems that arose through the constitution of an independent science of life, biology.


"There is much to admire in McLaughlin's book: it is clearly written, cogently argued, and it offers an illuminating and original interpretation of an important aspect of a major philosopher's thought. Individuals interested in Kant, the history of the life sciences after Descartes, and the philosophy of biology, will want to read this book." - David Haugen in The Review of Metaphysics

"In light of the recent increase in interest in Kant's teleology, it is gratifying to have this work available both in German and in English. . . . to be recommended to one and all. It is an interesting, well-considered discussion of a problem fascinating then as well as now, a problem crucial for Kant and crucial for our understanding of him. . . . McLaughlin is in good company with his non-constitutivity reading of the antimony in question. Indeed, he has added to the arsenal of this reading's defenders." - Kant-studien

"A study of Kant's contribution to an issue in the philosophy of science, viz., the possibilities and limits of mechanistic reductionism in biology. McLaughlin focuses on the antinomy of judgment in the teleology part of Kant's Critique of Judgment. The first chapter states the problems of mechanistic biology in the mid-18th century, documents Kant's familiarity with the contemporary biological debate, and introduces Kant's paradoxical notion of a "natural purpose." The second chapter examines the antinomy of pure reason from the Critique of Pure Reason. The emphasis is on Kant's account of the part-whole relation and on the idea of a noumenal causality. The concluding chapter develops a controversial interpretation of the antinomy of judgment in the Critique of Teleological Judgment. McLaughlin rejects interpretations that attribute to Kant the adoption of a holistic alternative to mechanistic reductionism. According to McLaughlin, Kant offers a solution to the insufficiency of mechanistic biological explanation that is compatible with mechanism. He further emphasizes that Kant's mechanistic reductionism is not an ontological doctrine about the nature of reality but a research program that reflects the operational procedures of the human mind. Recommended for graduate-level collections with strong holdings in German philosophy." - CHOICE

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