Springer, Dordrecht


544 Pages

ISBN 978-1-4020-9509-2

Constituting objectivity

transcendental perspectives on modern physics

Edited by

Michel Bitbol, Pierre Kerszberg, Jean Petitot

In recent years, many philosophers of modern physics came to the conclusion that the problem of how objectivity is constituted (rather than merely given) can no longer be avoided, and therefore that a transcendental approach in the spirit of Kant is now philosophically relevant. The usual excuse for skipping this task is that the historical form given by Kant to transcendental epistemology has been challenged by Relativity and Quantum Physics. However, the true challenge is not to force modern physicsinto a rigidly construed static version of Kant's philosophy, but to provide Kant's method with flexibility and generality.

In this book, the top specialists of the field pin down the methodological core of transcendental epistemology that must be used in order to throw light on the foundations of modern physics. First, the basic tools Kant used for his transcendental reading of Newtonian Mechanics are examined, and then early transcendental approaches of Relativistic and Quantum Physics are revisited. Transcendental procedures are also applied to contemporary physics, and this renewed transcendental interpretation is finally compared with structural realism and constructive empiricism. The book will be of interest to scientists, historians and philosophers who are involved in the foundational problems of modern physics.


Publication details

Full citation:

Bitbol, M. , Kerszberg, P. , Petitot, J. (eds) (2009). Constituting objectivity: transcendental perspectives on modern physics, Springer, Dordrecht.

Table of Contents


Bitbol Michel; Kerszberg Pierre; Petitot Jean


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Newton and Kant on absolute space

Friedman Michael


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Ernst Cassirer

Schmitz-Rigal Christiane


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Moritz Schlick

Bonnet Christian; De Calan Ronan


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Laws of nature

Boniolo Giovanni


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A critical account of physical reality

Falkenburg Brigitte


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A cognizable universe

Balashov Yuri V.


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Hermann Weyl and "first philosophy"

Ryckman Thomas


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Old wine enriched in new bottles

Brock Steen


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Symbolic constructions in quantum field theory

Müller Volkhard F.; Sieroka Norman


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Can empiricism leave its realism behind?

van Fraassen Bas C


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A physicist's approach to Kant

d'Espagnat Bernard


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Provisional knowledge

Teller Paul


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