mardi 3 février 2015

Space-Time and the Observer: In Defence of Objective Structrure (J. Mozersky)

Conférence | Lecture

(Queen's University)

Space-Time and the Observer: In Defence of Objective Structrure

To begin, I briefly recap (and defend) an old story: (1) Newton provides an account of space and time that renders them imperceptible and immutable; (2) Kant later argues that space and time receive their (necessarily Newtonian) structure from the forms of intuition; (3) Newton’s account of space and time is shown by Einstein to be inadequate; (4) this, therefore, spells the end for the Kantian approach to metaphysics.
I then raise what is for me a puzzling question: why do so many contemporary philosophers of science and metaphysicians adhere to a neo-Kantian picture, according to which the world gains its structure from our representations or representational activities?  Of great influence here is the work of two seminal 20th Century philosophers: Hilary Putnam and Nelson Goodman.  So, I turn next to a consideration of their arguments.  I find them to be question begging and, indeed, self-undermining, and I think it is illuminating to see why.
I conclude with some thoughts on the bigger picture: in what direction might the philosophy of science and metaphysics move if freed from the influence of Kant.

Friday, February 6th, 2014

University of Ottawa
Desmarais Hall (55, Laurier East)
Room 8161

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