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Motivational Kantianism: Cassirer's Late Shift Towards d Regulative Conception of the A Priori

Giovanelli, Marco (2022) Motivational Kantianism: Cassirer's Late Shift Towards d Regulative Conception of the A Priori. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 95. pp. 118-125.

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Abstract

Cassirer often pointed out that the physics of his time had progressively become a “physics of principles” rather than a “physics of models.” Until the 1920s, Cassirer regarded these principles (the energy principle, the relativity principle, etc.) s a constitutive but provisional form of the a priori, imposing specific limitations on the form of the allowable laws o nature. This paper argues that Cassirer shifted the role of the a priori to a deeper level in the 1930s. The a priori acquires a regulative meaning, motivating the search for the laws of nature without providing any particular insight into their form. The paper contends that, in this way, Cassirer embraced what might be called a “motivational Kantianism.” It can be argued whether this stance still deserves to be called a form of “neo-Kantianism.” However, depriving the a priori of any specific content allowed Cassirer to attribute a constitutive role to “statements of principles” without granting them a priori status. This paper concludes that this attitude towards the role of “principles” in physics sets Cassirer's philosophy apart from its positivist and post-positivist counterparts.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Giovanelli, Marcomarco.giovanelli@unito.it0000-0003-1342-6476
Keywords: Ernst Cassirer, Marburg neo-Kantianism, relativized a priori, principles in physics regulative/constitutive a priori
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > History of Philosophy
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Dr. Marco Giovanelli
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2022 04:56
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2022 04:56
Item ID: 21109
Journal or Publication Title: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsa.2022.08.002
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > History of Philosophy
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Date: 2022
Page Range: pp. 118-125
Volume: 95
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21109

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