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The Rebirth of Metaphysics

The Rebirth of Metaphysics

(p.70) Four The Rebirth of Metaphysics
Kant’s Organicism
Jennifer Mensch
University of Chicago Press

This chapter puts forward Kant’s argument on knowledge and how it can move forward by setting certain limits. The argument begins with two questions. First, one must ask what kind of knowledge would be required in order to solve a given problem, and second, one must decide whether that knowledge is, in fact, possible. Kant was prepared to identify the root cause of the many errors in the science of the spirit world. When one searched for vital principles or inquired into the character of the spirit world, the objects of investigation were simply unknowable. “Surreptitious concepts” or “subreptive axioms” described a specific transgression: the crossing of fields of knowledge meant to be separate. Subreption created confusion in the sciences when investigators took concepts gleaned from experience and used them to describe processes that were incapable of experience.

Keywords:   spirit world, surreptitious concepts, subreptive axioms, subreption

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