, Volume 121, Issue 3, pp 357–383

On A Semantic Interpretation Of Kant's Concept Of Number


  • Wing-Chun Wong
    • Department of PhilosophyTowson University

DOI: 10.1023/A:1005106218147

Cite this article as:
Wong, W. Synthese (1999) 121: 357. doi:10.1023/A:1005106218147


What is central to the progression of a sequence is the idea of succession, which is fundamentally a temporal notion. In Kant's ontology numbers are not objects but rules (schemata) for representing the magnitude of a quantum. The magnitude of a discrete quantum 11...11 is determined by a counting procedure, an operation which can be understood as a mapping from the ordinals to the cardinals. All empirical models for numbers isomorphic to 11...11 must conform to the transcendental determination of time-order. Kant's transcendental model for number entails a procedural semantics in which the semantic value of the number-concept is defined in terms of temporal procedures. A number is constructible if and only if it can be schematized in a procedural form. This representability condition explains how an arbitrarily large number is representable and why Kant thinks that arithmetical statements are synthetic and not analytic.

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999