Constituting Objectivity

Transcendental Perspectives on Modern Physics

  • Michel Bitbol
  • Pierre Kerszberg
  • Jean Petitot

Part of the The Western Ontario Series In Philosophy of Science book series (WONS, volume 74)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Historical Survey of Transcendental Readings of Physics

    1. Michel Bitbol, Pierre Kerszberg, Jean Petitot
      Pages 1-30
    2. Kant and Newtonian Mechanics

    3. The Relativized A Priori: Cassirer and the Founders of Logical Positivism

  3. Transcendental Epistemologies and Modern Physics

    1. General Issues: Concepts and Principles

    2. The Scientifi c Revolutions of the Twentieth Century and Beyond

    3. The Scientifi c Revolutions of the Twentieth Century and Beyond

    4. The Scientifi c Revolutions of the Twentieth Century and Beyond

    5. The Scientifi c Revolutions of the Twentieth Century and Beyond

      1. Ion-Olimpiu Stamatescu
        Pages 389-402
      2. Hans Günter Dosch, Volkhard F. Müller, Norman Sieroka
        Pages 403-413
  4. Debate About the Relevance of Transcendental Epistemology for Modern Physics: Transcendentalism, Empiricism and Realism

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 515-544

About this book


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 physics into 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.



Isaac Newton Kant Objectivity Philosophy of physics Relativized a priori Rudolf Carnap Transcendental epistemology epistemology invariance quantum mechanics

Editors and affiliations

  • Michel Bitbol
    • 1
  • Pierre Kerszberg
    • 2
  • Jean Petitot
    • 3
  1. 1.CREA–Ecole PolytechniqueCNRSParisFrance
  2. 2.Université de Toulouse–Le MirailToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Sociales and CREA–Ecole PolytechniqueEcole des Hautes Etudes en SciencesParisFrance

Bibliographic information