Rules, Images and Constructions: Kant’s Constructive Idealism

  • Robert E. Butts
Part of the The Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science book series (WONS, volume 24)


In this chapter I will sketch a model for understanding the connection, in Kant’s system, between categories, principles of the understanding, schemata, and the empirical instances to which the categorial framework is supposed to apply.1 In addition, I will endeavor to make clear the status of mathematics as Kant viewed that status. Whatever the differences between Kant and Leibniz, they were agreed that without mathematics natural science is impossible. The mechanism of the Double Government Methodology presupposes the applicability of mathematics to the world. For Leibniz that applicability is guaranteed by his metaphysics: God is a mathematician; the angels are teachers of mathematics. Kant recognized no such guarantee. How mathematics applies to the worlds we make is therefore a special and quite complicated question for him.


Semantical Rule Absolute Space Empirical Concept Dream Content Constructive Idealism 
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  1. 2.
    Wilfrid Seilars (1967) p. 634. Sellars’ interpretive scheme is not wholly original. Ernst Cassirer’s reading of Kant takes a similar form in his (1981).Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    This yields Kant’s definition of orientation in thinking as follows: “To orient one’s self in thinking as such therefore means to determine one’s assent according to a subjective principle of reason because of the inadequacy of its objective principles” (1949) p. 296 note].Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    Hebb (1977a) p. 141. Those interested in following up the remarkable similarities between the views of Kant and Hebb should also look at Hebb (1977b) where he develops the implications of Peirce’s view that all knowledge of the internal world is derived by inference from facts about the external world.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert E. Butts
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe University of Western OntarioCanada

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