•  158
    In the Transcendental Aesthetic, Kant famously characterizes space as a unity, understood as an essentially singular whole. He further develops his account of the unity of space in the B-Deduction, where he relates the unity of space to the original synthetic unity of apperception, and draws an infamous distinction between form of intuition and formal intuition. Kant ’s cryptic remarks in this part of the Critique have given rise to two widespread and diametrically opposed readings, which I call…Read more
  •  91
    Conceptual Analysis and the Essence of Space: Kant’s Metaphysical Exposition Revisited
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 97 (4): 416-457. 2015.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie Jahrgang: 97 Heft: 4 Seiten: 416-457
  •  91
    I elaborate and defend a "necessitarian" interpretation of Kant's account of laws.
  •  86
    Leibniz on compossibility
    with Donald Rutherford
    Philosophy Compass 4 (6): 962-977. 2009.
    Leibniz's well-known thesis that the actual world is just one among many possible worlds relies on the claim that some possibles are incompossible , meaning that they cannot belong to the same world. Notwithstanding its central role in Leibniz's philosophy, commentators have disagreed about how to understand the compossibility relation. We examine several influential interpretations and demonstrate their shortcomings. We then sketch a new reading, the cosmological interpretation, and argue that …Read more
  •  85
    I am interested in the use Kant makes of the pure intuition of space, and of properties and principles of space and spaces (i.e. figures, like spheres and lines), in the special metaphysical project of MAN. This is a large topic, so I will focus here on an aspect of it: the role of these things in his treatment of some of the laws of matter treated in the Dynamics and Mechanics Chapters. In MAN and other texts, Kant speaks of space as the “ground,” “condition,” and “basis” of various laws, incl…Read more
  •  76
    The importance of Gottlob Ernst Schulze's Aenesidemus 1 for the history of German Idealism has been widely recognized. Much as Hume had awoken Kant, Aenesidemus jolted the young Fichte out of his slumbering adherence to Reinhold's formulation of Kant's philosophy, leading him to re-evaluate the claims, methods, and foundations of the Critical philosophy. In his "Review of the Aenesidemus" 2 Fichte set out the results of this re-evaluation, which included his doctrine of intellectual intuition wi…Read more
  •  70
    The relationship between space and mutual interaction: Kant contra Newton and Leibniz
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1): 43-65. 2017.
    Kant claims that we cannot cognize the mutual interaction of substances without their being in space; he also claims that we cannot cognize a ‘spatial community’ among substances without their being in mutual interaction. I situate these theses in their historical context and consider Kant’s reasons for accepting them. I argue that they rest on commitments regarding the metaphysical grounding of, first, the possibility of mutual interaction among substances-as-appearances and, second, the actual…Read more
  •  69
    Kant was engaged in a lifelong struggle to achieve what he calls in the 1756 Physical Monadology (PM) a “marriage” of metaphysics and geometry (1:475). On one hand, this involved showing that metaphysics and geometry are complementary, despite the seemingly irreconcilable conflicts between these disciplines and between their respective advocates, the Leibnizian-Wolffians and the Newtonians. On the other hand, this involved defining the terms of their union, which meant among other things, artic…Read more
  •  43
    In the first edition of Concerning the Doctrine of Spinoza in Letters to Mendelssohn, Jacobi claims that Kant’s account of space is “wholly in the spirit of Spinoza”. In the first part of the paper, I argue that Jacobi is correct: Spinoza and Kant have surprisingly similar views regarding the unity of space and the metaphysics of spatial properties and laws. Perhaps even more surprisingly, they both are committed to a form of parallelism. In the second part of the paper, I draw on the results of…Read more
  •  37
    Looking for laws in all the wrong spaces: Kant on laws, the understanding, and space
    European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1): 589-613. 2018.
    Prolegomena §38 is intended to elucidate the claim that the understanding legislates a priori laws to nature. Kant cites various laws of geometry as examples and discusses a derivation of the inverse-square law from such laws. I address 4 key interpretive questions about this cryptic text that have not yet received satisfying answers: How exactly are Kant's examples of laws supposed to elucidate the Legislation Thesis? What is Kant's view of the epistemic status of the inverse-square law and, re…Read more
  •  29
    Kant's Stance on the Relationalist-Substantivalist Debate and Its Justification
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 56 (4): 697-726. 2018.
    kant famously claims that space is merely a feature of the mind—something subjective—rather than a mind-independent feature of reality in itself.1 In accepting the subjectivity thesis, Kant rejects the transcendental realist assumption that he thinks has traditionally, albeit tacitly, been made in debates about the nature of space. According to this assumption, space has to do with things in themselves. For the Newtonians, as Kant understands their position, space is a substance-like thing in it…Read more
  •  21
    The Actual and the Possible: Modality and Metaphysics in Modern Philosophy ed. by Mark Sinclair (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 57 (4): 767-768. 2019.
    This edited collection, which grows out of a 2013 British Society for the History of Philosophy conference on the topic of "the actual and the possible" at which early versions of some of the nine essays were presented, explores various episodes in the history of modern metaphysics of modality. It is broad and self-consciously eclectic in its coverage of figures and issues. There are chapters dealing with Spinoza, Wolff, Leibniz and Kant, Kant, Hegel, Russell, Meinong and Łukasiewicz, Heidegger,…Read more
  •  8
    _ Kant on Laws _, by WatkinsEric. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. Pp. xv + 297.
  •  3
    Where the Laws of Physics Lie: A Reading of Prolegomena § 38
    In Violetta L. Waibel, Margit Ruffing & David Wagner (eds.), Natur Und Freiheit. Akten des Xii. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses, De Gruyter. pp. 1091-1098. 2018.
  • Review of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: A Critical Guide (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 1. 2017.
    Review of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: A Critical Guide (ed. James O'Shea)