The aim of this paper is to cast new light on an important and often overlooked notion of perspectival knowledge arising from Kant. In addition to a traditional notion of perspectival knowledge as “knowledge from a vantage point” (perspectival knowledge1), a second novel notion — “knowledge towards a vantage point” (perspectival knowledge2) —is here introduced. The origin and rationale of perspectival knowledge2 are traced back to Kant’s so-called transcendental illusion (and some of its pre-Critical sources). The legacy of the Kantian notion of perspectival knowledge2 for contemporary discussions on disagreement and the role of metaphysics in scientific knowledge is discussed.
Massimi, M. (2017) What is this thing called ‘scientific knowledge?’ Kant on imaginary standpoints and the regulative role of reason, Kant Yearbook, 9(1), 63-84
In this essay I analyse Kant’s view on the regulative role of reason, and in particular what he describes as the ‘indispensably necessary’ role of ideas qua foci imaginari in the Appendix. I review two influential readings of what has become known as the ‘transcendental illusion’ and I offer a novel reading that builds on some of the insights of these earlier readings. I argue that ideas of reason act as imaginary standpoints, which are indispensably necessary for scientific knowledge by making inter-conversational agreement possible. Thus, I characterise scientific knowledge as a distinctive kind of perspectival knowledge. This novel reading can illuminate the role of reason in complementing the faculty of understanding and sheds light on the apparent dichotomy between the first and the second part of the Appendix.More to the point, this novel reading takes us right to the heart of what knowledge is, according to Kant, and how it differs from bogus knowledge and opinion.
Massimi, M. (2017) Philosophy and the Chemical Revolution after Kant. In K. Ameriks (Ed.) The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism (2nd ed). (pp. 182-204) Cambridge: CUP
This chapter addresses some key ideas of Schelling’s philosophy of nature with two main goals in mind. First, it clarifies how in Schelling’s hands, some key aspects of Kant’s philosophy of nature were transformed into a radically new philosophy of nature. Second, the chapter sheds light on some under appreciated aspects of Schelling’s philosophy of nature vis-à-vis the cultural milieu of Jena at the turn of the nineteenth century, in particular the debate surrounding the Chemical Revolution and the role of Johann Ritter in it.