The volume is the second installment of Paolo Grillenzoni’s monumental work on Kant and Science, a remake almost a century later of Erich Adickes’ two volumes on Kant als Naturforscher (DeGruyter 1925). Due to current expectations, Grillenzoni dedicates more attention to Kant’s individual writings and for this reason he proceeds with corresponding reflectiveness. Please note that volume one dates back eighteen years ago and dedicates no less than 549 pages to the analysis of Kant’s scientific writings from 1747 to 1755, Kant e la scienza: volume I: 1747-1755 (Vita e Pensiero 1998). It was extensively reviewed on the Kant-Studien (93, 2002, #2, p. 236-237). The leading idea is to show how and why Kant’s results as a scientist have contributed to the development of his philosophy. Grillenzoni has indeed the goal of looking into this question over the whole of Kant’s writings, but he starts with the precritical period, in which it easy to point out substantial shifts within Kant’s curiosity-led approach to natural sciences. It is a fact hat between 1747 and 1760 Kant dedicated a number of efforts towards the production of genuinely scientific results, which he was going to elaborate on in the following decades from point of view of questions that are properly philosophical and systematical. While volume one looks into the Gedanken von der wahren Schätzung der lebendigen Kräften, the Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels together with the two course announcements on physical geography of 1754, volume two considers the De igne (p. 171-366), the Nova dilucidatio (p. 367-396), and the Monadologia physica (p. 396-495). Chapter one is about the Konstellationsforschung of natural sciences in Königsberg (p. 31-170), this time on the basis also of the Vorlesungsverzeichnisse der Unversität Königsberg 1720-1804 (Frommann-Holzboog 1999), which Grillenzoni could not use in his first volume. The almost two hundred pages strong line-by-line analysis of De igne (which is translated anew from Latin into Italian, p. 497-515) qualify as an excellent endeavor, first and foremost a needed one. Grillenzoni provides some new insights on the notion of elastic force in De igne, which brings together air, fire, heat, vapor and spontaneity. Only one remark: much has been written on spontaneity as a property of the mind in Kant, one thinks of Marco Sgarbi’s exhaustive work on Kant and Spontaneity (Bloomsbury 2009), but much remains to be done on spontaneity as a property of the body. In fact, elasticity in the body and spontaneity in the mind possibly run in Kant’s thought alongside the same parallelism of Newton and Hume, the latter having been titled as the Newton of human nature. An impressive list of primary and secondary literature closes the volume (p. 517-575). On the whole, I think Grillenzoni’s endeavor deserves serious consideration within the Kantforschung.

Paolo Grillenzoni: Kant e la scienza 1755-1760: Parte 1. Rome 2016. 575 p., ISBN 978-88-548-9523-2

Pozzo, Riccardo
2018

Abstract

The volume is the second installment of Paolo Grillenzoni’s monumental work on Kant and Science, a remake almost a century later of Erich Adickes’ two volumes on Kant als Naturforscher (DeGruyter 1925). Due to current expectations, Grillenzoni dedicates more attention to Kant’s individual writings and for this reason he proceeds with corresponding reflectiveness. Please note that volume one dates back eighteen years ago and dedicates no less than 549 pages to the analysis of Kant’s scientific writings from 1747 to 1755, Kant e la scienza: volume I: 1747-1755 (Vita e Pensiero 1998). It was extensively reviewed on the Kant-Studien (93, 2002, #2, p. 236-237). The leading idea is to show how and why Kant’s results as a scientist have contributed to the development of his philosophy. Grillenzoni has indeed the goal of looking into this question over the whole of Kant’s writings, but he starts with the precritical period, in which it easy to point out substantial shifts within Kant’s curiosity-led approach to natural sciences. It is a fact hat between 1747 and 1760 Kant dedicated a number of efforts towards the production of genuinely scientific results, which he was going to elaborate on in the following decades from point of view of questions that are properly philosophical and systematical. While volume one looks into the Gedanken von der wahren Schätzung der lebendigen Kräften, the Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels together with the two course announcements on physical geography of 1754, volume two considers the De igne (p. 171-366), the Nova dilucidatio (p. 367-396), and the Monadologia physica (p. 396-495). Chapter one is about the Konstellationsforschung of natural sciences in Königsberg (p. 31-170), this time on the basis also of the Vorlesungsverzeichnisse der Unversität Königsberg 1720-1804 (Frommann-Holzboog 1999), which Grillenzoni could not use in his first volume. The almost two hundred pages strong line-by-line analysis of De igne (which is translated anew from Latin into Italian, p. 497-515) qualify as an excellent endeavor, first and foremost a needed one. Grillenzoni provides some new insights on the notion of elastic force in De igne, which brings together air, fire, heat, vapor and spontaneity. Only one remark: much has been written on spontaneity as a property of the mind in Kant, one thinks of Marco Sgarbi’s exhaustive work on Kant and Spontaneity (Bloomsbury 2009), but much remains to be done on spontaneity as a property of the body. In fact, elasticity in the body and spontaneity in the mind possibly run in Kant’s thought alongside the same parallelism of Newton and Hume, the latter having been titled as the Newton of human nature. An impressive list of primary and secondary literature closes the volume (p. 517-575). On the whole, I think Grillenzoni’s endeavor deserves serious consideration within the Kantforschung.
9788854895232
Kant
Philosophy of Science
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