Kant's antinomies and the square of opposition

Project leader

Funding source

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2014
End date: 31/12/2015
Funding: 1366000 SEK


Kant´s antinomies in the Critique of Pure Reason consist of four opposed pairs of theses, concerning fundamental metaphysical topics. Kant claims that pre-critical thought faces an impossible choice: both of the contradictory alternatives of an antinomy are provable, so reason is stuck in contradiction.

Kant´s solution to the antinomy is based on transcendental idealism (TI). What for pre-critical philosophy are contradictory alternatives, become either both false or both true given TI. Commentators have noticed that Kant´s strategy involves an appeal to the Aristotelian square of opposition: the solution to the first two antinomies treats the alternatives as contraries, while the alternatives of the third and fourth antinomies are treated like subcontraries. But the link to the square hasn´t been pursued closely enough, probably due to the loose fit between Kant´s solution and the standard square.

This project will use the square and its modern extension to a hexagon to elucidate the antinomies. Two main steps will be taken. First, a less well-known Aristotelian square for singular terms will be adopted. Second, the rich resources of recent logico-linguistic research on extended structures of oppositions (in particular, the hexagon of opposition) are exploited. Preliminary results show promise in mapping the oppositions of the antinomies to this hexagon. Further studies from this vantage will be conducted on the antinomies of Kant´s Second and Third Critiques.

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:52