On the significance of the copernican revolution

transcendental philosophy and the object of metaphysics

Michael J. Olson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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This paper argues that the famous passage that compares Kant's efforts to reform metaphysics with his transcendental idealism to the earlier Copernican revolution in astronomy has a more systematic significance than many recognize. By examining the totality of Kant's references to Copernicus, one can see that Kant's analogy points to more than just a similar reversal of perspective. By situating Kant's comments about Copernicus in relation to his understanding of the logic implicit in the great revolutions in mathematics and natural science, this paper argues that Kant's appeal to the Copernican revolution in astronomy as a forebear to his own transcendental project indicates that his attempt to revolutionize metaphysics by setting it on the secure path of the sciences demands a shift in how we think of the proper object of metaphysics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-127
Number of pages39
JournalCon-textos Kantianos: international journal of philosophy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

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  • Copernican revolution
  • Copernicus
  • Metaphysics
  • Transcendental idealism

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