SHS Web Conf.
Volume 161, 202312th Kant-Readings International Conference “Kant and the Ethics of Enlightenment: Historical Roots and Contemporary Relevance”
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Science, Technology, and Enlightenment Ethics|
|Published online||08 March 2023|
Kant and the heuristic function of images: The poetics of scientific investigation
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas, 6627 Av. Antônio Carlos, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
My reflections center upon the heuristic function of images in the creative process of producing scientific knowledge. I take as a starting point Leonel Ribeiro dos Santos’s idea of a transcendental heuristic in order to discuss the creative and original strength of scientific genius, here considered as talent or ability by means of which the intuitive faculty of imagination is placed at the service of the conceptual faculty of reason. My goal is to present the outlines of a transcendental theory that is consistent with the heuristic use of both concepts and images. My aim is not to adhere to the letter, but instead to the spirit, of Kantian philosophy in order to understand, in the context of contemporary physical theories, especially quantum theory, the non-representational function of intuitive images for explaining concepts that do not conform to any intuition. As applied to the specific case of quantum mechanics, I hold that the free play of imagination and understanding or reason is not restricted to the aesthetics of taste and the artistic production of artworks only, but is also extended to the cognitive and scientific production of theories. In my view, it is precisely this creative, fictional dimension of scientific theories that constitutes Kantian radical enlightenment in the case of scientific knowledge. Thus “Dare to know!” is also “Dare to create!”.
Key words: Kant / transcendental heuristic / scientific genius / fictional images / quantum theory
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2023
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