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Section Fifteen: The Second Part, Continued

25 September, 2015 - 16:41

We are nevertheless really in possession of a pure natural science, which apriori and with all the necessity requisite to apodictic propositions, puts forward laws to which Nature is subordinated. I only require here to call to witness that propaedeutic, which, under the title of universal natural science, precedes all physical science based on empirical principles. Therein we find mathematics applied to phenomena, also those discursive principles (from conceptions) constituting the philosophical part of pure natural knowledge. But the latter also contains much that is not pure, and independent of the sources of experience, as the conception of motion, of impenetrability (on which the empirical con- ception of matter rests), of inertia and others, which prevent its being called a perfectly pure natural science. Besides, it is only concerned with the objects of the external sense, and thus furnishes no example of a pure natural science in its strictest meaning; for this would have to bring Nature generally under universal laws, irrespective of whether it con- cerned the object of the outer or of the inner sense of physical science, or of psychology. But among the principles of the above universal physical science are to be found some that really possess the universality we require, as the propo- sition that substance continues and is permanent, and that all which happens is at all times previously determined by cause, according to fixed laws. These are really universal natural laws, existing completely apriori. There is then in fact a pure natural science, and now the question arises—howis it possible?