Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-8tfrx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-29T03:15:48.739Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Intellectualism, Relational Properties and the Divine Mind in Kant's Pre-Critical Philosophy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2011

Christopher Insole
Durham University


I demonstrate that the pre-Critical Kant is essentialist and intellectualist about the relational properties of substances. That is to say, God can choose whether or not to create a substance, and whether or not to connect this substance with other substances, so as to create a world: but God cannot choose what the nature of the relational properties is, once the substance is created and connected. The divine will is constrained by the essences of substances. Nonetheless, Kant considers that essences depend upon God, in that they depend upon the divine intellect. I conclude by gesturing towards some possible implications of this interpretation, when considering the role that might be played by God – both historically and conceptually – in relation to the notion of ‘laws of nature’, and when understanding Kant's transcendental idealism and his Critical conception of freedom.

Copyright © Kantian Review 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Adams, Robert (2000) ‘God, Possibility and Kant’. Faith and Philosophy, 17/4, 425440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ameriks, Karl (2000) Kant's Theory of Mind: An Analysis of the Paralogisms of Pure Reason. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baumgarten, Alexander (1926) Metaphysica. In Kant's gesammelte Schriften. Vol. 17, pp. 23226. Berlin: de Gruyter & Co.Google Scholar
Bird, Alexander (2001) ‘Necessarily, Salt Dissolves in Water’. Analysis, 61, 267274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buroker, Jill (1981) Space and Incongruence: The Origin of Kant's Idealism. Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing Co.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chignell, Andrew (2009) ‘Kant, Modality, and the Most Real Being’. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, 91, 157192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cohen, Hermann (1885) Kant's Theorie der Erfahrung. Berlin: Dümmler.Google Scholar
Cover, J. A.O'Leary-Hawthorne, John (1999) Substance and Individuation in Leibniz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Crusius, Christian August (2009) Sketch of the Necessary Truths of Reason. In Eric Watkins (ed.), Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: Background Source Materials (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 136179.Google Scholar
Ellis, Brian (2001) Scientific Essentialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Ellis, BrianLierse, Caroline (1994) ‘Dispositional Essentialism’. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 72, 2745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fisher, Mark, Watkins, Eric (1998) ‘Kant on the Material Ground of Possibility: From “The Only Possible Argument” to the “Critique of Pure Reason”. Review of Metaphysics, 52/2, 369395.Google Scholar
Francescotti, Robert (1999) ‘How to Define Intrinsic Properties’. Nous, 33/4, 560609.Google Scholar
Friedman, Michael (1992) Kant and the Exact Sciences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Guyer, Paul (1987) Kant and the Claims of Knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Insole, Christopher (2011a) ‘Kant's Transcendental Idealism and Newton's Divine Sensorium. Journal of the History of Ideas, 72/3, 413436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Insole, Christopher (2011b) ‘Kant's Transcendental Idealism, Freedom and the Divine Mind’. Modern Theology, 27/4, 608638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kant, Immanuel (1992) Theoretical Philosophy 1755–1770. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Kim, Jaegwon (1982) ‘Psychophysical Supervenience’. Philosophical Studies, 41, 5170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kim, Jaegwon (1984) ‘Concepts of Supervenience’. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 45/2, 153176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Langton, Rae (2004) Kantian Humility: Our Ignorance of Things in Themselves. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Langton, RaeLewis, David (1998) ‘Defining Intrinsic’. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 58, 333345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Laywine, Alison (1993) Kant's Early Metaphysics and the Origins of the Critical Philosophy. North American Kant Society Studies in Philosophy, 3. Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview.Google Scholar
Leibniz, (1985) Theodicy. Ed. Austin Farrer and trans. E. M. Huggard. La Salle, IL: Open Court.Google Scholar
Leibniz, (1989) ‘The Ultimate Origination of Things’. In R. Ariew and D. Garber (eds.), Philosophical Essays (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett).Google Scholar
Leibniz, (1998a) ‘New System of the Nature of Substances and their Communication, and of the Union which Exists between the Soul and the Body’ (1695). In R. S. Woolhouse and Richard Francks (trans and eds), Philosophical Texts (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 143152.Google Scholar
Leibniz, (1998b) ‘Extract from a Letter Written by Monsieur Leibniz about his Philosophical Hypothesis’ (1696) (‘Third Explanation of the New System’). In R. S. Woolhouse and Richard Francks (trans and eds), Philosophical Texts (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 191193.Google Scholar
Leibniz, (1998c) ‘Monadology (1714)’. In R. S. Woolhouse and Richard Francks (trans and eds), Philosophical Texts (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 267281.Google Scholar
Lewis, David (1983) ‘Extrinsic Properties’. Philosophical Studies, 44, 5170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martin, C. B. (1994) ‘Dispositions and Conditionals’. Philosophical Quarterly, 44, 18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mumford, Stephen (2004) Laws in Nature. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Oakley, Francis (1961) ‘Christian Theology and the Newtonian Science: The Rise of the Concept of the Laws of Nature’. Church History, 31/4, 433457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ruby, J. (1995) ‘The Origins of “Scientific Law” ’. In F. Weinart (ed.), Laws of Nature: Essays on the Philosophical, Scientific and Historical Dimensions (Berlin: de Gruyter), 289315.Google Scholar
Schönfeld, Martin (2000) The Philosophy of the Young Kant. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shoemaker, Sydney (1980) ‘Causality and Properties’. In Peter van Inwagen (ed.), Time and Cause (Dordrecht: Reidel).Google Scholar
Stang, Nicholas (2010) ‘Kant's Possibility Proof’. History of Philosophy Quarterly, 27/3, 275299.Google Scholar
Swoyer, Chris (1982) ‘The Nature of Natural Laws’. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 60, 203223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vallentyne, Peter (1997) ‘Intrinsic Properties Defined’. Philosophical Studies, 88, 209219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Watkins, Eric (2005) Kant and the Metaphysics of Causality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Wolff, Christian (2009) Rational Thoughts on God, the World and the Soul of Human Beings, Also All Things in General (1720). In Eric Watkins Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: Background Source Materials (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 554.Google Scholar
Wood, Allen (1978) Kant's Rational Theology (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).Google Scholar