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Forum Philosophicum

Volume 14, Issue 2, Autumn 2009

Friedel Weinert
Pages 193-216
DOI: 10.5840/forphil20091422

The Modern Synthesis
Einstein and Kanti

The paper discusses the Kantian legacy in modern views about scientific theories. The aim of this paper is to show how Einstein’s philosophy of science, which was inspired by his physics, offers a specialized version of the Kantian synthesis of Empiricism and Rationalism. In modern physical theories (relativity and quantum theory) Kant’s a priori conditions become ‘constraints’, as shown in Einstein’s use of principle theories. Einstein’s use of principle theories shows how constraints are used to steer the mapping of the rational onto the empirical elements of scientific theories.