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Res Philosophica

Volume 91, Issue 1, January 2014

Modern Philosophy

Andrew Chignell
Pages 103-121
DOI: 10.11612/resphil.2014.91.1.5

Can Kantian Laws Be Broken?

In this paper I explore Kant’s critical discussions of the topic of miracles (including the important but neglected fragment from the 1780s called “On Miracles”) in an effort to answer the question in the title. Along the way I discuss some of the different kinds of “laws” in Kant’s system, and also the argument for his claim that, even if empirical miracles do occur, we will never be in a good position to identify instances of them. I conclude with some tentative remarks about the notorious suggestion that intelligible finite agents, too, might have some sort of influence over the laws of nature. The goal throughout is to show that exploring Kant’s answer to a traditional question in philosophical theology can deepen our understanding of his metaphysics and epistemology of nature generally.

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