XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

Normativity and Biological Lawlikeness: Three Variants

Predrag Sustar

Edificio: Palazzo dei Congressi
Sala: Conference Room
Data: 26 maggio 2010 - 14:30
Ultima modifica: 13 aprile 2010


Biological entities display a particular type of lawlike behavior: consider, in that regard, Kant’s example of component-parts that make the crystalline lens of the human eye and of a bird so admirably adapted to different environmental conditions (see, respectively, EEKU, AA 20: 236.14-20; KU, AA 05: 229.13 and, more significantly, KU, AA 05: 360.9-10). Now, there are three distinct accounts in a more recent philosophical literature, which try to capture that particular lawlikeness of biological regularities: (1) the universalistic account; (2) the statistical account; and (3) the normative account. In that regard, Ginsborg (2001) argues both that (i) the normative account is the most adequate for the above task, and (ii) that Kant’s third Critique advances such an account. In this paper, I will defend the main idea of the normative account of biological lawlikeness. However, I will also emphasize that Ginsborg’s normative variant does not match Kant’s objectivity requirement for the kind of purposiveness that applies to individual organisms. Additionally, I will argue that Kant’s own variant of normative account does not fulfill the materiality or reality requirement with regard to the corresponding kind of biological purposiveness.

Keywords: biological lawlikeness, purposiveness, normativity, naturalism.