Bennett McNulty


UC Irvine

Chemistry in Kant’s Opus Postumum

In Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft (MAN), Kant claims that chemistry is an improper science—because it does not allow for the application of mathematics—but a rational science—because it has causal laws. The approach to chemistry to which Kant bestows this status is the phlogistic chemistry of, for instance, Georg Stahl. In Opus postumum (OP), however, Kant espouses a broadly Lavoisierian conception of the science after German sources, such as Lichtenberg, Gehler, and Girtanner, exposed him to the theory.