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Topic: [HM] Hilbert and Kant
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Graham White

Posts: 9
Registered: 12/3/04
[HM] Hilbert and Kant
Posted: Jun 24, 1998 6:28 AM
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On Hilbert and Kant:
i) Hilbert's quotation looks as if it might be by Kant as well;
the style is certainly fairly Kantian.
ii) I can't locate it in the Critique of Pure Reason, or in
other works by Kant, but I haven't looked very hard.
iii) I think it's clear why Hilbert would have preferred the version
he had: an Idee, for Kant, is a concept that is produced by reason
(Vernunft), which transcends the bounds of possible experience, but
which has a regulative role in thought. This is very like Hilbert's
concept of what he called ideal mathematical assertions.

(Incidentally, all of the terms here -- Anschauung, Begriff, Vernunft,
even Sinnen -- are technical terms for Kant, so you can't really
figure out their meaning from their meanings in contemporary German.)

I have a question, which is this: does Hilbert give the reference
for the Kant citation, or was it inserted by an editor?

Graham White
Department of Computer Science
Queen Mary and Westfield College

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