On the inefficiency of Lambert’s and Mendelssohn’s objections against the inaugural dissertation’s theory of time

  • Marco Antonio Chabbouh Junior


Kant’s theory of the ideality of time suffered attacks since it was first conceived in the Inaugural Dissertation. Johann Heinrich Lambert and Moses Mendelssohn, two of Kant’s most frequent correspondents, were the first to object to that doctrine. In this paper I intend to show that these objections are not successful against the theory of 1770. To achieve that aim, I will firstly explain the structure of the objections, secondly I will show that Kant attacks some epistemological consequences of the postures assumed by these objections and, finally, I will demonstrate how the argument put forward in the first subsection of § 14 of the Inaugural Dissertation is the foundation to reject the objectors’ assumptions. Additionally, in the last part, I will show that such objections would make sense if the 1770’s theory of time was founded on a theory of forms as temporarily presupposed in the course of experience. However, I will also show that such an interpretation would transgress both the principle of charity and the literality of certain excerpts of the text.

Keywords: Immanuel Kant; Inaugural Dissertation; ideality of time; Johann Heinrich Lambert; Moses Mendelssohn.