Opus postumum – the designation of some texts by I. Kant, containing sketches on the problems of natural philosophy and transcendental philosophy, which he did from December 1786 to January 1804. By 1786-96 the so-called unshrouded sheets were included, from 1796 made 12-14 sketches, which are combined in 12 convolutes. Some of the sketches were made for an essay intended for publication. The general title in the first systematic sketches is “The transition from the metaphysical initial foundations of natural philosophy to physics.” Between 1800 and 1803 Kant gives his project the following headings: “The transition to the boundaries of all knowledge is God and the world. God in his all-embracing essence and the world in the synthetic system of ideas of transcendental philosophy, set to each other. ” Or: “The system of transcendental philosophy in three sections – God, the world, the universe and myself, man as a moral being.”
Already in the so-called Oktaventwurf 1796, in the outline entitled “The Quantity, Quality, Relation and Modality of Matter” the themes of the conceived new composition are “ether”, “the idea of expanding matter that fills the world space”, “the integrity of the world’s attraction”, “some universal world The body, which due to the initial shock and [then] explosively oscillates into eternity. ” This idea of “eternally oscillating matter” does not agree with the doctrine of the transcendental dialectic of the Critique of Pure Reason and with the “Metaphysical Principles of Natural Science“, which should contain an explanation for the categorical certainty of the empirical concept of matter. In a sketch called Kant “Transition 1-14”, the matter will be deduced as the One (single) object of experience and derived from the “principle of harmonizing its concept with the conditions of the possibility of One experience”, in short: from the “a priori concept of the unity of experience”. In the sketches X/XI of the 7th and 1st convolutes, the theory of the self-positioning of the self is developed, in which transcendental idealism is identified with Spinosism and Schelling is considered as a representative of transcendental idealism. True, Kant calls Spinozism “dreamy” or “transcendental”. However, in the end, Kant proposes the idea of transcendental theology as the highest point of the transcendental philosophy that unites the I, the human spirit and the world.
Opus postumum documents 17 years of Kant’s work on transcendental metaphysics of nature and transcendental philosophy taken in their unity. This work passes through three phases:
- after 1786, between 1796 and 1799: proceeding from the concept of matter as an idea, Kant attempts to create a basis for all natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology);
- 1799 (the second phase is documented by the above sketch “Transition 1-14”): this metaphysics of nature gives a transcendental deduction a priori for the system of transcendental philosophy and its central concept of the world system of matter, the concept of ether;
- 1799-1801: transcendental philosophy becomes a Spinosism. I am transformed into a subject-substance, which assumes itself as a causa sui, makes of itself God and the world and unites them in its concept – the concept of the human spirit (sketches X / XI of the 7th and 1-st convolutes).
From transcendental philosophy, it becomes, therefore, transcendental theology, or, as Kant says, “cosmotheology.” “The idea of the connection between contemplation and concepts, according to the philosophy of Spinoza,” writes Kant, “is the principle of synthetic cognition a priori from the concepts:
- A transition from metaphysical initial grounds of natural philosophy to physics.
- The transition from physics to transcendental philosophy.
- A transition from a transcendental philosophy to a system linking nature and freedom.
- The conclusion concerning the universal connection of the vital forces of all things in the mutual opposition of God and the world.”