For example, take actualist representationism: Kant's "whole world" doesn't seem to be a finished totality, so referring to "a maximal set of consistent propositions" seems amiss, here (think of the antinomies as decidedly not consistency-friendly on the maximality assumption). And would modal-realist other worlds, as causally closed, also be too "finished" to work for Kant's modal logic?

On the other hand, the SEP article on Kant's philosophical development mentions that, during his student years, Kant spoke of God:

... as possible maker of multiple universes (#8; 1:22), as engineer of dimensions (#11; 1:25), and as sealing off this world from improbable others (ibid.).

Even granting that that was during his pre-critical period, is it enough to say that Kant's modal logic might yet have been amenable to possible-worlds talk even at a later date? Is there anything from maybe the Opus Postumum that touches upon this question? Or, generally-speaking, are unfinished-totality characterizations of the actual world not consistent with typical possible-worlds talk?

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    Kant may be amenable to possible world talk, but not in the extensionalized (Kripkean) sense of the term. His view of possibility is closer to Aristotle's potentiality than to modern conception with completed infinite totalities. Felt has an illuminating discussion of the difference in Impossible Worlds:"anti-Parmenidean (Aristotelian) notion of potentiality, as an intrinsic character of the actual, has tended to be supplanted by possibilities (in the plural), Lewis’s “ways things could have been,” purely formal and discrete patterns."
    – Conifold
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 21:58

1 Answer 1


Kant does have his quite interesting views about modality but they are not Kripkean, but Sellarsian. I reccommend reading the fifth essay of Robert Brandom's book From Empiricism to Expressivism.

In short: Kant thinks that concepts involve lawful (aletheic modal) relations on the objective side which can be, on the subjective side, seen as deontic modal relations between acts of concept applications. That's, of course, a modern reading but I believe you can find most of these ideas in Kant.

  • Sorry, I meant fourth and fifth.
    – user71009
    Commented Jan 16 at 17:57
  • I have accepted this answer because of the reference to (Wilfrid?) Sellars, who I understand as a neo-Kantian in at least some major respects, so I assume that the reference to Sellarsian vs. Kripkean modality provides a way to interpret Kantian modality in a reasonably faithful manner. I have not yet read Brandom's book, but I trust abcga's reference. Commented Jan 16 at 18:26
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    @KristianBerry The second essay may serve as a good introduction: sites.pitt.edu/~rbrandom/Texts/….
    – user71009
    Commented Jan 16 at 20:03

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