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Working paper

Transcendental Analysis of Mathematics: the Transcendental Constructivism (Pragmatism) as the Foundation of Mathematics

Katrechko S. L.
Kant's transcendentalism is associated with the study and substantiation of objective value as a human way of cognition as whole and individual kinds of our knowledge. This article is devoted to Kant’s understanding (substantiation) of mathematics as cognition via constructing of concepts. Unlike the natural sciences the mathematics is an abstract – formal cognition, “[its] thoroughness is based on definitions and axioms” [B754]. The article consequently analyzes each of these components. Mathematical objects are determined by the principle of Hume. Transcendentalism considers the question of genesis and ontological status of concepts. To solve them Kant suggests the doctrine of schematism, which is compared with the modern concepts of mathematics. We develop the dating back to Kant original concept of the transcendental constructivism (pragmatism) as the programme of substantiation of mathematics. We also give a brief comparison of the axiomatic method of Kant and Hilbert.  “Constructive” understanding of mathematical constructions (calculations) is a significant innovation of Kant. Thus mathematical activity is considered as a two-level system, which supposes a “descent” from the level of rational understanding to the level of sensual contemplation and a return “rise”. The article also examines the difference between the mathematical structures and logical proofs. In his concept Kant highlights ostensive (geometric) and symbolic (algebraic) design. The article analyses each of them and shows that it is applicable to modern mathematics, in activity of which both types of Kant's constructing are intertwined.