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The Kantian theory of the origin of all existing celestial bodies from rotating nebular masses was the greatest advance made by astronomy since Copernicus. For the first time the conception that nature had no history in time began to be shaken. Until then the celestial bodies were believed to have been always, from the very beginning, in the same states and always to have followed the same courses; and even though individual organisms on the various celestial bodies died out, nevertheless genera and species were held to be immutable. It is true that nature was obviously in constant motion, but this motion appeared as an incessant repetition of the same processes. Kant made the first breach in this conception, which corresponded exactly to the metaphysical mode of thought… (Engels, Anti-Dühring, part 1, chap. 6.)

Up: Home Previous: 4a. The historical character of the physical world (Kant) Next: 4b. The historical character of the physical world (Darwin)
Dominique Meeùs. Date: 24-7-2013