By Christopher Fynsk
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Additional info for Heidegger: Thought and Historicity
In the latter, it is held that time cannot be derived from experiencing the relations of coexistence and succession, since these very experiences presuppose the conception of time as underlying them. This argument again relies on Kant's later contention that there can be no experience of coexistence or succession without certain synthetic a priori principles applying to the manifold of apprehended sensations or representations. These principles make possible the consciousness of the manifold as collectively existing in one temporal continuum, thereby allowing us to experience, to have empirical consciousness of, coexistence and succession.
Thus Euclid's axiom 'A straight line is the shortest distance between two points' is taken as 23 CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON an uninterpreted definition of the term 'straight line'; and so on for all the other axioms of the system. The theorems of the system are established by means of rules of inference from these axioms. So understood, Euclidean judgments can have no application to the world, since the terms in the proofs are all uninterpreted, being either undefined terms or defined by means of the undefined terms.
The difficulty lies in understanding his grounds for affirming that the first principles of physics not only claim to hold but actually do hold as a body of synthetic a priori judgments. In the Introduction to the First Critique, his assertion appears to rest solely on the near unanimity of opinion, among scientists, as to which group of synthetic a priori judgments forms the first principles of physics (or natural science). Undoubtedly, he does think of the first principles of physics as in a privileged position compared with those of transcendent metaphysics, where there is no unanimity about what judgments constitute its first principles.