Kant: Critique of Pure Reason (Summary)


Summary of the Critique of Pure Reason:

The Critique of Pure Reason, published by Immanuel Kant in 1781, is one of the most complex structures and the most significant of modern philosophy, bringing a revolution at least as great as that of Descartes and his Discourse on Method.

The complexity of the first review (the second is the critique of practical reason, and the third is a critique of the faculty of judging), is such that Kant himself published an introductory text, entitled Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics.

The aim of this book is summed up quite easily, however: metaphysics is a battle that needs to be ordered. Kant proposes to everyone agreed, giving a new status to reason and new contours to the understanding. In summary, the critique of pure reason tries to define credible to the question: How do I know? To this question Kant answers, I can think of the objects of metaphysics (God, I, the world), but not knowing in the sense that I know the laws of physics.

Analysis of the Critique of Pure Reason Kant:

Kant makes two crucial distinction: between a priori and a posteriori and between analytic and synthetic judgments.

A posteriori knowledge is knowledge gained from the experience and knowledge a priori knowledge is necessary and universal, independent of experience, such as our knowledge of mathematics.

In an analytical statement, the predicate is contained in the concept in the subject, as, for example, in Judgement, “a bachelor is an unmarried man.” In summary judgments, the predicate contains information not included in the concept. Typically, one associates with the knowledge a posteriori synthetic judgments a priori knowledge and analytical judgments. For example, the decision “all swans are white” is synthetic because the whiteness is not a part of the concept of “Swan” (a black swan is a swan yet), but it is also a posteriori because we can not whether all swans are white.

Kant argues that math and science principles are synthetic a priori knowledge. For example, the ruling “7 + 5 = 12” is a priori because it is a necessary and universal truth, and it is synthetic, because the concept of “12” is not contained in the concept of “7 + 5” .

Because man is capable of synthetic knowledge a priori, pure reason is then able to know important truths. However, Kant is at odds with the rationalist metaphysics poses the omnipotence of reason, capable of penetrating the mysteries. On the contrary, Kant argues that it is about shaping the reality around him. The subject is not only affected by the world, he is actively involved in its creation. We shall return to this Copernican revolution.

Time and space, according to Kant, are pure intuitions of our sensibility, and concepts of physics such as causality or inertia are pure intuitions of our faculty of understanding. In other words, the subject experiences the real and the information received is processed, organized, analyzed by reason. However, the reality is that a compound of phenomena, behind which there are things in themselves (“noumena”). The phenomena is the world as it appears on the noumena the world as it is, without a viewer.

After giving an explanation of how synthetic a priori knowledge makes math and science possible, Kant turns to metaphysics. Metaphysics is the realm of pure reason, ie the scope of a priori.

Kant, rationalism and empiricism to criticism

In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant achieves a synthesis between rationalist and empiricist traditions. Rationalism, it takes up the idea that pure reason is capable of important knowledge, and empiricism, he admits the idea that knowledge comes primarily from the experience. Thus, it avoids the metaphysical speculations of the rationalists without falling into metaphysical skepticism.

Kant realizes what he calls a Copernican revolution in philosophy: that is to overthrow the report subject / object, that is to ask that is the thought that perceives the object. Kant denies the idea of ​​making the mind a blank page or a receiver of stimuli in the world. The mind does not only receive information, it also provides information that shape. Knowledge, and is not something that exists in the outside world and is then introduced into an open mind. Knowledge is rather something created by the mind.

Kant differs from its predecessors by claiming that rationalists pure reason can discern the shape, but not the content of reality. Rationalists such as Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz have speculated about the nature of time, space, causality, God, thinking that pure reason was entitled to find satisfactory answers to these objects.

The critique of pure reason opens a third way for metaphysics, half way between rationalism that claims to know everything, and empiricism that defies reason to be able to find anything out of the experience: this path is that of criticism (or transcendental philosophy), which limits the power of reason to re-legitimized.

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