restricted access Concepts, Judgments, and Unity in Kant's Metaphysical Deduction of the Relational Categories
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Concepts, Judgments, and Unity in Kant's Metaphysical Deduction of the Relational Categories CHARLES NUSSBAUM 1. INTRODUCTION TO ANY ATTENTIVEREADERof the section of the Critique of Pure Reason' known as the "Metaphysical Deduction of the Categories" (A67/B92-A83/B to9), one paragraph in that section stands out particularly by virtue of its special importance for Kant's developing argument: The same function Which gives unity to the various representations in ajudgment also gives unity to the mere synthesis of various representations in an intuition; and this unity, in its most general expression, we entitle the pure concept of the understanding. The same understanding, through the same operations by which in concepts, by means of analytical unity, it produced the logical form of a judgment, also introduces a transcendental content into its representations, by means of the synthetic unity of the manifold of intuition in general.... (CPR A79/B loS) The importance of this paragraph is, however, more than equaled by its difficulties, which center on the question of how the function which operates by means of analytical unity can be the same as one that operates by means of the synthetic unity of the manifold of intuition in general. Put shortly, the problem is this. If the functions are really the same, then how do we distinguish at all between analytic and synthetic operations? But if they are different , then how can these forms of judgment serve as a clue for the discovery of the categories? ' Immanuel Kant, Critiqueof Pure Reason, trans. Norman KempSmith (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1963).Hereafter CPR. [89] 9~ JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 28:1 JANUARY 1990 The results of this dilemma which can be observed in the literature are not surprising: commentators tend to grasp one horn or the other. They either emphasize the difference between analysis and synthesis, and reject or dilute the claims as to sameness of function; or they take seriously Kant's argument concerning sameness of functions, and try to minimize the difference between analysis and synthesis. The major twentieth-century representant of the former approach is Kemp Smith," and of the latter, Paton. 3 This latter approach has found a formidable contemporary champion in the person of Henry Allison. By Allison's own admission,4 however, his position on this controversial topic was suggested (in part) by arguments first put forward over fifty years ago by Klaus Reich in a most remarkable book entitled Die Volls~ndigkeit der Kantischen Urteilstafel, 5 a book, by the way, also greatly admired by Paton. 6 In the first section of this paper I will try to show that Reich's arguments are rather more subtle than Allison apparently takes them to be, and that Reich is one commentator who attempts to go between the horns of the dilemma described above, and who essays an interpretation of our crucial paragraph that unifies its seemingly divergent tendencies. In the second section of the paper I will introduce some interpretive elements of my own. 2. Let us begin by reacquainting ourselves with Kant's notion of analytical unity, one aspect of this debate which is not particularly controversial and is largely agreed upon by all parties. For Kant, analytical unity is the sort of unity achieved by all general concepts (conceptus communes) insofar as they abstract from all differences that subsist between the objects under them, or the lower concepts subordinated to them. 7 A general concept unifies these objects or concepts by means of a common mark or set of marks. Thus Kant's example at CPR A69/B94 of the unification of bodies under the concepts 'body' and 'divisible' is a perfectly representative instance of unification via analytical unity, as the function upon which such concepts "rest." Let us note that the " Norman KempSmith,A CommentarytoKant's "Cr/t~rueofPureReason"(NewYork:HumanitiesPress , 196~). 3 H.J. Paton, Kant's MetaphysicofExperience, 2 vols.(London:George Allenand Unwin,Ltd., 1936). 4 Henry Allison,Kant's TranscendentalIdealum (NewHaven:YaleUniversityPress, 1983), 144 n. 3o. Hereafter KTI. 5 KlausReich,Die Vollst~ndigkeitderKantischenUrteilstafel,3rd. ed. (Hamburg: Meiner, 1986). Hereafter VKU. 6 Paton, Kant's Metaphysic, 1:302. Kant, we should note, does not makethis important logicaldistinctionbetweensubordination...