In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

356 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY and Hume are given prominent place, the editors showing how criticism of Hume led to redrafts of The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Other parts of the introduction consider the early reception of the oeuvre, subsequent translations, and a bibliography of critical works on Smith's ethical thought. It is perhaps a pity that a complete bibliography is not to be found at one place in the introduction and that the period from the 1760s to the 1820s seems a little neglected. Finally, the text itself is annotated with useful footnotes of interest in addition to those dealing with variations in editions, and a full index is provided, though no reference is made to the use of italicised pagination for the introduction. However, this is a very minor point in what will surely be the definitive edition of the work for many years to come. M. R. JACK London, England Robert J. Benton. Kant's Second "Critique" and the Problem of Transcendental Arguments. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1977. Pp. iv + 172. Benton's project is to reconstruct the main lines of argument in Kant's Critique of Practical Reason, in order to contribute to the understanding of transcendental arguments in general. The nature of transcendental arguments, he contends, has been obscured by excessive reliance on the Critique of Pure Reason for examples. His procedure is first to set out a "working model" for transcendental arguments, then to make explicit his criteria for successful reconstruction of Kant's argument, and finally to provide a chapter by chapter commentary on the Analytic of the second Critique. Four substantial appendices are added to explain how his account differs from those of Lewis White Beck and John Silber and to discuss in more detail "the fact of pure reason" and Kant's concepts of maxim and law. Benton notes difficulties in using the generally accepted features of transcendental arguments-- "the establishing of the conditions of the possibility of experience and the justification of a priori synthetic judgements"--to characterize the argument of the second Critique. His own working model of a transcendental argument is described as follows: "A transcendental argument is one that is concerned with establishing the conditions of the possibility of a cognitive framework; . . . the problems of possibility that it will deal with will be problems of the possibility of a priori relations between different human faculties (how they unite, in the sense of functioning together, a priori to produce a given cognitive framework)" (p. 18). Further, transcendental arguments are said to have a "must/can structure"; that is, it is first established that something must be the case, and then it is explained how this is compatible, despite first appearances, with other accepted doctrines. A successful account of the argument in the Analytic of the second Critique is supposed to satisfy six conditions: (1) It explains the purpose of the whole Analytic (unlike an interpretation which takes the task to be "to show that there is a pure practical reason," a task allegedly accomplished early in Chapter 1). (2) It explains why Kant regarded the Critique as a critique of practical reason in general (as opposed to a critique of pure practical reason). (3) It must explain why there needs to be a deduction of freedom but not of the moral law. (4) It should show why the categories are of practical reason in general (rather than of pure practical reason) and how they are important to the argument. (5) It should illuminate Kant's reason for insisting that there is a "moral incentive" despite the fact that he claims that reason can "immediately determine the will." (6) The interpretation must not reduce the concerns of the argument to problems of empirical psychology (a condition which both Silber and Beck are said to violate). Though not, in my opinion, a success m all these respects, Benton's account of Kant's argument points to important problems of interpretation, offers helpful commentary on specific passages, and proposes a consistent point of view from which the diverse chapters of the Critique BOOK REVIEWS 357 may be seen as parts of one larger enterprise. The main theme is that the argument...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 356-357
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.