Necessity and Possibility
The Logical Strategy of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
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In the essay that follows, I argue that to understand Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason we must read it in terms of its own central conceit: as a book on logic. Although Kant presents a radical conception of space and time in the Critique's “Transcendental Aesthetic,” the vast majority of the book is entitled “Transcendental Logic.” ...
Introduction: Kant’s Conception of Logic
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Agents—specifically, human beings—think, and they do so in accordance with rules. Saul Kripke’s provocative interpretation of Wittgenstein has inspired a rather large literature around the very question of what it would even mean to follow a rule. ...
1. Kant’s Critical Model of the Subject
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Kant conceives of general logic as a set of rules—exemplified by the Principle of Non-contradiction—that holds, universally and necessarily, for thought to be possible. For Kant, by reflecting on thought, we are able to identify and articulate those rules that are necessary for thought to be possible, ...
2. Kant’s Conception of General Logic
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Given his preoccupation with logic in the Critique of Pure Reason, it is an understandable hope that Kant might use the term “logic” in a clear-cut, univocal fashion throughout the text. Unfortunately, such a hope is mere fantasy; Kant uses the term in a bewildering variety of ways, ...
3. The Historical Background of Kant’s General Logic
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I have tried to show up to this point that Kant conceives of general logic as a set of universal and necessary rules for the possibility of thought, or as a set of minimal necessary conditions for ascribing rationality to an agent (focusing, up to this point, on the principle of non-contradiction). ...
4. The Metaphysical Deduction
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Up to this point, I have tried to clarify Kant’s conception of general logic as a set of universal and necessary rules ranging over the possibility of thought, relative to a generic kind of thinking subject. This subject is able to refer to itself using “I,” employs concepts to make judgments, and can regard itself as free. ...
5. Kant and Contemporary Philosophy
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If we construe Kant’s general logic in the way I have urged in previous chapters, we see emerging a conception of logic that functions as a minimal-constraint model of rationality. In short, for an agent to be regarded as an agent—or for ourselves to regard ourselves as agents—we must conform to some set of rules for thought to qualify as thought. ...
6. The Modesty of the Critical Philosophy
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It is not uncommon in introductory philosophy courses to receive a picture of Kant that paints him as a paradigmatic old-fashioned, detached Prussian scholar, whose walks were so predictable that the residents of Königsberg could set their clocks by them, and whose life passed as the most regular of regular verbs. ...
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Page Count: 253
Publication Year: 2011