Kant_Handout - Immanuel Kant Hume had kind of a scorched...

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Immanuel Kant Hume had kind of a scorched earth policy when it came to metaphysics. He didn’t think we had any good reason for believing that causality was a real feature of the world, that some kind of unified “self” existed, or that God existed. When Kant read Hume’s works he had a philosophical crisis…Hume’s work woke Kant from his “dogmatic slumber.” Kant got to work on trying to figure out how to save metaphysics and philosophy from Hume’s pile of ashes. In order to do this he took a closer look at how metaphysical statements could be possible…and what kind of statements they might be. Remember, Hume thought there were two ways we could describe knowledge: as “matters of fact” or “relations of ideas.” Kant breaks this up into four distinctions rather than two: A priori : Knowledge is known a priori if the justification for it is independent of empirical, sense experience. So we justify the statement “2 + 2 = 4” without talking about experiments or sense perception. A posteriori : A piece of knowledge is known a posteriori if the justification for it essentially depends on sense experience; that is, if it is impossible to offer a justification for it that does not involve empirical, sense experience. We justify our claim that “Ducks have webbed feet” by talking about the ducks we’ve seen (sense perception.) Analytic : A statement is analytic if it is explicative (if it clarifies something already contained in a concept). It is explicative if the concept expressed by the predicate is already contained in the concept expressed by the subject. "All bodies are extended" is analytic. The concept of extension is already contained in the concept of a body, thus the predicate only explicates what one already thinks when one thinks of the subject’s term. The principle that governs analytic statement is the principle of contradiction. The statement that all bodies are extended is analytic because the statement that something is a body and not extended is a contradiction. Mere reflection on the concept of a body reveals that a body is extended. In addition, Kant claims that all analytic propositions are non-informative, they convey no information that one does not already posses merely in virtue of understanding the concept expressed by the subject term of the proposition. Synthetic
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course PHIL 10 at San Jose State University .

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Kant_Handout - Immanuel Kant Hume had kind of a scorched...

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