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Kant, Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysic

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Unformatted text preview: - for otherwise we can’t know what its range of validity is, ·e.g·. whether it can be used only in experience or also outside it. Such a Ÿjustification and deduction are nothing remotely like the Ÿintuitive construction through which we can show possibility in mathematics·. In metaphysics as a speculative science of pure reason, therefore, we can never appeal to common sense. We can make such an appeal when we are forced to Ÿabandon pure reason and to renounce all purely speculative knowledge (which must always be knowledge ·strictly so-called·), which involves renouncing metaphysics itself and its teaching on certain matters, ·this ‘forcing’ coming about because· we find that all we can achieve is Ÿreasonable belief - which suffices for our needs and may indeed be more wholesome for us than knowledge ·strictly so-called·. When we make that switch, the shape of the situation is completely altered. Metaphysics must be science, over-all and in each part; otherwise it is nothing. That is because metaphysics, as speculation of pure reason, has nothing to hold it steady except universal insights. Beyond its domain, however, probability and common sense can be used legitimately and to good effect, but following principles of their own, the importance of which always depends on their reference to practical life. That is what I consider myself entitled to require for the possibility of metaphysics as a science. ********** 80 APPENDIX On what can be done to make metaphysics actual as a science As none of the paths that have so far been followed have reached the goal ·of metaphysics as a science·, and since it never will be reached except through a preceding critique of pure reason, it seems reasonable to ask that this present attempt ·at such a critique· be examined carefully and accurately - unless you think it better to give up all pretensions to metaphysics, which is all right as long as you stick to it. If we take the course of things as it is, not as it ought to be, there are two sorts of judgments: (1) a judgment that precedes the investigation, (2) a judgment that comes after the investigation. In our case (1) is what happens when the reader pronounces judgment on the Critique of Pure Reason on the basis of his own metaphysics, though the possibility of that is what the Critique aimed to investigate. In (2) ·in our case· the reader is able to Ÿset aside for a while the consequences of the critical enquiries, which may clash violently with the metaphysics that he used to accept, and Ÿfirst examines the grounds from which those consequences can be derived. If what ordinary metaphysics offers were demonstrably certain (like the theorems of geometry, for instance), judgments of kind (1) would be legitimate; for if the consequences of certain principles conflict with established truths, the principles are false and can be rejected without further enquiry. But if Ÿmetaphysics doesn’t have a stock of indisputably certain (synthetic) propositions, and if Ÿit is even the case that a number of the propositions of metaphysics - though as plausible as the best of them - have consequences that conflict with one another, and if Ÿmetaphysics contains absolutely no criterion for the truth of specifically metaphysical (synthetic) propositions, then the (1) kind of judging is not admissible, and ·the (2) method should be followed, that is· the investigation of the principles of the Critique must precede all judgments as to its worth or unworth. ·In the remainder of this Appendix I shall present an actual example of (1), followed by a proposal for an example of (2)·. On a sample of a judgment of the Critique prior to its examination This judgment is to be found in the Göttingen Scholarly News, the supplement to the third part, from 19 January 1782, pages 40 and following. [The review, published anonymously, was written by Christian Garve.] When an author who is thoroughly familiar with the subject-matter of his work and has worked hard to present his own thoughts in it falls into the hands of a reviewer who for his part Ÿis sharp enough to see the points on which depend the value (if any) of the book, who Ÿdoes not hang on the words but goes for the content, and Ÿconfines himself to sifting and testing the principles from which the author started, the author may be displeased by the severity of his judgment but the public doesn’t mind it because here the public is the winner. And the author himself can be glad that an early opportunity to correct or explain his work has come through the examination of a competent judge. If he thinks he is fundamentally right, he can in this way remove in good time any stumblingblock that might eventually hurt the success of his work. 81 I find myself in a completely different situation with my reviewer. He seems to have missed entirely the real point of the enquiry with which I have (for better or worse) been occupied. Perhaps he was impatient with thinking through a lengthy work; or angry at the threatened reform of a science in which he thought he had settled everything long ago; or what I reluctantly believe is the case - real narrowness of grasp prevented him from ever carrying his thoughts beyond his school metaphysics. Anyway, ·whatever the reason·, he Ÿimpetuously whips through a long series of propositions of which one can make nothing without knowing their premises, and Ÿscatters around his condemnations, the re...
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