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Kant, Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysic

That is because our judgment within this domain cant

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Unformatted text preview: will have to have more content than one might expect. But the domain of pure reason is so Ÿseparate from everything else, and so Ÿinter-connected within itself, that we can’t lay a finger on one part without affecting all the others, and can’t build anything there without first determining 7 where each part is and how it relates to the rest. That is because our judgment Ÿwithin this domain can’t be corrected by anything Ÿoutside it, and so the validity and use of every part of the domain depends on how it relates to all the rest - just as with the structure of an organism we can work out the purpose of each part only from a full conception of the whole. So it can be said that Ÿsuch a critique shouldn’t be trusted unless it is perfectly complete, down to the smallest elements of pure reason, and that Ÿin the domain of reason you must settle everything - or you will settle nothing. As for a mere plan or sketch of the critique of pure reason: its usefulness as a sequel to the critique is a measure of how useless - how unintelligible and unreliable - it would be if given in advance. Taken as a sequel, it gives us a vantage-point from which we can take in the whole thing, can test - one by one - the chief points of the science, and can make the exposition of it much better than it was the first time around. [In the next paragraph Kant uses ‘analytic’ and ‘synthetic’ to mark a distinction between two methods of presentation of some doctrine. An Ÿanalytic presentation starts with things we all know to be true and works its way from those to the theory or doctrine that explains and is supported by them. A Ÿsynthetic presentation goes in the opposite direction: it starts with the fundamental theses of the doctrine to be expounded, and works from those to various of their consequences, which could include the things-we-alreadyknow that are the starting-point for the analytic format. This use of ‘analytic’ and ‘synthetic’ occurs only here and on pages 16-17 and 75. Everywhere else in this work and throughout the Critique of Pure Reason Kant uses the terms in an utterly different sense, in which it distinguishes not Ÿexpository methods but Ÿkinds of proposition. This use of the terminology is the one that is still current; Kant explains it in section 2 below.] With my critique of pure reason completed, I now offer a plan of it as a sequel. The plan is to be laid out in the Ÿanalytic manner, whereas the critique itself had to be composed in the Ÿsynthetic style so that readers could command a view of all the joints of the science - the natural hanging-together of the structural parts of ·pure reason·, an utterly special cognitive faculty. But if you also find this too obscure - this plan that I offer as the Preliminaries to any future Metaphysic - bear in mind Ÿthat it’s not necessary for everyone to study metaphysics, Ÿthat many people have the aptitude to succeed very well in sciences (even deep ones) that are closer to sense-experience, yet can’t succeed in investigations dealing with highly abstract concepts, Ÿthat such people should employ their talents on other subjects; Ÿ that someone who undertakes to make judgments in metaphysics - let alone to construct a metaphysical system - must satisfy the demands I have made here, which he can’t do by rejecting them, so he must either adopt my solution or thoroughly refute it and put another in its place; and, finally, Ÿthat this notorious obscurity (·allegations of which are· often a cloak to cover the accuser’s laziness or stupidity) also has its uses ·as a defence against insolent intruders. There is no shortage of them in metaphysics!· People who maintain a cautious silence in relation to other sciences approach metaphysics in a spirit of bold pronouncements and snap judgments, because in this area their ignorance is not contrasted with the knowledge of others. 8 PREAMBLE ON THE DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF ALL METAPHYSICAL KNOWLEDGE Section 1: The sources of metaphysics If a field of knowledge is to be exhibited as a science, we need to know exactly what features are special to it, marking it off from all other sciences. Otherwise the boundaries of all the sciences run into one another and none of them can be treated soundly according to its own nature. Our idea of a possible science and of the territory it covers is based on its special features - whether they have to do with its Ÿsubject matter, or its Ÿsources of knowledge, or the Ÿkind of knowledge it involves, or of some or all of these together. Let us consider first the sources of metaphysical knowledge. The very concept of metaphysics ensures that the sources of metaphysics cannot be empirical. ·If something could be known through the senses, that would automatically show that it doesn’t belong to metaphysics; that is an upshot of the meaning of the word ‘Metaphysics’·. Its basic propositions can never be taken from experience, nor can its basic concepts; for it is not to be physical but metaphysical knowledge, so it must lie beyond experien...
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