Read Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics by Immanuel Kant James W. Ellington Paul Carus Online

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This edition of Prolegomena includes Kant’s letter of February, 1772 to Marcus Herz, a momentous document in which Kant relates the progress of his thinking and announces that he is now ready to present a critique of pure reason....

Title : Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
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ISBN : 9780872205932
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 160 Pages
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Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics Reviews

  • Foad
    2019-06-02 11:21

    کتابکانت اول کتاب "نقد عقل محض" رو نوشت. اما بعد از یک سال انتظار، متوجه شد که انگار کسی کتاب رو نخونده، از بس که طولانیه، و سخت نوشته شده، و مخصوصاً این که فلسفه ای به کلی جدید بنیان گذاشته، و خواننده ها با ذهنیتی که از فلسفۀ قدیم دارن، درست متوجه نمیشن که حرف حساب کانت در این درازگویی ها چیه.این باعث شد که دست به کار بشه و خلاصه ای روشن از کتاب تهیه کنه، و توضیح بده که مقصودش از نوشتن کتاب چیه و چه مسئله ای رو می خواد جواب بده، و حاصل شد "تمهیدات"، همین کتاب حاضر.من قبل از تمهیدات سه کتاب راجع به کانت خونده بودم، و هر چند از هر سه تا خیلی یاد گرفته بودم، ولی هنوز متوجه نمی شدم مسئلۀ اصلی کانت چیه. نمی دونم اون کتاب ها توضیح نداده بودن، یا من متوجه نمی شدم. از یکی از بزرگواران گودریدز پرسیدم که بعد از این سه کتاب، چه کتابی راجع به کانت بخونم؟ و ایشون گفتن: شروع کنم به خوندن از خود کانت، و این کتاب رو توصیه کردن. همون موقع کتاب رو خریدم، اما به مدت یک سال می ترسیدم طرفش برم. تا این که اخیراً بعد از خوندن راجع به "روشنگری" و بعدتر تلاش نافرجامم برای فهم آینشتاین، متوجه شدم که لازمه باز از کانت بخونم. پس عزمم رو جزم کردم و این کتاب رو از قفسه برداشتم.کتاب ترجمۀ خیلی خوبی داره، هر چند این به معنای راحت بودن کتاب نیست. خیلی از بخش ها رو دو یا سه بار می خوندم تا درست متوجه بشم، و خیلی از بخش ها رو فقط با تکیه به چیزهایی که از قبل می دونستم متوجه می شدم. ولی در کل تجربۀ خوبی بود، مواجه شدن رو در رو با فیلسوفی که خیلی وقت بود از مواجهه باهاش فرار می کردم. به خصوص فصل های پایانی کتاب، جایی که وظیفۀ تنظیمی فلسفه رو توضیح میده، به نظرم هم راحت تر و هم جذاب تر بودن.در پایین توضیحی اجمالی از هدف کانت از کتاب نوشتم، که اگه علاقه ای ندارید می تونید ازش صرف نظر کنید.کانت به دنبال چیست؟(view spoiler)[حضرت زلزلهبزرگ ترين زلزله اى كه در فلسفه حادث شد، ديويد هيوم، به كشف بزرگى رسيد. نكته اى كه به نظر قبل از اون مغفول مونده بود. هیوم گفت ما دو دسته قضيه داريم:الف - قضایای تحلیلی قضيه هايى كه توى اون ها، يك مفهوم تحليل ميشه و باز ميشه و توضيح مى ديم كه اون مفهوم از چه عناصرى تشكيل شده. مثلاً وقتى راجع به "شبه جزيره" ميگيم "خشكى اى كه از سه طرف به آب و از يك طرف به خشكى محدود بشه" يا راجع به "دايره" ميگيم "هيچ زاويه اى نداره". اين قضايا، هر چند دانش ما رو نسبت به معناى اون كلمه و مفهوم بيشتر مى كنن، اما چيز جديدى راجع به اون مفهوم به ما نمى گن. خصوصيتى از اون مفهوم رو به ما نمى گن كه از قبل توى همون مفهوم وجود نداشته باشه. به خاطر همين به اين نوع قضايا مى گن "همانگويى"، يا قضاياى "تحليلى". ب - قضایای ترکیبیدر مقابل قضايايى هستن كه راجع به يه مفهوم چيزى مى گن كه از قبل توى اون مفهوم وجود نداره. خصوصيتى جديد رو به اون مفهوم نسبت مى دن كه هر چى هم معناى اون مفهوم رو بدونيم، نمى تونيم از اون خصوصيت باخبر بشيم، بلكه نياز به يه منبعى غير از اون مفهوم داريم، تا ما رو از اين خصوصيت جديد مطلع كنه. مثلاً هر چى هم كسى بدونه معناى "قارّه" چيه، نمى تونه مطلع بشه "در روى زمين هفت قارّه وجود داره". براى فهميدن اين حقيقت، بايد از تحليل مفهوم دست برداره و به منبع ديگه اى رجوع كنه. به اين نوع قضايا مى گن قضاياى "تركيبى"، چون دو مفهوم مختلف رو با هم تركيب مى كنن.سؤالى كه براى هيوم پيش اومد، اين بود كه: ما چه منبعى براى رسيدن به قضاياى تركيبى داريم؟ از چه راهى مى تونيم بفهميم يه مفهوم با يه مفهوم ديگه نسبتى داره؟ و جواب داد: تنها منبع ما، حس هاى ماست، كه به صورت مداوم مفاهيم جديدى براى ما تهيه مى كنن، و اون ها رو با هم تركيب مى كنن. ما مى بينيم كه برگ سبزه، ما مى شنويم كه اسب شيهه مى كشه، ما مى چشيم كه انار ترشه.اما غير از اين چى؟ آيا منبع ديگه اى داريم؟ هيوم مى گفت نه. در نتيجه علوم دو دسته ن: علومی که صرفاً قضایای تحلیلی ان و حرف جدیدی نمی زنن (ریاضیات و منطق). و علومی که حرف جدیدی می زنن. این دستۀ دوم نیاز به منبعی دارند که بتونن قضایای جدید تولید کنن، و تنها منبع شناخته شده، حسّ و مشاهده است. هر كس جمله اى بگه كه دو مفهوم مختلف رو با هم تركيب كرده باشه، ولى منبعش حس و مشاهده نباشه، اون جمله سفسطه و فريبه. فرقى نمى كنه كه فلسفه باشه، يا فيزيك، يا شيمى. قوانين نامحسوس تمام اين علوم، صرفاً تخيّلات هستن و بس. مخصوصاً فلاسفه که مدعی بودن فقط با "تحلیل" و "تعریف" و باز کردن یک مفهوم، می تونن به مفاهیم جدیدی برسن که قبلاً توی اون مفهوم وجود نداشته، و با توجه به کشف هیوم، معلومه که این حرف چقدر عجیب و ناممکنه.این زلزله زلزلۀ عجیبی بود. چون تا مدت ها کسی متوجه نشد که رخ داده. و تازه بعد از چند دهه تبعاتش مشخص شد، و بین فلاسفه و غیرفلاسفه هول و ولا افتاد که پاسخ در خوری به این سؤال بدن.حضرت ضد زلزلهیکی از کسایی که سعی کرد به این سؤال جواب بده (فارغ از این که در این سعی موفق بود یا نه) کانت بود. تلاش برای پاسخ به مسئلۀ هیوم، باعث شد کانت دست به کار بشه و از اون جایی که فلسفۀ قدیم جوابی برای این مسئله نداشت، یک فلسفۀ جدید بسازه به نام فلسفۀ استعلایی و نظریات جدیدی بده تا به وسیلۀ اون ها بتونه به این سؤال جواب بده که: منبع قضایای علوم غیرتجربی مختلف، از جمله فلسفه، چیه؟کانت در جواب گفت: ما به غیر از فلسفه دو علم غیرتجربی داریم که به ما قضایای جدید و ترکیبی می دن: ریاضیات، و طبیعیات (اصول کلی و نامحسوس فیزیک و شیمی و...). کانت اصرار داشت بر خلاف ادعای هیوم، قضایای ریاضیات فقط با تحلیل مفاهیم عدد و خط و شکل و... حاصل نمیشن، بلکه حرف های جدیدی راجع به این مفاهیم می زنن. در نتیجه قضایای ریاضی ترکیبی هستن نه تحلیلی.حالا نگاه مى كنيم كه این علوم غیرتجربی چطور قضایای جديدى به ما مى دن؟ منبع شون براى توليد قضایای جديد چیه؟ و همون منبع يا مشابه اون رو در فلسفه به كار مى گيريم.کانت گفت: منبع این علوم، اصول و قوانينیه كه بر ذهن ما حاكمن. قوانین جهان شمولی که ریاضیات و فیزیک کشف می کنن، در حقیقت از مشاهدۀ جهان خارجی به دست نیومدن، بلکه از مشاهدۀ قوانین ادراک خود ما به دست اومدن. زمان و مکان (که منبع ریاضیات و هندسه ن) در خارج از ذهن ما وجود ندارن، بلکه ذهن ما این دو قالب رو بر تمام مشاهداتش اعمال می کنه و تمام مشاهدات حسی رو در این دو قالب می ریزه. همین طور علّیّت (که منبع طبیعیاته) هم قابل مشاهده در جهان نیست، بلکه قالبی ذهنیه که ذهن بر پدیده های جهان خارجی منعکس می کنه. ما با مطالعه روی قوانین حاکم بر این قالب هاست که می تونیم به قضایای جدیدی در ریاضیات و طبیعیات برسیم. در نتيجه فلسفه هم مى تونه با به كارگيرى اصول حاكم بر ذهن و شناخت ما، به قضایای جديدى برسه.نکتۀ مهم اینه که با این توضیحات، فلسفه مثل ریاضیات و طبیعیات، مسئول کشف قوانین شناخت و ذهن (یا قوانین جهان "پدیداری"، یعنی جهانی که ما درک می کنیم) می شه، نه قوانین جهان "فی نفسه"، یعنی جهانی که در خارج از ذهن ما وجود داره. ما نمی تونیم بدونیم جهان مستقل از ذهن ما چه شکلیه، و نیازی هم نداریم که بدونیم. چیزی که نیاز داریم، اینه که دنیایی که خودمون می بینیم رو بشناسیم و قوانینش رو کشف کنیم، و این علوم برای این مقصود کاملاً کافی هستن. (hide spoiler)]

  • Riku Sayuj
    2019-05-30 09:17

    Hieroglyphics: A Reluctant TranslationThe Prolegomena is valuable as a summarization that is intended to be less obscure and suited for popular consumption. It tries to compress Kant’s criticism of (all) previous work in metaphysics and the theory of knowledge -- first propounded in the Critique of Pure Reason, which provided a comprehensive response to early modern philosophy and a starting point for most subsequent work in philosophy.A note on the Edition: This is a wonderful edition to approach the Prolegomena with -- meticulous introductory essay and copious notes. Plus it comes with a summary outline of all the sections! A summary of a summary. What more could you want?Summing up the BeastAs is well known The Critique of Pure Reason is a notoriously difficult work. When first published, the early readers were not very different from modern readers — they found it incomprehensible!Kant was a poor popularizer of his own work and when it was finally published in the spring of 1781 (with Kant nearing 57), after almost ten years of preparation and work, Kant had expected that the evident originality of the thoughts would attract immediate attention, at least among philosophers. He was… well… to be disappointed — for the first year or two he received from those whom he most expected to give his book a sympathetic hearing only a cool and uncomprehending, if not bewildered, silence.What else would you expect for such wild intentions:My intention is to convince all of those who find it worthwhile to occupy themselves with metaphysics that it is unavoidably necessary to suspend their work for the present, to consider all that has happened until now as if it had not happened, and before all else to pose the question: “whether such a thing as metaphysics is even possible at all.”He had proposed a “Copernican Revolution” in thinking. He should have known that such stuff cannot come without a user manual.Soon Kant caught on to this, and started having some misgivings about the fact that he was clearly not getting the reception he had expected for his masterpiece:Kant is known to have written to Herz expressing his discomfort in learning that the eminent philosopher Moses Mendelssohn had “laid my book aside,” since he felt that Mendelssohn was “the most important of all the people who could explain this theory to the world.” Mendelssohn later wrote to a friend confessing that he did not understand the work, and professing pleasure at learning that, in the opinion of her brother, he would not be “missing much” if he continued not to understand it!Kant’s colleague in Konigsberg, Johann Schultz, in the preface to his 1784 Exposition of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, mentioned the “nearly universal complaint about the unconquerable obscurity and unintelligibility” of the work, saying that for the largest part of the learned public it was “as if it consisted in nothing but hieroglyphics.”As a reaction to this lack of public appreciation for such a vital work that was to have "brought about a complete change of thinking," a great deal of Kant's effort during the decade of the 1780s had diverted away from further development of his system and towards the unforeseen task of clarifying the critical foun­dations of his system of philosophy that he thought he had completed in May 1781. This work took a number of different forms: the publica­tion of a brief defense and attempted popularization of the Critique in 1783 until, finally, Kant came to think that an overview would be of great value to aid the reading public in comprehending the implications of the Critique. The Prolegomena was the result. We can only guess what more productive use could have been made of this period!It is sometimes obvious in this work that Kant was pained by the need to summarize his great work (and with the necessity of expending valuable time on it). Only someone who has written an elaborate masterpiece would know how difficult it must be to write a summary of it. And Kant lets it slip often enough (one might even think deliberately) that he is not too amused by having to do so:But although a mere plan that might precede the Critique of Pure Reason would be unintelligible, undependable, and useless, it is by contrast all the more useful if it comes after. For one will thereby be put in the position to survey the whole, to test one by one the main points at issue in this science, and to arrange many things in the exposition better than could be done in the first execution of the work.Whosoever finds this plan itself, which I send ahead as prolegomena for any future metaphysics, still obscure, may consider that it simply is not necessary for everyone to study metaphysics; and that in such a case one should apply one’s mental gifts to another object.That whosoever undertakes to judge or indeed to construct a metaphysics must, however, thoroughly satisfy the challenge made here, whether it happens that they accept my solution, or fundamentally reject it and replace it with another – for they cannot dismiss it; and finally, that the much decried obscurity (a familiar cloaking for one’s own indolence or dimwittedness) has its use as well, since everybody, who with respect to all other sciences observes a wary silence, speaks master- fully, and boldly passes judgment in questions of metaphysics, because here to be sure their ignorance does not stand out clearly in relation to the science of others, but in relation to genuine critical principles, which therefore can be praised.Kant hoped to hit more than one bird with the Prolegomena:It was meant to offer “preparatory exercises” to the Critique of Pure Reason — not meant to replace the Critique, but as “preparatory exercises” they were intended to be read prior to the longer work. It was also meant to give an overview of that work, in which the structure and plan of the whole work could be more starkly put across — offered “as a general synopsis, with which the work itself could then be compared on occasion”. The Prolegomena are to be taken as a plan, synopsis, and guide for the Critique of Pure Reason.He also wanted to walk his readers through the major arguments following the “analytic” method of exposition (as opposed to the “synthetic” method of the Critique): a method that starts from some given proposition or body of cognition and seeks principles from which it might be derived, as opposed to a method that first seeks to prove the principles and then to derive other propositions from them (pp. 13, 25–6). What this means is that Kant realized that most of the readers were dazed by his daring to start the Critique from a scary emptiness of knowledge from which he set out to construct the very foundations on which any possible structure of knowledge can stand, and also the possibility of such a foundation i.e metaphysics. There he proceeds from these first (newly derived) principles of the theory of knowledge to examine the propositions that might be derived from it that are adaptable to a useful metaphysics.In the Prolegomena, Kant reverses this and takes the propositions (i.e structure) as a given and then seeks to expose the required foundations that are needed to support such a construction. This he feels is less scary for the uninitiated reader.It is true. The abyss is not so stark when viewed through this approach, and we can ease into our fall!Kant’s work is easy to summarize (well, not really — but enough work has been put into it that at there least it is easy to get good summaries) but is infinitely rich with potential for the inquisitive reader. This reviewer has no intention of summarizing and thus reducing a method/system to its mere conclusions. And to summarize the method would be to recreate it in full detail! Instead the only advice tendered would be to explore Kant’s work in depth and not rest content with a superficial understanding of only the conclusions. That is precisely what Kant criticizes (in the appendix to the Prolegomena) his reviewers of doing back in the day. We should know better by now.

  • Szplug
    2019-06-05 13:17

    My object is to persuade all those who think metaphysics worth studying that it is absolutely necessary to pause a moment and, disregarding all that has been done, to propose first the preliminary question, "Whether such a thing as metaphysics be at all possible?"If it is a science, how does it happen that it cannot, like other sciences, obtain universal and permanent recognition? If not, how can it maintain its pretensions, and keep the human understanding in suspense with hopes never ceasing, yet never fulfilled? Whether then we demonstrate our knowledge or our ignorance in this field, we must come once and for all to a definite conclusion respecting the nature of this so-called science, which cannot possibly remain on its present footing. It seems almost ridiculous, while every other science is continually advancing, that in this, which pretends to be wisdom incarnate, for whose oracle every one inquires, we should constantly move around the same spot, without gaining a single step. And so its followers having melted away, we do not find that men confident of their ability to shine in other sciences venture their reputation here, where everybody, however ignorant in other matters, presumes to deliver a final verdict, inasmuch as in this domain there is as yet no standard weight and measure to distinguish soundness from shallow talk.With the completion of this essaying piece by the remarkably ideal Königsberger, I have, more or less, put paid to my desire to read Kant without having gained any degree of comprehension commensurate with the amount of time I have put in. This is not in any way the fault of Kant—I am simply not constituted to be a philosopher of higher rank than one who pinches just enough off of the cerebrally sound edifice to be able to pretend towards parleying its contours and construct. It was actually rather fun trying to grasp the message, and coevally disheartening to discover that, heading into the greying era, my mental faculties are too slippery and scabrous to be able to accomplish such. Still, it's worth a bit of gabbling about, if only because there are probably sufficient people about who don't get the dude any better, and hence would be uncomfortable with boldly proclaiming that this emperor, having finally managed egress from the water closet, is sashaying about desnudo.It was definitely an easier reading experience than The Critique of Pure Reason, but still a difficult row to hoe throughout: it would also prove most helpful to the prospective philosophical explorer if she forearmed herself with a passable knowledge of the Kantian lexicon. The ways in which Kant expresses his proofs of Time and Space being pure forms of intuition strike me as brilliant—irrefutable to a plebhead such as myself, while his processed discursion upon how judgments of experience arise from a priori conceptual superadditions to judgments of perception, while somewhat tortuous, yet, in toto, elucidates his thought schema potently. I really do need to devour such as the appendix to Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation, that I might understand why the Critical Philosophy was fated to being considered such a knackered perspective in days like ours: it is my opinion that his Transcendental Idealism—in which objective legislation proves a participatory process involving both sides of that great, perduring, and confounding philosophic divide—is one of the more tenable thought schematics I've encountered, though admittedly dry as dust and lacking tangible tenterhooks sunk into such modern unearthing as that of the subconscious. Yet it sensibly endows the sensibly-derived with sole knowledgeable potential; smartly refutes the uber-scepticism of When-Empiricism-Attacks; promotes the individual as processor of encompassed reality whilst placing her within a universal framework of laws and forms; respects the conundrums and paradoxical sky-hooks of the infinite and absolute by admitting its potential whilst denying its sussing (though it is in this, I believe, that Schopey found the rot settling in); and sorts intangible and ephemeral cognitive processes into logically-derived and -defensible categories that were subsequently shoe-horned into fascinating aesthetic and moral mental loafers—all whilst keeping God's essence simultaneously alive and fully under the thumb of his mortal progenitors and, hence, well away from dangerous far-faring amongst the occluded thickets of any metaphysical wood.That the Neo-Kantians have taken it to extremes, as seems the wont of all such en-prefixed progeny, fails to detract from the inspired way in which the originator separated the noumenal from the phenomenal once and for all within the parlous halls of knowing, while yet leaving room for the former to be potentially explored in non-epistemological manners and memes courtesy of the malachite bridges set down and forth to span those in-itself waters. Indeed, I always hold in mind the fact that Abraham Pais spoke of the great physicist Niels Bohr as being the natural successor to Kant, what with the latter's concept of complementarity, of a synthesis of reasoning mind with sensibly plenitudinous but transcendentally unknowable nature, meshing rather nicely in parts with the former's Copenhagen-backed postulation of Quantum Reality. Once again, it's little fault reflected upon Kant that so many have failed to heed the purely prudent (if unsettling) limits which he so carefully erected in the post-Enlightenment crush, what with reasonableness lacking the excitement and aesthetic soloing a world in flux importunely demands...

  • David
    2019-05-25 07:11

    Kant necessitated a paradigm shift in philosophy with the Prolegomena. Prior to Kant, philosophy sought to discover and ask questions about an objective world. Kant showed that it made no sense to talk about the world without also talking about a subject through whom it filtered. The forms of human intuition, and our own conceptual framework, rightfully entered philosophy. For anyone interested in the history of the discipline, this little text (as unnecessarily difficult as it can sometimes be) is a must. For anyone else, it will seem to be inscrutable nonsense.

  • Hadrian
    2019-05-31 07:10

    This is what I read on lazy Sunday afternoons.A very concise (and almost readable!) work by Kant, summarizing and clarifying some of the monstrous and intricately detailed trails of thinking from his masterwork, The Critique of Pure Reason. Lays out the groundwork for the philosophy of science, logic, and metaphysics.

  • Erik Graff
    2019-06-20 06:58

    I'd started but not finished this supplementary polemic to the Critique of Pure Reason while working on my seminary thesis at the Hungarian Pastry Shop on 110th and Cathedral in New York City. Although some had recommended it as an easy approach to the critical project, time was short and I wanted to get through the three Critiques and all the Kant texts either cited by C.G. Jung or contained in his library at the time of his death first. I did so, then got back to this after graduation. It served as a nice little review of the critical programme.

  • G.R. Reader
    2019-06-25 07:00

    98% of all philosophers spend their professional lives bullshitting. What most people fail to appreciate about Kant is that he actually said things specific enough that they turned out to be wrong. Einstein was able to refute his claims about the nature of time and space and show they were incorrect. How many other philosophers can say as much? Go Kant!

  • Don
    2019-06-02 04:59

    I'm afraid I have to read the Critiques now.

  • Greg
    2019-06-07 11:10

    I don't get Kant, and I've never derived any pleasure from reading him.

  • Max Jackson
    2019-05-25 09:58

    “Philosophers usually think of their discipline as one which discusses perennial, eternal problems - problems which arise as soon as one reflects.” Thus Richard Rorty begins his tremendous masterpiece ‘Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature’, which is not the book I’m reviewing here(1). He(Rorty) goes on to critique/demolish this idea for 400-or-so pages, suggesting (in my mangled paraphrase) that instead we should think of philosophers (and, really, people in general) as creating particular technical vocabularies that are (hopefully) useful at solving spatiotemporally-local problems but that are at not to be evaluated as attempts at representing Universal Permanent Capital-T-Truth. This is the sort of thing you have to consider before jumping into a book like Kant’s Prolegomena, or really anything that Kant wrote at all. Did he do something permanent and universal, speaking to all of humanity for all of eternity? Or, despite his repeated and emphatic claims(2), did he do something that was temporarily useful to a small handful of people and that’s only really interesting today to those who want to have something serious to say about the past?The dude’s a nigh-universally(3) acknowledged master of creating a whole new technical vocabulary that revolutionised human meta-thinking, but so what? We’ve moved on - there’ve been loads of critiques(4), rebuttals, revisions, expansion-packs, and whatever else you want to call philosophical developments since Kant was alive and writing things down. So that seems to suggest that the only real reason to read this guy is to better frame contemporary technical debates, to understand the ‘historical origins’ of particular ideas, to basically map out the skeletal remains of old coral upon which our new generations of coral currently grow and thrive. We aren’t so much standing on the shoulders of giants as climbing ladders made from the dried bones of yesterday’s geniuses, and once we’ve climbed them to the top we can freely kick them away. This way of looking at things is at least partially true w.r.t. this book - Kant cranks out his own definitions of familiar words and interrelates them and develops their implications and consequences, sometimes getting very detailed about it in ways that’d make it mind-numbing if you aren’t really intrinsically invested in what it is that he has to say. So that’s one strike against this book - unless you’re seriously dedicated to Philosophy-in-General or Philosophy-of-Mind or Intellectual-History then a good deal of this book will really suck to read. But not all of it will suck. I think there’re some qualities of a human that come across in their work regardless of the actual content thereof. And Kant was a good thinker in many senses of the word; or, at least, in reading him I found myself identifying with him somehow. Put simply, I found myself liking the way that he thinks(5). Here’s where it gets kind of tricky to define, but the ‘way’ that he went about developing his ideas and explaining them to people seems mostly-admirable and appealing to me. As mentioned above it can get kind of tediously into-the-weeds as he tries to make damn-sure that none of his ideas have holes in them, but I suppose it’s also not fair to knock the guy for trying to be thorough. This, I think, is critical to note. The Canon(6) is not holy-writ, handed down from high with humans as vacant mouthpieces and scribes - they were written by and for living breathing feeling suffering human beings. Immanuel Kant took shits, got erections(7), fell ill, maybe even got sad every once in awhile. He achieved something powerful and profound and we’ve more or less moved on, but he got as close to intellectual mortality as any of us can really hope for. This makes him worthy of study, in my mind - he had a unique way of having new and powerful ideas, and anybody who also would like to have new and powerful ideas would do well to share their mind with him for a time. MAJOR MARGINALIA(1) ‘Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature’ is also the title of a DFW short story in his collection Oblivion, which made my mind explode when I first saw it (I love it when my favorite authors comment on / mess with each other). The story itself was both very good and(1.1) not as immediately Rortian as I’d’ve hoped, but that could’ve just been DFW playing a private trick on me. Ah well. (1.1) I think most people today’d phrase this sentence as “The story itself was very good but not as...”, which while maybe intuitively appealing deserves to be fought against. That is to say I don’t think the non-Rortian nature of the DFW piece detracted from its quality in any way, which is kind of implied by the use of the less-friendly conjunction ‘but’. ‘And’ just plain and simply deserves much more use, IMO.(2) He comes across as a little insecure about his accomplishments, repeatedly saying what amounts to “I DID THIS THING, THIS THING WAS A GOOD AND IMPORTANT THING, YOU NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT I DID THIS GOOD AND IMPORTANT THING”, etc. From what I’ve read up on it seems like some of his mature work wasn’t really well received at first and this pissed him off and as such the Prolegomena stands as a sort of response to his critics. (3) Metaphorically speaking. (4) … and not in the Kantian sense - Kant used ‘Critique’ to denote a judicious and fair and thorough assessment of the powers and limits of some topic, his chosen topics being Pure Reason and Practical Reason and Judgement and whatnot. Here I mean Critique in the sense of just sort of full-on tearing an idea down. (5) Note the present tense - I loosely think of reading as temporarily thinking the thoughts of another person, in a limited sense. My favorite books are those where I sort of keep thinking the thoughts of the author even when I’m not immediately reading their words, where their descriptions and analyses start spontaneously applying themselves to my own thoughts and experiences(5.1). It’s how I grow, really. (5.1) VN, RR, and DFW do this to me all the time. (6) Here conceived as books that have achieved a sort of self-sustaining historical force, not as those books that literally speak to the problems of every human being ever. The latter set of books doesn't exist. (7) Presumably, anyway. The guy was raised in a crazy-austere Pietist family and he never married, so I might be totally off the mark attributing to him such twitches of the intimate anatomy.

  • Jesse
    2019-06-22 11:10

    As Kant modestly put it, no one had ever thought that the conditions for our experience could be ascertained a priori (what an exciting premise!). And so comes this book, ostensibly for the layman but in reality intended for lazy academics in the backwoods of Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad) who couldn't plough through the Critique without misunderstanding it, which is mostly a polemic answering four questions that are supposed to get us riled up for a first-hand encounter with modern philosophy's most earth, though more properly heaven shattering text. These questions are 1. How is pure mathematics possible? Kant answers that it is experience. 2. How is physics possible? Kant answers that it is rationality. 3. What is the domain of metaphysics? To combine the two former under the unity of consciousness. 4. How is metaphysics possible as a science? By limiting the scope of its fanciful flights to what is a priori, and therefore what is most absolutely certain and necessary. What this amounts to is the denial of whether or not we may know the immortality of the soul or the existence of god. Kant brilliantly points out that, with the soul, we have an a priori knowledge of the continuity of ourselves through all of our experience but we accidentally think that, since it has always continued, it will indefinitely do so; this is, in Kant's phraseology, mistaking something regulative (something that helps us experience) for something constitutive (something that exists separately). Same with God - we have a priori knowledge of the ground of all possible experience in our rational faculty (which is why we can make analogies and imagine), but we have incorrectly thought that rational ground to be actually constitutive of a separate subject, God. Amusingly, Kant himself continued to believe in an immortal soul and a God, which he came to defend in the Critique of Practical (or as Russell called it, "Prejudicial") Reason, but for those who do not like cowardly emendations, this Prolegomena, along with the Critique, continues to demand your full modernist attention.

  • Chris
    2019-05-28 09:21

    Kant was a pretty smart guy and maybe I'm not so smart, but I can't understand what he thought he accomplished with the Prolegomena. Kant's stated purpose was to refute Hume, who had cast doubt on the concept of causation by pointing out that we only observe one event following another and have no reason to conclude that the first caused the second. Kant's solution is posit that all sensory information is subjective. Even so basic information as the spatial and temporal orientation of objects and events is constructed by our minds and bears no necessary relation to reality.This is a very interesting and influential idea, but as a philosophical solution to Hume's problem, I don't get it. From this starting point, Kant goes on to show that not only causation but other rational constructs are valid. That's nice, but they're only valid in the sphere of ideas. Kant has completely divorced them from any meaningful relationship to empirical reality, because all the information we have about the outside world is a construct of our own minds. Kant allows that there is something out there, but we can't know anything about it as it really is.Hume, it seems to me, was pointing to a problem with empiricism, which Kant solves by retreating to idealism. That's a kind of solution, but a very unsatisfying one for anyone with any interest in establishing something metaphysical about the world outside one's brain.

  • Andrew
    2019-05-31 13:13

    Reading Kant is pretty interesting. The Prolegomena is doubtless a masterful work... Kant found a totally novel way of reconciling empirical, scientific concepts with an idealistic worldview. Granted, my own perspectives are pretty far from the transcendental idealist system that he proposes, but I have massive appreciation for his insights... recognizing the lens quality of space and time, for instance.I should note that I don't, for a minute, buy transcendental idealism. He's willing to chalk a lot more up to the a priori side of things than me. And it feels lame to poo-poo Kant or any other august philosopher, but it's hard for me to really jibe with his approach. I somehow feel that I'm missing something because I'm not bowing down before his radiant genius. Deleuze wrote that he wanted to buttfuck Kant. I don't know that I share that sentiment, but hey, more power to you.

  • Adam
    2019-06-18 11:03

    I pretty much concur with the consensus that Kant was a spectacularly shitty writer, if an important and occasionally good philosopher, but this particular book isn't as bad as reading his other stuff, and pretty succinctly covers some very important aspects of Kant's philosophy, and what it has unfortunately spawned since.

  • Ahmed Elsherbiny
    2019-06-21 11:07

    Dickhead.

  • Curtis
    2019-05-26 06:11

    WHAT?!?!?!

  • CJ Bowen
    2019-06-13 05:15

    "If it [metaphysics:] is a science, how does it happen that it cannot, like other sciences, obtain universal and permanent recognition?" pg. 1, pgh 256."Human reason so delights in construction that it has several times built up a tower and then razed it to examine the nature of the foundation. It is never too late to become reasonable and wise; but if the insight comes late, there is always more difficulty in starting the change." pg. 2, pgh 256."For inasmuch as our judgment cannot be corrected by anything outside of pure reason, so the validity and use of every part depends upon the relation in which it stands to all the rest within the domain of reason, just as in the structure of an organized body the end of each member can only be deduced from the full conception of the whole. It may, then, be said of such a critique that it is never trustworthy except it be perfectly complete, down to the smallest elements of pure reason. In the sphere of this faculty you can determine either everything or nothing." pg. 7, pgh. 263On the source of metaphysical cognition: "It can therefore have for its basis neither external experience, which is the source of physics proper, nor internal, which is the basis of empirical psychology. It is therefore a priori cognition, coming from pure understanding and pure reason." pg. 9, pgh. 266"The good company [pure mathematics:] into which metaphysics would thus have been brought would have saved it from the danger of a contemptuous ill-treatment; for the thrust intended for it must have reached mathematics, which was not and could not have been Hume's intention." pg. 13, pgh. 271"But the generation of a priori cognition by intuition as well as by concepts, in fine, of synthetic propositions a priori in philosophical cognition, constitutes the essential content of metaphysics." pg. 14, pgh. 274"experience is nothing but a continual joining together (synthesis) of perceptions." pg. 18, pgh. 276"The proper problem upon which all depends, when expressed with scholastic precision, is therefore: How are synthetic propositions a priori possible?" pg. 18, pgh. 276"Metaphysics stands or falls with the solution of this problem; its very existence depends upon it. Let anyone make metaphysical assertions with ever so much plausibility, let him overwhelm us with conclusions; but if he has not first been able to answer this question satisfactorily, I have the right to say: this is all vain, baseless philosophy and false wisdom." pgs.18-19, pgh. 277"On the contrary, I say that things as objects of our senses existing outside us are given, but we know nothing of what they may be in themselves, knowing only their appearances." pg. 30, pgh. 289Second Part:"Experience teaches us what exists and how it exists, but never that it must necessarily exist so and not otherwise. Experience therefore can never teach us the nature of things in themselves." pg. 35, pgh. 294"I therefore easily comprehend the concept of a cause as a concept necessarily belonging to the mere form of experience, and its possibility as a synthetic unification of perceptions in a consciousness in general." pg. 51, pgh. 312"the unity of objects is entirely determined by the understanding, and according to conditions which lie in its own nature; and thus the understanding is the origin of the universal order of nature, in that it comprehends all appearances under its own laws and thereby brings about, in an a priori way, experience (as to its form), by means of which whatever is to be cognized only by experience is necessarily subjected to its laws." pg. 59, pgh. 322"we must, according to a right maxim of the philosophy of nature, refrain from all explanation of the design of nature as being drawn from the will of a Supreme Being, because this would not be natural philosophy but an admission that we have come to the end of it." pg. 67, pgh. 331"We must therefore think an immaterial world, a world of understanding, and a Supreme Being (all mere noumena), because in them only, as things in themselves, reason finds that completion and satisfation...as appearances always presuppose an object in itself and therefore suggest its existence whether we can know more of it or not." pg. 89, pgh. 355

  • Maaz
    2019-06-24 07:05

    Okay, I have what I'd like to call 'the Prolegomena Paradox' as to what to read first, the Prolegomena which is meant to explain the Critique, or read the Critique, then the Prolegomena, and maybe the Critique once again. See the problem. Anyway, I have made the choice of reading this first, of course without full comprehension of the Critique, I am a bit puzzled and confused.One of the simple points in the book is the assertion that metaphysics cannot be empirical. For the cognition, as Kant puts it, is supposed to be not physical but metaphysical i.e. lying beyond experience. The following is interesting, it states that metaphysics should be based upon neither outer experience (physics proper), nor inner which provides the foundation of empirical foundation. And consequently it is cognition a priori, or from pure understanding and pure reason.Intuition should not represent things as they are in themselves or else it wouldn't be called a priori. So the only solution, is that the priori cognition contains only a form of sensibility of a given object/thing. YET, everything given as object in intuition. But, intuition happens only through senses. And thus, understanding intuits nothing, but only reflects. Now comes the tricky part, Kant says that all bodies in space exist as nothing but representations in to us and exist only in our thoughts. And that is plain Idealism. Though he responds by saying that the things given to us as objects to our senses, 'we know nothing of them as they may be in themselves, but are acquainted only with their appearances...'At the middle of the book, he verges on coming with a solution to the Humean problem, which is an interesting and out of the box approach. I cannot comment on it for the moment. Anyway, If it wasn't for Hume, Kant wouldn't have written all of this. Thanks Hume.

  • Jake Beals
    2019-06-15 13:09

    Having published his Critique of Pure Reason in 1781, Kant got the impression he was being grossly misunderstood (if you can believe it) by his contemporaries. To clear up any misunderstandings anyone may have, he wrote the Prolegomena as a summary/introduction to his first Critique.I admit that I actually enjoy reading Kant. If anything, he is thorough, which means that if you don't grasp an idea the first time around you won't have to wait long for him to repeat it. Kant's writing is very methodical and his thinking highly structured. But is he intelligible? He certainly isn't as easy to read as Russell or Mill, but never does he sound as completely batshit crazy as Hegel. If you pay close attention and use outside resources like the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the text can be conquered with only a minor background in philosophy. This seems like a good starting point for reading Kant, but definitely not for reading philosophy in general.

  • David
    2019-06-10 13:04

    I'm coming back to the Prolegomena after some time away from them. It's kind of odd re-reading the book because I've been focusing so much on the CPR that the organization (Kant says that the Prolegomena take a "synthetic" rather than "analytic" approach to understanding pure reason's limitations and the possibility of metaphysics) is a little strange. Perhaps I'm just used to the so-called analytic approach and therefore I should set aside the Prolegomena. But I've found that there are a few points in this when Kant describes part of his argument in a helpfully clear manner, or at least in a way that's sufficiently different from the CPR that it brings new light to my attempt to understand his philosophical critique. It's taken a few months to really crack the surface, but I think that it's starting to pay off.

  • Seamusin
    2019-06-03 07:17

    The book itself - the translation, accompanying introduction and excerpts from the Critique - are great. Kant's writing is... not as great. Hence 3/5."I freely admit that the remembrance of David Hume was the very thing that many years ago first interrupted my dogmatic slumber"Interrupted. Kant woke up, made some very good points, asked some key questions, and then sort of drifted off to sleep again. Why o why Kant? Why so many fantastic jumps in logic? Is it really just a reflection of the state of knowledge at your time? I have some sympathy for that idea, but come on - you could have taken example from Hume himself and just been a tad more reserved in your conclusions. Then you would have deserved the stature you have in modern times.

  • Yesterday's Muse Bookstore
    2019-06-22 07:00

    A briefer and more accessible look at Kant's famous Critique of Pure Reason, this work has become a standard in undergraduate philosophy programs. For those who have not read any of Kant's work, this is the one to start with. It will help the reader grow accustomed to Kant's method of analysis. It also establishes the importance of Kant's thought within the history of philosophy. Much of Kant's work was a reaction to large problems he saw in the philosophical system of his time, and he is well-known for many of the innovative ways he was able to address these problems, most notably his 'Copernican revolution' of philosophy. This is a must-read for anyone interested in philosophical thought.

  • Brock
    2019-05-31 08:25

    My appreciation for Kant has little to do with the accessibility of the writing. The philosophy is dense and readers must quickly familiarize themselves with the large vocabulary Kant creates in exploring the possibility of metaphysics. However, his argumentation is extremely convincing and it's clear by the end of the book why it is a necessary read. My thought process went something like this: "Now that I finally get what he's saying, I'm totally on board with it!"

  • Scott
    2019-05-29 05:11

    I read large portions of this work slightly drunk, and that either assisted my understanding or had no effect. It's definitely better taken in as a whole rather than scrutinized sentence by sentence. The man repeats himself enough that things will start coming together if you just press on. Don't ask me to explain anything. It makes sense in my head, but I can't make it come out my mouth.

  • Kyle van Oosterum
    2019-06-18 05:15

    Where Kant's work is not extremely dry but intelligible. This text was essential in promulgating his transcendental idealism which reconciled the rationalists and empiricist who are so often at odds. Kant took ideas from both of their sides and created a metaphysical system which is quite brilliant, but does require some serious attention to be able to understand it fully.

  • Blake
    2019-06-01 08:07

    I'm not a huge Kant fan and it's rather difficult to read. But, highly recommended for an excercise in pretension.

  • Ege Özmeral
    2019-06-17 09:12

    #2http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/autho...http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/...

  • Richard Epstein
    2019-06-21 11:15

    Don't, okay? Just don't.

  • Jake
    2019-06-11 12:24

    “If I have a book that thinks for me, a pastor who acts as my conscience, a physician who prescribes my diet, and so on - then I have no need to exert myself. I have no need to think, if only I can pay; others will take care of that disagreeable business for me.” ~ Immanuel Kant in What is EnlightenmentThere’s a lot of truth in this and it’s a good summary of how Kant looks at the world. This isn’t to say it isn’t without problems, which come to a head in Prolegomena. Humans are much less rational than he would would like them to be. If we know anything from the good work in behavioral economics it is that people predictably irrational. I can’t help but think the logician, if presented with data, would change his worldview with what we know today.It was said that you could set your clock to Kant. He would in his bike each day at the same exact time. It’s so comically German in its precision that it makes me squeal and it’s so outside the realm of most people that I can’t help but be skeptical of Kant. Einstein would prove his idea wrong about space and time. It turns out that the new invented Cartesian coordinate system had too much of an impact on his ideas of time and dimension. Like I said behavioral economics would prove him wrong about human behavior. All of this said, at least he went as far to be precise enough that he could he be called out for his bullshit. Unlike most philosophers, he is that precise.Like Hume, beauty and aesthetics were the core of his philosophy and while you read what he had to say about that now it does sounds pretentious. That said, I think this perspective is where he was least wrong. I believe he stated that his "Critique on Judgement", which was a book about art and beauty, was in his own words, his important work. Prolegomena can be described as the exploration of human behavior in these stages in this order and are fundamentally intertwined with this beauty and aesthetics:sensory=>understanding=>experienceWe have a lot of empirical findings that would corroborate this. So he wasn’t all wrong.Another point: It’s weird reading Kant and knowing that he strove for a categorical imperative while being deeply Lutheran. Basically replacing the Christian imperative to “love one’s neighbor” with a secular version of this same idea. To Kant we are free ONLY when we act in accordance with our best nature and we are slaves when we are under the passions of ourselves or others’. Free will is a moral will, to Kant at least. A good government to Kant prides itself on liberty and is one that encourages people to make more reasonable choices, not one that allows you to do what you think you want. I like this idea of his and I think we’re just beginning to prove it empirically. When Kant looks at actual human experience, I think his initiative to make metaphysics a science is justified and he’s doing good work. When he tries to make distinctions between the analytical and synthetic, he either sounds trivial or outright false. If there is any conclusion to Prolegomena it is this: We do math for pure intuitions of space and time. We do science for pure concepts of understanding and we have this thing called reason which drives us to strive for unity. But don’t take these things too far in assuming they’re an object of experience that you can know.“Like an optical illusion, a transcendental illusion can be understood but eliminated. A stick appears crooked in the water even to the physicist.” ~ Otfried Höffe

  • Ian
    2019-06-14 11:13

    Immanuel Kant was undoubtedly the most important figure in philosophy after Aristotle. To rescue our notion of causality from the seemingly devastating critique of Hume, he effected what he called his "Copernican revolution" in philosophy: rather than ideas or essences coming into our intellect from the outside world, it is rather we who bring concepts like space and time and impose them upon our phenomenal world of experiences. It is much easier to scoff at argumentative moves like this than it is to truly think through them, but many of his distinctions and arguments are extremely satisfying. Great introduction to Kant's project and -- at least for me -- great incentive to go on to read the Critique.