Kant's Introduction

The reason I'm reading Kant again is reason. I mean, the book that I'm working on about belief isn't a straight piece of philosophy--this material has been covered by philosophers for a couple millennia, and while there's still some controversy, there isn't a lot of heated debate, as far as I can tell--but a more pedestrian attempt to (humorously, I hope) analyze the ways in which we talk about belief. I see this as a huge problem in American culture. The communication, I mean--not my project.

So I just finished reading the Introduction to the Critique of Pure Reason (I'll abbreviate it CPR from here on out, because then I don't have to type it all every time, and because the initials amuse me), and I've decided I need to read the Introduction at least one more time before I move on to the body of the work.

In this intro, Kant is just establishing a few things, such as his reasons for writing this, the problems he hopes to solve, and the ways in which he's going to treat certain terms--some well-established in his time, and others he invents. He covers a priori knowledge (that which is acquired without experience) and draws the distinction between it and a posteriori knowledge (that which comes from experience). Once he does that he makes a further distinction within a priori--the analytic from the synthetic. The focus of the CPR will be on synthetic a priori knowledge--that which isn't derived from experience, but isn't mere tautology. It's the consideration of propositions whose predicates are not implied by their subjects. It's a linguistic approach to metaphysics, and I'm hooked.

So I'll read the Introduction again to make sure that I'm solid on Kant's vocabulary, and then I'll wade into the swamp. If I'm not back in five minutes, just wait longer.

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