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Kant- Prolegomena 01.pdf

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Peter King

KANT: THE PROJECT [1] Immanuel Kant (1724–1804): life and times. Kant as an academic philosopher and his use of technical terminology, usually self-coined. Philosophy as ‘critique’ and as a response to Descartes and Hume. [2] The project of the Prolegomena: the conditions under which it is possible to have a scientific metaphysics. Kant describes his approach to the question here as using the “analytic method” [261] which seems to mean, roughly, that he begins with some phenomenon X and then seeks to uncover the conditions under which the existence of X is possible. These conditions then explain how X is even possible, and perhaps why it is actual. Note that this is an explanation, not a justification; the validity of X is assumed from the outset. [3] The general form of Hume’s Problem [260]: What is the origin of any metaphysical concept? That is, how is it possible for a concept to “think the connection of things a priori”? Kant takes metaphysics literally as meta-physics, the principles that underlie scientific knowledge; it therefore cannot be indebted to any parochial features of (say) human cognition, since it is concerned with reality in itself. [4] Kant thinks that two distinctions that Hume aligned in fact cut across one another, namely
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