synthetic and analytic judgements
One of the most controversial subjects in studies of Kant.
1. we must sort out what Kant thinks we know metaphysically and what we do not know.
2. we must discover how he responds to the question he poses at the opening of the Critique of Pure Reason.
the issue for Kant, theoretically, is how metaphysics is possible as a science.
He is not giving us a metaphysics of experience or a theory of knowledge, his principle interest is whether or not
metaphysics is possible as a science. That is why he asks about intuition and understanding.
He approaches the question by saying it is possible as a science only if objects must conform a priori (universally
and necessarily) to our mode of cognition.
So the question will be: are there certain structures that are necessary for an object of knowledge to be an object of
knowledge in the ﬁrst place prior to our attempts to determine how the object is in relation to anything else or
itself. before that, is there something in our mode of cognition that makes it possible for us to have objects of
knowledge in the ﬁrst place. how can they become present to us?
is there something we know about all possible objects that we can't be wrong about?
this will be knowledge about how they can be present to us in the ﬁrst place, and thus a prior condition to our
apprehension of the object.
how is anything given to our awareness?: INTUITION - the sense faculty. It is only in terms of SPACE and TIME
not as intrinsic properties of objects but as the very form of our cognition inherent to our intuition. no thing can be
given to us as an object of awareness that does not appear in space and time. but space and time are not inherent
properties of the object! you can move the object around in space adn time and it remains the same object.
space and time are inherently real because everything that is real to us comes with space and time, but it is
transcendentally ideal because space and time are given on the side of our intuition and not inherent in the object.
so we know something about all objects in advance!: they will be related to one another in terms of spatiotemporal
location. this is because space and time are the condition of them being given to us in the ﬁrst place.
THIS MEANS WE HAVE SOME KIND OF ONTOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE: we have knowledge of the a priori
conditions of something being given to us.
so kant has made a step toward proving his copernican hypothesis by presenting ontological knowledge: on the
side of the knowing subject, there are universal conditions that make it possible to have any experience of objects
whatsoever—space and time. our whole range of empirical experience conﬁrms this hypothesis.
but simply having something given to our consciousness and not to our knowledge. something must be given or
our knowing would have no content. but we cannot intuit a thing without subsuming it under the concepts of the
to know something, something must be given to the intuition then judged as something by the understanding.
everything given us to be known must in some sense be a what.
Aristotle meant by judgement combining concepts, a matter of predication, a matter of saying something about
something: S is P.
Kant means by judgement is how is it that the object as an object can be given to us in space and time but given to
us objectively. Because in intuition space and time are the a priori conditions of anythign being given but what is
given does not necessarily have the status of being objective.
for Kant, truth is the conformity of our intellect to the object. This was the traditional concept too, but under the
kantian paradigm, there is a shift in context in reading that deﬁnition of truth. The nominal def. of truth still holds. But the whole copernican hypothesis insinuates a deeper sense of truth. the conformity of the thing to my
intellect, to the very structure of my intellect, the mode of my cognition. whatever i say about this cup, whether
right or wrong, there is a fundamental truth on the basis of which getting it right or wrong in the ﬁrst place is in
accordance to my cognitive faculties a priori, the intuition and understanding.
the thoughts without content are empty, but the intuitions we have without concepts are blind.
in order to have knowledge, something must be given to our consciousness and something must be thought.
the form of thought, nominally, is the form of judgement: predication. but there is, prior to that nominal sense of
judgement, a deeper sense of judgement: how is it that the object as an object can be given to us in space and time
but given to us objectively. Because in intuition space and time are the a priori conditions of anythign being given but
what is given does not necessarily have the status of being objective. if all there was was that somethign is just
given to my experience in space and time, everything would be a matter of what it is you perceive in space and
time. everything would be subjective and we could not say anything about the objective validity of what is given to
us. if we see pink elephants ﬂoating around, without the understanding we would take that perception to be
Kant says that moving from the subjective givenness of states of mind to the possibility of saying there is this
objective world—this thing is really there objectively—is to go from the idea of pure perception to judging what is
there. This is why the intuition needs the understanding. The idea comes with judgement not simply as combining
two concepts but judgement as the act of consciousness itself!
judgement then is bringin the manifold of intuition to the objective unity of apperception. this means that
judgement is the very structure by which we take what is given to intuition and are then able to posit it as an object!
Judgement is the means by which what is sensed is then posited as an object.
In order for an object to be an object in the ﬁrst place it must be posited objectively, and that act of positing is an
act of judgement.
The unity of apperception is my self consciousness, judgement is the way i take what is given to my intuition and
then re-present it to myself as an object.
This sets up a very narrow model of experience! It means that experience is fundamentally indicative: a matter of
pointing things out in the world. the means by which we point things out, in kant's sense, is judgement.
We go around experiencing by pointing out. Compare this kind of objectifying way of experiencing the world to
Catherine A. MacKinnon's critique of male reasoning.
The objectivity of the object thus has its basis in our subjectivity! Life is thus a series of point-out-a-thing.
- this means that for Kant there are things given to us as items of knowledge that cannot be outside of my own
concepts. is there not somethign that can shatter my categories? another subject???? if kant is right about
theoretical knowing, ***AND*** theoretical knowing is our only way of encountering and experiencing things in
the world, then the idea of other persons breaking through that framework is ruled out. other persons are
presented to us as a particular kind of objectivity. my experience of persons and things then is fundamenta▯y the
burch says yes this is kant's view for knowing things as objects, but there is for kant a more fundamental
experience than empirical experience, and that is moral experience, wherein i experience other persons as moral
agents who have a value in themselves, an end in themselves.
but yeah, the structure of theoretical knowing is pointing out.
if it is the case that our way of relating theoretically to the world by judgement and there are a priori conditions for
experience, then those a priori conditions must be of judgement. so he sets up a table of judgement—the nominal
forms of judgment from predication... it is the exact table of logic in his time: it lays out all the possible forms of
predication, the ways the subject can be related to the predicate.
once he has this table, he has a clue to what it is we might know about objects a priori insofar as those objects can
be objectively present only in and through judgement.
burch is trying to make clear what is obscure and complicated in kant himself.
if you look at these forms of judgements, you ask what is the essence of each form of judgement, where essence
means what is it that makes possible each form of judgement. his answer: in order to combine a subject and a
predicate in a judgement, YOU NEEDACONCEPT: you need a concept of the combination of the conjoining of subject and predicate.
so each form of judgement stands for a diﬀerent