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Title: Reason Between Two Cliffs: Kant on the Problem of Metaphysical Knowledge
Authors: McKeachie, Ian
Advisors: Hogan, Desmond
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: Crusius
Herz Letter
Pre-Established Harmony
Principle of Sufficient Reason
Transcendental Deduction
Subjects: Philosophy
Issue Date: 2024
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The core project of Immanuel Kant's theoretical philosophy is to build a scientific metaphysics. Kant asserts that certain metaphysical concepts are given to us a priori, and that they are not the result of our empirical experience. If that is the case, however, it seems that those concepts are merely subjective constraints on our cognition|not objective constraints governing the world. How can a priori concepts, which are generated by the activity of the mind alone, give us genuine insight into metaphysical reality? Moreover, how can we differentiate between genuine metaphysical knowledge and mere speculation? This dissertation explores the development of Kant's answers to these questions. In Chapter 1, I assess Kant's early thoughts on necessity in the Leibnizian school of metaphysics and identifying key problems with Leibniz's thought that motivated the development of Kant's own metaphysical system. In Chapter 2, I then show how these problems directed the development of Kant's transcendental idealism, beginning with worries he had about the legitimacy of metaphysical knowledge shortly after the publication of his Inaugural Dissertation in 1770. The dissertation project culminates in Chapter 3 where I defend an interpretation of the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories given in the Critique of Pure Reason, which presents Kant's fully articulated answer to the problem of metaphysical knowledge.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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