Tuesday, February 8, 2022

B vii, ¶ 1


[¶1] Whether or not the treatment of the cognitions belonging to the con­cern of reason travels the secure course of a science is something which can soon be judged by its success. If after many preliminaries and preparations are made, a science gets stuck as soon as it approaches its end, or if in order to reach this end it must often go back and set out on a new path; or likewise if it proves impossible for the different cowork­ers to achieve unanimity as to the way in which they should pursue their common aim; then we may be sure that such a study is merely groping about, that it is still far from having entered upon the secure course of a science; and it is already a service to reason if we can possi­bly find that path for it, even if we have to give up as futile much of what was included in the end previously formed without deliberation.


There are many signs that reveal whether a science has become secure. We should see whether the science that pursues the interest of reason is secure and, if not, find the path required to secure it. If such a path is impossible we must limit the pretensions of that science so that such a path is possible.


The A and B editions begin with a discussion of the failure of metaphysics but through different routes. In A, a description of the conflict produced by reason is given responsibility for the confusion of metaphysics. In B, sciences that have not attained security (e.g., metaphysics) are asked to submit to evaluation and possible limitations. A is a direct assessment of the situation of metaphysics and contains suggestions at what it will take to solve it. B seems to hesitate, taking an indirect route to build a warrant against metaphysics. However, in B, Kant's decision to evaluate the success of sciences as secure sciences helps to provide a valuable guide for understanding metaphysics and the work of the Critique.
In the Critique, secure science is a paradigm that any science should attain in order to be science. Prior to attaining this security, a science is in a sort of prototype stage. Some signs provided to indicate if a science is not secure are 1) if it has to constantly go back to the beginning or 2) the individuals involved in the science cannot work together. We can observe that the description of metaphysics in the A edition precisely fits this description of a science still 'groping about'. These characteristics negatively describe marks of secure sciences, which would have constant principles through which individuals work together. The pursuit or attainment of such principles describes a situation where a body of knowledge can itself be universal.
Metaphysics purports to be a science, and so the critique will need to determine how security may be possible for metaphysics, or if it is possible at all. Critique of pure reason is itself a science and will also need to seek its own security, and as this science is first proposed here we have to be concerned about it still being in a prototypal stage itself.


What are the "cognitions belonging to the concern of reason"?

Reason seeks the unconditioned (i.e., the absolute condition) for any condition. There are certain kinds of conditions that attain in every experience that reason will pursue to their completeness: 1) the relation of all representation to the subject, 2) the relationship of objects to each other, and 3) all relations taken together. The completion of these conditions is represented by metaphysics by three ideas: soul, World, and God. Dogmatic metaphysics inherently interprets the "cognitions belonging to the concern of reason" to concern the further determination of the objects of these ideas. In contrast, Kant will see the cognition of any object for these ideas as impossible and instead interprets reason as providing a schema with which we may organize our knowledge of experience.


cognition (Erkenntnisse), reason (Vernunft), science (Wissenschaft)

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