Monday, May 2, 2022

B xxii - xxiv, ¶ 13


[¶13] Now the concern of this critique of pure speculative reason consists in that attempt to transform the accepted procedure of metaphysics, undertaking an entire revolution according to the example of the geometers and natural scientists. It is a treatise on the method, not a system of the science itself; but it catalogs the entire outline of the science of metaphysics, both in respect of its boundaries and in respect of its entire internal structure. For pure speculative reason has this peculiarity about it, that it can and should measure its own capacity according to the different ways for choosing the objects of its thinking, and also completely enumerate the manifold ways of putting problems before itself, so as to catalog the entire preliminary sketch of a whole system of metaphysics; because, regarding the first point, in a priori cognition nothing can be ascribed to the objects except what the thinking subject takes out of itself, and regarding the second, pure speculative reason is, in respect of principles of cognition, a unity entirely separate and subsisting for itself, in which, as in an organized body, every part exists for the sake of all the others as all the others exist for its sake, and no principle! can be taken with certainty in one relation unless it has at the same time been investigated in its thoroughgoing relation to the entire use of pure reason. But then metaphysics also has the rare good fortune, enjoyed by no other rational science that has to do with objects (for logic deals only with the form of thinking in general), which is that if by this critique it has been brought onto the secure course of a science, then it can fully embrace the entire field of cognitions belonging to it and thus can complete its work and lay it down for posterity as a principal framework that can never be enlarged, since it has to do solely with principles and the limitations on their use, which are determined by the principles themselves. Hence as a fundamental science, metaphysics is also bound to achieve this completeness, and we must be able to say of it: nil actum reputans, si quid superesset agendum [Thinking nothing done if something more is to be done].


The science critique of pure reason seeks to reground metaphysics using the success of mathematics and natural science as a guide. The result will not be the doctrine of metaphysics itself but an account of the new method of metaphysics as well as a description of the limits of our cognitions which bind all sciences, including metaphysics. Metaphysics can be completed since it only has to concern itself with principles contained within our own faculties and only those principles which contribute to cognitions a priori.


Many readers of metaphysics expect philosophers to argue for and against positions: does God exist? are humans free? However, because critique of pure reason is a consideration of method Kant does not enter into these philosophical debates directly, instead the new method alters our relationship to these debates. The work of the Critique consists in understanding the structure and limitations of our a priori cognitions and how these limits determine the extent of any answers we may give to metaphysical problems. In order to understand our cognitive limits Kant first considers the a priori elements that we contribute to cognition, such as the forms of sensible intuition (e.g., time) and pure concepts (e.g., cause and effect). Because these elements are a priori they are all drawn from our own resources. In the work, these elements are found to be valid only when employed in relation to experience. Because of this, the truth of propositions about God, the soul, etc., are found to be inaccessible for us.
A second point of interest here regards the possibility of the completeness of metaphysics. Logic could attain completeness because it only concerns the form of thinking and so the diversity of thoughts does not enlarge this science. On the other hand, mathematics constructs its own concepts for study and can continue constructing new material indefinitely which prevents mathematics from attaining completeness. Similarly, natural science derives concepts from experience which always provides new material as well as an opportunity to detect shortcomings in our concepts. Metaphysics is not a merely formal science like logic, but it does not construct its concepts nor does it derive them from experiences. The concepts metaphysics deals with are finite in number and all concern themselves with completing a series of judgments produced by our particular form of experiencing. This view of metaphysics will be justified in the critique.


Is the Critique of Pure Reason still metaphysics?

Yes. Kant considers the science of critique to be a groundlaying phase for metaphysics in a new form; Kant even refers to it as a "metaphysics of metaphysics." Also, the Critique of Pure Reason doesn't complete the science of critique, as this completed science should contain all a priori concepts, while the Critique of Pure Reason only considers those that are required in the production of possible experience.


speculative reason (spekulativen Vernunft), system of science (System der Wissenschaft), method (Methode), completeness (Vollständigkeit)

No comments: