Immanuel Kant’s Metaphysics

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Immanuel Kant’s Metaphysics


In regard to Metaphysics, Kant’s results were seemingly the opposite to what he strove to achieve, cf. the claim, in his Introduction, that “In this enquiry . . . I venture to assert that there is not a single metaphysical problem which has not been solved, or for the solution of which the key has not been supplied.” In the summing up of his Prolegomena, he records with evident pride in achievement: “Anyone who has read through and grasped the principles of the CPR . . . will look forward with delight to metaphysics, which is now indeed in his power.”

Yet the image of an “Alleszermalmer” persists, who dismantled the foundations of a philosophical edifice which had barely withstood the ravagement of Hume’s onslaught on its “occult fancies”! These discrepancies should make us wonder how one of the three greatest thinkers of all time could be so far deluded as to miss the outcome and import of his efforts! I propose to consider this problematic issue from a slightly different than ‘usual’ perspective.


To put the question of the suitability of metaphysics as a science is equivalent to asking, “what is metaphysical knowledge?”, hence “can metaphysical conclusions be verified?” In the CPR, this issue is encapsulated in the question, “How are synthetic a priori judgements possible?”

But before I address it, let me offer something as a curtain raiser:

The metaphysical possibility as well as the epistemology of newtonian absolute space remained a mystery until Kant solved it . . . [Guyer 10].

My intention here is to throw into focus the possibility of metaphysics having stood still in the interim; that no successor (as Kant indubitably expected) has taken up the cudgels and ...

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...g, but in my view a horizon beckoning for metaphysics by which to orient itself.


Kant, Immanuel: Kritik der reinen Vernunft & Prolegomena. Cited according to standard method.

Secondary texts

Adorno, Theodor W.: Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason. Polity Press, Oxford 2001.

Ameriks, Karl: Kant and the Fate of Autonomy. Cambridge UP 2000.

Dryer, P. D.: Kant’s Solution for Verification in Metaphysics. Allen & Unwin, London 1966.

Gardner, Sebastian: Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason. Routledge, London 1999.

Guyer, Paul (ed.): The Cambridge Companion to Kant. Cambridge UP 1992.

Heidegger, Martin: Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik. Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt 1973.

Janaway, Christopher: Self and World in Schopenhauer’s Philosophy. Clarendon, Oxford 1989.

Pinkard, Terry: German Philosophy 1760-1860. Cambridge UP 2002.
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