Understanding how the mind works has been a major goal throughout philosophy, and an important piece of this deals with how humans come to experience the world. Many philosophers have attempted to investigate this issue, and Hume successfully proposed a framework by which human understanding could be understood. This writing, however, spurred Kant’s philosophical mind, awaking him from his “dogmatic slumber” and leading him to develop his own framework to define thought. As Kant strongly disagreed with Hume’s stance that “it was entirely impossible for reason to think a priori,” he set to correct Hume’s misguided view of custom in regards to objective and subjective reality.¹ The outside world, as defined by Kant, is referred to as nature, and “nature considered materialiter is the totality of all objects of experience” (Kant, 36). Human interaction with nature leads to judgments of experience, and these are empirical by definition (p. 38). Empirical judgments are not limited to judgments of experience, however. Judgments of perception and judgments of experience constitute all empirical judgments, and there are significant differences between the two (p. 38).
In order to properly define judgments of perception and judgments of experience, one must first examine the general framework for thought that precedes them. Kant begins by breaking cognition into two distinct parts: analytic and synthetic judgments (p. 9). Analytic judgments are simply statements about the status of some object, and essentially serve as definitions. Analytic judgments are true by virtue, as they “express nothing in the predicate but what has...
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... when looking at pure understanding. Because these concepts exist a priori, it is interesting that they are used in the understanding of experience. Kant is careful in his application of his framework, however, as a goal in his writing was to outline boundaries of metaphysics as a science, and to determine if “such a thing as metaphysics be at all possible” (p. 1). Unfortunately for Kant, it is impossible for all things to be described with objective reality, as seen in his case of the soul (p. 86). While “determinable bounds [to reason] cannot be thought,” Kant successfully established a framework to examine thought and experience (p. 87). This framework exists in itself as subjective, however, and truly shows how pervasive metaphysics is.
Kant, Immanuel. Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics. New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1950.
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