Margie's question . . .

From: Steve
Sent on: Thursday, June 11, 2009 12:57 AM
Greetings Fellow Philosophers,

I almost overlooked Margie's question about our upcoming meeting on Kant which she posted along with her RSVP:

MARGIE ASKS: "Are we doing the prolegomena, joining rationists and empiricist or ethics or what is the focus?"

If you haven't a clue what Margie is talking about, you may have some homework to do before our meeting (I hope I'm not scaring anyone!). Here are a few clues:

DEFINITION: prolegomenon (or plural: prolegomena) 1. A preliminary discussion, especially a formal essay introducing a work of considerable length or complexity.

Kant was disappointed by the poor reception of his Critique of Pure Reason, so he wrote Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics. This shorter work serves as a good introduction to the content, if not the proofs, of Kant's critical philosophy. It was published in 1783, two years after the first edition of his Critique of Pure Reason. Prolegomena contains an overview and defense of the Critique?s main conclusions, sometimes by arguments Kant had not used in the Critique. Kant characterizes his more accessible approach here as an "analytic" one, as opposed to the Critique?s "synthetic" examination of successive faculties of the mind and their principles. (You will likely have to read the suggested material to understand the difference between these two approaches.)

The book is also intended as a polemic. Kant repeatedly emphasizes the importance of its critical project for the very existence of metaphysics as a science. The final appendix contains a detailed rebuttal to an unfavorable review of the Critique.

To answer Margie's question; I think that we should attempt a simple introduction to some of Kant's basic ideas and see where that takes us. There's obviously too much depth, and too little time for much more. But we will likely revisit Kant many times.

So, how's your reading coming?

Here are a few questions that may serve as a guide for our discussion. They can also serve as a self-test if you want to see how you're doing:
(and don't tell me you Kant do it)


Which of the following is not a rationalist metaphysician?

(A) Rene Descartes
(B) David Hume
(C) Gottfried Leibniz
(D) Christian Wolff


Which of the following is true of the metaphysics that precedes Kant?

(A) It is scientific
(B) It is based on observation and experiment
(C) It is based on a priori reasoning
(D) It is based on a number of universally agreed-upon conclusions


What is the definition of an analytic judgment?

(A) A judgment we learn prior to experience
(B) A judgment we learn from experience
(C) A judgment whose predicate is contained within the concept of the subject
(D) A judgment whose predicate is not contained within the concept of the subject


What kind of statement is "all swans are white"?

(A) Analytic a priori
(B) Synthetic a priori
(C) Analytic a posteriori
(D) Synthetic a posteriori


What kind of statement is "all bachelors are unmarried"?

(A) Analytic a priori
(B) Synthetic a priori
(C) Analytic a posteriori
(D) Synthetic a posteriori


What kind of statement is "7 + 5 = 12"?

(A) Analytic a priori
(B) Synthetic a priori
(C) Analytic a posteriori
(D) Synthetic a posteriori


Which of the following is NOT at least potentially a body of synthetic a priori judgments?

(A) Mathematics
(B) Pure natural science
(C) Applied engineering
(D) Metaphysics


What discipline deals with our pure intuition of space?

(A) Arithmetic
(B) Physics
(C) Geometry
(D) Logic


What discipline deals with our pure intuition of time?

(A) Arithmetic
(B) Physics
(C) Geometry
(D) Logic


What am I seeing when I see my brown cat?

(A) A pure intuition
(B) An appearance
(C) A thing in itself
(D) A spatial relation between objects


Which of the following is true of judgments of perception?

(A) They are universal
(B) They are a priori
(C) They are subjectively valid
(D) They are held together by pure concepts of the understanding


Which of the following (according to the logical table of judgments) is a judgment as to modality?

(A) "Universal"
(B) "Affirmative"
(C) "Disjunctive"
(D) "Apodeictic"


Which of the following (according to the transcendental table of the pure concepts of the understanding) is a concept as to quantity?

(A) "Totality"
(B) "Negation"
(C) "Community"
(D) "Existence"


Which of the following claims of Hume's does Kant NOT agree with?

(A) We cannot discover the law of cause and effect by means of pure reason
(B) We cannot discover the law of cause and effect in experience
(C) Experience consists fundamentally of simple impressions
(D) We do not have a priori knowledge of the nature of God or the universe


Which of the following is NOT a part of what Kant calls "nature"?

(A) Things in themselves
(B) Sensations
(C) Pure intuitions
(D) Pure concepts of the understanding


Which of the following is not a category for the ideas of reason?

(A) Psychological
(B) Cosmological
(C) Theological
(D) Metaphysical


Who is the main target of criticism in the third part?

(A) British Empiricists
(B) Rationalist Metaphysicians
(C) Aristotelian Schoolmen
(D) Platonic Idealists


What can reason teach us about the nature of the soul?

(A) It is immortal
(B) It is indivisible
(C) We are essentially thinking subjects (i.e. things with souls)
(D) Reason can't teach us anything about the nature of the soul


Which faculty helps us sort out causal relations?

(A) Sensibility
(B) Understanding
(C) Reason
(D) None of the above


Which of the following claims is not part of one of the four antinomies listed under cosmological ideas?

(A) "Both space and time are infinite"
(B) "Humans can act according to their own free will"
(C) "God exists"
(D) "All matter is made up of simple parts"


Which of the following is attributable to things in themselves?

(A) Space
(B) Causality
(C) Freedom
(D) Necessity


Which of the following fields is "bounded"?

(A) Physics
(B) Math
(C) Metaphysics
(D) Psychology


Which of the following questions is the sort that might be investigated by Kant's "critical" metaphysics?

(A) "Is there a God?"
(B) "How many pure concepts of the understanding are there?"
(C) "Does the universe have a beginning and an end?"
(D) "How many stars are there in the Milky Way?"


Which of the following is true of "critical" metaphysics?

(A) It contains synthetic a priori judgments
(B) It relies on common sense
(C) Many of its judgments are only probable or contingent
(D) It investigates the nature of things in themselves


Who does Kant take as an example of a "dogmatic idealist"?

(A) Hume
(B) Descartes
(C) Rousseau
(D) Berkeley

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy