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Critique of Pure Reason

Ranking among the most difficult books ever written, the Critique of Pure Reason can be daunting to read, but reading it with a group can make it far less intimidating.

Nearly two years ago, the Wednesday reading group formed around the reading of the Critique of Pure Reason, and this will be our third time through the book (and depending on interest, the other two Critiques as well).

As a change from our previous readings, we will be alternating between the Critique and other works week to week, so that those who have difficulty with the reading pace have more opportunity to be prepared.

 

Week 1:
Prefaces/Introduction/Transcendental Aesthetic - Avii to B73

Week 2:
Transcendental Logic/Analytic of Concepts (Clue, Deduction) - A50/B74 to B169

Week 3:
Analytic of Principles (Schematism, System of Pure Principles, Phenomena and Noumena, Amphiboly) - A130/B169-A292/B349

Week 4:
Transcendental Illusion/Concepts of Pure Reason/Paralogisms of Pure Reason - A293/B349 to B432

Week 5:
Antinomies of Pure Reason - A405/B433 to A567/B595

Week 6:
Ideal of Pure Reason - A567/B595 to A704/B732

Week 7:
Transcendental Doctrine of Method (Discipline, Canon, Architechtonic, History) - A707/B735 to A856/B884

 

Regarding the Book:

If you don't have the book already, this is my favorite English translation:
http://www.amazon.com/Critique-Pure-Reason-Second-Edition/dp/0230013384/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1341694425&sr=8-2

 

There is also a newer translation available that is also very excellent and contains a lot of additional scholarly notes and marginalia (I do worry that some of these can be distracting for someone new to Kant, but if you have read the Critique before, I recommend this translation): 
http://www.amazon.com/By-Immanuel-Kant-Critique-Reason/dp/B008UB6ZNW/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1370956294&sr=8-12&keywords=Critique+of+Pure+Reason

If you are interested in all three of Kant's Critiques, there is a set of them all translated by the same person here:
http://www.amazon.com/KantS-Three-Critiques-Critique-Practical/dp/0872206297/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1370956294&sr=8-9&keywords=Critique+of+Pure+Reason

 

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  • Sotirios (Sam) K.

    Good start to tackling Kant's Mt. Everest of philosophical works.

    1 · July 4, 2013

  • George

    Running late (as usual) but I'm on my way. See you all soon.
    P.S. Perhaps we should be recording this anyway?

    July 3, 2013

  • Manoj V.

    Sorry for cancelling at the last minutes. Hopefully, I will be able to catch the train midway. I will sure miss today's session. Apologies...

    July 3, 2013

  • Bill K.

    Sorry, not feeling well.

    July 3, 2013

  • Thrashionalist

    I'll post a few pages that seem particularly noteworthy for providing basic definitions. A good part of our conversation might consist in querying the distinctions that Kant makes on such pages - like the initial cell-divisions in an embryo, they determine much of the overall shape and constitution of the book.

    A6/B10 Introduction, section IV: the analytic-synthetic distinction
    A19/B33 Transc. Aesth. opening: various definitions concerning intuition and sensibility

    1 · June 30, 2013

    • Thrashionalist

      A38/B55: a particularly clear formulation of the concerns surrounding appearances vs. things-in-themselves. Previous experience with the Critique predicts that we will spend more time on this topic than on any other tonight.

      1 · July 3, 2013

    • Erik C.

      You're probably right, but hopefully we can be convinced to hold off on getting worried about things in themselves until we get to the Dialectic. Maybe this passage can help us along.

      July 3, 2013

  • Christian M.

    1 · July 2, 2013

    • Thrashionalist

      I think Kant would have something to say about the "illusory" part.

      1 · July 2, 2013

  • Sotirios (Sam) K.

    Can't wait to start on this ! Kant's work on this subject is as fresh and relevant today as it was in the late 18th century. Perhaps even more so as the advances in artificial intelligence and quantum computing bring us face to face with what it means to be a rational, thinking being.

    June 22, 2013

    • Sotirios (Sam) K.

      Peter also has an interesting point. Synthetic a priori judgements are in essence what allow us to construct models of how the universe works. It's interesting that for the most part the assumptions made since Galileo have led to very accurate models within limits of the observations capable using the technological limits of the day. Then Newton, Faraday, Maxwell and Boltzmann all had a priori judgements which organized what it is they were looking at and trying to make sense of. Newton's were good enough to get us to the moon. Faraday's concept of a field is still essentially valid today and Boltzmann's concept of entropy is just as fundamental and ties back into the question of the ultimate meaning of time. But are they necessary ? Or in my mind I wonder are they truly independent of observation and experience ?

      That I'm not sure of.

      July 1, 2013

    • Erik C.

      We'll need to put in some effort to clarify what the importance of 'necessary connections' are in the critique. It will probably be distracting to turn to only examples of physics, since every experience contains necessary connections. In each judgment - even in simple experiences that aren't governed by hypothesis - there are necessary connections in the form of the judgment itself. Kant looks to lay out this form through analysis.

      From B Edition Preface, Bxviii: As regards objects which are thought solely through reason, and indeed as necessary, but which can never - at least not in the manner in which reason thinks them - be given in experience, the attempts at thinking them (for they must admit of being thought) will furnish an excellent touchstone of what we are adopting as our new method of thought, namely, _that we can know a priori of things only what we ourselves put into them._

      1 · July 2, 2013

  • George

    The cost-effective threesome (from Hackett/Amazon) cracks me up a little: It's rare these days to find anything substantial (not to mention nutritious) for only 10 bucks a pound.

    1 · June 26, 2013

  • Manoj V.

    For a long long time, I wanted to read this book.

    June 12, 2013

  • Dan

    I like the alternating week idea. Reading 100 pages of Kant every week can be tough.

    1 · June 12, 2013

    • Thrashionalist

      Taking something extra-brutal, and dropping the extra-.

      June 12, 2013

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