Philosophy 202
Great Traditions of Western Thought
The Modern Period

Discussion Questions for the Critique of Pure Reason, #2

For next time, you will be reading the Introduction to the Critique and the Transcendental Aesthetic. Both of these sections make important contributions to Kant's argument.

1. In the Introduction, Kant makes two important distinctions. The first is between analytic and synthetic judgments. What is the basis for this distinction? Give an example of each type of judgment.

2. The second distinction is between a priori and a posteriori judgments. What is the basis of this distinction? Give an example of each.

3. Why are synthetic judgments a priori especially important for Kant? What types of judgment are of this type? Why is it an important advance over Hume?

The Analogies are one important culmination of Kant's argument about the conditions necessary for the possibility of experience. In particular, in the second Analogy, Kant argues, contra Hume, that experience is only possible if the principle of causality applies, i.e., all events are caused. It is also about the clearest argument there is in the Critique, although you may not think that that amounts to very much. In any case, you should study it carefully.

1. The three Analogies are supposed to be analogies with the three modes of time. What are time's three modes and how to the three categories of relation provide analogies to them?

2. In the first Analogy, Kant argues that substance must be conserved. How does he support this contention? Why is it that there must be a permanent in our experience?

3. The second Analogy discusses our apprehension of an event, arguing that only if we conceive of an event as caused can we justify claiming that we have perceived an event.

a. How does Kant define an event as an objective occurrance in the phenomenal world?

b. What differentiates our apprehension of an event from our apprehension of anything, since all of our apprehensions are successive? I.e., how do we differentiate the apprehension of a succession from the succession of our apprehensions?

c. What role does a causal law play in our apprehension of an event?

[Note: I've just tried to break down into its constituent moments the analysis that Kant gives of causality in the second Analogy.]

4. The third Analogy concerns the category of coexistence. How does Kant justify the claim that all substances are in "thoroughgoing reciprocity"?

 Phil 202 Home Page | Description | Syllabus | Requirements | Discussion Questions
 Office Hours |  Links | Debate Format | Class Web Board | Debate Web Boards