Senior Project Advisor

Montague, Phillip, 1938-

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1982


Kant, Epistemology, Noumena, "Critique of Pure Reason"


It has been the tendency of philosophers in the Twentieth Century to examine the philosophy of Immanuel Kant in parcels, by analyzing key Kantian concepts, arguments, and distinctions without relation to the architectonic to which they belong. Thus, for example, large bodies of literature are devoted exclusively to Kant's distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments, to his conception of Categories, and to his argument that existence is not a predicate. The elucidation and employment of isolated Kantian ideas has greatly enhanced many contemporary philosophical theories, particularly in epistemology, and manifests the enormous debt owed Kant by modern thinkers. On this basis alone it is no exaggeration to state that Kant's influence on the development of philosophy is as extensive as that of any philosopher since Plato and Aristotle. But Kant's contribution to philosophical thought should not be restricted to the utility of his ideas distinct from the Critical Philosophy as a whole. Kant's systematic account of human knowledge in the Critique of Pure Reason, brilliant if not completely satisfactory, merits attention and criticism in it's own right. In the Critique Kant forges from ideas unprecedented in the history of philosophy a philosophical edifice which purports both to establish conclusively the validity of scientific knowledge of the sensible world, and to refute just as conclusively claims that reason can provide knowledge of objects beyond the bounds of possible experience. That Kant's success in this endeavor is not complete is neither surprising nor detrimental to the value of his philosophical system. What is surprising is the fresh and unique approach he brings to the problem of human knowledge, and the nearness which that approach brings him to solving the problem.




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Subjects - Names (LCNAF)

Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804--Knowledge, theory of


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