Friday, October 10, 2014

Kant's Table of Judgments of Reason and the Categories of Understanding

The Critique of Pure Reason (German: Kritik der reinen Vernunft) by Immanuel Kant, first published in 1781, second edition 1787, attempts to resolve the conflict between rationalism and empiricism by proposing a new angle of approach, viz. phenomenalism.

Kant called his middle way a Copernican Revolution in epistemology since, contrary to the traditional approaches, Kant's theory proposes that it is not the mind that conforms to reality (that is sees things as they are), but it is reality that conforms to the a priori forms and categories of our understanding. Thus, we only see things as they appear (phenomena) not as they are.

Kant borrowed the term "categories" from Aristotle, but with the concession that Aristotle's own categorizations were faulty. He thought that Aristotle had no guiding principle for the discovery of the categories and so randomly picked them up; consequently, his table remained imperfect. The imperfection is apparent from his inclusion of "some modes of pure sensibility (quando, ubi, situs, also prius, simul), also an empirical concept (motus), none of which can belong to this genealogical register of the understanding."

Kant's divisions, however, have a guiding rule: the a priori and the a posteriori distinction. The categories had to be a priori. They are the ones that make all synthetic a priori judgments about experience possible. The processing unit involves the following components:

FUNCTION OF THOUGHT IN JUDGMENTCATEGORIES OF UNDERSTANDINGPRINCIPLES OF PURE UNDERSTANDING
QuantityQuantity
Universal
Particular
Singular
Unity
Plurality
Totality
Axioms of Intuition
QualityQuality
Affirmative
Negative
Infinite
Reality
Negation
Limitation
Anticipations of Perception
RelationRelation
Categorical
Hypothetical
Disjunctive
Of Inherence and Subsistence (substantia et accidens)
Of Causality and Dependence (cause and effect)
Of Community (reciprocity between the agen and patient)
Analogies of Experience
ModalityModality
Problematical
Assertorical
Apodeictical
Possibility-Impossibility
Existence-Non-existence
Necessity-Contingence
Postulates of Empirical Thought in General

From The Critique of Pure Reason (1787)( SS5. Sec.II and SS6. Sec.III

No comments: