A Companion to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

First Edition • December 25, 2007 • 256 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813343839 • $39.00 USD$67.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780786732555 • $22.99 USD$26.99 CAN


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Immanuel Kant’s groundbreaking Critique of Pure Reason inaugurated a new way of understanding the world that continues to impact philosophy to the present day. With clear explanations and numerous examples, A Companion to Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” takes students step by step through the book in a way that captures their interest without sacrificing depth or intellectual rigor. Although it is informed by recent Anglo-American scholarship, the Companion focuses on Kant’s own arguments rather than secondary texts and scholarly debates that may otherwise distract from what Kant himself is attempting. The Companion first places the Critique in its historical and philosophical context before addressing the three main parts of the book in order: the Transcendental Aesthetic, the Transcendental Analytic, and the Transcendental Dialectic. The Companion also briefly explains how Kant continues his investigation into God, freedom, and immortality in the Critique of Practical Reason, and it concludes with an assessment of Kant’s importance in the history of modern philosophy. Key features include a glossary of technical terms, with succinct definitions and cross-references, as well as an annotated bibliography of the most important English-language secondary sources on Kant’s theoretical philosophy.

Matthew C. Altman teaches philosophy at Central Washington University.



Note on Sources and Key to Abbreviations

1. Kant’s Philosophical Environment
Continental Rationalism: Thinking as the Way to the World
British Empiricism: Furnishing the Empty Cabinet
Human Skepticism and the Problem of Induction

2. The Copernican Revolution in Philosophy
Kant’s Pre-Critical Period
Overview of Kant’s Solution
The State of Metaphysics
The Problems to Be Addressed
The Method: Critique
Other Sciences: Logic, Mathematics, Natural Science
The Copernican Turn
Kant’s Distinctions
Synthetic A Priori Judgments
Transcendental Idealism
The Contents of the Critique

3. The Transcendental Aesthetic
The Metaphysical Exposition of the Concept of Space
The Transcendental Exposition of the Concept of Space: The Argument from Geometry
The Metaphysical and Transcendental Expositions of the Concept of Time
Empirical Realism and Transcendental Idealism

4. The Transcendental Analytic
Sensibility versus the Understanding
Concepts and the Claim to Objectivity
The Metaphysical Deduction: General Logic as the Leitfaden
The Quid Juris
The Two Deductions
The (Subjective) A Deduction
The (Objective) B Deduction
Synthesis (’15)
Apperception (”16–17)
Concepts (”18–20)
Transcendental Idealism and Empirical Realism (”22–23)
The Spatiotemporal Manifold and the Categories (”24–26)
The Schematism
The Analogies of Experience
The Refutation of Idealism
Phenomena and Noumena

5. The Transcendental Dialectic
The Paralogisms
The Antinomies
The Ideal of Pure Reason
Making Room for Faith
Theoretical Versus Practical Reason
God, Freedom, and Immortality in the Second Critique

Conclusion: Kant’s Legacy

Glossary of Technical Terms
Annotated Bibliography

“Altman’s work is that of a splendid scholar as well as superb teacher. From his introduction, through his coverage of the chapters of Kant’s work, to his summary of Kant’s legacy, Altman guides his readers through this notoriously difficult work with such expertise—and with such a wealth of ingenious explanations and illustrations—that they can really come to see what problems Kant was trying to solve, what his solutions actually amounted to, but also what some of the major problems are that these solutions, despite their brilliance, still raise for us. Truly a remarkable accomplishment!” —Werner S. Pluhar, Pennsylvania State University, Fayette—The Eberly Campus

“Altman’s book is clearly written, and it reflects expertise in Kant studies while remaining quite accessible. Any instructor assigning it could be confident that it would be beneficial reading for beginning students of the first Critique.”

—Benjamin Vilhauer, William Paterson University

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