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By Sebastian Gardner

Of the entire significant philosophical works, Kant's Critique of natural cause is without doubt one of the so much profitable, but the most tricky. Norman Kemp Smith's observation elucidates not just textural questions and minor matters, but in addition the valuable difficulties.

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Additional resources for A Commentary to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason

Example text

Its "transcendental" proof can be executed only so long as experience is granted as actual; and so long as the fundamental characteristics of this experience are kept in view. Lastly, the a priori factors are purely relational. They have no inherent content from which clues bearing on the supersensible can be obtained. Their sole function is to serve in the interpretation of contents otherwise supplied. The a priori, then, is merely relational, without inherent content; it is synthetic, and therefore incapable of independent or metaphysical proof; it is relative to an experience which is only capable of yielding appearances.

2 Beattie had great natural ability, and considerable literary power. His prose writings have a lucidity, a crispness, and a felicity of illustration which go far to explain their widespread popularity in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Their literary quality is, however, more than counterbalanced by the absence of any genuine appreciation of the deeper, speculative implications and consequences of the problems discussed. And this being so, he is naturally at his worst in criticising Hume.

Hume and Leibniz find common ground in denouncing empiricism. Both agree in regarding it as the mongrel offspring of conflicting principles. If rationalism cannot hold its own, the alternative is not the finding of firm foothold in concrete experience, but only such consolation as a sceptical philosophy may afford. 3 The overthrow of rationalism means the destruction of metaphysics in every form. Even mathematics and the natural sciences will have to be viewed as fulfilling a practical end, not as satisfying a theoretical need.

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