Kantian Journal

2016 Issue №2(56)

Some remarks on the concept and function of Kant’s theory of schematism in the Critique of Pure Reason

Abstract

The article introduces Kant’s doctrine of schematism (Critique of Pure Reason A 137-A 147; B 176-B 187). The inclusion of the chapter on schematism in the ‘Doctrine of the Principles’ rather than the ‘Doctrine of Concepts’ is taken as a clue to distinguishing the Doctrine of Schematism from the Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding. This provides clarity on the function of schematism. The author conceives of schematism as something entirely new to the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories, namely, as preparation for the use of categories as predicates in sentences known as the ‘Principles of Understanding’ referring to phaenomena (appearances in time and space) rather than the undetermined concept of objects in general. To support this interpretation, the author addresses main concepts of the schematism theory (for instance, those of schema, imagination, homogeneity, and time-determination) and describes the function of schematism. Imagination is presented as an instance of the function usually called “understanding” when directed towards appearances given in time and space. Understanding becomes imagination when it obeys not only the laws of logics, but also the laws of time. Homogeneity (a concept that plays an important role in the theory of schematism) is explained with reference to Tetens’s Philosophical Essays on Human Nature (1777). The explanations of concepts provided in the article are not exhaustive. They are discussed in more detail in the author’s earlier publications referred to in the footnotes. The article also discusses earlier and contemporary literature on schematism.

Download an article

The metaphysics of science

Abstract

A reflection on the meaning of Kant’s manuscript where he uses the expression ‘metaphysics of science’. 20th century philosophy of science acknowledged empiricism and it was anti-metaphysic and positivistic. However, all forms of empiricism and positivism lead to a negation of philosophy, replacing it with logical, methodological, historical, sociological, psychological, cultural, and other studies. In effect, philosophy is the cognition of the absolute universal in both theoretical (the true being) and practical (the supreme good) terms. ‘Transcendental’ philosophy was conceived as a project to redeem philosophy in the era of burgeoning precise empirical natural science and exact sciences. Kant turned science into a foundation of new metaphysics. The anti-philosophical nature of 20th century philosophy of science necessitates addressing Kant’s theory of science when searching for a truly philosophical understanding of science, which can be only of metaphysical nature. The experience of building a system of transcendental metaphysics combined with mathematics and physics shows that philosophy of science is necessary for solving the most important problems of the humanity rather than analysing or synthesising scientific knowledge or development it. Philosophy of science proper should be based on Aristotle’s idea of metaphysics revisited in view of metaphysics of self-consciousness and the doctrine of practical reason, freedom, identity, and dignity of a human being as a personality. It should also embrace the idea of world history and universal civil meaning of philosophy. Recognition of relative a priori determination of human knowledge and behaviour in a broad context of empiricism and relativism (development theory) has no bearing on Kant’s theory. Absolute apriorism as understood in mathematics and physics is an instance of Kant’s universal ‘anthropological’ apriorism and his understanding of the human being, morals, law, and history rather than the seeming ‘absolutisation’ of the Euclidean geometry and Newtonian mechanics. The possibility of metaphysics and the philosophical understanding of science is in knowing the human being. Understanding the essence of science requires grasping the scale of human dignity and the dignity and purpose of philosophy. The project of transcendental metaphysics remains relevant to this day.

Download an article