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Kant´s Notion of a Transcendental Schema

The Constitution of Objective Cognition between Epistemology and Psychology

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Lara Scaglia

The main aim of this book is to provide a critical and historical inquiry into Kant’s schematism chapter contained in the Critique of Pure Reason. More specifically, the book argues that Kant’s schematism chapter is a necessary step within the project of the Critique. It deals with a problem of its own, one which is not the object of the previous chapters: How can categories be applied to intuitions? The author shows that the term ‘schema’ has an interesting and long tradition of different philosophical uses that finds in the works of Kant a point of no-return. In the philosophical works written before Kant, the notion of schema did not have a specific and distinctive meaning and function of its own but was rather used in different contexts (from rhetoric to logic to psychology). After Kant, all philosophers who speak of schemata refer in one way or another back to Kant’s distinctive notion, which possesses a specific, epistemic meaning. Moreover, this book aims to provide a contribution to the understanding of the relation between philosophy and the sciences. It is by means of demonstrating the importance of the schematism chapter not only within the Critique but also from a broader perspective, deriving from the fact that Kant’s doctrine of schemata had an impressive influence not only on philosophers but also on psychologists.

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3.The introduction of the transcendental forms in the Critique of Pure Reason

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In this third chapter, I will present the necessary premises for understanding the problem of schematism in the Critique of Pure Reason. The literature on Kant’s main work is innumerable. The neo-Kantian school saw Hermann Cohen and Paul Natorp as main exponents and commentators of the Critique, who put the accent on the subjective process of cognition rather than on the existence of things in themselves. In his Kants Theorie der Erfahrung (1871) Cohen puts aside the interpretation of the things in themselves as causes of the impressions and interprets Kant’s account as a theory on experience. Later on Heinrich Rickert in his Kant als Philosoph der modernen Kultur. Ein geschichtsphilosophischer Versuch (1924), Grundprobleme der Philosophie Methodologie, Ontologie, Anthropologie (1934) and Ernst Cassirer in his Kants Leben und Lehre (1918) stress the importance in Kant’s philosophy of the problem of objectivity and the conditions of experience. In 1896 Hans Vaihnger founded the Kant-Studien, which will be later followed by reviews such as Studi Kantiani (1990), Kantian Review (1997) and Con-Textos Kantianos (2014).

Among the commentators of the 20th Century, Willard Van Orman Quine opens up for discussion the distinction between analytical and synthetic judgements, while Peter Frederick Strawson combines his analytical standpoint and his interest in the transcendental philosophy in The Bounds of Senses (1966). Classical introductions and commentaries are those of Norman Smith A Commentary to Kant’s ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ (1918), Karl Vorländer’s Immanuel Kant, Der Mann und das Werk (1924) and Lewis...

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