Kant’s Transcendental Idealistic Theory of Knowledge
Keywords: forms of experience, intellect, reason, paralogism, noumenon
The conflict between rationalism and empiricism, between a priori and a posteriori knowledge, between necessary and probable, is solved by Kant’s theory of knowledge.
Kant, who was academically brought up on Wolff-Leibnizian rationalism, understood the potential and achievements of Newtonian science which was based in mathematical principles and observations, experience, and experiment. The question was how are we able to derive laws explaining all reality, including that which has not happened yet, from experience. According to Hume’s scepticism, experience is not able to grant knowledge of the inevitable and general, nor knowledge which could aspire to complete certainty. This, however, happens in the case of Newtonian physics, mathematics, geometry, and other sciences. Moreover it is obvious ← 97 | 98 → that these natural laws are not mere speculations, but that their ability to predict is almost perfect. How is this possible?
Kant went back to an old distinction of knowledge, according to which there are analytic and synthetic statements (Kant 1979, 51). Analytic statements are those in which the predicate states what is contained in the term (subject). An example of such a statement is: “The sphere is an object.” The three-dimensionality of this object (physicality as spatiality) is already contained in the term sphere (contrary to the two-dimensional “circle”). This is why such a statement is always true, because it states what is in the subject. It does not present anything new; it just elaborates...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.