On Brentano's objections to Kant's theory of knowledge

Topoi 6 (1):11-17 (1987)
The main purpose of this essay is to examine Brentano's rejection of Kant's theory of a priori concepts and synthetic a priori judgments. The essay begins by recalling the views of Descartes and Locke about the acquisition of knowledge, since Brentano regards them as on the whole correct or, at least, as pointing in the right direction and since he regards Kant's epistemology as obscurantist and reactionary (Section 1). There follows a brief characterization of Brentano's conception of knowledge as based on self-evident inner perception and analytic propositions, i.e. propositions which are true ex terminis (Section 2). Next some aspects of Kant's epistemology are compared with corresponding features of Brentano's doctrine (Section 3). In the light of this comparison the validity of Brentano's criticisms is examined (Section 4). In conclusion an independent view of the function of concepts and of their relation to perception is briefly outlined and contrasted with the views of Kant and Brentano (Section 5).
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