Kant on analogy

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (4):747 – 772 (2008)
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The role of analogy appears in surprisingly different areas of the first Critique. On the one hand, Kant considered the concept to have a specific enough meaning to entitle the principle concerned with causation an analogy; on the other hand we can find Kant referring to analogy in various parts of the Transcendental Dialectic in a seemingly different manner. Whereas in the Transcendental Analytic, Kant takes some time to provide a detailed (if not clear) account of the meaning of the term ‘analogy’ and his reasons for his employment of it, in the Transcendental Dialectic on the other hand, Kant’s employment of the term seems far less technical. It would seem on the face of it, that Kant has two senses of ‘analogy’: one technical sense reserved for those constitutive principles of the understanding as laid out in the Analytic, and another casual and commonplace use of the term. This picture, although it contains elements of truth, is ultimately misleading. I argue for three claims in this paper. Firstly, I suggest that there can be found in the first Critique a unified conception of analogy. Secondly, I argue that Kant self-consciously differentiated his employment of analogy from the employment that can be found in many early modern philosophers, e.g. Locke. Thirdly, I will tentatively suggest that this interpretation of analogy can aid us in addressing certain contentious areas of transcendental idealism, most notably the account of causation.



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John J. Callanan
King's College London

Citations of this work

Kant and the scope of analogy in the life sciences.Hein van den Berg - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 71:67-76.
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A Type Hierarchy of Selection Processes for the Evaluation of Evolutionary Analogies.Barbara Gabriella Renzi - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):311-336.

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