Erklärung and Begründung in Kantian Epistemology

Philosophy Research Archives 14:343-358 (1988)
This essay attempts a re-reading of the meaning and import of “synthetic propositions a priori” in the light of two other background concepts in Kantian epistemology: Erklärung and Begründung. The significance of this pair of concepts lies in the fact that they represent the “philosophical motive” of Kant---leading him, inevitably, to take the “transcendental turn”. (And, on this point, I believe that some commentators have reversed the dialectic of Kant’s thinking: they make him take the “transcendental turn” first, and then envision the Erklärung and the Begründung.) And the distinction between the “sensible world” and the “intelligible world” was the consequence. Did this distinction also provide the ontological matrix for the epistemological distinction between “analytic propositions” and “synthetic propositions”? I take that to be evident. What is less evident is that Kant was more interested in the relation between the two worlds than in these worlds in isolation. He was concerned with demonstrating the possibility (i.e., the “transcendental possibility” and not merely the “logical possibility”) of the sensible in the light of the intelligible. This he sought to do by elucidating (with the help of “transcendental arguments”) the a priori conditions of possible experience. This was the hidden dialectic of the transformation of the image of mind, from the Lockean “mirror” to the Kantian “prism”. The synthetic propositions a priori (I argue) articulate the relation of the a priori conditions of experience to the possible objects of experience. (That is why Kant takes the metaquestion, “How are synthetic propositions a priori possible?”, to be the main problem of the Kritik der reinen Vemunft.) The significance of the work of Kant for what we moderns call the “philosophy of science” is noted in the conclusion
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0164-0771
DOI 10.5840/pra1988/19891411
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,411
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Seung-Kee Lee (2009). The Synthetic a Priori in Kant and German Idealism. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 91 (3):288-328.
Vasilis Politis (1997). The Apriority of the Starting-Point of Kant's Transcendental Epistemology. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 5 (2):255 – 284.
Robert Hanna (1998). A Kantian Critique of Scientific Essentialism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (3):497-528.
Avery Goldman (2002). The Metaphysics of Kantian Epistemology. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 76:239-252.
Manuel Bremer (2008). Transcendental Logic Redefined. Review of Contemporary Philosophy 7.
Jason S. Baehr (2003). A Priori and a Posteriori. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

25 ( #190,723 of 1,924,718 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #211,819 of 1,924,718 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.