Do principles of reason have objective but indeterminate validity?

Kant Studien 95 (4):405-425 (2004)
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Reason is precariously positioned in the Critique of Pure Reason. The Transcendental Analytic leaves no entry for reason in the cognitive process, and the Transcendental Dialectic restricts reason to noncognitive roles. Yet, in the Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic, Kant contends that the ideas of reason can be used in empirical investigation and eventually knowledge acquisition. Given what Kant has said, how is this possible? Kant attempts to answer this in A663–A666/B691–B694 in the Appendix, where he argues that principles of reason “have objective but indeterminate validity.” In Part I of this paper, I explain the full motivation behind this section. In Part II, I provide an exegesis of it. In particular, to reach his conclusion that principles of reason have objective but indeterminate validity, I interpret Kant as making three arguments from analogy. Finally, in Part III, I show that the first and third arguments fail—and what this means for Kant’s project.



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Nathaniel Goldberg
Washington and Lee University

Citations of this work

Reason unbound: Kant's theory of regulative principles.Kenneth Walden - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 27 (3):575-592.
Response‐Dependence, Noumenalism, and Ontological Mystery.Nathaniel Goldberg - 2008 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (4):469-488.
Interpreting Thomas Kuhn as a Response-Dependence Theorist.Nathaniel Goldberg - 2011 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (5):729 - 752.
Historicism, Entrenchment, and Conventionalism.Nathaniel Jason Goldberg - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):259-276.

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