Metaphysical Motives of Kant’s Analytic–Synthetic Distinction

Journal of the History of Philosophy 51 (2):267-307 (2013)
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Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (KrV) presents a priori knowledge of synthetic truths as posing a philosophical problem of great import whose only possible solution vindicates the system of transcendental idealism. The work does not accord any such significance to a priori knowledge of analytic truths. The intelligibility of the contrast rests on the well-foundedness of Kant’s analytic–synthetic distinction and on his claim to objectively or correctly classify key judgments with respect to it. Though the correctness of Kant’s classification is vital to his philosophical project, it has been vigorously challenged since he introduced his famous distinction of judgments. The aim of this essay is to explore several metaphysical motives contributing to Kant’s objective classification claim that have been underemphasized and in part overlooked in the large literature on the topic.



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Desmond Hogan
Princeton University

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