Kant and the Science of Logic: A Historical and Philosophical Reconstruction

New York: Oxford University Press (2018)

Authors
Huaping Lu-Adler
Georgetown University
Abstract
This book is both a history of philosophy of logic told from the Kantian viewpoint and a reconstruction of Kant’s theory of logic from a historical perspective. Kant’s theory represents a turning point in a history of philosophical debates over the following questions. (1) Is logic a science, instrument, standard of assessment, or mixture of these? (2) If logic is a science, what is the subject matter that differentiates it from other sciences, particularly metaphysics? (3) If logic is a necessary instrument to all philosophical inquiries, how is it so entitled? (4) If logic is both a science and an instrument, how are these two roles related? Kant’s official answer to these questions centers on three distinctions: general versus particular logic; pure versus applied logic; pure general logic versus transcendental logic. The true meaning and significance of each distinction becomes clear, I argue, only if we consider two factors. First, Kant was mindful of various historical views on how logic relates to other branches of philosophy (viz. metaphysics and physics) and to the workings of common human understanding. Second, he first coined ‘transcendental logic’ while struggling to secure metaphysics as a proper “science,” and this conceptual innovation would in turn have profound implications for his mature theory of logic. Against this backdrop, I reassess the place of Kant’s theory in the history of philosophy of logic and highlight certain issues that are still debated today, such as normativity of logic and the challenges posed by logical pluralism. In Chapter 1, “Kant and a Philosophical History of Logic – Methodological Reflections,” I discuss certain exegetical challenges posed by Kant’s logic corpus and argue for a “history of philosophical problems” method by which to reconstruct a Kantian theory of logic. In Chapter 2, “The Nature and Place of Logic – A History of Controversies,” I construct a partial history of philosophy of logic that revolves around the (supposedly) scientific status of logic on the one hand and its value or utility on the other. In Chapter 3, “The Making of a Scientific Logic from Bacon to Wolff,” I examine how four representative early modern philosophers – Francis Bacon, John Locke, G.W. Leibniz, and Christian Wolff – approached the four questions mentioned above. In Chapter 4, “Kant on the Way to His Own Philosophy of Logic,” I consider how Kant, in the decade between around mid-1760s and mid-1770s, navigated between existing accounts of logic until he finally found his own voice. I highlight the breakthroughs that would mark his critical departures from previous views and pave the way for the final articulation of his own view. In Chapter 5, “Logic and the Demands of Kantian ‘Science’,” I zero in on Kant’s official theory of logic in his monumental publication, Critique of Pure Reason. I foreground both what makes the theory original and what leaves it vulnerable to criticisms from post-Kantian thinkers.
Keywords Kant  logic  transcendental logic  Aristotelian logic  history of logic  philosophy of logic  metaphysics  applied logic
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Reprint years 2018
ISBN(s) 9780190907136
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