Review of Metaphysics 55 (4):860-861 (2002)

Irmgard Scherer
Loyola University Maryland
Robert Greenberg offers an intricate, highly original reading of Kant’s first Critique on what constitutes the possibility of a priori knowledge. One of the book’s main features, ambitious in scope, is the author’s extensive polemic against mainstream Anglophone approaches to Kant’s position on a priori knowledge. Many of them have, according to Greenberg, fundamentally misunderstood Kant’s theory of transcendental idealism. In particular, Greenberg sees Peter Strawson’s epochmaking classic, The Bounds of Sense—An Essay on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason as a leitfaden for other similarly misguided interpretations. Most Anglo-American accounts hold that for Kant’s critical project to have any viability at all it cannot be taken as an attempt to show the possibility of a priori knowledge as such, but rather to spell out the conditions for empirical knowledge. Greenberg gives examples: Strawson believes that Kant’s transcendental idealism is unsustainable because the central “principle of significance” perishes from its own internal contradictions. Likewise, Henry Allison’s interpretations replace the dualism of transcendental idealism by a monism built around the empirical object. Greenberg faults other “ Customary Interpretations of Kant’s Ontology”, those of Karl Ameriks, Richard Aquila, Paul Guyer, Patricia Kitcher, among others, on grounds of having misread Kant’s ontology vis à vis his transcendental epistemology.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph200255445
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