Review of Metaphysics 55 (2):418-419 (2001)

Iain Thomson
University of New Mexico
When Kant finished the Critique of Pure Reason in 1781, he was 56 years old and had already published more than 25 essays and monographs. In this precritical oeuvre the young Kant unabashedly answered some of the most difficult questions of theoretical physics, physical geography, cosmology, theology, and moral theory, advancing ambitious theories about the origin and history of the universe, the nature of space, the age of the earth and the stability of its rotation, the causes of earthquakes, winds, and fire, the ultimate components of reality, the soundness of optimism, the legitimate domain of logic, the character of the beautiful and the sublime, the first principles of theology and morality, the possibility of proving God’s existence, and—tellingly, at the end—the connection between metaphysics and madness. Since this dizzying speculative array appears to be unified only by the young Kant’s “metaphysical exuberance”, his precritical thought is often dismissed as the work of an unfocused dilettante.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
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