Accessing Kant: A relaxed introduction to the critique of pure reason (review)

Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (4):pp. 649-650 (2008)

Eric Wilson
Georgia State University
In the Preface to his impressive and engaging new commentary on the Critique of Pure Reason, Jay Rosenberg informs us that the book is both a product of his own lectures and a “direct descendent of Wilfrid Sellars’ legendary introduction to Kant” . Its origins in the classroom give Accessing Kant a refreshingly pedagogical tone. Throughout, Rosen-berg—who was a student of Sellars’ at the University of Pittsburgh—makes felicitous use of clear examples, familiar problems and authors, and visual aids to clarify “the Big Picture” operating in the first Critique. Mercifully, however, his style owes little to Sellars’ own brutally opaque prose.Rosenberg also shares his teacher’s enthusiasm for the history of philosophy. The reader will not find Rosenberg sloughing off Kant’s “lesser predecessors” in the manner of P. F. Strawson. However, the history on display in Accessing Kant has more to do with the curricular demands of English-speaking philosophy departments than with Kant’s own intellectual and cultural context. This means that his Kant argues across the ages with giants rather than with his peers in Halle and Berlin. Nor, despite the occasional reference to Kant’s handwritten marginalia, does Rosenberg devote any effort to
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DOI 10.1353/hph.0.0058
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