Sartre Studies International 6 (2):46-61 (2000)
Since Kant, modern philosophy has reacted critically and most often dismissively to any theories or inquiries deemed "metaphysical." The Critique of Pure Reason shows that although human beings naturally seek knowledge of things that are beyond the limits of all possible experience (i.e., metaphysical knowledge), the categories by means of which we are capable of knowledge are all restricted in their legitimate application to objects of possible experience. Thus, Kant rules out any human capacity for metaphysical knowledge on epistemological grounds—grounds having to do with the way knowledge-claims are legitimated. It is, therefore, surprising to find Sartre raising at least two questions in the Conclusion of Being and Nothingness that he himself labels metaphysical but nevertheless legitimate.
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