Kant's first critique, Videos 17-21

Kant’s first critique, Videos 17-21

This document will cover comments and notes on a series of videos on the critique by Victor Gijsberts.

Video 17, The Idea of a Transcendental Logic

(Human) cognition is only graspable if there is an object given by sensibility which is related to a concept. Thoughts without content are empty for they have no concepts. Furthermore, intuitions without concepts to make sense of them are blind.

Human cognition is then the cooperation between sensibility and the understanding.

Understanding (spontaneity) is an active process. Not mere receptivity for the understanding is concerned with judging sense impressions. This is the place where human freedom and responsibility become involved.

Logic (in the transcendental sense) concerns itself with the analysis of the understanding. For logic is the science of the rules of the understanding. Logic can be approached either generally or particularly (EG. The Logic of Biology). These are called the elementary logics, also known as “the organon of x” where x is a particular science. The organon can also be seen as the method of that field. Elementary logic can be split into pure (un-empirical) and pure logic. Both contain the rules of thoughts, but pure logic is merely a canon of a priori understanding. The canon cannot be used to extend our knowledge, only organons can extend our knowledge (within the field of Logic). The canon provides formal rules and can be used to avoid logical fallacies.

Transcendental Logic is more general than the organons but not fully abstracted qua elementary logic. Here we do not consider particular objects, but we do keep the ability to make contact with objects.

The analytic concerns itself with the general rules of all cognition and analyses it for contradictions. The dialectic on the other hand is the idea that the canon of general logic can be used as an organon to extend our knowledge. However, Kant will use the dialectic to critique the use of the canon in this way. In this section Kant criticizes metaphysics of God, the soul and their existence.

Video 18, The Idea of the Metaphysical Deduction

In the metaphysical deduction (the clue), Kant wants to find the a priori concepts of the understanding. The understanding has three levels. First, reason is cognition through concepts. Second, concepts are built into judgements. Third, we can use judgements to make arguments. Kant want to find a priori concepts that make cognitions of concepts possible. To discover these concepts, we need to know what the understanding fundamentally is. According to Kant, reason is a mechanism for judging.

Video 19, The Table of Functions

Kant separates the elements of judgements into four categories: Quantity, Quality, Relation and Modality. The first three are concerned with the content of judgements and modality is concerned with the method of judgements. If any of these elements is absent, judgements cannot be made.

Quantity   Quantity contains the Universal (∀), Particular (∃) and the Singular.

Quality   Quality contains the Affirmative, Negative and Infinite. An infinite judgement is a judgement with a category mistake.

Relation   Relation contains the categorical, hypothetical (→*) and the exhaustive (⊻).

Modality   Modality judges claims as True, False or Necessary.

Video 20, Kant on Modern Logic

The metaphysical deduction has received a lot of negative criticism in part because it adheres to a (now outdated) Aristotelian Logic.

The functions of propositional Logic can be found in Kant’s table. However, these logical connectives can be infamously substitutable (EG. p∨q ≡ (p|q)|(p|q)), which means that Kant’s contains more connectives than necessary. This would mean that Kant attempts to make an exhaustive list in the deduction, but he also does not achieve this because his table has 12 connectives (at best) while modern logic has 16. Another criticism is Kant;s divide between Quality and Relation. Furthermore, the infinite judgement and the singularly quantity have little to no place in modern Logic.

These criticisms levelled at Kant can be dismissed quite easily however. (*) The hypothetical for instance really is not the same as the &ararr; operator in modern Logic. The hypothetical functions more as a relation indicator which cannot be expressed in predicate Logic. The same goes for the exhaustive, which is meant for judgements including all possible options, hence the name. In other words, Kant’s system does not aim for the same goal as modern logic.

Video 21, The Table of Categories

To have cognitions, we need space, time and a synthesis of the two which is imagination. Imagination in-turn is brought to concepts through reason.