The shortest way: Kant’s rewriting of the transcendental deduction

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (5):517-545 (2022)
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This work examines Kant’s remarkable decision to rewrite the core argument of the first Critique, the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories. I identify a two-part structure common to both versions: first establishing an essential role for the categories in unifying sensible intuitions; and then addressing a worry about how the connection between our faculties asserted in the first part is possible. I employ this structure to show how Kant rewrote the argument, focusing on Kant’s response to the concerns raised in an early review by Johann Schultz. Schultz’s dissatisfaction with the original Deduction lies in its second part, and Kant’s subsequent revisions are focused on providing a better answer to this how-possible question. The new Deduction offers a more direct and convincing account of how our faculties work together to make experience possible.

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Nathan Bauer
Rowan University


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