Review of Karin de Boer, Kant’s Reform of Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020 [Book Review]

Philosophical Review 131 (3):369-373 (2022)
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In this engaging, provocative, and highly original study, Karin de Boer offers an interpretation of key parts of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason as a preparation for an anticipated (and positive) system of metaphysics that is broadly Wolffian in character. In contrast to the lopsided scholarly focus on the negative results of Kant’s project—its “all-crushing” effect on traditional metaphysics—de Boer contends that the Critique is in fact the outgrowth of a longstanding ambition on Kant’s part to make metaphysics into a science, that is, an organized body of a priori knowledge. In so doing, de Boer insists that Kant’s approach should not be taken to be that of a revolutionary overthrowing the ancien régime but instead that of a reformer who retains and works within an established (in this case Wolffian) framework by way of resolving metaphysics’ internal conflicts. In what follows, rather than offering a chapter-by-chapter summary, I will offer an overview of what I take to be the main line of argument in de Boer’s book, followed by a couple of critical remarks.

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Corey W. Dyck
University of Western Ontario


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