The Necessity and Limits of Kant’s Transcendental Logic, with Reference to Nietzsche and Hegel

Review of Metaphysics 69 (2):287-315 (2015)
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Engaging with Kant’s transcendental logic seems to be a question of mere scholarly historical interest today. It is most commonly regarded a mixture between logic and psychology or epistemology, and by that, not a serious form of logic. Transcendental logic seems to be of no systematical impact on the concept of logic. My paper aims to disclose a different account on the endeavour of Kant’s transcendental logic in particular and of the “Critique of Pure Reason” (CPR) in general. Kant’s fundamental question is in a revolutionary way aiming to ground the character of necessity of knowledge, which means to justify the claim that thinking in accordance with the forms and principles of formal logic does not lead to sheer tautologies or an unsolved contradiction, but to knowledge that is objectively valid. In a first part, I shall demonstrate the necessity and the significance of this new fundamental question of the CPR with respect to its genesis out of pre-Kantian metaphysics. A brief outline of Kant’s answer to this question, with special emphasis on his revolutionary new comprehension of logical form, will be given as well. A second part shall open up a perspective that lies beyond Kant’s standpoint with reference to Nietzsche and eventually to Hegel. I will answer the question: What knowledge do we achieve about being or actuality by means of formal logic? I will argue that Kant shows that formal logic is the logic of all technical-practical conduct but also, at least indirectly, the limitation of the technical-practical knowledge and its legitimate sphere of application.

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Max Gottschlich
University of Warwick


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