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Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
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Critique of Pure Reason (original 1781; edition 1999)

by Immanuel Kant

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3,543None1,485 (3.78)41
Member:tgjorgoski
Title:Critique of Pure Reason
Authors:Immanuel Kant
Info:Cambridge University Press (1999), Paperback, 800 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant (1781)

  1. 10
    The Bounds of Sense: An Essay on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason by P. F. Strawson (hbryant2)
    hbryant2: An influential interpretation of Kant's CPR.
  2. 08
    Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: Expanded Second Edition by Ayn Rand (mcaution)
    mcaution: Providing a solution to the problem of universals, this historic work lays the foundation for the proper methods of knowledge.
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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
The Critique of Pure Reason is listed among Good Reading’s 100 Significant Books. I found reading through that list was a great education--as valuable as college, and I’ve learned enormously from reading it--much more aware of the underpinnings of Western culture. That’s why I stuck though this, even though I’d have ordinarily turned away from this book from the very first paragraph:

Our reason has this peculiar fate that, with reference to one class of its knowledge, it is always troubled with questions which cannot be ignored, because they spring from the very nature of reason, and which cannot be answered, because they transcend the powers of human reason.

OK, right there I thought this is not a guy really worthy of spending my time with, because if something transcends the powers of human reason, you can’t argue for it, so what’s the point of philosophy? The rest of the preface explains he’s going to resort to “pure reason”--by which he means reason without resort to experience. And without experience, how can we check out premises? I guess that makes me an empiricist, but that just there made me skeptical of learning much from Kant before I’d ever gotten beyond the Preface. Kant’s tone also grated on me more than any philosopher I’d ever read--much, much more than Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Locke... Take this from the Preface:

But I beg to remind him that, if my subjective deduction does not produce in his mind the conviction of its certitude at which I aimed, the objective deduction, with which alone the present work is properly concerned, is in every respect satisfactory.

And that’s just the impression from the first dozens of pages of a book over 400 pages long. Once I dove into Kant’s main argument, it was easy to get lost. I don’t think he’s quite as difficult as Spinoza, but then I was far more sympathetic to Spinoza’s arguments and tone, which helped me see his Ethics through. I probably have just about as much philosophical disagreement with Plato, but Plato is a very engaging writer--truly--I found The Republic, The Symposium, The Apology and the other dialogues very engaging reads. But Kant combines the thorny prose of Spinoza with a philosophy even more inimical to me than Plato. Yet I did find pushing through much of this valuable--for the same reason as the other works on the list. My rating reflects that I hated the style and substance of Kant--but that doesn't mean I don't think the ideas aren't important to grasp. Because I can see Kant’s lines of argument descending from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave in The Republic and threaded through so many other thinkers after him:

The light dove, in free flight cutting through the air the resistance of which it feels, could get the idea that it could do even better in airless space. Likewise, Plato abandoned the world of the senses because it posed so many hindrances for the understanding, and dared to go beyond it on the wings of the ideas, in the empty space of pure understanding. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Sep 27, 2013 |
To call Kant "dense" is an understatement on par with saying the same about the core of a neutron star. Kant's critiques are not easy going, but the bright side is that his description of the human condition, an attempt to restore science and knowledge in a world transformed by Newton and Hume, is worth the effort.

The Critique of Pure Reason is a (perhaps the) watershed in Western philosophy, rightly likened to Kant's own description of a "Copernican revolution" in thought. The book is Kant's groundwork for knowledge itself: the nature of space and time and logic as preconditions for knowledge, shared among all humans, at the cost of sacrificing metaphysics to the transcendental realm of the "unconditioned". In exchange, we restore free will, morality, and (for those so inclined) God to the world of human existence.

Kant is very much the "lawyer" and the detail-man, and his almost obsessive need to sort human nature into a concrete taxonomy is perhaps the weakest part of the work. Still, Kant's division into the phenomenal and the noumenal, the human and the unconditioned, remains foundational, and to understand Kant's argument here is to understand everything that comes after in the Continental tradition. Even if you disagree with Kant's conclusions, there is a wealth of thought to draw upon, from Kant's conception of human existence to his ideas on "things in themselves", morality, and freedom.

The Critiques are a chore, but the kind of chore that pays off dividends. ( )
  MattP225 | Apr 27, 2013 |
Ongoing .....
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
Critique of Pure Reason - Translated by Norman Kemp Smith, 1929, published in USA in 1965 (1929 translation by Norman Kemp Smith) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Kemp_Smith ( )
  vegetarian | Nov 30, 2011 |
Kritik der Reinen Vernunft (published by Verlag von Felix Meiner in Hamburg in 1956) was reissued in 1962 (this volume): Critique of Pure Reason ( )
  vegetarian | Nov 30, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (101 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Immanuel Kantprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guyer, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guyer, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kemp Smith, NormanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kitcher, PatriciaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pluhar, Werner S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmidt, RaymundEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, Allen W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In whatever mode, or by whatever means, our knowledge may relate to objects, it is at least quite clear, that the only manner in which it immediately relates to them, is by means of an intuition.
That all our knowledge begins with experience there can be no doubt. [Meiklejohn's translation of the second edition of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason]
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The original German title is “Kritik der reinen Vernunft”.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0521657296, Paperback)

This entirely new translation of Critique of Pure Reason is the most accurate and informative English translation ever produced of this epochal philosophical text. Though its simple, direct style will make it suitable for all new readers of Kant, the translation displays a philosophical and textual sophistication that will enlighten Kant scholars as well. This translation recreates as far as possible a text with the same interpretative nuances and richness as the original.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:31 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The most accurate and informative English translation of Kant's most important philosophical work in both the 1781 and 1787 editions; faithful rendering of Kant's terminology, syntax, and sentence structure; a simple and direct style suitable for readers at all levels; distinct versions of all those portions of the work substantially revised by Kant for the 1787 edition; all Kant's handwritten emendations and marginal notes from his own personal copy reproduced for the first time in any edition, German or English; a large-scale introduction providing a summary of the structure and arguments of the Critique as well as the most informative account available in English of its long and complex genesis; and an extensive editorial apparatus including informative annotation and glossaries.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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