THE LIMITS OF SENSE AND REASON: A Line-By-Line Critical Commentary on Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” #9–A Preview of the Transcendental Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding, & The Gap in the Deduction.

By Robert Hanna



Previous Installments:

#1: Introduction to The Limits of Sense and Reason


The first five installments in this series followed the 2019–2020 version of THE LIMITS OF SENSE AND REASON, aka LSR.


CPR TEXT Axvi-xvii/GW103 Preface to the First (A) Edition

I am acquainted with no investigations more important for getting to the bottom of that faculty we call the understanding, and at same time for the determination of the rules and boundaries of its use, than those I have undertaken in the second chapter of the Transcendental Analytic, under the title Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding; they are also the investigations have cost me the most, but I hope not unrewarded, effort. This inquiry, which goes rather deep, has two sides. One side refers to the objects of the pure understanding, and is supposed to demonstrate and make comprehensible the objective validity of its concepts a priori; thus it belongs essentially to my ends. The other side deals with the pure understanding itself, concerning its possibility and the powers of cognition on which it itself rests; thus it considers it in a subjective relation, and although this ex- Axvii -position is of great importance in respect of my chief end, it does not belong essentially to it; because the chief question always remains: “What and how much can understanding and reason cognize free of all experience?” and not: “How is the faculty of thinking itself possible?” Since the latter question is something like the search for the cause of a given effect, and is therefore something like a hypothesis (although, as I will elsewhere take the opportunity to show, this is not in fact how matters stand), it appears as if I am taking the liberty in this case of expressing an opinion, and that the reader might therefore be free to another opinion. In view of this I must remind reader in advance that even in case my subjective deduction does not produce complete conviction that I expect, the objective deduction that is my primary concern would come into its full strength, on which what is said at pages [A] 92–3 should even be sufficient by itself.



Significantly, [Kant] flags the second chapter of the Transcendental Analytic, the “Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding,” aka the Deduction [, as a target for some worries about whether his arguments have achieved a priori certainty.]


[i] See, e.g., R. Hanna, “Kant’s Non-Conceptualism, Rogue Objects, and the Gap in the B Deduction,” International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (2011): 397–413; R. Hanna, “Kantian Madness: Blind Intuitions, Essentially Rogue Objects, Nomological Deviance, and Categorial Anarchy,” Contemporary Studies in Kantian Philosophy 1 (2016): 44–64, available online HERE; and R. Hanna, “Kant’s B Deduction, Cognitive Organicism, the Limits of Natural Science, and the Autonomy of Consciousness,” Contemporary Studies in Kantian Philosophy 4 (2019): 29–46, available online HERE.


Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.

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