Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 October 2021
The Prolegomena, and in particular the regressive argumentative strategy it adopts, provides the real location of Kant’s transcendental arguments, rather than the first Critique, which instead employs a progressive approach. A recognition of this analytic method allows us to see the restrained optimism Kant holds toward metaphysics. Just as pure reason serves as a source for the a priori elements in fact found in mathematics and science, so too can it provide the basic concepts and propositions of metaphysics. While Kant denies that we can have cognition of the objects of traditional metaphysics, his more optimistic attitude extends to the possibility of specifying the conditions on the boundary between cognition and its grounds, which provides us with actual positive metaphysical cognition, even if we can never penetrate beyond the bounds of possible experience.