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Kant on the Sources of Metaphysics
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Book description

In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant famously criticizes traditional metaphysics and its proofs of immortality, free will and God's existence. What is often overlooked is that Kant also explains why rational beings must ask metaphysical questions about 'unconditioned' objects such as souls, uncaused causes or God, and why answers to these questions will appear rationally compelling to them. In this book, Marcus Willaschek reconstructs and defends Kant's account of the rational sources of metaphysics. After carefully explaining Kant's conceptions of reason and metaphysics, he offers detailed interpretations of the relevant passages from the Critique of Pure Reason (in particular, the 'Transcendental Dialectic') in which Kant explains why reason seeks 'the unconditioned'. Willaschek offers a novel interpretation of the Transcendental Dialectic, pointing up its 'positive' side, while at the same time it uncovers a highly original account of metaphysical thinking that will be relevant to contemporary philosophical debates.


‘With remarkable philosophical clarity and impressive textual mastery, Marcus Willaschek presents a detailed interpretation of Kant's account of how traditional metaphysical questions necessarily arise from the very nature of reason. This major new book makes an extraordinarily important contribution to our understanding of Kant's philosophy, both theoretical and practical.'

Eric Watkins - University of California, San Diego

'The book includes a wealth of other thought-provoking material … It offers an original account of a neglected yet central topic, is very clearly written, and shows a superb command of primary and secondary texts as well as sensitivity to broader philosophical issues. Thus, it is obligatory reading for Kant scholars, and worth consulting for anyone interested in the history and fate of metaphysics.'

Markus Kohl Source: Journal of the History of Philosophy

'In his book, Marcus Willaschek not only offers fresh new insights into the negative project of understanding the exact nature of Kant's criticisms of traditional metaphysics, but also undertakes the much neglected, but still quite important positive project of understanding what, according to Kant, naturally leads us to the kind of metaphysical speculation that gives rise to these arguments The result is a terrific book, one that is clear, careful, and rich, but also subtle, original, and important. It is, in my view, one of the best books on Kant in a long time and is sure to have a significant impact on the field.'

Eric Watkins Source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

'Marcus Willaschek’s new book is a penetrating analysis of the Transcendental Dialectic of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason that should set the standard for further work on the subject for years to come.'

Paul Guyer Source: Kantian Review

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