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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: June 2012

4 - The Metaphysical Deduction: identifying categories


Kant's purpose in the Transcendental Analytic is to perform an analysis of the understanding parallel to that of sensible intuition in the Transcendental Aesthetic. There he showed that the sensibility contains pure forms, space and time, in which we receive the empirical data of intuition. In the Analytic, Kant wants to prove that the understanding similarly contributes pure concepts and principles to our knowledge of objects. Kant calls these pure concepts the categories; the heart of the Analytic is the Transcendental Deduction of the categories, where he justifies applying these concepts to objects given in intuition. But Kant's strategy is complex, and he carries it out in four stages. First, before justifying the use of categories in experience, he must prove that the understanding does in fact produce pure concepts. This is the task of the Metaphysical Deduction, where Kant derives the categories from the logical forms of judgment. The Transcendental Deduction of the categories then follows in chapter 2, in both A edition and B edition versions. Stage three is carried out in the Schematism, where Kant discusses the sensible conditions required to apply pure concepts to objects of intuition. Finally Kant offers detailed demonstrations of the pure principles of the understanding, the synthetic a priori judgments based on the categories. These principles constitute legitimate metaphysics. This chapter will focus on Kant's attempt to identify pure concepts of the understanding in the Metaphysical Deduction; the following chapters will examine subsequent sections of the Analytic.