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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: February 2013

Preface

Summary

The aim of this book is to provide a clear introduction to the central arguments of the Critique of Pure Reason at a level designed for both undergraduate and graduate students as well as any other readers interested in the main contentions and arguments of Kant's revolutionary book. In order to achieve a relatively fluid and readable introduction to such a notoriously difficult text, it was agreed to limit the scholarly engagement with other commentaries and with disputes in the secondary literature to just the occasional in-text reference to particularly influential recent contributions by (primarily English-language) commentators on Kant, without any apparatus of notes. I have also had to make decisions about which sections of the book to treat in depth and which to treat more briefly, and the index is the way to locate the latter discussions. Within the restricted scope of this book, however, what follows is not a superficial introduction to Kant's thought but rather an attempt to analyse, explain and assess the main lines of argument that occur in most of the more famous sections of the Critique. In places in each chapter I have also taken matters more deeply and have not held back from offering my own reconstructive interpretations of Kant's views, some of which may be of interest to more experienced readers of Kant.

There are many high-quality commentaries on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason currently available in English, some of which are listed in the Bibliography, so that one has to feel some trepidation in offering a new one. In my experience of teaching and writing on the Critique over the past twenty-five years, however, it is remarkable how many students, lecturers and professors continue to express the desire for a comparatively short and introductory but non-superficial explanation of Kant’s fundamental conceptions and interconnected strategies of argumentation in the Critique.