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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: August 2020

Chapter 3 - Ontology, Metaphysics, and Transcendental Philosophy

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Summary

Chapter 3 addresses the relationship between the various tasks carried out in the Critique of Pure Reason by analyzing Kant’s multifaceted use of the term ‘transcendental.’ Challenging the received view, it maintains that Kant’s seemingly divergent accounts of the subject hinge on his conception of transcendental philosophy proper and transcendental critique as first-order and second-order branches of transcendental cognition, respectively. Drawing on a brief account of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century history of the term ‘transcendental,’ the chapter seeks to show that Wolffian ontology and transcendental philosophy proper have more in common than is widely assumed: both disciplines can be said to provide a comprehensive account of the cognitive elements presupposed in any cognition of objects. On this account, the novelty of the Critique consists primarily in the second-order investigation into metaphysics that Kant calls transcendental critique. The chapter concludes by examining Kant’s criticism of the way his predecessors and contemporaries understood the terms ‘ontology’ and ‘transcendental philosophy.’

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