Engstrom Lecture 8

Introduction to Transcendental Logic                                            (9-26-16)


The faculty of knowledge has two stems

  1. The higher capacity—Understanding: that through which objects are thought; our spontaneity.
  2. The lower capacity—Sensibility: that through which objects are given; our receptivity. [we must pay mind to the relationship between giving and receiving]
  • Knowing takes place only where these two capacities are in play together. Think of both B 75(thoughts without content are empty, and concepts without intuitions are blind) and B 1(though all knowledge begins with experience, it does not follow that it all arises out of experience).
  • Kant is going against the philosophical tradition and re-conceiving how we understand these two stems of knowledge. The matter of knowledge is ‘found’ by the sensibility, but knowledge itself is only produced by the understanding. That is the understanding is actively doing the work for knowing;sensibility is merely receptive.


/            \

Special               General

                               /              \

                                      Pure                Applied


Transcendental Logic

Logic: A science of the rules of understanding(and reason). It governs the higher stem of knowledge.

  • Special Logic: An organon, or method in a particular feild of study to get at truth.
  • General logic: Not concerned with the truth of propositions, but only the relationship between the premises and the conclusion which make the proposition true. That is, it concerns the form of inferences and the form of syllogisms e.g. ‘S is P’ or ‘if P, then Q’
    • Applied General Logic: Kant call this ‘cathartic’; Engstrom prefers to call it remedial. Its a remedy for fallacious reason. Its about rules of how to use the understanding in light of the ways we know we can go wrong in our thinking.
    • The Pure vs Applied distinction is much like the distinction between formal and informal logic today. The former is concerned only with correct reasoning; the latter accounts for mistakes or fallacies.
    • Pure General Logic: A cannon, abstracting from all experience(all content); it treats of the form of thought in general. 
      • Transcendental Logic: Abstracts away not all content, but all empirical content. It treats the form of thought of an object in general.

Organon  means roughly ‘tool’.

Cannon means ‘a standard to conform to’, analogous to ‘norms’.

In the next lecture, to understand how Kant reaches his categories, we must keep in mind his emphasis on completeness, the principle he is following(judgement), and how he understand function.

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