Necessity and Possibility
The Logical Strategy of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
If logic provides rules for thought, can there be similar rules for human experience? Kurt Mosser argues that reading Kant's Critique of Pure Reason as an argument for such a logic of experience makes more defensible many of Kant's most controversial claims, and makes more accessible Kant's notoriously difficult text. By pursuing this strategic hint, Kant's philosophical claims about human experience are seen as extraordinarily strong—as universal and necessary—but only as providing the conditions for experience to be possible. Thus, just as logic does not determine what thoughts are about, logic of experience does not determine the content of experience.
Drawing on Kant's published and unpublished texts and a wide range of texts from the history of logic and philosophical inquiries into language, Mosser provides an interpretation of some of Kant's most complex arguments, such as the Metaphysical Deduction. He demonstrates that, in spite of appearances, Kant appeals to common sense to reveal both the scope and limits of human knowledge.
Engaging a wide range of writers, including W. V. Quine, Donald Davidson, Richard Rorty, and Michel Foucault, the author also shows that Kant's arguments retain considerable relevance to contemporary issues in epistemology, the philosophy of language, and current debates over postmodernism.
Kurt Mosser is professor of philosophy at the University of Dayton.
Praise for the book:
"Kurt Mosser has written an original and engaging study of Kant's conceptions of logic, which should be of great interest for both Kant-scholars and more general readers. It draws on a remarkably wide range of material. While going into the historical background of Kant's views on logic - and language - Mosser also demonstrates the relevance of Kant's thought for contemporary philosophical issues."—Lars Fr. H. Svendsen, University of Bergen, Norway
"In this important book, Mosser convincingly argues that an analogy between general logic and transcendental logic illuminates Kant's argumentative strategy in his first critique. . . . Recommended." — J. M. Fritzman, Choice
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