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Blok, J.

Author: Johan Blok
Graduation Year: 2007 (Research master)
Department: History of Philosophy

Toward a formal interpretation of Kant's analogies of experience.


The justification of causal laws is an important problem in the history of modern philosophy. In reaction to both dogmatic rationalism and sceptic empiricism, Kant developed a complex philosophical system to defend the possibility of universal causal claims about nature. Crucial parts of the Critique of Pure Reason, such as Kant’s conception of space, have often been interpreted in terms that are much too concrete. Especially Friedman argues for a tight connection between Kant's principles of the understanding and Newton's physics.

In my thesis I argue that such an interpretation disregards the formal nature of Kant's transcendental philosophy and the manner in which several parts of his philosophy are related to each other.

The first chapter is dedicated to the features of Kant's logical system on which the table of categories is based. It is argued that Kant's general logic, especially insofar as the forms of judgment are concerned, plays a crucial role in his transcendental philosophy. More in particular, I show that each group of categories and principles of the understanding relies on a logical form of judgment.

Subsequently, the second chapter discusses the epistemological limitations of Kant's general logic. It clarifies why general logic does not suffice to justify knowledge that consists of general claims about processes occurring over time.

In the last chapter an interpretation of the three analogies of experience is given. Each of these is explained in terms of the corresponding logical forms of judgments. Throughout this chapter the cohesive nature of the analogies is emphasized.

If my formal approach to Kant’s transcendental philosophy is correct, then it can no longer be taken for granted that Kant's philosophy is incommensurable with physical theories such as Einstein's theories of relativity. Although additional steps must be taken to proof the compatibility with Einstein's theories of relativity, my interpretation, at least theoretically, allows for revolutionary developments in the field of physics within the framework of Kant's transcendental philosophy.


Last modified:01 November 2013 2.53 p.m.