Kant’s Awakening From Dogmatic Slumber


In his Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, Kant says, “I freely confess that it was the objection of David Hume that first, many years ago, interrupted my dogmatic slumber.” Kant clearly intended this declaration as a clue to the meaning of his Critique of Pure Reason and his whole philosophy, but what did he mean by it? We shall investigate this question by reading selections from the early writings of Kant; from the Metaphysics of Alexander Baumgarten, a prime example of dogmatic metaphysics, which Kant used to teach his classes in metaphysics; from Hume’s Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding; from the Prolegomena; and, if time permits, from the Critique itself.