Critique of Pure Reason

Intermediate—Year

Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, first published in 1781, set the terms of philosophical thought ever since; however, there has always been considerable disagreement about what the Critique actually says, its purpose, and what we can learn from it. In this seminar, we will read the Critique of Pure Reason in its original form—the First Edition version. We shall take account of works to which the Critique was responding, particularly Hume’s Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding, Descartes’ Meditations, and certain articles from Bayle’s Historical and Critical Dictionary. In the second semester, we shall also consider Kant’s revisions of the Critique in the Second Edition version and attempt to understand why he made these changes. Our aim will be to understand not just particular arguments within the Critique but also its purposes and implications.