Kant and the “Mystery Hidden” in the Critique of Pure Reason: A Methodological Approach to the A-Deduction Argument*

Adriano Perin About the author


At the core of Kant’s theoretical philosophy lies the deduction of the categories: his effort to secure the distinctiveness of sensibility and understanding and to provide a necessary relation between the domains of these faculties. The argument for this claim is presented in two different versions - i.e., the A and B editions of the Critique of pure reason - and is one of the most puzzling in Kant’s corpus. The common view in the literature that considers the importance of the A-deduction and tries to present its structure is that it must be understood in the light of the B-deduction argument. I aim at contesting this view and offering an internal reconstruction of the A-deduction argument which reveals its unique methodology. The thesis advanced is that the A-deduction follows an analytical methodology and that this methodology does not allow the accomplishment of the task of the deduction stated in Kant’s effort. At first, Kant’s retrospect of the A-deduction (KrV, A XVI - XVII) is taken into account. After that, a consideration of the part of the argument described as ‘subjective deduction’ (KrV, A 94 - A 130) is carried out.

Kant; Deduction; Sensibility; Understanding; Synthetic a priori judgments

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