Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

Professor: Bryan Hall, Ph.D., Fulbright Scholar from Indiana University, Southeast

Description: Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is arguably the most important book from the modern era of philosophy. It had a major influence on subsequent philosophical thinking and remains relevant today. Its main topic is the nature, scope, and limits of human cognition. Its main conclusion is that a priori knowledge, natural science, freedom, and human experience itself are possible if and only if transcendental idealism is true. Transcendental idealism holds that we cannot cognize objects as they might exist in themselves but only insofar as they appear to us spatiotemporally and in accordance with our concepts of them, where not only these concepts but space and time themselves are contributions of the subject to her experience of these objects. The purpose of this course is to give a close, critical reading of the many arguments that that together go to support Kant’s theory of transcendental idealism in the Critique. This course will be taught in English. Classes will be a mixture of lecture, classroom discussion, and close reading of the primary text. The course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Time: Second Semester, 2011, on Wednesdays from 16:00-18:00

Why Take This Class? This class will improve your: (1) knowledge of the most important work from one of the most important philosophers in the history of philosophy, (2) ability to read primary source materials, (3) spoken and written English communication skills, and (4) research writing skills.

Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
Spring 2011

Professor:    Bryan Hall
E-mail:     hallbw@ius.edu
Phone:     724128441
Office Hours:    Wednesdays from 14:00-16:00, or by appointment.

Course Content: Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is arguably the most important book from the modern era of philosophy. It had a major influence on subsequent philosophical thinking and remains relevant today. Its main topic is the nature, scope, and limits of human cognition. Its main conclusion is that a priori knowledge, natural science, freedom, and human experience itself are possible if and only if transcendental idealism is true. Transcendental idealism holds that we cannot cognize objects as they might exist in themselves but only insofar as they appear to us spatiotemporally and in accordance with our concepts of them, where not only these concepts but space and time themselves are contributions of the subject to her experience of these objects. The purpose of this course is to give a close, critical reading of the many arguments that that together go to support Kant’s theory of transcendental idealism in the Critique.

Grading Policy: This course is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Both undergraduate and graduate students will write one paper in two stages. The first stage of the paper will be due one month before the end of the semester. The second stage will be due at the end of the semester. Students will be required to meet with me prior to both stages to discuss their plans for the paper and its revision. The undergraduate paper will be a 10-12 page research paper that uses a minimum of two secondary sources. A draft of this paper will be due one month before the final paper is due and will be worth 30% of the final grade. The revised version of this paper will be worth 60% of the final grade and should be something one could present at a conference or use as a writing sample for graduate school. Graduate students will first write a 10-12 page paper worth 30% of the final grade. This paper is meant to be narrowly focused, textually sensitive, and appropriate for a conference presentation. After incorporating my comments on the shorter paper as well as the relevant secondary literature, graduate students will expand this into a 20-25 page research paper worth 60% of the final grade. This expanded paper should be of publishable quality. Both undergraduate and graduate students will be subject to several pop reading quizzes over the course of the semester worth 10% of the final grade.

Required Texts: 1) Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (Cambridge, 1997), trans. P. Guyer and A. Wood, abbreviated CPR. 2) Hall, The Arguments of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (Lexington, 2010), abbreviated AKC. All required readings will be available on reserve in the library organized by week. Complete copies of both of these books will also be available on reserve. You should also feel free to read Kant in either the original German or translated into Romanian. Both are available in the library though they are not on reserve.

Plagiarism and Cheating: For this course, we will be following the Code of Student Rights, Responsibility, and Conduct for Indiana University (my home institution). When it comes to plagiarism, “A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, words, or statements of another person without appropriate acknowledgement. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge an indebtedness whenever he or she does any of the following: a) Quotes another person’s actual words, either oral or written; b) Paraphrases another person’s words, either oral or written; c) Uses another person’s idea, opinion, or theory; d) Borrows facts, statistics, or other illustrative material, unless the information is common knowledge.” When it comes to cheating, “A student must not use or attempt to use unauthorized assistance, materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise, including, but not limited to, the following: a. A student must not use external assistance on any ‘in-class’ or ‘take-home’ examination, unless the instructor specifically has authorized external assistance. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, the use of tutors, books, notes, and calculators.”

Schedule:

16.02:     Introduction. CPR Bvii-Bxliv, B1-B30. AKC Introduction, Appendix: Advice for
the Student Reader
23.02:     Transcendental Aesthetic, Space. CPR B33-45. AKC Chapters 1-2.
02.03:     Space (cont.). CPR B33-45. AKC Chapter 4.
09.03:     Transcendental Analytic, Metaphysical Deduction. CPR A50-57/B74-82,
A66-83/B92-109, B109-116. AKC Chapters 5-6.
16.03:    The A Transcendental Deduction. CPR A95-A130. AKC Chapter 7.
23.03:     The B Transcendental Deduction. CPR B129-B163. AKC Chapter 8.
30.03:    The B Transcendental Deduction (cont.). CPR B129-B163. AKC Chapter 8.
06.04:    Schematism. CPR A137-147/B176-187. AKC Chapter 9.
13.04:     Analogies. CPR A176-218/B218-B265. AKC Chapter 11.
20.04:     Analogies (cont.). CPR A176-218/B218-B265. AKC Chapter 11.
27.04:     Postulates, Refutation. A218-235/B265-B287. AKC Chapters 12-13.
04.05:     Transcendental Dialectic, Third Antinomy, CPR A444-451/B472-479, A532-
558/B560-586. AKC Chapters 14, 16. First Paper Due.
11.05:     Ideal. A590-630/B618-658. AKC Chapter 17.
18.05:     Conclusion. AKC Chapter 18.
01.06:     Revised Paper Due.
Poster

Kant Syllabus

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