Stephen R. Palmquist's engaging Introduction provides historical background, discusses Religion in the context of Kant's philosophical system, elucidates Kant's main arguments, and explores the implications and ongoing relevance of the work.
Whether the treatment of that portion of our knowledge which lies within the province of pure reason advances with that undeviating certainty which characterizes the progress of science, we shall be at no loss to determine. If we find those who are engaged in metaphysical pursuits, unable to come to an understanding as to the method which they ought to follow; if we find them, after the most elaborate preparations, invariably brought to a stand before the goal is reached, and compelled to retrace their steps and strike into fresh paths, we may then feel quite sure that they are far from having attained to the certainty of scientific progress and may rather be said to be merely groping about in the dark. In these circumstances we shall render an important service to reason if we succeed in simply indicating the path along which it must travel, in order to arrive at any results—even if it should be found necessary to abandon many of those aims which, without reflection, have been proposed for its attainment.
That logic has advanced in this sure course, even from the earliest times, is apparent from the fact that, since Aristotle, it has been unable to advance a step and, thus, to all appearance has reached its completion. For, if some of the moderns have thought to enlarge its domain by introducing psychological discussions on the mental faculties, such as imagination and wit, metaphysical, discussions on the origin of knowledge and the different kinds of certitude, according to the difference of the objects (idealism, scepticism, and so on), or anthropological discussions on prejudices, their causes and remedies: this attempt, on the part of these authors, only shows their ignorance of the peculiar nature of logical science. We do not enlarge but disfigure the sciences when we lose sight of their respective limits and allow them to run into one another. Now logic is enclosed within limits which admit of perfectly clear definition; it is a science which has for its object nothing but the exposition and proof of the formal laws of all thought, whether it be a priori or empirical, whatever be its origin or its object, and whatever the difficulties—natural or accidental—which it encounters in the human mind.
Until his death, Martin was the editor of Kant-Studien from 1954, of the general Kant index from 1964, of the Leibniz index from 1968, and coeditor of Leibnizstudien from 1969. This background is used to its fullest as he strives to make clear the historical milieu in which Kant's mathematical contributions developed. He uses Leibniz, Wolff, and others whose work was accomplished before Kant was born as well as Lambert, Mendelssohn, and others roughly contemporary with Kant; and when a point requires it, he refers to Gauss, Grassman, Frege, Russell, and Hilbert.
In her translation Wubnig has approached the original author with an abiding respect. She makes the translation flow in English while preserving as far as possible the flavor of the original. She has added many bibliographical and biographical details to ease the following up of Martin's allusions and suggestions.