Originally published in 1929. PREFACE: THE present translation was begun in 1913, when I was completing my Commentary to Kants Critique of Pure Reason Owing, however, to various causes, I was unable at that time to do more than prepare a rough translation of about a third of the whole and it was not until 1927 that I found leisure to revise and continue it. In this task I have greatly profited by the work of my two predecessors, J. M. D. Meiklejohn and Max Muller. Meiklejohn's work, a translation of the second edition of the Critique was published in 1855. Max Mullers translation, which is based on the first edition of the Critique, with the second edition passages in appendices, was published in 1881. Meiklejohn has a happy gift which only those who attempt to follow in his steps can, I think, fully appreciate of making Kant speak in language that reasonably approximates to English idiom. Max Mullers main merit, as he has very justly claimed, is his greater accuracy in rendering passages in which a specially exact appreciation of the niceties of German idiom happens to be important for the sense. Both Meiklejohn and Max Muller laboured, however, under the disadvantage of not having made any very thorough study of the Critical Philosophy and the shortcomings in their translations can usually be traced to this cause. In the past fifty years, also, much has been done in the study and interpretation of the text. In particular, my task has been facilitated by the quite invaluable edition of the Critique edited by Dr. Raymund Schmidt. Indeed, the appearance of this edition in 1926 was the immediate occasion of my resuming the work of translation. Dr. Schmidts restoration of the original texts of the first and second editions of the Critique, and especially of Kants own punctuation so very helpful in many difficult and doubtful passages and his citation of alternative readings, have largely relieved me of the time-consuming task of collating texts, and of assembling the emendations suggested by Kantian scholars in their editions of the Critique or in their writings upon it. The text which I have followed is that of the second edition (1787) and I have in all cases indicated any departure from it. I have also given a translation of all first edition passages which in the second edition have been either altered or omitted. Wherever possible, this original first edition text is given in the lower part of the page. In the two sections, however, which Kant completely recast in the second edition The Transcendental Deduction of the Categories and The Paralogisms of Pure Reason this cannot conveniently be done and I have therefore given the two versions in immediate succession, in the main text. For this somewhat unusual procedure there is a twofold justification first, that the Critique is already, in itself, a composite work, the different parts of which record the successive stages in the development of Kants views and secondly, that the first edition versions are, as a matter of fact, indispensable for an adequate under standing of the versions which were substituted for them. The paging's of both the first and the second edition are given throughout, on the margins the first edition being referred to as A, the second edition as B.
What is morally permissible, and what is morally obligatory? These questions form the core of a vast amount of philosophical reasoning. In his Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant developed a basis for the answers. In this landmark work, the German philosopher asks what sort of maxim might function as a guide to appropriate action under a given set of circumstances. By universalizing such a maxim, would morally permissible behavior not become clear? Suppose that everyone were to behave in accordance with this maxim. If everyone followed the maxim in the same way without harm to civilized culture, then the behavior would be morally permissible. But what if no one followed the maxim? Would civilization thereby be at risk? In such a case, the behavior would be morally obligatory. Kant's test, known as the Categorical Imperative, is a logical proof of the Golden Rule and the centerpiece of this work. It constitutes his best-known contribution to ethical discussion, and a familiarity with his reasoning in this book is essential to students of philosophy, religion, and history.
The Critique of Pure Reason (German: Kritik der reinen Vernunft, KrV, in original: Critik der reinen Vernunft) by Immanuel Kant, first published in 1781, second edition 1787, is one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. Also referred to as Kant's "first critique," it was followed in 1788 by the Critique of Practical Reason and in 1790 by the Critique of Judgment. In the preface to the first edition Kant explains what he means by a critique of pure reason: "I do not mean by this a critique of books and systems, but of the faculty of reason in general, in respect of all knowledge after which it may strive independently of all experience." Before Kant, it was generally held that truths of reason must be analytic, meaning that what is stated in the predicate must already be present in the subject (for example, "An intelligent man is intelligent" or "An intelligent man is a man"). In either case, the judgment is analytic because it is ascertained by analyzing the subject. It was thought that all truths of reason, or necessary truths, are of this kind: that in all of them there is a predicate that is only part of the subject of which it is asserted. If this were so, attempting to deny anything that could be known a priori (for example, "An intelligent man is not intelligent" or "An intelligent man is not a man") would involve a contradiction. It was therefore thought that the law of contradiction is sufficient to establish all a priori knowledge.
That all our knowledge begins with experience there can be no doubt. For how is it possible that the faculty of cognition should be awakened into exercise otherwise than by means of objects which affect our senses, and partly of themselves produce representations, partly rouse our powers of understanding into activity, to compare to connect, or to separate these, and so to convert the raw material of our sensuous impressions into a knowledge of objects, which is called experience? In respect of time, therefore, no knowledge of ours is antecedent to experience, but begins with it.
This entirely new translation of Critique of Pure Reason is the most accurate and informative English translation ever produced of this epochal philosophical text. Though its simple and direct style will make it suitable for all new readers of Kant, the translation displays an unprecedented philosophical and textual sophistication that will enlighten Kant scholars as well. This translation recreates as far as possible a text with the same interpretative nuances and richness as the original. The extensive editorial apparatus includes informative annotation, detailed glossaries, an index, and a large-scale general introduction in which two of the world's preeminent Kant scholars provide both a succinct summary of the structure and argument of the Critique and a detailed account of its long and complex genesis.
In his monumental Critique of Pure Reason, German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) argues that human knowledge is limited by the capacity for perception. He attempts a logical designation of two varieties of knowledge: a posteriori, the knowledge acquired through experience; and a priori, knowledge not derived through experience. Kant maintains that the most practical forms of human knowledge employ the a priori judgments that are possible only when the mind determines the conditions of its own experience. This accurate translation by J. M. Meiklejohn offers a simple and direct rendering of Kant's work that is suitable for readers at all levels.
"Kant's Science of right ... was published in 1796, as the first part of his Metaphysic of morals, the ... sequel and completion of the Foundation for a metaphysic of morals, published in 1785."--Pref.
You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.
eReaders and other devices
To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.