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Essays on Kant$
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Henry E. Allison

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199647033

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199647033.001.0001

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: Kant and the Two Dogmas of Rationalism

: Kant and the Two Dogmas of Rationalism

(p.49) Essay Three: Kant and the Two Dogmas of Rationalism
Essays on Kant

Henry E. Allison

Oxford University Press

This essay was inspired by Philip Kitcher's suggestion that in the first Critique Kant came close to anticipating Quine's “Two Dogmas of Empiricism.” It claims instead that Kant can more accurately be said to have written a critique of the “two dogmas of rationalism,” namely, the propositions that the predicate in every true proposition is contained in the concept of the subject (called the “predicate‐in‐notion principle”) and that sensible cognition is reducible in principle to purely conceptual or intellectual cognition (termed the “reducibility principle”). It is further claimed that these are mirror images of Quine's famous dogmas and that they reciprocally imply each other. Finally, it is argued that reading Kant in this ways shows that the fundamental problem with which the Critique deals is not how synthetic judgments are possible a priori but the possibility of a synthetic judgment as such.

Keywords:   empiricism, first Critique, intellectual cognition, Philip Kitcher, predicate‐in‐notion, W.V. O. Quine, rationalism, reducibility, sensible cognition, synthetic judgment

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