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Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  4,949 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics is a shorter work by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. It was published two years after the 1st edition of his Critique of Pure Reason.
Prolegomena contains an overview & defense of the Critique‘s main conclusions, sometimes by arguments Kant hadn't used in the Critique. He characterizes his more accessible approach here as ana
Paperback, 136 pages
Published November 20th 1950 by Library of Liberal Arts/Prentice Hall (first published 1783)
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My object is to persuade all those who think metaphysics worth studying that it is absolutely necessary to pause a moment and, disregarding all that has been done, to propose first the preliminary question, "Whether such a thing as metaphysics be at all possible?"

If it is a science, how does it happen that it cannot, like other sciences, obtain universal and permanent recognition? If not, how can it maintain its pretensions, and keep the human understanding in suspense with hopes never ceasing,
Riku Sayuj

Hieroglyphics: A Reluctant Translation

The Prolegomena is valuable as a summarization that is intended to be less obscure and suited for popular consumption. It tries to compress Kant’s criticism of (all) previous work in metaphysics and the theory of knowledge -- first propounded in the Critique of Pure Reason, which provided a comprehensive response to early modern philosophy and a starting point for most subsequent work in philosophy.

A note on the Edition: This is a wonderful edition to appr
Kant necessitated a paradigm shift in philosophy with the Prolegomena. Prior to Kant, philosophy sought to discover and ask questions about an objective world. Kant showed that it made no sense to talk about the world without also talking about a subject through whom it filtered. The forms of human intuition, and our own conceptual framework, rightfully entered philosophy. For anyone interested in the history of the discipline, this little text (as unnecessarily difficult as it can sometimes be) ...more
This is what I read on lazy Sunday afternoons.

A very concise (and almost readable!) work by Kant, summarizing and clarifying some of the monstrous and intricately detailed trails of thinking from his masterwork, The Critique of Pure Reason. Lays out the groundwork for the philosophy of science, logic, and metaphysics.
G.R. Reader
Nov 10, 2013 G.R. Reader rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to G.R. by: My third-grade teacher
98% of all philosophers spend their professional lives bullshitting. What most people fail to appreciate about Kant is that he actually said things specific enough that they turned out to be wrong. Einstein was able to refute his claims about the nature of time and space and show they were incorrect.

How many other philosophers can say as much? Go Kant!
I don't get Kant, and I've never derived any pleasure from reading him.
As Kant modestly put it, no one had ever thought that the conditions for our experience could be ascertained a priori (what an exciting premise!). And so comes this book, ostensibly for the layman but in reality intended for lazy academics in the backwoods of Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad) who couldn't plough through the Critique without misunderstanding it, which is mostly a polemic answering four questions that are supposed to get us riled up for a first-hand encounter with modern philosophy's m ...more
Kant was a pretty smart guy and maybe I'm not so smart, but I can't understand what he thought he accomplished with the Prolegomena. Kant's stated purpose was to refute Hume, who had cast doubt on the concept of causation by pointing out that we only observe one event following another and have no reason to conclude that the first caused the second. Kant's solution is posit that all sensory information is subjective. Even so basic information as the spatial and temporal orientation of objects an ...more
Reading Kant is pretty interesting. The Prolegomena is doubtless a masterful work... Kant found a totally novel way of reconciling empirical, scientific concepts with an idealistic worldview. Granted, my own perspectives are pretty far from the transcendental idealist system that he proposes, but I have massive appreciation for his insights... recognizing the lens quality of space and time, for instance.

I should note that I don't, for a minute, buy transcendental idealism. He's willing to chalk
CJ Bowen
"If it [metaphysics:] is a science, how does it happen that it cannot, like other sciences, obtain universal and permanent recognition?" pg. 1, pgh 256.

"Human reason so delights in construction that it has several times built up a tower and then razed it to examine the nature of the foundation. It is never too late to become reasonable and wise; but if the insight comes late, there is always more difficulty in starting the change." pg. 2, pgh 256.

"For inasmuch as our judgment cannot be corrected
Max Jackson
“Philosophers usually think of their discipline as one which discusses perennial, eternal problems - problems which arise as soon as one reflects.” Thus Richard Rorty begins his tremendous masterpiece ‘Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature’, which is not the book I’m reviewing here(1). He(Rorty) goes on to critique/demolish this idea for 400-or-so pages, suggesting (in my mangled paraphrase) that instead we should think of philosophers (and, really, people in general) as creating particular techn ...more
Having published his Critique of Pure Reason in 1781, Kant got the impression he was being grossly misunderstood (if you can believe it) by his contemporaries. To clear up any misunderstandings anyone may have, he wrote the Prolegomena as a summary/introduction to his first Critique.

I admit that I actually enjoy reading Kant. If anything, he is thorough, which means that if you don't grasp an idea the first time around you won't have to wait long for him to repeat it. Kant's writing is very meth
I'm coming back to the Prolegomena after some time away from them. It's kind of odd re-reading the book because I've been focusing so much on the CPR that the organization (Kant says that the Prolegomena take a "synthetic" rather than "analytic" approach to understanding pure reason's limitations and the possibility of metaphysics) is a little strange. Perhaps I'm just used to the so-called analytic approach and therefore I should set aside the Prolegomena. But I've found that there are a few po ...more
Erik Graff
Jun 28, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers of the Critiques
Recommended to Erik by: Cornel West
Shelves: philosophy
I'd started but not finished this supplementary polemic to the Critique of Pure Reason while working on my seminary thesis at the Hungarian Pastry Shop on 110th and Cathedral in New York. Although some had recommended it as an easy approach to the critical project, time was short and I wanted to get through the three Critiques and all the Kant texts either cited by C.G. Jung or contained in his library at the time of his death first. I did so, then got back to this after graduation. It served as ...more
Okay, I have what I'd like to call 'the Prolegomena Paradox' as to what to read first, the Prolegomena which is meant to explain the Critique, or read the Critique, then the Prolegomena, and maybe the Critique once again. See the problem. Anyway, I have made the choice of reading this first, of course without full comprehension of the Critique, I am a bit puzzled and confused.

One of the simple points in the book is the assertion that metaphysics cannot be empirical. For the cognition, as Kant pu
My appreciation for Kant has little to do with the accessibility of the writing. The philosophy is dense and readers must quickly familiarize themselves with the large vocabulary Kant creates in exploring the possibility of metaphysics. However, his argumentation is extremely convincing and it's clear by the end of the book why it is a necessary read. My thought process went something like this: "Now that I finally get what he's saying, I'm totally on board with it!"
Connor Brown
Finishing it up, wanted to review before I forgot about it. Not a Kant's digest, more of an apology against misunderstandings of his Critiques, but nonetheless gives a brief view into Kant's exceptionally creative and remarkable, if technical, tussle with human cognition, understanding and finally with reason itself. I'm not sure why everyone likes to drop the old "Kant is grat, but just so Wrong", but at least this work is very engaging if you play along with the old coger and try to follow him ...more
I'm not a huge Kant fan and it's rather difficult to read. But, highly recommended for an excercise in pretension.
Brian Powell
Popularly lauded as a sort of "poor man's Critique", the Prolegomena was Kant's attempt at a summary overview of the much longer, deadlier, and difficult Critique of Pure Reason. The Prolegomena is still fairly slow going, both conceptually and in terms of language (as far as language goes, think of Hume as Dr. Seuss and Kant as James Joyce). Though Kant meant it as a recap to be read after the Critique, it is widely and probably appropriately prescribed by modern thinkers as a prelude for the u ...more
Richard Epstein
Don't, okay? Just don't.
This is Kant's concise sumarization and expansion on the Critique of Pure Reason. I imagine this is quite a bit easier and definitely quicker to read. Nonetheless it still requires quite a bit of patience and reflection to get through. It seemed to be somewhat of a response to David Hume, who essentially states that our knowledge has no real basis in objective reality. Kant attempts to refute this in saying that there is no reality outside of our experience, or that there is no transcendent obje ...more
Rowland Bismark
Kant's philosophy has been called a synthesis of rationalism and empiricism. From rationalism he takes the idea that we can have a priori knowledge of significant truths, but rejects the idea that we can have a priori metaphysical knowledge about the nature of things in themselves, God, or the soul. From empiricism he takes the idea that knowledge is essentially knowledge of experience, but rejects the idea that we cannot learn any necessary truths about experience, and in doing so he rejects Hu ...more
Justin Evans

Never will the 'I love it/ I like it/ It's okay...' rating system be less helpful than with this book. But it is okay as a helping hand for Kant's first Critique. Where the ideas are most compelling, this book is clearest; where the ideas are the least compelling, this book is dense and nonsensical (hello, tables of judgment/concepts/principles). Anyway, it's silly to rate this book. This edition, on the other hand, is great: it has a fantastic introduction, useful selections from the first crit
Kant is one of the smartest philosophers that we've got. He took everything that came before him and completely turned it on its head. But he also writes like he's the smartest philosopher. That is to say that I don't think that I'd be able to read and understand him on my own ... it was only through the help of two separate professors that I was able to grasp the scope of what Kant was trying to do.

The Prolegomena is a great one-stop source for Kant's major philosophy. It is short, and once you
Kathleen O'Neal
The depth and enduring influence of the metaphysical and epistemological ideas put forth in Kant's "Prolegomena" go a long way towards explaining why he is arguably the greatest philosopher of all time. The problem is that Kant's language is so confusing and inaccessible that it makes it very difficult at times to follow his argument.
This was the book I was referred too when I decided to learn more about Transcendentalism. It is a book written to help understand a book previously written by Kant on Metaphysics.

While it was interesting, it seemed like Kant purposely decided to make it as wordy as possible. Which I think is humorous because the point of this book is to explain a book previously written in which only one other person in the world understood at the time.

As I have yet to thoroughly research Kant, I can not s
David Arceneaux
I like to call this "Kant for Dummies". Kant wrote this after his first edition of A Critique of Pure Understanding to address his critics, and he explains things a little more clearly. He then merged in the ideas in this book into his second edition of Critique.
Mark Jensen
One can review this book in a way that is short and sweet: If you have ever tried to slog through the Critique of Pure Reason with little success, this slim work is a fucking dream. Enough said.
Noah Collin
Noah Collin marked it as to-read
Apr 26, 2015
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The project of the book. 2 9 May 19, 2014 09:24PM  
  • Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
  • Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
  • Philosophical Essays
  • Untimely Meditations
  • Word and Object
  • Naming and Necessity
  • Introduction to Metaphysics
  • Elements of the Philosophy of Right
  • Theological-Political Treatise
  • Philosophical Investigations
  • The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (Volume I)
  • The Basic Works of Aristotle
  • The Cambridge Companion to Kant
  • Language, Truth, and Logic
  • Truth and Method
Immanuel Kant was an 18th-century philosopher from the Prussian city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). He's regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe & of the late Enlightenment. His most important work is The Critique of Pure Reason, an investigation of reason itself. It encompasses an attack on traditional metaphysics & epistemology, & highlights his ow ...more
More about Immanuel Kant...
Critique of Pure Reason Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) Critique of Practical Reason (Texts in the History of Philosophy) Critique of Judgment Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals/On a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns

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“All false art, all vain wisdom, lasts its time but finally destroys itself, and its highest culture is also the epoch of its decay.” 8 likes
“Mathematics, natural science, laws, arts, even morality, etc. do not completely fill the soul; there is always a space left over reserved for pure and speculative reason, the emptiness of which prompts us to seek in vagaries, buffooneries, and mysticism for what seems to be employment and entertainment, but what actually is mere pastime undertaken in order to deaden the troublesome voice of reason, which, in accordance with its nature, requires something that can satisfy it and does not merely subserve other ends or the interests of our inclinations.” 8 likes
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