Kant's First Critique: An Appraisal of the Permanent Significance of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason

Kant's First Critique: An Appraisal of the Permanent Significance of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason

Kant's First Critique: An Appraisal of the Permanent Significance of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason

Kant's First Critique: An Appraisal of the Permanent Significance of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason

Excerpt

The present book -- as indeed is onl proper in a work dealing with abstract questions of philosophy -- has been written in such a way as to leave little trace of the personal make-up of the author. In composing the Preface, however, I have thought fit to adopt a different policy. There might -- I am well aware -- be those who would insist that I was wrong in taking such a course, and that the mask of stolid detachment ought not to be lifted even here where my concern is not with argument but simply with preparing the reader for what he is to expect. As regards that charge, I can think only of one line of defence. Each chapter of the book has been written and re-written many times over before being given its final form; and my procedure has been throughout to submit what I had written to others so as to profit from their observations and suggestions. I have always tried to meet, to the best of my ability, the very just criticisms which were made; and what is now offered for publication bears little or no resemblance to the drafts originally composed. Yet one grave defect remains -- a defect pointed out to me by Professor H. D. Lewis of Bangor who acted as Reader for the Publishers -- , namely, that the work starts rather abruptly, and that it is not made sufficiently clear at an stage what precisely has been the main aim in view. Professor Lewis's original suggestion was that a short introductory chapter was to be added. As against this, I felt that the Preface was the most convenient place for dealing with the matter; and I felt also that, if I was to be in a position to give a satisfactory account of the character of the book, I must say something about its history, and in so doing, could hardly help expressing myself in terms considerably less impersonal than those emploed in the main body of the work.

Everyone is familiar with a certain doctrine, allegedly Kantian, according to which it is essential to the morality of an action that it should be done contrary to the immediate inclination of the agent. If this be true, I may indeed claim that purely moral motives have guided me in my Kantian studies upon which I have been engaged for about twenty years. I was reared in an atmosphere of Kantianism; and when as a young man I began to read Kant for myself my instantaneous reaction was what it has remained ever since. While . . .

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