Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics That Will Be Able to Present Itself as a Science

Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics That Will Be Able to Present Itself as a Science

Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics That Will Be Able to Present Itself as a Science

Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics That Will Be Able to Present Itself as a Science

Excerpt

The Critique of Pure Reason was published in the early summer of 1781, the Prolegomena about Easter, 1783. Kant expected the Critique to have a revolutionary effect and anxiously awaited its impact on the world of learning. In fact he found that it was being received in silence (p. 151). It was first reviewed on 19th January 1782 (p. 143) in a tone which was at best non-committal, and not again until 24th August 1782 (p. 151), and he heard privately from friends that his book was being found obscure and unintelligible, and put aside as unreadable (p. 10).

The Prolegomena were the fruit of Kant's intention to rectify this state of affairs. There is mention of such an intention in a letter from Kant toM. Herzas early as 11th May 1781, but the history of the composition of the Prolegomena between this date and 1783 is not clear. From August 1781 onwards there are allusions in letters from Hamann to a forthcoming book by Kant, and these can be read as suggesting, although quite inconclusively, that Kant may have had two distinct plans: a popular work, to introduce his philosophy to laymen, and an abstract of or supplement to the Critique for the expert. All that can be said with any confidence is that in the second half of 1781 Kant was definitely intending to publish and probably working on a short book intended to make the Critique more accessible. His reaction to the Göttingen review of January 1782 was incorporated into this book, both indirectly in the body of the book and directly in a full reply at the end. The book was finished in the autumn of 1782 -- Kant has 'just now' seen the Gotha review of August 1782 (p. 151) -- and after unexpected delay with the printer . . .

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